An insight on 15th Sha`baan 1437

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Allah Ta’ala has preferred some men over others. Those who have faith in Islam have been preferred over others. And amongst the believers, Allah Ta’ala has preferred the prophets (A.S.). And among the prophets (A.S.), Allah Ta’ala has preferred the Seal of Prophets, His Highness Muhammad Mustapha (SAW). His distinction is such that, even if the other prophets (A.S.) were to come into his presence, they would have no other option than to follow him. Allah Ta’ala has established a pact with the prophets (A.S.): “Allah took the Covenant of the Prophets, saying: Whe I give you a Book and Wisdom, then comes to you a Messenger, confirming what is with you; you have to believe in him and render him help. Allah said: Do you agree and take this Covenant of Mine as binding on you? They said: We agree.” (Surah 3 verse 81). The holy prophet (SAW) has stated: “If prophet Moossa (A.S.) were alive, he would then have no other choice but to follow me.” (Ibn Abi Shaibah). We should know the privileges we have obtained thanks to our prophet Muhammad (SAW). The greatest heritage is his Sunnah and his practices which we have laid out in great detail.  

By learning about his Sunnah, we shall avoid introducing new practices in the Deen. Because the innovation of unfounded practices or habits is strictly condemned by the Shariah: “Beware of new innovations in the Deen. Because every innovation is Bid’ah. And every Bid’ah leads to Hellfire.” (Abu Dawood). That is why the Deen must be practised correctly. One must distinguish between ancestral traditions and the sunnah, in order to adopt the sunnah only. That is why we shall mention only the sunnah as regards the 15th night of Shabaan.  

THE GREAT NIGHT OF SHAB E BARAAT  

We have no right to ascribe worthiness or sacredness to any day or night unless we find evidence thereof in the holy Qur-aan and in the sunnah of the holy prophet (SAW). The bearers of the sunnah are the Sahabah (RA). It is they who have demonstrated the value of the sunnah to mankind. The holy prophet (SAW) has proclaimed the benchmark of true guidance: “Only that group which shall adopt my sunnah and the practices of the Sahabahs (RA) shall be on the right path” (Tirmizi). It is to be noted that the nights of great value according to the Qur-aan and the sunnah are: the nights of Ramadhaan(including lailatul qadr), the nights of the two Eids, the first 10 nights of Zil Hijjah and the 15th night of Shabaan. (Shab e Baraat). One can observe that the 27th night of Rajab and the nights of Rabi ul Awwal has no preferencial value over other nights.  

It has been reported by Sahih Ibn Hibbaan, by Tirmizi and by Ibn Majah that the prophet (SAW) valued the 15th night of Sha`baan as a night of sanctity. Hazrat Ayesha (RA) has reported that it was her turn to spend the night with the prophet (SAW). However, on entering her house, the prophet (SAW) left immediately without a word. So she followed him and saw him in Jannat ul Baqi (the graveyard) seeking Allah’s forgiveness for the dead. The prophet (SAW) informed her that it was the 15th night of Shabaan, when Allah forgives without reckoning, with the exception of unbelievers and those who break ties. This same report can be found in the following books: Baihaqi, Tabrani Awsat, Tabrani Kabeer, Shua’bul Imaan, Musnad Ahmad, Musnad Bazzaar, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaibah and Musannaf Abdur Razzaak. Although some have qualified the account of Tirmizi as being weak, Sheik Albani has certified the following hadith of Ibn Majah as being hassan and correct:

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     سنن ابن ماجة تحقيق الألباني: حسن 

”Allah Ta`ala descends His mercy during the night of 15th Sha`baan so that He forgives all His creation except a Polytheist or someone who break ties.’’(Ibn Majah)  

And also unquestionally, the hadith of Ibn Hibbaan is a good hadith. It should also be noted that Sheikh Ibn Taimiyyah has approved the virtues of Shab e Baraat in his Fatwa Majmou’ oul Fatawa:

وَذِكْرُ نُزُولِهِ عَشِيَّةَ عَرَفَةَ مِنْ عِدَّةِ طُرُقٍ وَكَذَلِكَ لَيْلَةَ النِّصْفِ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ وَذِكْرُ نُزُولِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِي ظُلَلٍ مِنْ الْغَمَامِ ‘’  

The fact that Allah Ta`ala descends his rahmah comes a few times and also during the night of 15th Sha`baan.’’ (Majmou`ul Fatawa of Ibn Taimyah)

وَأَمَّا لَيْلَةُ النِّصْفِ فَقَدْ رُوِيَ فِي فَضْلِهَا أَحَادِيثُ وَآثَارٌ وَنُقِلَ عَنْ طَائِفَةٍ مِنْ السَّلَفِ أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُصَلُّونَ فِيهَا فَصَلَاةُ الرَّجُلِ فِيهَا وَحْدَهُ قَدْ تَقَدَّمَهُ فِيهِ سَلَفٌ وَلَهُ فِيهِ حُجَّةٌ فَلَا يُنْكَرُ مِثْلُ هَذَا ‘‘  

And about the 15th Sha`baan there are ahadiths and sayings of sahabahs that narrate its virtue. And also reported from the past pious saliheen that they used to pray individually during that night….no one can deny that.’’(Majmou`ul Fatawa of Ibn Taymiyah)  

The Sheikh Ibn Taimiyah mentions it in Fatawa Kubra :

وَأَمَّا لَيْلَةُ النِّصْفِ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ فَفِيهَا فَضْلٌ ، وَكَانَ فِي السَّلَفِ مَنْ يُصَلِّي فِيهَا ‘‘

About the night of 15th Sha`baan, it is definitely a virtuous night. And in the past, the eminent pious people used to pray whole night in there.’’ (Fatawa Kubra)  

And also Mufti Mahmood r.a. of India and whose qabr lies South Africa did also mention the virtues of the night of 15th Sha`baan in his fatawa Mahmoodiyah.  

