Thursday, 22 July 2010

Sha`ban is My Month -Muhammad saw


Asalaamu 'alaikum wa rahmat Ullahi wa barakaatuh,
We are leaving the month of Shabaan quickly moving into the radar of the Blessed Ramadan.
Yeah so Ramadhan is on its way (YAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY! )......and we should prepare for it, Insha Allah.

I thought it may be beneficial for us, in preparation for Ramadhan to look at the virtues of the month of Sha'ban and the authentic good practices that are encouraged in it:

             Sha'ban is the name of the (eigth) month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and it is so called because in this month the Arabs used to disperse (tasha'aba) in search of water, or it was said that it is so called because it sha'aba (branches out or emerges) i.e., it appears between the months of Rajab and Ramadan.

Sha`ban is one of the meritorious months for which we find particular instructions in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad . It is reported in authentic ahadith that Prophet Muhammad , used to fast most of the month in Sha`ban. These fasts are supererogatory (nafl) and well deserving of reward, for Sha`ban is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadan. The Prophet  mentioned in a hadith, "Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha`ban is my month and Ramadan is the month of the Nation".

Know that Sha'ban is from amongst the greatest of months, a month whose blessings are

well known and its goodness readily present. Repentance in it is from amongst the best

reaping for a believer, and worship in it is most profitable.

It is the month of the Prophet, upon him be peace, as mentioned in the hadith "Rajab is

the month of Allah, Sha'ban is my month, and Ramadan is the month of the Qu'ran". It is

the month in which he split the moon, and the verse "Verily Allah and His Angels send

blessings upon the Prophet. Oh you who believe! Send your prayers and blessings upon

him and salute him well!” {Ahzab:56} was revealed, hence it is the month of sending

salaw't upon the Prophet, so send your blessings upon him profusely!

It is also the month of the middle night of Sha'ban, the night in which the provisions of

created beings are allotted. It is mentioned in the book Tuhfat al-Ikhwan, narrated from

Ata' ibn Yasir, may Allah be pleased with him, that "….there is no night better after the

night of Qadr than the 15th night of Sha'ban".

Note that after the decree of Allah is made apparent to the Angels there is no changing it,

however before that, it is in the Tablet (Lawh), where Allah can take from or add to it as He

so wills, glory be to Him. Many ahhadith narrate that it is the night in which Allah

decrees all good works and provisions to those who seek it. The apparent wisdom behind

this is of awakening desire and warning. Awakening desire to attain towards good works

through obedience and action so felicity may be written for him, and warning of sin in that

night out of fear that one may be considered amongst the dead heartened and that it be

written for them like that for the remainder of the year.

It is reported in the book Tuhfat al-Ikhwan that the Messenger of Allah, upon him be

peace, said "Verily Allah forgives all of the believers on this night, except the fornicator, the

one who drinks alcohol and the one disobedient to his/her parents". From other ahhadith it

can be gathered that this list be expanded to the one who associates partners with Allah

(mushrik), the one who breaks family ties of kinship amongst others.

It is said that the first ten days of Rajab were preferred over other months due to the 1st

night of Rajab, and the second ten days of Sha'ban were preferred over other months due

to the 15th night, and that the last ten days of Ramadan were preferred over others due to

the night of power (Qadr).

Note that the recommendation of praying 100 raka's of voluntary prayer (nafl), or anything

similar, is an innovation and has no basis. It is more preferable to engage in salat al-tasbih

as was taught by the Prophet .

Selected ad’iyah (du’a’s - prayers)

 Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said "Never did a servant invoke

Allah with this invocation except that Allah will widen for him his living".


In the name of Allah, most Merciful, most Compassionate. Prayers and blessings upon our

master Muhammad saw, and his family and companions

O Allah, Tireless Owner of Bounty. O Owner of Sublimity, Honor, Power, and Blessings.

There is no Allah except You,

the Support of refugees and Neighbour of those who seek nearness,

Guardian of the fearful.

O Allah, if you have written in Your Book that I be

abject, deprived, banished, and tight-fisted,

then erase O Allah, through Your bounty,

my misery, deprivation, banishment, and stinginess

and establish me with You as happy, provided with

blessings, for surely You have said—and Your Word

is True—in Your Revealed Book on the tongue of

Your Messenger,

“Allah blots out or confirms what He

pleases, and with Him is the Mother of Books.” (13:39)

My God, by the Great Manifestation of the Night of the

middle of the Noble Month of Sha`b?n

“in which every affair of wisdom is made distinct and

authorized,“(44:4) remove from us calamities—those

we know and those we do not know, and Thou

knowest best—for surely You are the Most Mighty, the Most Generous.

