Month of Sha’baan

Sha’baan is awesome and here’s why – find out!

I heard fasting in Sha’baan is supposed to be awesome. What’s the deal?

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Check it out! So the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast in the month of Sha’baan quite regularly. Here are the details:

* ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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).

* Usaamah ibn Zayd (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha’baan.’ He said, ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadaan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.’” (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, see Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, page 425).

* Ibn Rajab (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Fasting in Sha’baan is better than fasting in the Sacred Months, and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadaan, before or after. The status of these fasts is like that of al-Sunan al-Rawaatib which are prayed before and after Fard (prayers) and which make up for any shortfall in the number of obligatory prayers. The same applies to fasts observed before and after Ramadaan. Just as al-Sunan al-Rawaatib are better than other kinds of voluntary prayers, so fasts observed (in the months) before and after Ramadaan are better than fasts at other times.

The phrase “Sha’baan is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadaan” indicates that because it comes between two important months, the Sacred Month of Rajab and the month of fasting, people are preoccupied with those two months and they do not pay attention to Sha’baan. Many people think that fasting in Rajab is better than fasting in Sha’baan, because Rajab is one of the Sacred Months, but this is not the case.

In the Hadeeth quoted above there is an indication that even though certain times, places and people may be commonly thought to possess a particular virtue, there may be others that are better than them.

It also indicates that it is Mustahabb to make good use of the times when people tend to be negligent, by doing acts of worship. There are a number of benefits that come from making good use of times when people are often negligent, and using these times for worship, including the following:

It is more concealing of one’s good works and hiding and concealing Naafil actions is better, especially fasting, because it is a secret between a slave and his Lord. Hence it was said that there is no element of showing off in fasting.

By the same token, doing righteous deeds at times when people are distracted and negligent is more difficult. Muslim (no. 2984) narrated from the Hadeeth of Ma’qil ibn Yassaar: “[The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:] ‘Worship at times of tribulation (fitnah) is like Hijrah to me.’”

Great, but here’s more:

Another benefit of fasting in Sha’baan is that it is a kind of training for the Ramadaan fast, in case a person finds it difficult to fast when Ramadaan starts; if he fasts in Sha’baan he will have gotten used to fasting and he will feel strong and energetic when Ramadaan comes. Sha’baan is like an introduction to Ramadaan and it has some things in common with Ramadaan, such as fasting, reciting Qur’aan and giving in charity. Salamah ibn Suhayl used to say: “The month of Sha’baan is the month of reciters (of the Qur’aan).” 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.

Cutting it short, Sha’baan acts like a warm up to Ramadan. Imagine starting your car’s engine when it’s 20 below zero. The car engine needs to run for a bit before you can take off. Similarly, fasting in Sha’baan helps you to warm yourself up for fasting in the coming month of Ramadan.

Like always, some people overstep the mark and introduce self-innovated practices into the pure religion of Allah. Here is a brief look at some Bida’hs practiced in Sha’baan.

Debunking some myths:

Among the Bid’ahs that have been invented by some people is celebrating the middle of Sha’baan (Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan), and singling out that day for fasting. There is no evidence (Daleel) for that which can be regarded as reliable. Some Da’eef (weak) Ahaadeeth have been narrated concerning its virtues, but we cannot regard them as reliable. The reports which have been narrated concerning the virtues of prayer on this occasion are all Mawdoo’ (fabricated), as has been pointed out by many of the scholars.

Al-‘Allaamah al-Shawkaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Fawaa’id al-Majmoo’ah:

“The hadeeth: ‘O ‘Ali, whoever prays one hundred rak’ahs on Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan, reciting in each rak’ah the Opening of the Book [Soorat al-Faatihah] and Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad ten times, Allaah will meet all his needs…’ This is mawdoo’ (fabricated) [i.e., it is falsely attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)]. Its wording clearly states the reward that the person who does this will attain, and no man who has any common sense can doubt that this is fabricated. Also, the men of its Isnaad (chain of narrations) are Majhool (unknown). It was also narrated via another Isnaad, all of which is Mawdoo’ (fabricated) and all of whose narrators are Majhool (unknown).

In al-Mukhtasar he said: The hadeeth about the Salaah for the middle of Sha’baan is false, and the Hadeeth of ‘Ali narrated by Ibn Hibbaan – “When it is the night of the middle of Sha’baan, spend that night in prayer and fast that day” – is Da’eef (weak).

If it were prescribed to single out the night of the middle of Sha’baan, or the night of the first Friday in Rajab, or the night of the Israa’ and Mi’raaj, for celebration or for any special acts of worship, then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have taught his Ummah to do that, and he would have done it himself. If anything of the sort had happened, his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) would have transmitted it to the Ummah; they would not have concealed it from them, for they are the best of people and the most sincere, after the Prophets, may blessings and peace be upon them, and may Allaah be pleased with all the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

Now we know from the words of the scholars quoted above that there is no report from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) concerning the virtue of the first night of Jumu’ah in Rajab, or the night of the middle of Sha’baan. So we know that celebrating these occasions is an innovation that has been introduced into Islam, and that singling out these occasions for acts of worship is a reprehensible Bid’ah.

In Al-Saheehayn it is reported from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [Islam] that is not part of it, will have it rejected.”

So folks, give it up. What’s the use of spending the entire night in worship but having it REJECTED? In religion, follow and do not innovate for you have been given that which is sufficient.

Any Fiqh related stuff which I need to know?

About fasting the end of Sha’baan:
*The first scenario is when a person fasts at the end of Sha’baan with the intention of being on the safe side and not missing the first day of Ramadaan. 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 Ramadaan that he missed or as an act of expiation (Kafaarah), etc. This is permissible according to the majority.

*The third scenario is when this is purely a voluntary fast. This is regarded as Makrooh by some who said that we should differentiate between Sha’baan and Ramadaan 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, Maalik and those who agreed with him permitted this, but al-Shaafa’i, al-‘Oozaa’i, Ahmad and others made a distinction between cases where it is a fast which a person habitually observes or otherwise.

Bottom line:
Well, happy fasting!

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