Hence, the night of Shab e Baraat enjoys the virtue of a night of ibaadah according to valid hadiths. One must, however, note that no hadith has been found in favour of nafil salaah in congregation, or recitation of specific surahs or occasions where food is distributed specifically during that night. Hence, we should avoid all these things which are simply innovations.  

PAYING A VISIT TO GRAVE YARD FOR MEN.  

In some of those riwayats, one finds the sunnah of paying a visit to the graveyard during that night, as already mentioned before. In fact, one should not arrange group visits as it is not an obligation to go there. It is advisable to pay a discreet visit alone, as did the prophet (SAW), without the need to publicize it. One should not also feel the need to go there on each Shab e Baraat, as a kind of obligation, because we do not find such practices in the lives of the Sahabahs (RA). So alternatively, the men folk only can go individually and discreetly to the grave yard(Fatawa Mahmoodiya).  

FASTING ON THE 15th DAY OF SHABAAN  

It has been reported in a hadith of Ibn Majah that the Prophet (SAW) has stated: “Spend the night of 15th Shabaan in Ibaadah and fast on the 15th day.” (Ibn Majah).

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا كَانَتْ لَيْلَةُ النِّصْفِ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ فَقُومُوا لَيْلَهَا وَصُومُوا نَهَارَهَا 

Although that hadith is weak, as pointed out by Sheikh Bin Baaz in his fatawa, but know that it has also been reported in several books namely: Mishkat, Tafseer Rouhul Ma’ani, Dourre Mansoor of Imam Suyuti, Baihaqi, Umdatul Qari and in Tuhwatul Ahwazi of Mubarakpuri. It should be noted that hadith is not mawdoo nor a fabricated hadith.  

One must bear in mind that, although that hadith is weak, one can still fast because we are here in presence of a hadith in itself and is not a lie attributed to the prophet (SAW). And it has always been principle of all ulamas at all times to accept a weak hadith when it deals with matters of virtuous actions.  

The Sheikh Ibn Taimiyah also support this thesis and mention it in his fatawa :

قَالَ شَيْخُ الْإِسْلَامِ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ – : قَوْلُ أَحْمَد بْنِ حَنْبَلٍ : إذَا جَاءَ الْحَلَالُ وَالْحَرَامُ شَدَّدْنَا فِي الْأَسَانِيدِ ؛ وَإِذَا جَاءَ التَّرْغِيبُ وَالتَّرْهِيبُ تَسَاهَلْنَا فِي الْأَسَانِيدِ ؛ وَكَذَلِكَ مَا عَلَيْهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ مِنْ الْعَمَلِ بِالْحَدِيثِ الضَّعِيفِ فِي فَضَائِلِ الْأَعْمَالِ ‘’  

and like that the ulamas are unanimous to take consideration of a weak hadith in virtuous actions. (Fazail A`maal).’’(MAjmoo` Fatawa Ibn Taymiyah)  

The same wordings are found in Kitaabs of Imaam Ahmad r.a., in Baihaqi, Fatawa Haitami, Fatawa Azhar, in kitabul Azkaar of Nawawi and fatawa of Allama Shami r.a. HENCE NO QUESTIONS SHOULD BE RAISED ON THE BOOK FAZAIL AMAAL OF MOWLANA ZAKARIYYA KANDLEWI RAHMATULLAHI ‘ALAIHI.  

Furthermore, according to a hadith of Bukhari, Hazrat Ayesha (RA) has stated that the prophet (SAW) used to fast during almost whole month of Shabaan. Hence, he has definitely fasted on the 15th day! Therefore, we can say that it is recommended to fast during most of the month of Shabaan, and particularly recommended to fast on the 15th day! Hence, with the support of riwaayahs from Bukhari, Ibn Majah, Mishkat, Rouhoul Ma’ani and Dourre Mansoor, one can say that it is also recommended to fast on the 15th day of Sha`baan. Although best is to fast 13th, 14th and 15th.  

Know that it is rightly mentionned in the Fatawa Ramali:

 ( سُئِلَ )عَنْ صَوْمِ مُنْتَصَفِ شَعْبَانَ كَمَا رَوَاهُ ابْنُ مَاجَهْ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُ قَالَ { إذَا كَانَتْ لَيْلَةُ النِّصْفِ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ فَقُومُوا لَيْلَهَا وَصُومُوا نَهَارَهَا } هَلْ هُوَ مُسْتَحَبٌّ أَوْ لَا وَهَلْ الْحَدِيثُ صَحِيحٌ أَوْ لَا وَإِنْ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا فَمَنْ ضَعَّفَهُ ؟ ( فَأَجَابَ ) بِأَنَّهُ يُسَنُّ صَوْمُ نِصْفِ شَعْبَانَ ..وَالْحَدِيثُ الْمَذْكُورُ يُحْتَجُّ بِهِ ْ”  

It is recommended to fast on the 15th Sha’baan. ..basing on the hadith mentioned(in Ibn Majah)”-Fatawa Ramali. We find the same opinion of fasting in Fatawa Mahmoodiyah.

As such it is recommended to spend the night of Shabe Baraat in salaah and also keep the fast on the day of 15th Shabaan. Wallahou A’lam

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