MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING SHABE-E-BARA (15TH SHABAN) AND THEIR ANSWERS
Misconception # 1: The night of the 15th of Sha’baan should be singled out for worship, prayer, etc.
Clarification: Our best example and role model is the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and he never, ever singled out this night for worship or qiyaam nor did his Sahaba.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz said:”There is no saheeh hadeeth concerning the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan. All the ahaadeeth that have been narrated concerning that are mawdoo’ (fabricated) and da’eef (weak), and have no basis. There is nothing special about this night, and no recitation of Qur’aan or prayer, whether alone or in congregation, is specified for this night. What some of the scholars have said about it being special is a weak opinion. It is not permissible to single it out for any special actions. This is the correct view. And Allaah is the Source of strength.” (Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/511)
More fatawaas of scholars are attested at the end of this article .
Misconception # 2: There are special prayers to be offered on this night.
Clarification: The truth of the matter is that there are NO special prayers to be offered on this night specifically. And all those ‘ahaadeeth’ giving you long lists of special ‘formulas’ that are “supposed to guarantee you Allaah’s forgiveness and Jannah” are all fabricated, false and innovations in our Deen. If there were such prayers, the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) would have told us about them and we would have had evidence of him and the Sahaba doing it.
Misconception # 3: Allaah descends to the first heavens on this night to forgive us.
Clarification: Allaah’s descending to the first heaven does not only happen on the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan. Rather it happens every single night of the year.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Every night when it is the last third of the night, our Lord, the Superior, the Blessed, descends to the nearest heaven and says: Is there anyone to invoke Me that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?. ” (Bukhari 1145,Muslim 1261)
Misconception # 4: This is the night when our fate, lifespan, and provisions are decreed.
Clarification: Some people think that the “blessed night” (laylatim-mubarakah) mentioned in Surah ad-Dukhaan (44): 3, refers to the night of 15th Shabaan, when Allah decrees our lifespan, provisions and fate. In fact, they even pray 6 rakahs, 2 for each of these things. However, all that is fabricated and far, far away from the Sunnah. And, in reality, the “blessed night” mentioned in Surah ad-Dukhaan, actually is referring to Laylatul Qadr that comes in Ramadhaan. (Tafseer Ibn Kathir of Surah al-Qadr)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When the drop of (semen) remains in the womb(of mother) for forty (days) or forty nights, the angel comes and says:“My Lord, will he be good or evil?” And both these things would be written.Then the angel says: “My Lord, would he be male or female?” And both these things are written.And his deeds and actions, *his death*, his livelihood; these are also recorded. [Sahih Muslim Hadith 6392]
Misconception # 5: One should fast on the day of the fifteenth.
Clarification: Here again, there is no saheeh reports that tell us that the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) or his Sahaabah ever picked this day specifically to fast. The Sunnah of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) was to fast most of this month and not just the 15th. However, if the fifteenth of Sha’baan coincides with a Monday or Thursday, or with the three white days or if a person is generally fasting, without associating seeking extra rewards to fasting this specific day, then it is allowed. (Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid)
Also, Fasting on 13th 14th 15th of every month is recommended not only on the 15th of Shaban. Prophet (peace be upon him) said “If you fast any part of the month, then fast the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.” [Tirmidhi, 761; al-Nasaa’i, 2424; ]
Misconception # 6: This is the night when the souls of departed ones return to their families.
Clarification: Here again, some people misunderstand the ayaat in Surah al-Qadr and think that the ‘sending down of the Ruh’ as mentioned in this Surah refers to the souls of dead people returning to see their families, even though it refers to Jibreel(AS) (Tafseer Ibn Kathir). And that is why we see women preparing the sweets, the Halwas and other ‘goodies’ for the souls of their loved ones.
Not only is that in itself an erroneous, deviant belief and bid’ah, but to believe that the souls of the dead can return back to the world and meet with their relatives is also totally incorrect and false. The teachings of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah clearly state that the souls of the dead do not return back to the world. Besides, they don’t even eat the Halwas. It is actually you who eats it!
