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Sha^ban

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Allah the Exalted revealed in His noble Book a verse that means: “So whoever does a tiny particle’s weight of good will see it [7] and whoever commits a tiny particle’s weight of evil will see it [8]”.1

Brothers and sisters in faith, this 'ayah makes us yearn to do good, be it little or much, and it warns us against evil, be it little or much, so while we are in the month of Sha^ban we should devote ourselves to good deeds and acts of obedience. It is reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, talked about the night of the middle of Sha^ban , saying in meaning, “pray in its night and fast during its day”, as narrated by Ibn Majah and others.

Dear beloved, the night of mid-Sha^ban is a greatly blessed time; it is a night that reminds us of the proximity of the best of months, the month of Ramadan in which the Qur'an was revealed. The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, gave us guidance as to what a believer ought to do on the day of mid-Sha^ban and during its night, that is to say the night that comes before the daytime of the middle of Sha^ban: staying awake at night in salah, du^a' and asking for forgiveness and then fasting its day. Allah praised those who seek forgiveness in the Qur'an, “The steadfast, the truthful, the obedient, the charitable and those who ask for forgiveness in the last moments of the night”2.

In a text reported by Muslim, the Prophet, salawatu Rabbi wa salamuhu ^alayh, is reported to have said what means, “The best prayer after the obligatory ones is the salah at night”.

We should give importance to this night and spend it in acts of obedience and other good deeds. During this time we should ask Allah to forgive our failures. The Almighty Lord revealed in His noble Book words that mean, “And forget not your portion in the lowest world”3; that is “do not forget to perform your share in this world, for your hereafter”.

Whoever makes provisions for his hereafter while he is in this world is well-equipped, whereas the one who missed making provisions for his hereafter while he was in the world has wasted this opportunity.

In the history of Makkah, Al-Fakihiyy mentioned that when it was the night of the middle of Sha^ban all the inhabitants of the city, men and women, would go out to the mosque, offer salah and perform tawaf around the Ka^bah. They stayed awake at night until morning, reciting the Qur'an in the Mosque until they had completed it all. Some would offer one hundred rak^ahs of ritual prayers during this night, reciting Al-Fatihah and “qul huwa-llahu 'ahad” eleven times. They would take Zamzam water on this night and drink it and wash with it; they would hide some away in their home for the sick, seeking blessing – barakah in Arabic – through it in this night.

Let it be known that the night of the middle of Sha^ban is not the one mentioned by Allah in the 'ayah that means, “Whereon every wise command is made clear”4; even though it has become accepted among common people that this night is the night of the middle of Sha^ban, it is not true. What is correct is that this night is the Night of Qadr. The meaning of “Whereon every wise command is made clear” is that Allah informs some angels of details during this night, the Night of Qadr, about what will happen from this night till the next in the following year, such as information about who will die and who will live and about births, sustenance and similar matters.

Among the issues we need to draw attention to is also a du^a' that is not authentic but which some people have got into the habit of saying on this night. It says, “'in kunta katabtani ^indaka fi 'ummil-kitabi mahruman 'aw matrudan 'aw muqattaran ^alayya fir-rizqi famhu-llahumma bifadlika shaqawati wahirmani watardi wa'iqtara rizqi etc.

Its meaning is, “If you had me written in the Original Book as damned, rub off my name from among the damned and establish me among the blessed”. This phrasing was attributed to ^Umar, Ibn Mas^ud and Mujahid but there is no authentic text of this kind originating from them, as it is understood from the statements of Al-Bayhaqiyy, radiyallahu ^anhu; neither are there any such words reported from the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam.

When reciting this supplication, some people misunderstand it in a way that is incompatible with the religion. They understand that Allah changes His will and if a person believes that Allah changes His will, his creed becomes corrupt and he disbelieves in Allah because it is a fundamental part of the beliefs of Islam to believe that the will of Allah does not change, since a change of will is evidence that one has a beginning. If a being is characterised by a changing will, his existence is bound to have had a start and consequently he was created. Having a beginning cannot coexist with Godhood.

By His eternal will, Allah ta^ala wills for everything that starts existing in this universe, without His will being changed by a du^a', a sadaqah or keeping ties with relatives. This is what Imam 'Abu Hanifah, radiyallahu ^anhu, stated when he said, “Allah has had His names eternally and He will not lose them; He has no new name or attribute - This means that changing and moving from one state to another is what happens to creatures - so if anyone says that they – the attributes- are created or have a start, or if one refuses to profess one or the other or even if he doubts it, such a person disbelieves in Allah ta^ala.”

The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, said in meaning, “I asked three things of Allah. He gave me two and refused me one”.

Dear beloved, devote yourselves to obedience during the day of mid-Sha^ban and in its night. Do not neglect seizing this great opportunity to earn reward for the situation is as the saying goes, “Ad-dunya sa^ah, faj^aluha ta^ah” - “The Dunya (this life) lasts for one hour, so make it one of obedience”.

  1.  Az-Zalzalah 99:7-8.
  2.  ‘Aal ^Imran 3:17.
  3.  Al-Qasas 28:77.
  4.  Ad-Dukhan 44:4.