Perched between two sacred months, viz. Rajab and Ramadaan, the month of Shabaan is a prelude to the coming of a dynamic and majestic month – the Mubarak Month of Ramadaan.
Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) advised that when the month of Shabaan approaches you; cleanse your souls to receive the blessed month of Ramadaan. Rectify your intentions, for verily the greatness of Shabaan is like my greatness over all the Prophets. Take heed, Shabaan is my month and anyone who observes one fast in it, my intercession will become lawful for him.''
The pious elders say that we should sow seeds in Rajab, water the seeds in Shabaan and bear the fruits in Ramadaan. The more Ibadah made in Rajab and continued through to Shabaan, will inherit tremendous blessings and benefits during the month of Ramadaan. Abu Bakr Warrak (R) describing these months says that Rajab brings the breeze, clouds are seen during Shabaan and there is rain (of Mercy) in Ramadaan. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilaani (R) says that months and years are like trees. The spring season of the trees is Rajab, it bears fruit during Shabaan and the fruits are harvested during Ramadaan.
Shabaan is considered as an important month nurturing itself to the great month of Ramadaan. Since Ramadaan is known as the month of fasting, in preparation and a window to this celestial month, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was recorded to have fasted most in the month of Shabaan after the blessed month of Ramadaan.
One remarkable and outstanding feature of this month is fasting. In the category of voluntary fast, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) fasted the most in the month of Shabaan. This gives impetus to the fact that in approach to Ramadaan, the body and mind begins to adapt and become receptive to a certain pattern and way. It is an ideal breeding ground to sow the seeds in preparation of the coming Mubarak month.
Numerous Ahadith show the greatness and importance of fasting in the month of Shabaan. Some of them are narrated hereunder.
* Hazrat Usamah bin Zaid (RA) reports that I asked, “O Rasulullah! I do not see you fasting any month more than the month of Shabaan”. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “People are ignorant of it, being between the months of Rajab and Ramadan. All deeds are raised towards Rabb ul Alameen in that month. Thus, I wish that my deeds are raised when I am fasting”.
* Hazrat Aisha (RA) narrates that I never saw Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) fast in any month more than the month of Shabaan. He used to fast the whole month except for some days; in fact, he used to fast the whole month (of Shabaan).
* Hazrat Anas (RA) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was asked, "Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadaan?" He replied, "Fasts of Shabaan in honour of Ramadaan."
* Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA) relates that Hazrat Aisha (RA) narrated to them the hadith that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) fasted the whole month of Shabaan. She said, I asked O Rasulullah! Is Shabaan your most favourite month to fast? He replied: Allah Taála assigns the year of death for each person (in the month of Shabaan), thus, I wish my death come when I am fasting. (The chain of narration is ranked “Hasan” in al-Targheeb wal Tarheeb and is also related in Musnad Abu Yala)
* Ummul-Mu'mineen Umm Salamah (RA) says: "I have never seen the Messenger of Allah fasting for two months continuously except in the months of Shabaan and Ramadaan."
Fasting in Shabaan serves as a training ground before the glorious days of Ramadaan. In honour of the greatest month in the Islamic calendar, for which fasting has been made compulsory, it is makrooh (disliked) to fast the whole month of Shabaan lest a person becomes weak by the voluntary fast of Shabaan. Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA) is reported to have said, “The Messenger of Allah did not fast any entire month apart from Ramadaan.”
One should not fast at the end of Shabaan in order to distinguish from the sacred month of Ramadaan. It also makes a startling distinction between the obligatory and voluntary fast.
The 15th of Shabaan
In addition to the virtues of fasting in this month, there is particular emphasis for the 15th of Shabaan which is known as Laylatul Bara’a (the night of forgiveness). Although some people disregard the importance of the 15th night of Shabaan, however there are authentic ahadith in this regard. Some of which are viewed below.
* It is related by Mu'aaz bin Jabbal (RA) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said Allah looks over at his creation on the fifteenth night of Shabaan and forgives everyone except for two persons: a polytheist and one who holds a grudge against people.
* Hazrat Abu Thalaba (RA) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: On the 15th night of Shabaan, Allah looks over at his creation and forgives all the believers except for the one who begrudges and hates. He leaves them in their enmity.
* Sayyidina Abdullah bin Amar (RA) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Allah Taála on the 15th night of Shabaan looks at the people and He forgives all believers except for two kinds of people: someone who holds a grudge against others and someone who has taken an innocent life.
Darul Ihsan Islamic Services Centre