Sha’ban: The Neglected Month
What is Sha’ban?
The eighth lunar month of the Islamic Hijri calendar is Sha’ban.
The month’s name is derived from the Arabic word “tasha’aba,” which means to separate or disperse. Traditionally, the Arabs would disperse in search of water during this month. In addition, Shaban separates the two holy months of Rajab and Ramadan and acts as a bridge between them.
The Neglected Month
Because it was wedged between two sacred months, people would fall short in extra devotion. For this reason, the Prophet ﷺ referred to it as the ‘neglected month.’
“It is a month people tend to neglect, between the months of Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are raised to the Lord of the worlds, and I like my deeds to be raised while I am fasting.” (An-Nasai)
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ himself, however, held this month in high regard and increased within it his devotional activities, especially fasting.
This can be seen in the Hadith of ‘Aisha (radi-Allahu ‘anha): “Never did I see God’s Messenger, God bless him and grant him peace, complete a full month of fasting but in Ramadan. Apart from this, I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha‘ban.”
Laylat-ul Bara'ah: The Night of Freedom
Laylat-ul Bara’ah is a night of freedom and salvation. Allah ﷻ forgives many of his slaves on this night and grants them freedom from the fire.
It is the night in which the deeds of the Muslims are raised to Allah ﷻ.
Although Allah ﷻ is the All-Knowing, the deeds of the Muslims are raised to him daily, weekly and annually.
Daily: After Fajr and ‘Asr prayers
Weekly: Mondays and Thursdays
Annually: 15th night of Sha’ban (Laylat-ul Bara’ah)
This night is one of virtue; thus, engaging in worship, seeking forgiveness and giving charity are all encouraged.
Just as the Prophet ﷺ would make sure he was in a state of fasting when his deeds were raised, we should also be in a state of worship and remembrance so that perhaps we are touched by the Merciful Gaze of God.
Laylat-ul Bara’ah is also referred to as:
-Lalyat Nisf Sha’ban
This year it will fall on Tuesday 7th February, 2023.
Other Virtues of Sha'ban
Despite coming between two auspicious months, Sha’ban holds its own momentous virtue.
Obligation of Ramadan
In the second year following Hijrah, fasting during Ramadan was ordained in Sha’ban.
The following verse was revealed in this month:
“The month of Ramadhan (is that) in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights (the new moon of) the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 185)
Commandment of Salawat
During Sha’ban, the ayah commanding the believers to send Salawat (prayers and blessings) upon the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was revealed.
“Indeed Allah and His angels bestow their prayers upon the Prophet. O you who believe, bestow prayers and peace upon him in abundance.” (Surah Ahzab, Verse 56)
The Prophet ﷺ also referred to Sha’ban as ‘his’ month.
“Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month, and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah.”(Suyuti)
So let’s use this Prophetic month to reconnect with the Messenger ﷺ by doing the following:
- Send more Salawat
- Read his Seerah (life story)
- Learn and implement his Sunnah
Changing the Qibla
Initially, the Muslims faced Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem when praying Salah.
Two years after Hijrah, the direction of prayer changed from Jerusalem to Makkah in the month of Sha’ban. This happened whilst the Prophet ﷺ was leading his Companions in prayer.
“We have certainly seen the turning of your face, (O Muhammad), toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a Qiblah with which you will be pleased. So turn your face towards Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you (believers) are, turn your faces towards it (in prayer).”
(Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 144)
Splitting the Moon
The Quraysh demanded the Prophet ﷺ should split the moon to prove his prophecy.
It was during this month the Prophet ﷺ miraculously raised his finger toward the moon, causing it to split with the permission of Allah ﷻ.
Despite witnessing such a miracle, the Quraysh continued to deny his message and claimed he had performed sorcery.
Shaban is a blessed and special month; one in which Allah ﷻ has granted us many blessings, such as the night of Laylat-ul Bara’ah and Ramadan being ordained. It is also the month when we can remember our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ through Salawat, reading his Seerah, and implementing his Sunnah.
It is important to take advantage of Shaban and the joy that comes with it. As we prepare for Ramadan, let us not forget the needy and less fortunate. Support them through charity so they can also enjoy the month.
May Allah ﷻ accept our deeds and grant us all a blessed Shaban and Ramadan. Ameen.