The Month Sha’ban

What is Sha’ban?

The Origin of Naming

The name ‘Sha’ban’ is taken from the word “Sha’bun”, which means ‘group’ or ‘party’. It was named as such, because previously, in this month, the pagans were divided into several groups, ready to set wars.

The valid hadith regarding the month Sha’ban

1. From the authority of ‘Aisha -may Allah be pleased with her- , she said, “Sometimes the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- fast for several days, until we said, ‘He is always fast’, and sometimes he did not fast, thus we said, ‘He does not fast.” I never saw the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- fast for a whole month but in Ramadan, and I never saw him fasts more often than in Sha’ban.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari and Muslim).

2. ‘Aisha said, “Never did the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- fast in a month more than he did in Sha’ban. Sometimes he almost fast for the whole month in Sha’ban.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari and Muslim)

3. ‘Aisha said, “I used to have liability of fasts prom the previous Ramadan, and I could not settle it but in Sha’ban.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari and Muslim)

4. ‘Aisha said, “The most favored month to the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- to fast was Sha’ban, then he continued it to Ramadan.” (Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Daud, An Nasa’i, and it is classed sahih by Sheikh Shu’aib Al Arnauth.)

5. From Abu Huraira -may Allah be pleased with him-, the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said, “If the half of Sha’ban has passed, do not fast.” (Narrated by Abu Daud, At Tirmidhi, Ibn Maja, and classed sahih by Al Albani.)

6. Umm Salama -may Allah be pleased with her-said, “I never saw the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- fast for 2 consecutive months but in Sha’ban and Ramadan.” (Narrated by An Nasa’i, Abu Daud, At Tirmidhi, and classed sahih by Al Albani).

7. From Usama Ibn Zayd, he asked: “O Messenger of Allah, I never see you fast in a month, as you do in Sha’ban. The Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said, “This is a month that most people used to neglect, the month between Rajab and Ramadan. This is the month where deeds were raised to the Lord of the Universe. And I wish I am fasting when my deeds are raised.” (Narrated by An Nasa’i, Ahmad, classed sahih by Sheikh Al Albani)

8. From Abu Huraira -may Allah be pleased with him- the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said: “Do not precede the Ramadan by one or two days  fasts. Unless for those who get used to perform the voluntary fast, he may perform it.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari and Muslim)

9. From Abu Musa Al Ashari, may Allah be pleased with him-, the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said, “Indeed, Allah look (to His slaves-translator) at the night of the middle of Sha’ban. Then He forgives all His creatures, but the polytheists and the conflicted ones.” (Narrated by Ibn Maja, At Thabrani, and classed sahih by Al Albani)

The Weak Hadith regarding the month Sha’ban

1. From Anas Ibn Malik -may Allah be pleased with him- , the Prophet- may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- was asked, “What is the best voluntary fast after Ramadan?” He replied, “Sha’ban, in order to honor Ramadan…” (Narrated by At Tirmidhi from the route of Shadaqa Ibn Musa. This narrator was mentioned by Adh Dhahabi in his work ‘Ad Dhu’afa’, and he commented, “The scholars has dubbed him weak.” It is also classed as weak hadith by Al Albani in his work, ‘Al Irwa’)

2. From ‘Aisha -may Allah be pleased with her-, she said, “One night, I did not find the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- by my side. I searched him out, and I found him in Baqi’ ……. He said, “Indeed, Allah -The Noble and High- descend to the world’s sky in the night of the middle of Sha’ban. Then He forgives sins, that are more numerous than the number of goat feather from the Kalb tribe.” (Narrated by Ahmad, At Tirmidhi, and classed weak by Imam A Bukhari and Sheikh Al Albani).

