بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
We are in a time when the believer is subjected to fluctuations. Every day that he resides in this world is a treasure. It is a booty that he gathers as his provision and he seeks from it what he is able of deeds to the best of his capacity. Allah (SWT) says:
Sha’baan is an introduction to the month of Ramadan and just like Ramadan – fasting and recitation of the Quran has been prescribed within it in order to meet Ramadan by having our selves prepared in obedience to the Merciful. The Prophet (PBUH) would increase his fasting in this blessed month and take advantage of this month, whereas many of us are heedless of its virtues. And remember who was he – he was the messenger of God (PBUH), he was the one forgiven his past and future shortcomings.
Aisha (RA), said that: “ I never saw the Messenger of God fast for a whole month except in the month of Ramadan and I did not see him observe fasting in any month more than in the month of Sha’baan” [Muslim and Bukhari].
And for this reason the earliest generation Muslims would make a new start in Sha’baan and use it to prepare themselves for Ramadan. The month of Sha’baan is often described as the month for the reciters (of Quran). It is also said that the previous month of Rajab is the month for planting seeds, the month of Sha’baan is the month in which you water the seeds, and the month of Ramadan is the month of harvest; wherein the seeds bear fruit. How can we expect the seeds to bear fruit in Ramadan if we do not plant any seeds in the previous months.
The 15th Night of Sha’baan
Mu’adh Ibn Jabal (RA) relates that the Prophet, (PBUH) said, “God looks at His creation in the night of the middle of Sha’baan; He forgives all His creation except for one who associates partners with God (mushrik) or a one who has illegitimate hatred or enmity of others (mushahin)” [Tabarani and Ibn Haban].
There are three important points regarding this Hadith of the middle night of Sha’baan and they are the following:
1. Associating Partners in Lordship with God
Allah (SWT) forgives all His servants this night except those who associate partners with Him. The father of Prophets, the leader of the monotheists – Abraham (AS) feared for both himself and his nation the worship of idols. Regarding Prophet Abraham, Allah (SWT) says:
Then Prophet Abraham (AS) explained what caused him to fear that:
This was Prophet Abraham – how can one feel safe and secure for not committing partners with God. No one is safe from falling into the traps of the devil and the means in which he attracts the believing servants of Allah to commit sins.
Some of the traps are:
a) the trap of believing what fortune-tellers, psychics or those who have befriended Jinn say about what will benefit and harm you (a practice which is now becoming more widespread). The Prophet (PBUH) forbade going to fortune-tellers- whether it is in the form of phoning them or working with them.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever goes to a psychic (‘arraf) or fortune-teller and believes what he says has disbelieved in what has been revealed to Mohammed” [Abu Dawud].
Even if involved the Quran in some way to do this, it is still not permitted.
b) the trap of riya – doing good deeds/worship to gain praise or fame or beautifying them to be seen by others or to show off rather than to please God.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “The thing I fear most for you is the minor association of partners with God
(shirk).” He (PBUH) was asked what that was, he replied: “Riya” for indeed Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection when people are receiving their rewards, ‘Go to those for whom you were showing off in the material world and see if you can find any reward from them” [Ahmed, Baihaqee and Tabaranee].
Allah (SWT) has warned all His prophets (though they were the best and most sincere of creation) about worshiping others besides Him and advised them that their actions will come to nothing if they do so:
Allah (SWT) then says:
2. Having Rancor Against God’s Creation
The definition of “shahna” is a Muslim who despises his fellow brother/sister in humanity out of hatred for him due to matters of the world. The serious consequence of having illegitimate rancor and hatred between people is being prevented from the forgiveness of Allah (SWT).
The Prophet (PBUH) related by Abu Hurairah, said: “The doors of paradise are opened on Mondays and Thursdays. Every slave who does not associate partners with God is forgiven. However, if there is a person who has spite and rancor against his brother, He says about them: “Leave these two alone in their condition till they come to a settlement” [Muslim].
Allah (SWT) describes the believers’ concern for their brothers in the supplication:
Some amongst the early Muslims said: “The best of deeds is making tranquillity in the hearts and generosity in the souls and advice (nasiha) for the community (Ummah).”
3. Taking Care not to Innovate Aspects of Worship in God’s Religion
Some people stay awake on this night, and some people distinguish this night by praying in it in a congregation, and celebrating it through selected supplications, and some even decorate their homes for this reason. There is no sound Hadith that mentions congregating in mosques and staying up, etc, for the night of the middle of Sha’baan.
The Prophet (PBUH) did not do this, nor did he specify anything in particular about this night – unlike the night of Decree (Laylat-ul-Qadr), the last ten nights in Ramadan, the first ten days of the month of Hajj, the day of Arafah etc.
The Prophet (PBUH), his companions and those who followed them never did any of these things and as they are the proof for the one who wishes to follow the straight path – such actions are treated as innovated matters.
It is narrated by Ibn Abbas: “Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: May I not show you the sign of the wicked people ?” The people said: “If you are pleased, you may tell us.” He said: “The most wicked person among you is he who keeps himself aloof, is harsh on his slave, and does not give any gifts to others. May I not tell you of another person more wicked than this ?” The people said: Definitely, O Messenger of Allah ! If you are pleased.” He said: “He who has rancor against the people and the people have rancor against him.” Then he asked: “May I not tell you of a more wicked person than this ?” The people said: ‘Definitely, O Messenger of Allah ! If you are pleased.” He said: “He who does not pardon the errors of others, does not accept their apologies, and does not forgive their crime.” Again he asked: “May I not tell you of a more wicked person than this ?” The people said: “Definitely, O Messenger of Allah! If you are pleased.” He said: “He from whom no good may be expected, and from whose wickedness there may not be security” (Tibrani).
So join the ties and forgive those who have oppressed you, and this is not on this night only but all year round.
It is therefore important that we try to do something good on this blessed night but to be cautious about the kind of celebrations and practices that go on.
Aishah (RA), relates that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “Whoever introduces something new into this matter of ours that is not from it will have it rejected” [Bukhârî and Muslim]. In another narration, it reads: “Whoever does an act that is not in accordance with this matter of ours will have it rejected” [Muslim].
Therefore, falsehood is not accepted – but why? Inventions in worship are a source of harm because they allow things to enter the religion which do not belong to it and risk forcing out what is of the religion. The origin of worship and belief depends upon the explanation of the way to God (Shariah) and the guidance of the Prophet (PBUH). If we leave our religion to the whims of people, confusion will spread in the religion and it will differ incredibly to the reality of this pure heavenly faith.