The following du’a is attributed to the great Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (ra), which he

composed specifically for the blessed night of the 15th:

Oh Allah, if you manifest Yourself to Your

creation on the mid-night of Sha'ban

Then bring unto us your relenting and


And decree for us, by your bounty, abundant


And let us be counted from amongst those who

uphold your right in this night

Oh Allah, whosoever you ordained for them

death, then ordain with that your mercy for


And whosoever you ordained for them a long

life, then grant them Your favour with that

And realise for us what our hopes cannot

Oh Greatest before whom feet have stood, oh

Lord of the worlds

Your mercy! Oh most Merciful of those who

show mercy

And prayers of God, most High, be upon our

master Muhammad saw, the best of His creation,

and upon his family and companions.

Oh Allah may you send your blessings (prayers) upon our master Muhammad(PBUH) saw, your
servant and messenger, the unlettered Prophet, and upon his family and companions
1. The blessed companion Anas , reports that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), was asked, "Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?" He replied, "Fasts of Sha`ban in honor of Ramadan."

2. The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid , reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad : "Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha`ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month." Prophet Muhammad , replied: "That (Sha`ban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting."

3. Ummul Mu'mineen `Aishah (r), says, "Prophet Muhammad , used to fast the whole of Sha`ban. I said to him, 'Messenger of Allah, is Sha`ban your favorite month for fasting?' He said, 'In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting.’"

4. In another Tradition she says, "Prophet Muhammad , would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting a complete month, except the month of Ramadan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Sha`ban."

5. In another report she says, "I never saw the Messenger of Allah, , fasting in a month so profusely as he did in the month of Sha`ban. He used to fast in that month leaving only a few days, rather, he used to fast almost the whole of the month."

6. Ummul-Mu'mineen Umm Salamah (r), says: "I have never seen the Messenger of Allah fasting for two months continuously except in the months of Sha`ban and Ramadan."

These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Sha`ban, though not obligatory, is so meritorious that Prophet Muhammad did not like to miss it.

When Sha'ban began, if the Prophet (PBUH) still had some voluntary fasts outstanding that he had not fasted, he would make them up during Sha'ban so that his nafl fasts would be complete before Ramadan came. Similarly, if he had missed some Sunnah prayers or he had missed Qiyam al-Layl (night prayer), he would make it up. 'A'ishah used to make the most of this opportunity to make up any obligatory Ramadan fasts that she had missed because of menstruation; during other months she was too busy with the Prophet (PBUH) to fast.

We should also note here that anyone who has any missed fasts to make up has to make them up before the next Ramadan comes. It is not permissible to delay it until after the following Ramadan except in cases of necessity (such as a valid excuse that continues between the two Ramadans). Whoever is able to make them up before the (second) Ramadan and does not do so, has to make them up after the (second) Ramadan and in addition to that, he has to repent and to feed one poor person for each day that he missed. This is the view of Malik, al-Shafa'i and Ahmad.

Another benefit of fasting in Sha'ban is that it is a kind of training for the Ramadan fast, in case a person finds it difficult to fast when Ramadan starts; if he fasts in Sha'ban he will have gotten used to fasting and he will feel strong and energetic when Ramadan comes. Sha'ban is like an introduction to Ramadan and it has some things in common with Ramadan, such as fasting, reciting Qur'an and giving in charity. Salamah ibn Suhayl used to say: "The month of Sha'ban is the month of reciters (of the Qur'an)." Habeeb ibn Abi Thabit used to say, when Sha'ban came, "This is the month of reciters (of the Qur'an)." When Sha'ban came, 'Amr ibn Qays al-Mala'i used to close his store and devote his time to reading the Qur'an.

Fasting at the end of Sha'ban

It was reported in al-Bukhari and Muslim from 'Imran ibn Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said to a man, "Have you fasted anything of the sirar of this month?" He said, "No." He said: "If you have not fasted, then fast two days." According to a report narrated by al-Bukhari: I think he meant Ramadan. According to a report narrated by Muslim, (the Prophet - PBUH) said: "Have you fasted anything of the sirar of Sha'ban?"