Shaikh Saleh al Fawzaan states in his explanation of Kitab at-Tawhid under the chapter [From Shirk is to seek Aid and Assistance (after a calamity befalls) from other than Allah or to Call Upon Others]:
“Indeed Shaikh ul-Islam ibn Tamiyyah mentioned in one of his works – or rather, in many of his works – paraphrased as follows; Indeed that which occurs to the worshippers of graves in terms of their needs being fulfilled [i.e. the affair they seek at the grave actually occurs for them], then that is not an evidence upon the correctness of their methodology [i.e. the methodology of grave worship], because obtaining what is desired is [a means of] trial and test upon them from Allah……so this is not from the beneficial affairs for the grave worshipper, so if something does occur from what they desire then it is [actually] a degradation from Allah upon them…[despite the fact that he may think he is upon the correct methodology and be pleased and therefore continue upon his way believing his request has “apparently” been answered by the dead in the graves that he calls upon!].
Furthermore, Shaikh ul-Islam mentioned also, that it is possible the shayaateen [referring to the devils of jinn in this instance] sometimes take the appearance of the one buried and rise up from the grave in that appearance and speak to the people who are calling upon the dead. They then say to them we will take care of your needs, and they bring them items from far away, they may steal from the items of the people and bring them…and the one who was calling upon the dead thinks this is actually the dead individual himself who has arisen from the grave since the shaytaan has taken that appearance! In reality the actual dead individual does not have the slightest idea of what is occuring above his grave! Rather he is preoccupied with himself, either in blessings or punishments of the grave.
Thereafter, when the people are all raised on the Day of Recompense, those dead individuals on that Day will declare their innocence of the mushrikoon who used to call upon their graves in this World…..”
[Translators Note: For further details on issues of grave worship and seeking intercession etc, an excellent source of information are the various books of Shaikh Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab, namely Kashf as-Shubuhaat (Exposition of the Doubts), as well as Kitab at-Tawhid, al-Qawaa’id al-arba’a (The Four Fundamental Principles)….exactly the types of books the scholars advise with in the early stages of seeking knowledge].
Misconception # 7: Visiting graveyards especially this night is something good.
Clarification: Although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) encouraged visiting graves, he forbade singling out any day or night for any kinds of good deeds if it is not prescribed in the Sharee’ah. And he did not specifically visit the graveyard on the night of the 15th of Sha’aan. The hadeeth of Aisha that mentions that the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) visited the graveyard this night is not authentic and thus does not have any proof for visiting graves specifically on this night of Shabaan.
Misconception # 8: Even if the ahaadeeth about worship on this night are weak, one can still do it.
Clarification: The correct scholarly view is that weak ahaadeeth should not be followed at all, even if they speak of righteous deeds or of targheeb and tarheeb (promises and warnings). The saheeh reports are sufficient and the Muslim has no need to follow the da’eef reports.
Shaykh Ahmad Shaakir said: “There is no difference between rulings or righteous deeds; we do not take any of them from da’eef reports, rather no one has the right to use any report as evidence unless it is proven to be soundly narrated from the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) in a saheeh or hasan hadeeth.”
If we begin to follow weak Ahadeeth, then there are many such weak or fabricated reports which would harm the very stem of Islamic tolerance and message such as the fabricated report attributed to the prophet (s.a.w) wherein it is said that he (s.a.w) said ” There is no goodness in Black people” . Now this and many other weak reports like this are to be rejected otherwise….
Misconception # 9: Deeds are shown to Allah on the 15th of this month
Clarification: Again another misconception !
Prophet (peace be upon him) said “Deeds are shown (to Allaah) on Mondays and Thursdays, and I like my deeds to be shown when I am fasting.” [Tirmidhi, 747; ]
Misconception # 10: Look at all those people doing it. How can they all be wrong?
