Sunnah's in the Month of Shaaban


The Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger in the Month of Shabaan

Shabaan is the eight month of the Islamic calendar. It falls between two sacred months, Rajab and Ramadaan. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) used to spend most part of Shabaan by fasting, Imaam Bukharee (rahimahullah) reports in his Saheeh that Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) said: “The Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and he would not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Shabaan.”
When Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was asked, why he fasted so abundantly in the month of Shabaan, he (salahu alaihi wa salaam) said: “(Shabaan) 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.” [1]

15th Shabaan: Is there any reality?

Some ignorant people have themselves specified particular nights of the year, when they stay awake all night and worship Allah. It is believed that anyone who worships Allah in these specific nights, it will recompense for his yearly deeds and will be enough for his salvation and entering Jannah. One among these nights is the night of mid Shabaan (15th Shabaan), which is popularly known as ‘Shabb-e-Baraa’t’ in the Indian sub-continent.
Specifying particular nights for worshiping Allah is against the Sunnah of the Prophet (salahu alaihi wa salaam) . In fact, he (salahu alaihi wa salaam) has strictly forbade specifying particular nights for worship, he (salahu alaihi wa salaam) said concerning Friday: “Do not single out the night (preceding) Friday among the nights for prayer and do not single out Friday among days for fasting but only when anyone among you is accustomed to fast (on dates) which coincide with this day (Friday).”
[Saheeh Muslim (no. 2546)]
Friday is the best day of the week and it is also greatly encouraged to perform good deeds on Friday. If it had been enough to worship Allah during some specific nights, and then become negligent of Him throughout the year, then Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would have specified the night of Friday for worshiping Allah, but he forbade it. This clearly proves that worshiping Allah only during some particular nights in the whole year does not fulfill the slave’s obligation of worshiping his Lord. The slave is required to worship Allah at all times until his death, because worship is the sole purpose of man’s creation. Allah says, “Glorify, the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord (O Muhammad) until there comes to you death.”
[Soorah al-Hijr (15): 99]
was the practice of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) to worship Allah all throughout the year, all his nights and days were spent in the worship of Allah.
he Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) during the month of Shabaan was to fast and he (salahu alaihi wa salaam) said concerning the virtue of Shabaan, “…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.’”
Apart from this, most narrations that are commonly spread among the people concerning the virtues of the month of Shabaan or specifically the night of 15th Shabaan are weak and fabricated. Scholars like ash-Shawkani, Ibn Jawzi, Ibn Hibban, al-Qurtubee (rahimahumullah) have greatly condemned these narrations. [2]. From among the fabricated Ahaadeeth are those which mention, on this day (15th Shabaan) Allah frees people from the Hell Fire in accordance with the number of hair found on the skin of the goats of the tribe of Banu Kalb, anyone who prays fourteen Rakahs of Salaah on the night of 15th Shabaan will get the reward of accepted fasts and Hajj of twenty years, etc. Anybody who relates such fabricated Ahaadeeth should be reminded of the authentic Hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger, which says, “Whosoever narrates a lie on my behalf, let him make his place in Hell-Fire.” [3]
The night of 15th Shabaan has also been given the status and virtues of Laylatul-Qadr by misinterpreting Qur’aanic verses. It is claimed that the laylatim-mubarakah (blessed night) mentioned in Soorah ad-Dukhan (44): 3, refers to the night of 15th Shabaan, when Allah forgives the sins of His slaves, increases their ages and provisions. Therefore, people stay awake all night and say innovated supplications in loud voices.
Allah says in Soorah ad-Dukhan: “By the manifest Book that makes things clear, We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed night (laylatim-mubarakah). Verily, we are ever warning.” [4] Allah informs us in this verse that He sent down the Qur’aan in laylatim-mubarakah (the blessed night). The Qur’aan itself identifies laylatim-mubarakah in other verses, it is mentioned in Soorah al-Qadr (97): 1, “Verily, We have revealed it (the Qur’aan) down in the Night of al- Qadr.” So, according to this verse, laylatim-mubarakah is not the night of 15th Shabaan but it is the Night of al-Qadr, which comes in Ramadaan. Allah says in Soorah al-Baqarah, “The month of Ramadaan in which was revealed the Qur’aan…”
Another deviant belief related to the night 15th of Shabaan is that the mention of the descent of Ruh in Soorah al-Qadr (97): 4, means that the souls of the dead people return back to the world and meet their wives and relatives. For this reason, widows prepare food liked by their husbands and wait for their arrival. People also visit graves and seek forgiveness for all those people who have died between the last Shabaan and the present one.
Allah says in Soorah al-Qadr, “Therein (in the Night of Qadr) descend the Angels and the Ruh by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees.” [5] Firstly, this verse refers to the Night of al-Qadr and not 15th Shabaan as explained earlier. Secondly, descending of the Ruh in this verse means the descending of Angel Jibreel with other Angels and not souls of the dead people (see Tafseer Ibn Katheer). Besides, believing that souls of the dead can return back to the world and meet with their relatives is itself an incorrect belief. The teachings of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah clearly state that the souls of the dead do not return back to the world.
As far as visiting the graves is concerned, a weak narration (of Aaishah (radhi allahu anha) reported in Sunan at-Tirmidhee (in the book of fasting) is often brought forth to support the visiting of graves on the night of 15th Shabaan. The Hadeeth reads as follows, One night (i.e. night of mid Sh’abaan) I found the Messenger of Allah absent from my apartment. I therefore, went out to search him out and he was in Baqi raising his head towards the heaven.’ He said, “O Aa’ishah were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger will wrong with you?” She said, ‘I replied: I had not such a low opinion about Allah and His Messenger, but I presumed that you had gone to some of your wives for some need.” He said, “Verily, Allah descends in the night of mid-Shabaan to the heaven of the world and then forgives people more than the number of the hair of the sheep of Banu Kalb.” A similar Hadeeth is also found in Saheeh Muslim, but it does not mention the night of 15th Shabaan. However, the Hadeeth of Sunan at-Tirmidhee is not authentic and thus does not have any proof for visiting graves specifically on the night of Shabaan.
Many people also light candles on graves, which has no basis from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. In fact, lighting candles is an imitation of the fire-worshipers and Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) cursed the women who visit the graves. He also cursed those who set up mosques and lights over graves. [6]

1 [an-Nisa’ee, see Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, p. 425]
2 (For details refer to ‘al-Fawaaid al-Majmoo’ah’, ‘Moudhoo’aat al-Kubra’ and Tafseer Qurtubee’)
3 [Saheeh al-Bukharee]
4 [Soorah ad-Dukhan (44): 2]
5 [Soorah al-Qadr (97): 4]
6 [(Hasan) Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, at-Tirmidhee and an-Nas’aee]