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Usama ibn Zaid (R.A) reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad (SAW): “O 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.” Prophet Muhammad (SAW) replied:”Sha’ban 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 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.” (Ahmad and Nasai) 

Sha’ban is the 8th month in the Islamic calendar and is considered one of the meritorious months for which we find some particular instructions in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It is reported in the authentic ahadith that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to fast most of the month of Sha’ban and to do more ibadah.

These fasts are supererogatory (nafl) and not obligatory. Sha’ban is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramadhan. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month and Ramadhan is the month of my ummah.”

Aishah (ra) said: “The Messenger (saw) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadhan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’ban.” Bukhari and Muslim)  

The significant feature of the month of Sha’ban is that it consists of a night which is called as Lailatul bara’ah (the night of freedom from fire). This is the night occurring on 15th of Sha’ban. Allah (swt) said: “Ha-Min. By this luminous Book. Undoubtedly we sent it down in a blessed night, verily We are to warn. Therein every affair of wisdom is divided.” (44: 1-3).

Various Islamic scholars have recommended special worshipping during the night of 15th of Sha’ban.

This is based on the saying of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the meaning of which is that during the night of 15th of Sha’ban, Allah will say “is there any person repenting so that I forgive him, and any person seeking provision so that I provide for him, and any person with distress so that I relieve him, and so on until dawn.” (Ibnu Majah)

It is traditional practice in the Muslim community to read Yasin, make special du’as for increased iman, good health and blessed provision on the night of 15th Sha’ban, after Maghrib or Isha’. Lailatul bara’ah is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by special Divine rahmah or mercy.

Lailatul bara’ah has special blessings that are directed towards the faithful. Therefore, this night should be spent in worship and total submission to Allah (SWT). Fasting is recommended on the day immediately following this night, i.e. the 15th day of Sha’ban.

In order to observe the lailatul bara’ah, one should remain awakened in this night as much as he can. If someone has better opportunities, he should spend the whole night in worship and prayer.

If one can not do so for one reason or another, he can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably of the second half of it for this purpose, and should perform the following acts of worship: (a) sunnah prayers. There is no particular numbers of rak’at. (b) Reading Qur’an. After performing salah, one should recite as much of the Holy Qur’an as he can. (c) Dzikr (remembrance). One should also perform dzikr in this night by reciting la ilaha illallah Muhammad rasulullah and Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammad. (d) Du’a. reciting du’a is itself ibadah, and Allah will give reward on each prayer along with the fulfillment of the supplicator’s need.

May Allah (SWT) bless all of us. Wallahu A’lam.

(Prepared by Uztad Abdul Muhaemin Karim)