Clarification: The Muslim is supposed to refer to Allaah and His Messenger (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam)’s Sunnah, if there is any confusion or dispute about matters and NOT what the rest of the world is doing.
“O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger and those of you who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allaah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination [al-Nisaa’ 4:59]
Shaykh Ibn Jibreen said: “These reports (about worship and fasting an the 15th of Sha’baan) became very well known in some countries which were overwhelmed by ignorance; One should not be deceived by the large numbers of ignorant people who do these things.”
The REAL Sunnah regarding Sha’baan:
If you truly and sincerely want to please Allaah and do deeds that will be acceptable to Him, then follow the REAL Sunnah of the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam). Here is what is proven in the authentic sunnah:
1. Fast most of this month as much as you can.
Aa’ishah RA said: “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.” (Bukhaari, Muslim).
2. Avoid fasting when Sha’baan is half over
However, if you are weak or do not fast habitually and feel that this nafil fasting may be a hindrance to your obligatory fasting in the month of Ramadhaan, then the person may stop the nafil fasting in the last few days of this month. And for that person, the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said:
“When Sha’baan is half over, do not fast.” (saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi).
3. Make up for the missed fasts if any
If you have fasts left over from last Ramadhaan to make up, then hurry up and do so in this month of Sha’baan before the next Ramadhaan comes. It is not permissible to delay missed fasts until after the following Ramadhaan, except in cases of necessity (such as a valid excuse that continues between the two Ramadaans). Aa’ishah RA said: ‘It used to be that I had days to make up for Ramadhaan and I would not be able to do so except in Sha’baan.” [Bukhaari]
Here is a short document, refuting some of the wide-spread ahadeeth quoted in the favour of 15th Sha’baan :
LAYLAT AL-NUSF MIN SHA’BAAN (THE MIDDLE OF SHA’BAAN) SHOULD NOT BE SINGLED OUT FOR WORSHIP.
FATAWAAS OF SCHOLARS
- Imaam Ibn Abi Mulaykah (who is one of the major Taabi’een and Fuqaha of Madeenah) (D. 117) was told that:
Ziyaad al-Numayree says, Certainly the reward of the mid night of Sha’baan is like the reward of the night of Qadr, so Imaam Ibn Abi Mulaykah replied:
“Had I listened to him say that and I had a stick in my hand, then I would have struck him”
[Musannaf Abdur Razzaaq (7928) & Maa Jaa Fee Bida’ by Ibn Waddaah (120), Chain Saheeh]
- Imaam Abu Ja’far al-Ukaylee (D. 322) said:
“The ahadeeth regarding the Nuzool of Allaah on the 15th night of Sha’baan are all weak. The Nuzool of Allaah is proven in every night, which also includes the 15th night of Sha’baan, In-Sha-Allaah.” [ad-Du’afa al-Kabeer by Ukaylee: 3/29]
- Imaam Abu al-Hasan ad-Daaraqutni (D. 385) said while talking about one of the hadeeth on Virtues of Sha’baan that:
“This Hadeeth is not proven” [Al-Ilal by ad-Daaraqutni (6/51)]
- Abdur Rahmaan bin Zayd bin Aslam (D. 182) said:
“We did not find our teachers and Fuqaha paying any attention to the 15th of Sha’baan. They would neither pay any attention to the narration of Makhool nor would they give this night any importance over other nights.” [Al-Bida’ wal Naha by Ibn Wadaah: Pg 46]
- Abu al-Khattaab Ibn Dihya (D. 633) writes in his book “Maa Jaa Fee Shahr Sha’baan (i.e. On what is narrated about the month of Sha’baan)” that:
“The people of Jarh wat Ta’deel say that no report regarding 15th Sha’baan is Saheeh” [al-Baa’ith by Abi Shaaq: Pg 127]