3. From Ali Ibn Abi  Thalib -may Allah be pleased with him-, the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said, “If the night of the middle of Sha’ban comes, pray at it’s day. Because Allah descend to world’s sky when the sun set. He said, “Where are ones that asked for forgiven? I shall forgive him. Who are ones asking for provisions? I shall give him provisions. Who….? Until the dawn breaks.” (Narrated by Ibn Maja. In it’s chain there is a man named Ibn Abi Subra. Ibn Hajar said, “The scholars accused him as a falsifier of hadith. It is also classed as weak hadith by Sheikh Al Albani)

4. Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my followers. (Narration of Abu Bakr An Naqashi. Al Hafidz Abul Fadhl Muhammad Ibn Nashir said: An Naqashi is a falsifier of hadith, a liar. Ibn Al Jauzi, Ash Shaghani, and As Suyuthi all classed this hadith as a false hadith)

5. The Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- called: O Ali, whoever performs one hundred rak’ahs of prayer in the night of the middle of Sha’ban, and in every of it’s rak’ah, he recites Al Fatiha and chapter Al Ikhlas for 10 times. Whoever performs such prayer, Allah shall fulfill his needs he wishes for that night…. (A False hadith, as explained by Ibn Al Jauzi in his work, ‘Al Maudhu’at, 2:127-128, As Suyuthi in his work, ‘Al Lali’ Al Mashnu’ah, 2/57-59, and the other experts in hadith)

6. Whoever performs prayer for 12 rak’ahs  at the night of the middle of Sha’ban, in every rak’ah he recites chapter Al Ikhlas thrice, he shall see his place in Paradise before he finishes his prayer. (A False hadith, mentioned by Ibn Al Jauzi in Al Maudhu’at, 2:129, Ibn Al Qayyim in ‘Manarul Munif’ , page 99, and classed as false hadith by the other experts in hadith)

Voluntary deeds in Sha’ban

First, increase the voluntary fast during the month Sha’ban

There are plenty of indications that suggest the believers to increase the number of their voluntary fast during the Sha’ban. Amongst them are:

From the ‘Aisha- may Allah be pleased with her-, she said, “Sometimes the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- fast for several days, until we said, ‘He is always fast’, and sometimes he did not fast, thus we said, ‘He does not fast.” I never saw the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- fasts for a whole month but in Ramadan, and I never saw him fasts more often than in Sha’ban.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari and Muslim).

‘Aisha also said, “Never did the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- fast in a month more than he did in Sha’ban. Sometimes he almost fasts a whole month in Sha’ban.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari and Muslim)

Those hadith are the indications of the virtue of increasing the voluntary fast during the month Sha’ban, which does not exist on the other months.

The scholars held different opinions upon the wisdom beneath the suggestion to increase the voluntary fast during the month Sha’ban, due to the numerous narrations regarding this fast. The strongest opinion is the explanation according to the hadith of Usama Ibn Zayd. He asked, “O Messenger of Allah, I have never seen you fast in a month, just like you do in Sha’ban. The Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said, “This is a month that most people used to neglect, the month between Rajab and Ramadan. This is the month where the deeds were raised to the Lord of the Universe. And I wish I am fasting when my deeds are raised.” (Narrated by An Nasa’i, Ahmad, classed sahih by Sheikh Al Albani)

Second, increase the religious services at the night of the middle of Sha’ban (Nishfu Sha’ban)

The scholars held different opinions regarding the virtue of the night of Nishfu Sha’ban. There are at least two contradicting opinions in this matter. Here are the explanations:

The first opinion stated that there is no exclusive virtue for the night of nishfu sha’ban. It is just as the other nights. They who believed in this opinion argued that all indications about the virtue of the night of nishfu sha’ban are weak hadith. Al Hafidz Abu Shamah said, “Al Hafidz Abu al Khithab Ibn Dihyah-in his writing about the month Sha’ban- said, ‘the expert scholars of hadith and critics for narrators said, ‘There is no single valid hadith which mention about the virtue of the night of Nishfu Sha’ban.” (Taken from the book, “Al Ba’its ‘ala Inkaril Bida’, page 33)

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ibn Baz also refused the opinion of the virtue of the sha’ban and the night of Nishfu Sha’ban. He said, “There are several weak hadith about the virtue of the night of nishfu sha’ban, which should not be a basis ( for worshipping, translator). As for the hadith that mentions the virtue of performing prayer at the night of nishfu Sha’ban, they are all false, as what have been explained by the scholars (experts in hadith).” (Taken from ‘At Tahdzir min Al Bida’, page 11)

The second opinion stated that there is a specific virtue of the night of Nishfu Sha’ban. This is based upon the valid hadith from Abu Musa Al Ash’ari -may Allah be pleased with him- where the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said, “Indeed, Allah will look down at the night of the middle of Sha’ban. Then He forgives all of His creations, but the polytheists and the ones in dispute. ” (Narrated by Ibn Maja, At Thabrani, and classed sahih by Al Albani).