There was some dispute as to the meaning of the word sirar. The most well known view is that it refers to the end of the month. The end of the month is called sirar because the moon is hidden at that time. Someone may raise the point that it was reported in al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "Do not pre-empt Ramadan by one or two days, except for those who have the habit of fasting regularly, in which case they may fast." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

How can we reconcile the hadeeth which encourages fasting at this time with the hadeeth which says not to fast at this time? The answer is: many of the scholars and most of those who commented on this hadeeth said: this man to whom the Prophet (PBUH) addressed this question was known to have the habit of fasting regularly, or else he had made a vow, so the Prophet (PBUH) commanded him to make up his fast. There are also other points of view on this issue.

In brief we may say that there are three scenarios for fasting at the end of Sha'ban:

The first scenario is when a person fasts at the end of Sha'ban with the intention of being on the safe side and not missing the first day of Ramadan. This is forbidden.

The second scenario is when a person fasts with the intention of fulfilling a vow or of making up a day of Ramadan that he missed or as an act of expiation (kaffarah), etc. This is permissible according to the majority.

The third scenario is when this is purely a voluntary fast. This is regarded as makrooh (disliked) by those who said that we should differentiate between Sha'ban and Ramadan by not fasting for a while. Among those who said this was al-Hasan. If it happens to coincide with a day when a person habitually fasts, Malik and those who agreed with him permitted this, but al-Shafa'i, al-'Awza'i, Ahmad and others made a distinction between cases where it is a fast which a person habitually observes or otherwise.

In conclusion, the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah R.A. quoted above is what we should follow according to the majority of scholars. It is makrooh to observe a voluntary fast one or two days before Ramadan for those who do not habitually fast on those days and who have not previously fasted until the end of Sha'ban.

It may be asked: why is it makrooh to fast just before Ramadan (for those who do not have a prior habit of fasting)? The answer is that there are a number of reasons why this is so, such as:

Firstly: lest extra days be added to the fast of Ramadan that are not part of it. Fasting on the day of Eid is prohibited for the same reason, lest we fall into the same trap as the People of the Book with regard to fasting, as they added to their fasts because of their own whims and desires. For the same reason it is also forbidden to fast on the "day of doubt". 'Ammar said: whoever fasts on this day has disobeyed Abu'l-Qasim (PBUH). The "day of doubt" is a day when people are not sure whether it is Ramadan or not, when news of the sighting of the crescent moon comes from one whose word cannot be accepted. As for a cloudy day, some of the 'ulama' said that this was also a 'day of doubt' and said that fasting was not allowed on this day. This is the view of the majority.

Secondly: to make a distinction between fard (obligatory) fasts and nafl fasts, because making a clear distinction between fard actions and nafl actions is prescribed in Islam. Hence it is haram to fast on the day of Eid, and the Prophet (PBUH) forbade following an obligatory prayer immediately with another prayer unless they are separated by saying salam or speaking, especially in the case of the Sunnah prayer performed just before Fajr. It is prescribed to make a clear separation between this prayer and the obligatory prayer. Hence it is prescribed to pray it at home and to lie down afterwards.

When the Prophet (PBUH) saw a man praying at the time when the iqamah had been given for Fajr, he said to him: "Al-Subh is four rak'ahs?" (Narrated by al-Bukhari).

Some ignorant people may think that the reason why we do not fast just before Ramadan is so that we can make the most of eating and have our fill of our desires before we have to deny ourselves by fasting. This is an ignorant mistake on the part of those who think this.

 The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following:

“This month is between Rajab and Ramadan; People are ignorant of this month, which is between Rajab and Ramadan. It is the month in which the deeds are presented to the Lord of the Worlds. I want my deeds to be presented to Allah when I am fasting.”(8)

If we appreciate these holy days and render our days and nights blessed and fruitful spiritually, we will benefit from the abundance and prosperity f this month more. The fasting performed in those months is not fard or wajib (obligatory); it is sunnah. We should try to fast in order to obtain rewards by following our Prophet.

May Almighty God make us benefit from the light and prosperity of the month of Shaban in the maximum degree. Amin.

 "Have fun praying and getting ready for the Day of Judgment coz that day will NOT be fun :) P.S.: don’t forget to make dua  for me.

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