- Imaam Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi (D. 543) writes:
“There is no reliable hadeeth regarding the virtues of 15th Sha’baan, and there is no reliable report saying that in this night the decisions of deaths are taken. Therefore, these ahadeeth should not be paid any attention to” [Ahkaam ul-Qur’aan by Ibn al-Arabi: 2/214]
- One of the Maajor Taabi’een, Imaam Ataa bin Yasaar (D. 94) said:
“I believe that every night has this virtue (i.e. this night is not any special)”
[Sharh Usool ul-I’tiqaad: 3/451]
- Haafidh Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (D. 751) said:
“No hadeeth regarding [the virtues of Ibaadaat] in it are authentic”
[Al-Manaar al-Maneef by Ibn al-Qayyim, P. 99]
- Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (D. 795) said:
“The Takhsees of doing Ibaadah in the 15th night of Sha’baan is rejected by numerous Scholars of Hijaaz such as: Ibn Abi Mulaykah, Ataa bin Yasaar, and it is also narrated from the Fuqaha of Madeenah by Abdur Rahmaan bin Zayd bin Aslam. And this is the opinion of Imaam Maalik’s companions and others. They said: Everything of it is Bid’ah”
[Lataaif al-Ma’aarif (263)]
- Haafidh Ibn Rajab further said:
“Nothing is proven from the Prophet (peace be upon him) nor from his Sahaabah on staying up in the night of 15th Sha’baan”
[Lataaif al-Ma’aarif (263)]
- Allaamah ash-Shaatibee (D. 790) said while discussing the reasons of Bid’ah:
And among them is the commitment of specific Ibadaat in specific times for which there is no specification proven from Sahree’ah, such as fasting the day of mid-Sha’baan, and staying up the night of mid-Sha’baan
- Ibn Nujaym al-Hanafi (D. 970) said:
“It is disliked to gather and stay up in these nights in Masaajid”
[Al-Baher al-Raa’iq (2/56)]
- Al-Hattaab al-Maaliki (D. 954) said:
“There is no dispute in the Madhab on the dislikeness of gathering up in the night of 15th Sha’baan, and the Night of Aashoora. The A’immah must forbid from it” [Mawaahib al-Jaleel (2/74)]
- The Student of Shaykh Albaani, Shaikh Abdul Qaadir bin Habeebullah al-Sindi said:
“The chain of this hadeeth is Munkar & Mawdoo’ as said by Imaam Abu Haatim and as narrated by him from his son Abdur Rahmaan in al-Illal. This narration can neither be presented as a Mutaabi’ah nor as a Shaahid, so as to make it Hujjah” [Al-Tasawwuf fi Meezaan al-Baheth wal Tahqeeq by Sindi: 1/555]
- Sheikh ibn Bāz writes on the 15th Shaban:
“Among the innovations that have been invented by some people is the celebrating of the middle of Sha’bān, and singling out that day for fasting. There is no reliable evidence for that. Some weak aḥādīth 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 fabricated, as has been pointed out by many of the scholars.
(Hukm Iḥtifāl bil-Laylat an-Nisf min Sha’bān’, pg. 8)
- Sheikh Fawzan responds to a question asking him about the significance of the 15th Shaban:
“Nothing firm and reliable has been established on the authority of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) that he stood in prayer in the night and fasted during the day of the 15th of Sha’bān. So the night of the 15th of Sha’bān is like any other night, and if someone is a regular worshipper during other nights, then he may stand the night in prayer without assuming anything special. This is because specifying a time for any act of worship requires an authentic proof, and if there is no authentic proof then the act is regarded as an innovation and all innovations are misguidance….”
[‘Nūrun `alā ad-Darb’, (1/87)]
- Sheikh Ibn al-‘Uthaymīn commented on the 15th Shaban:
“That which is correct, is that, fasting the 15th of Sha’bān or specifying it with reciting (the Qur’ān) or making (particular) supplications has no basis.The day of the 15th of Sha’bān is like any other 15th day of other months.”
