The Virtues of Shaban

By: Ali Akbar Alvi

It is admitted fact that every moment, second, minute, hour, day or night that is spent in the submission of Allah Almighty and His Beloved Prophet (SAW) is exceedingly meaningful and precious. But there are some days, nights and months which have their own weight and Allah, the compassionate, lays immense stress upon them to unveil their importance to his rationale creatures.

Among those months, those hold much importance is Moharram, Rajab, Sha’ban and the holy month of Ramadhan but Sha’ban holds the top position among these holy months as the Holy Prophet Mohammad (SAW) holds the top position among all the Prophets like Hazrat Ibrahim, Hazrat Musa and Hazrat Isa (aalhimissalam)

The Holy Month of Sha’ban is one of the blessed months that holds much too for us from the mercy, compassion and kindness of Allah Almighty. This is the month that is the best of all months in the estimation of Allah. Its days are the best among the days; its nights are the best among the nights. Its hours are the best among the hours. It is the month that gave time its spirituality, and thus made its days the best days and its hours the best hours.It is preparatory month that welcomes the holy month of Ramadhan. If we study the life of our beloved Prophet (SAW), He used to avail himself the moments of this month to the utmost and spend more time in adoration, submission of Allah almighty and seek salvation and earn the infinite mercy of Allah Subhana hu watala.

Once the Holy Prophet (SAW) said

“Sha’ ban is my month”

As Aaqa (SAW) called it my month, so its significance and importance touches to the sky because every thing that has got any link directly or indirectly with the holy Prophet (SAW) becomes an exalted thing for his true followers and momineen.

Hazrat Imam Ali bin Hussein Al-Zaynul Aabideen (A.S.) told his companions:"The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) used to observe fast during the whole month of Sha'ban. Therefore whoso, in love of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), wishes to seek nearness to Allah and receive bounties, favors and rewards in this world and in the Hereafter, must connect Sha'ban with Ramadan (in the matter of fasting and special prayers).

The blessed companion Anas (RA) reports that the Holy Prophet (SAW) was asked,
"Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadhan?" He replied, "Fasts of Sh`baan in honour of Ramadhan."

The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid (RA) reports that he asked the Holy Prophet (SAW) : "Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sh`baan so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month." The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied: "That (Sha`baan) is a month between Rajab and Ranadhan 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."

These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Sha`baan, though not obligatory, is so meritious that the Holy Prophet (SAW) did not like to miss it. But it should be get in mind that the fasts of Sha`baan are for those persons only who are capable of keeping them without causing deficiency in the obligatory fasts of Ramadhan.

It is the habit of the Muslims to celebrate some auspicious events during the month of Sha'ban by praying, reciting Quran, praising Allah, and making a great deal of supplication to Allah during that night.Sha’ban is like an introduction to Ramadan and it has some things in common with Ramadan, such as fasting, reciting Holy Quran and giving in charity.It has been narrated that upon the arrival of Rajab the Holy Prophet (SW) used to pray "O' Allah! Bless us abundantly in Rajab and Sha'ban and deliver us safely unto Ramadan."

Shab-e-Barrah, the blessed night , on which the names of those who are to leave the world in the year to come and the ones who would arrive into this world of test and trial are registered, the supplications are answered, the salvation is allocated, the doors of mercy are opened, the doors of love are opened.

It is the night of seeking pardon and repentance .It is the holy month when we remember of our past acts of disobedience, transgression and sins and resolute not to commit them again rest of our life. On this Night, Allah Almighty specially accepts our prayers and Istighfar.

The Holy Prophet(SAW) gives tremendous ipmortance to the blessed night as Allah lmighty has declared this night as “Laila tul mobaraka” Except Ikrama, all other veteran religious scholars agree that this blessed night is the night of 15th of Sha’ban .

Hadrat Aisha {may Allah be pleased with her} said, once Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him}) asked me, "O Aisha, what night is this?" She replied, "Allah and His Messenger know best.”Then he said: during which worldly actions and the deeds of mankind are carried aloft. In this night as numerous as the wool of the flocks of the tribe of Kalb, are the slaves of Allah, freed from the fire of hell. So will you excuse me tonight?" She said:" I said yes, So he performed his prayer like this: He held the upright position only briefly, and recited AL-Hamd and a short Sura then he stayed in prostration till middle of night .then he stood upto begin the second rak'at [cycle] with a recitation similar to the first, and then his prostration lasted until dawn."

Our Prophet {peace be upon him} went to Jannat-ul-Baqqi (the blessed graveyard in Madina)

Hadrat Ayesha {may Allah be pleased with her} once said: " I could not find Allah's Messenger {peace be upon him} one night, So I went outside there he was in Jannat-ul-baqqi {the blessed cemetery},his hand turned up toward the sky. Then he said to me: 'Were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger would treat you unfairly?' I replied: 'O Messenger of Allah, I thought that you had gone to one of your [other] wives.' He {peace be upon him} said:' On the night of mid-Sha'ban, Allah {Exalted is He} descends to the lowest heaven and forgives more than the number of woolly hairs on the flocks and herds of [the tribe of Kalb]."

How to spend the Holy Night?

Different scholars and spiritualists have reported different prayers to spend this bless night but the most famous prayer recommended by them is Salat-ul-Khair which consists of 100 raka'ts, in each raka't reciting Sura al-Fatiha and 10 Surat Ikhlas. To complete the prayer one recites 1000 Sura Ikhlas.