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Month of Sha`baan

Sha’baan is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar, falling between the holy month of Rajab and the glorious month of Ramadhan. The word “Sha’baan” means to spread or distribute. This month was so called because during this time the people of Arabia dispersed in search of water or set out on military expeditions after the holy month of Rajab had ended.

An important point

Sha’baan is one of the meritorious months for which we find particular instructions in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. It is reported in the authentic Ahaadith that Nabi ﷺ used to fast most of the month in Sha’baan. These fasts were not obligatory on him but Sha’baan is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadhan. Therefore, Nabi ﷺ began his preparations of fasting right from the month of Sha`baan.

The blessed companion Anas, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that Nabi ﷺ was asked, “Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadhan?” He replied, “Fasts of Sha`baan in honour of Ramadhan.”

قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي أُسَامَةُ بْنُ زَيْدٍ، قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَمْ أَرَكَ تَصُومُ شَهْرًا مِنَ الشُّهُورِ مَا تَصُومُ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏ “‏ ذَلِكَ شَهْرٌ يَغْفُلُ النَّاسُ عَنْهُ بَيْنَ رَجَبٍ وَرَمَضَانَ وَهُوَ شَهْرٌ تُرْفَعُ فِيهِ الأَعْمَالُ إِلَى رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ فَأُحِبُّ أَنْ يُرْفَعَ عَمَلِي وَأَنَا صَائِمٌ ‏”

The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid RA, reports that he asked Nabi ﷺ “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.” Allah`s Messenger ﷺ replied: “Sha’baan is a month between Rajab and Ramadhan 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.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i 2357]

Ummul Mu’mineen ‘Aishah RA says:

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَصُومُ حَتَّى نَقُولَ مَا يُفْطِرُ وَيُفْطِرُ حَتَّى نَقُولَ مَا يَصُومُ وَمَا رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي شَهْرٍ أَكْثَرَ صِيَامًا مِنْهُ فِي شَعْبَانَ ‏.‏

“Nabi ﷺ 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.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i 2351]

It is therefore important for us to understand and differentiate between these two:

1. Month of Sha`baan

2. Shabe Bara`at

The month of Sha`baan itself carries its own virtue as the Hadith above have clearly indicated so, that Nabi ﷺ gave special attention to this month as it was a preparation for the month of Ramadhan. The 15th of Sha`baan or Night of Emancipation carries its own virtue, which we will endeavour to explain over the coming days, in sha Allah.

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