(Fatāwā Ibn al-‘Uthaymīn’ 393)
- Imam al-Fatni:
Among the innovations that have been introduced on “Laylat an-Nusf” (mid-Sha‘baan) is al-Salaat al-Alfiyyah, which is one hundred rak‘ahs in which Soorat al-Ikhlaas is recited ten times in each rak‘ah, offered in congregation; they pay more attention to this than to Jumu‘ah and Eid prayers, although there is no report concerning it, except da‘eef (weak) and mawdoo‘ (fabricated) reports, and we should not be deceived by the fact that these reports were quoted by the authors of al-Qoot and al-Ihya’ and others, nor should we be deceived by what was mentioned in Tafseer al-Tha‘labi, that it is Laylat al-Qadr.
- Ibn al-Jawzi:
The hadeeth, “When the night of ‘nisf Sha‘baan’ (mid-Sha‘baan) comes, spend the night in prayer and fast on that day” was narrated by Ibn Maajah from ‘Ali. Muhashiyyah said: (It was also narrated) in al-Zawaa’id. Its isnaad is da‘eef (weak) because of the weakness of Ibn Abi Basrah, of whom Ahmad and Ibn Ma‘een said: He fabricates hadeeth.
Praying six rak‘ahs on Laylat al-Nisf with the intention of warding off calamity, having a long life and being independent of people, and reciting Ya-Seen and offering du‘aa’ in between that — there is no doubt that this is something that has been introduced into the religion and is contrary to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). The commentator on al-Ihya’ said: This prayer is well known in the books of later Sufi masters, but I have not seen any saheeh report in the Sunnah to support it and the connected du‘aa’. Rather this is the action of some shaykhs. Our companions said: It is makrooh to gather on any of the nights mentioned in the mosques or elsewhere. Al-Najm al-Ghayti said, describing spending the night of al-Nisf min Sh‘baan (mid-Sha‘baan) praying in congregation: That was denounced by most of the scholars of the Hijaz, including ‘Ata’ and Ibn Abi Mulaykah, the fuqaha’ of Madinah and the companions of Maalik. They said: All of that is an innovation (bid‘ah) and there is no report to suggest that the Prophet spent that night in praying in congregation or that his Companions did that either.
- Al-Nawawi :
The prayers of Rajab and Sha‘baan are two reprehensible innovations.
(al-Sunan wa’l-Mubtada‘aat, p. 144 )
Al-Fatni (may Allah have mercy on him) said, after the comments quoted above:
The common folk are so infatuated with this prayer that they stored up a lot of fuel for it and many evils resulted from it, and many transgressions are committed which we do no need to describe. (It is so bad that) the close friends of Allah feared His punishment and fled into the wilderness. The first time this prayer occurred was in Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) in 448 AH. Zayd ibn Aslam said: We never saw any of our shaykhs or fuqaha’ saying that Laylat al-Baraa’ah (15 Sha‘baan) had any superiority over other nights. Ibn Dihyah said: The hadeeths about the prayer on Laylat al-Baraa’ah are fabricated and one has an interruption in the isnaad. Anyone who acts upon a report which is known to be false is a servant of the Shaytaan.
(Tadhkirat al-Mawdoo‘aat by al-Fatni, p. 45 )
For a believer , his Hujjah (argument) shouldn’t be the people around him or the volume of people following this bid’at , rather the below should be his hujjah :
And whoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger, Allâh shall admit him in the Gardens underneath which rivers flow. (Quran 4:13)
“But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make you (Mohammed) judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction.” [Qur’an 4:65]
Narrated Irbad ibn Sariyah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said : Those of you who live after me will see great disagreement (contradictions and new practices in Islam etc). You must then follow my sunnah and that of the rightly-guided caliphs (Abu bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali) .Hold to it and stick fast to it. Avoid novelties, for every novelty is an innovation (In Islam) and every innovation is an error. (Narrated by Abu Dawud and a similar narration is found in Ahmad (4/126), Ibn Maajah (no. 43), al-Haakim (1/96)
All good is from Allah and all mistakes are mine. May Allah have mercy on the one who corrects me.