Ramadan and the month of Sha’ban

Sha’ban is the name of the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is named so because in this month the Arabs used to disperse (tasha’aba) in search of water, or it was said that they dispersed to carry out raids and forays. Others maintain 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 between Rajab and Ramadan, two very important months. Fasting in Sha’ban is a preparatory fast for Ramadan. If an individual begins fasting in Sha’ban he or she will have become used to fasting and will feel strong and energetic when Ramadan comes.

Sha’ban paves the way for Ramadan and deeds performed during this month, such as fasting, reciting from the Holy Qur’an, and giving charity, are lifted to up the Most Exalted, Allah. Habeeb ibn Abi Thaabit used to say, when Sha’baan came, “This is the month of reciters (of the Qur’aan).” When Sha’baan came, ‘Amr ibn Qays al-Malaa’i used to close his store and devote his time to reading the Qur’aan.

It is also important to fast in Sha’ban because many people do not pay attention to it, as it is between two important months. People become so preoccupied with those two that they neglect fasting in Sha’ban and according to a hadeeth, it is preferred (mustahab) to do acts of worship during a time where people are negligent.

However, to avoid adding extra days to the fast of Ramadan, fasting on the ‘day of doubt’ is prohibited. The ‘day of doubt’ is the day when people are uncertain whether Ramadan, sighting of crescent moon, has commenced or not. “Ammaar said: whoever fasts on this day has disobeyed Abu’l-Qaasim (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam)”.

Hadith 1:
Abu Hurairah (radiullaho anho) reported the Messenger of Allah,(sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam), as saying: ‘Rajab is the month of Allah. Shabaan is my month and Ramadan is that of my Ummah. Shabaan removes the sins of man and Ramadan purifies him completely.’

Hadith 2:
The messenger of Allah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Between Rajab and Ramadan is the sacred month of Shabaan. People are unmindful about it, yet the deeds of man are to be presented to Almighty Allah in it. It is for this reason that l desire my deeds to be presented when I am in a state of fasting.

Hadith 3:
The Holy Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) also said: ‘Shabaan enjoy superiority over the months as l have superiority over all the Prophets {peace be upon him}.

Hadith 4:
The Holy Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa salla) also said: ‘when the month of Shabaan approaches you, cleanse your souls to receive the blessed month of Ramadan. Rectify your intentions, for verily the greatness of Shabaan is like my greatness is over all the Prophets. Take heed Shabaan is my month and anyone who observes one fast in it, my intercession will become lawful for him.’

‘Aa’ishah (radiullaho anha) said: “The Messenger of Allaah, (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allaah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’baan.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 1833; Muslim, no. 1956).According to a report narrated by Muslim (no. 1957), “He used to fast all of Sha’baan, he used to fast all but a little of Sha’baan.”

Shab-e Baraat-The night of Acquittal:
Commentators of the Holy Quran are unanimous that the night which the Qur’an calls ‘the blessed night’ is the fifteenth night of Sha’ban. On this glorious evening, the decent of the Qur’an began from the Divine Tablet to the worldly heaven.

Some hadith regarding ‘the blessed night’ are:

Hadith 1
Mother of the believers Aisha {radiullaho anha} states that the Messenger of Allah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Verily Almighty Allah pervades the worldly heaven with a special glance of compassion and forgives more followers of my ummah than all the hair of the sheep of Bani Kalb.’

Hadith 2
Abu Baker Al Sideeq (radiullaho anho) says that the Messenger of Allah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Spend the Night of Baraat in offering nafl Prayers and observe the fast on the fifteenth day. Without doubt it is a night full of blessings and excellence. Allah Almighty proclaims on the night ‘Is there anyone who is desirous of peace and security that l may grant him peace and safety? Is there anyone who seeks sustenance that l may grant him sustenance? Is there anyone who seeks this and this, that l may grant him that? This proclamation and beneficence continue until the break of dawn.’

Hadith 3
In another Hadith it is reported that ‘the hearts of believers who keep alive the two nights of Eid and the fifteen nights of Shabaan, ie by engaging in Zikar of Allah, will not experience death on that day when every heart will be dead.

Hadith 4
It is reported by Ayesha, (radiu Allahu anha) that the messanger of Allah (sala Allahu alhi wasallam) said:”oh Ayesha! Do you know what happens on this night? i.e the night of Baraat. She answered “please inform me what takes place on this night. The master of both worlds replied:” on this night Almight Allah records all the names of those who are to be born in the coming year,and those who would be dying in it, the deeds of man are raised to Him on this night and the sustenace of man descends in it.

By Marwa Afifi