By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
3 July 2012
There is no denying the fact that every moment, second, minute, hour, day or night that is spent in the submission and obedience to Allah, the Almighty and His Beloved Prophet S.A.W is exceedingly meaningful and highly valuable. But there are some specific days, nights and months which have their own weight.
Among those months, is Sha’ban that is the best of all months in the estimation of Allah. Therefore, Muslims have been accustomed to celebrate some auspicious events during the month of Sha'ban by praying, reciting Quran and making a great deal of supplication to Allah during this month. 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 (peace be upon Him) used to pray "O' Allah! Bless us abundantly in Rajab and Sha'ban and deliver us safely unto Ramadan."
According to numerous Sahih and Hasan Ahadith and scholars including Imam Shafii, Imam Nawawi, Imam Ghazzali and Imam Suyuti, the night of mid Sha’ban is observed as a night of worship and salvation.
The Holy Qur'an States: (إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ) - Lo! We revealed it on a blessed night -- Lo! We are ever warning - (فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ) - Whereupon every wise command is made clear - (أَمْرًا مِّنْ عِندِنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ) - As a command from Our presence -- Lo! We are ever sending - (رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ) - A mercy from thy Lord. Lo! He is the Hearer, the Knower. (44:3-6)
Although the majority of the commentators consider the "blessed night" in the above verses to refer to the Night of Decree which is considered to be in the month of Ramadan, yet the commentaries also mention that this "blessed night" may be that of mid-Sha`ban This view is based on the profusion of Aadith about the great merits of the latter. Consequently the Shari`a has commended observance of this night.
Imam Suyuti says: As for the night of mid-Sha`ban, it has great merit and it is desirable (mustahabb) to spend part of it in supererogatory worship. [Haqiqat al-sunna wa al-bid`a aw al-amr bi al-ittiba` wa al-nahi `an al-ibtida Page No. 58]
*Among the hadiths stressing the status of 15th Sha`ban (laylat al-bara'a) are the following*
*Hadith Number 1*
عن عائشة قالت فقدت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ليلة فخرجت فإذا هو بالبقيع فقال أكنت تخافين أن يحيف الله عليك ورسوله قلت يا رسول الله إني ظننت أنك أتيت بعض نسائك فقال إن الله عز وجل ينزل ليلة النصف من شعبان إلى السماء الدنيا فيغفر لأكثر من عدد شعر غنم كلب
Translation: Narrated by Aisha (raa) I missed Allah's Messenger during the night and found him in al-Baqi'. He said: Were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger would deal unjustly with you? I said: Allah's Messenger, I thought that you had gone to some of your other wives. He (the Prophet) said: Verily Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, comes down to the heaven of the world in "the middle night of Sha'ban" and forgives sins even more abundant than the hair of the goats of Kalb. [Sunan Tirmidhi Volume 001, Hadith Number 670, Ibn Maja Volume 002, Hadith Number1379]
*Hadith Number 2*
عن أبي موسى الأشعري عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال إن الله ليطلع في ليلة النصف من شعبان فيغفر لجميع خلقه إلا لمشرك أو مشاحن
Translation: Narrated by Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, Allah's Messenger said, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious looks down on "the middle night of Sha'ban" and forgives all His creation. except a polytheist or one who is mushahin(one bent on hatred). [Sunan Ibn Maja Volume 002, Hadith Number 1380]
*Hadith Number 3*
عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال يطلع الله عز وجل إلى خلقه ليلة النصف من شعبان فيغفر لعباده إلا لاثنين مشاحن وقاتل نفس
Translation: Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As Allah's Messenger said, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious looks down on "the middle night of Sha'ban" and forgives all His creation except two people, the mushahin(one bent on hatred) and the murderer. [Musnad Ahmad Volume 003, Hadith Number 6353]
*Hadith Number 4*
عن أبي ثعلبة الخشني، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: إذا كان ليلة النصف من شعبان، اطلع الله تعالى إلى خلقه، فيغفر للمؤمنين، ويملي للكافرين، ويدع أهل الحقد بحقدهم حتى يدعوه
Translation: It is related by Abu Thalaba that the Blessed Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) 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. [Bayhqi, Tafsir ad-Dar al-Manthur under the Verse 44:3]
*Hadith Number 5*
عن معاذ بن جبل، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: يطلع الله في ليلة النصف من شعبان، فيغفر لجميع خلقه إلا لمشرك أو مشاحن
Translation: It is related by Muaz bin Jabbal that the Blessed Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: Allah looks at His creation in "the night of mid-Sha`ban" and He forgives all His creation except for a mushrik (idolater) or a mushahin (one bent on hatred). [Ibn Hibban, Sahih, ed. Shu`ayb Arna'ut Volume 012: Hadith Number 5665]
*Hadith Number 6*
عن عائشة قالت: قام رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من الليل يصلي، فأطال السجود حتى ظننت أنه قد قبض، فلما رأيت ذلك، قمت حتى حركت إبهامه، فتحرك، فرجعت، فلما رفع رأسه من السجود وفرغ من صلاته، فقال: " يا عائشة، أو يا حميراء ظننت أن النبي قد خاس بك " قلت: لا والله يا نبي الله ولكني ظننت أنك قبضت لطول سجودك فقال: " أتدرين أي ليلة هذه؟ " قلت: الله ورسوله أعلم، قال: " هذه ليلة النصف من شعبان، فيغفر للمستغفرين ويرحم المسترحمين ويؤخر أهل الحقد كما هم
Translation: From A'isha: She said: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) stood up in prayer during part of the night and made his prostration so lengthy that I thought his soul had been taken back. When I saw this I got up and went to move his big toe, whereupon he moved, so I drew back. When he raised his head from prostration and finished praying, he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: "O A'isha, O fair little one (humayra')! Did you think that the Prophet had broken his agreement with you?" She replied: "No, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah, but I thought that your soul had been taken back because you stayed in prostration for so long." He said: "Do you know what night this is?" She said: "Allah and His Prophet know best." He said: "This is the night of mid-Sha`ban! Verily Allah the Glorious and Majestic look at His servants on "the night of mid-Sha`ban, and He forgives those who ask forgiveness, and He bestows mercy on those who ask mercy, and He gives a delay to the people of envy and spite in their state."
[Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman Volume 003: Hadith Number 3835]
*Hadith Number 7*
عن عمران بن حصين رضي الله عنهما أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال له أو لآخر أصمت من سرر شعبان قال لا قال فإذا أفطرت فصم يومين
Translation: Imran bin Husain (ra) reported, Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) having said to him or to someone else: Did you fast in the "Middle of Sha'ban?" He said: No. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: If you did not observe fast, then you should observe fast for two days. [Muslim Book 006, Number 2607]
The virtue of the night of mid shaban has been established right from the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself and has come from multiple channels of transmission from Abdullah bin Amr, Muadh, Abu Hurairah, Abu Thulabah, Awf bin Malik, Abu Bakr, Abu Musa, Aishah (May Allah be pleased with all of them) each of the narrations strengthening each other.
Imam Shafi'i writes:
“Verily, dua is accepted on five nights: the night of Juma’, the night of E’id Al-Adha, the night of E’id Al-Fitr, the first night of Rajab, and the 15th night of Shabaan”. [Al-Umm, Volume 001, Page No. 231]
Imam Shurunbulali Hanafi writes:
Translation: It is desirable to revive the last ten nights of Ramadan, two nights of Eidain (Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha), ten nights of Zil Hijjah, and the 15th night of Sha`ban. [Noorul Eidhah Page No. 63]
Shaikh Abu-Ishaq Ibrahim Al-Hanbali writes:
“It is desirable to revive the time (with salat and ibadah) between the two E’sha’s (Maghrib and E’sha) because of the ahaadith. Many scholars say: Similarly with the night of Ashura, the first night of Rajab, and the 15th night of Sha`ban”. [Al-Mubdi Volume 002, Page No. 27]
Sheikh Mansoor Bahoti Hanbali writes:
“As for the 15th night of Sha`ban, it is a night of virtue. Some of the salaf prayed the whole night, although establishing congregational prayers (on this night) is good innovation. And the reward of ibadah on "the 15th night of Sha`ban" is the same as the reward of Ibadah on the night of E’id. [Kash-shaful Qina, Volume 001: Page No. 444]
Mubarakpuri (Salafi scholer) writes:
“You should know that a sufficient number of Ahadith have been narrated confirming "the virtues of the 15th night of Sha`ban". All these Ahaadith prove that it has a basis.
After relating many Ahadith about the importance of this night, he says:
“The sum of all these Ahadith is strong evidence against the one "who thinks there is no proof" of the virtue of the 15th night of Sha`ban" and Allah knows best. [Tuhfatul Ahwadhi Volume 003: Page. 365-367]
Ibn-Taimiyyah was asked about of the 15th night of Sha’ban. He replied:
‘‘As for the 15th night of Shabaan, there are many narrations and Athar (quotes from the Sahabah) regarding its virtue. It has been reported of the salaf that they prayed in this night. Therefore, praying alone on this night, having precedence in the salaf, is sufficient evidence and something of this kind surely cannot be denied‘‘.
At another occasion, Ibn-Taimiyyah was asked the same question and he replied:
“If one prays on this night alone or in a select company of people as many groups amongst the salaf did, "then it is good". [Fatawa Ibn Taimiyyah Volume 23, Page 131-132]
To sum up, the virtues of this blessed night are established by ahadith and a group of the salaf (سلف "predecessor") is an early Muslim of the first three generations of proponents of the religion. It is highly recommended to stay up on it, and the opinion declaring it Bida’h (innovation) is a "Reprehensible" (munkar) opinion.
Usually the Wahhabi/Salafi/Ahle hadith sect is seen claiming that all hadiths mentioned above are “Daeef” (Weak). First of all, the hadith of Ibn Habban is termed as "SAHIH" by classical scholars. Even now if someone following such groups does not believe in classical scholars then here is a proof from Salafi [Wahhabi] so called Mujaddid of the last century and a reputed scholar Nasir ud Din Albani who declared Hadiths of 15th Shabaan as authentic [Sahih]. See: (Nasir ud din Albani in Silsilat ul-Ahadith-as Sahiha, Volume No. 3, Page No. 135)