After mentioning several main time (in goodness and virtue, translator), Sheikh Al Islam said, “….The opinion of the majority of the scholars and most of the scholars of madzhab Hanbali, is that there is a virtue of the night of Nishfu Sha’ban. It is in accordance with the explanation of Imam Ahmad. Considering that there are numerous Popular hadith regarding this matter, and they are justified by various narrations from the companions and their students….” (Taken from ‘Majmu’ Fatawa, 23:123)

Ibn Rajab said, “Related to the night of Nishfu Sha’ban, the students of the companions settled in Sham, such as Khalid Ibn Ma’dan, Mah-hul, Luqman Ibn Amir, and several others of them, they ennobled it and they did their best in worshipping at that night…” (Taken from, “Lathaif al Ma’arif, page 247)

Conclusion:

From the explanation above, there are several conclusions that we could infer:

1. The night of Nishfu Sha’ban is included among the nights that possess specific virtue, based on the previously mentioned hadith. Although some scholars classed it as weak, but insha Allah, the better classification is Sheikh Albani’s, which stated that the hadith is sahih.

2. There is not even one narration that mentions the suggestion to perform particular deed at the night of Nishfu Sha’ban, not fasting nor praying. The previous hadith simply indicates that Allah forgives all His creations at the night of Nishfu Sha’ban, but for the two groups of people mentioned in hadith.

3. The scholars differed one another upon whether or not it is suggested to enliven such night by worshipping? Some of them suggested to do so, just like the students of the companions who earnestly enliven that night by worshipping. Some of them considered that specifically performing any form of worship due to the night of Nishfu  Sha’ban, is a kind of innovation.

4. The scholars who allowed worshipping at the night of Nishfu Sha’ban however had underlined that performing special event, or specific type of worshipping, whether in congregation or alone, is not allowed. Because there is no specific voluntary deeds at that night. Hence, according to this opinion, one is allowed to increase his worships in general terms.

The Innovations during the Sha’ban

There are plenty of innovations that usually being held in Sha’ban. Mostly, the events are based upon weak hadith that are well spread among society. Particularly regarding the deeds at the middle of Sha’ban. Below are several innovations usually found during the Sha’ban.

First, performing voluntary prayer in congregation or holding specific event at the night of nishfu Sha’ban.

There is a valid saying of the Prophet that mentions about the virtue of the night of Nishfu Sha’ban, but there is not even one valid saying of him about any particular deeds in Sha’ban. Thus, the scholars had strictly banned the practice of making the night of nishfu Sha’ban as a particular timing to perform certain deed.

Second, performing the Alfiyah prayer

The pioneer of this innovation at the night of nishfu Sha’ban was a man named Ibn Abil Hamra’, who came from the region of Nablis, Palestine. He came to Bayt al Maqdis in 448 from Hijra. He had a very beautiful and melodious voice when reciting the Qur’an. At the night of Nishfu Sha’ban, he prayed and followed by a man as a makmum (the follower of imam in congregational prayer, translator). After that, the number of people as makmum increased to three, four, …..thus when they had finished the prayer, their number were already plenty.

Then, on the following year, he performed similar prayer together with abundant of congregation.

Hence it was spread to various masjid, and was also performed at houses of the believers, and finally resembled the voluntary prayer. (Taken from ‘At Tahdzir minal Bida’, by At Thurthusi, page 121-122).

It’s Procedure

The prayer was dubbed alfiyah prayer because there are 1000 times recitation of chapter Al Ikhlas, in 100 rak’ahs. In every rak’ah, one who performs it should recite chapter Al Ikhlas about 10 times. (Al Bida’ Al Hauliyah, page 149)

All scholars agreed that alfiyah prayer is an innovation.

Third, performing the tradition of ‘Ruwahan-sadranan’

This tradition mostly spread in Java region, particularly in Central Java and Yogyakarta. The followers used the Sha’ban as a special month particularly for visiting the graves and performing an event to invoke salvation for the village. Basically, this is a tradition of the Hindus, animism, and dynamism. Hence we can firmly state that the ruling for such act is forbidden, since we are prohibited to conserve the tradition of unbelievers.

Article of www.whatisquran.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.