Virtues of the month of Sha’ban

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

“Had We sent down this Qur-an on a mountain, verily, thou would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of God. Such are the similitudes which We propound to men, that they may reflect. God is He, than Whom there is no other god; — Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.  God is He, than Whom there is no other god; — the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to God! (high is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. He is God, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or colours). To Him belong the most beautiful names: Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His praises and glory: And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise (Qur’an Hashr, 59: 21 – 24).

Beyond the spiritual benefits of the 15th day of the eighth lunar month of Sha’ban in Islam, called Nisfu Sha’ban, when God Almighty reviews the budget, destiny and well-being of individuals annually, it is apposite to consider other virtues of the month. Apart from Prophet Muhammad (SAW) describing Sha’ban as his month, Rajab as God’s month, and Ramadan as the month of the Muslim Ummah, Sha’ban comes as a month to remind us to prepare physically, spiritually and morally for the full month of compulsory fast, Ramadan.

The month of Sha’ban is an opportunity for those who missed some days of fast during Ramadan in the previous year to repay the number of days missed, as prescribed by God Almighty. This is especially for women who missed Ramadan fast during their monthly periods, the sick, the way farers and others. They must repay the number of days of Ramadan fast missed last year before the new one arrives. The Holy Qur’an 2: 184 says: “(Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill or on a journey the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more of his own free will it is better for him and it is better for you that ye fast if ye only knew.”

Besides, the month of Sha’ban prepares us for the recitation of the Holy Qur’an and other acts of worship which are done mostly in Ramadan. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) mentioned in one of His Hadith about the blessings of 15th Sha’ban. During the night of the 15th of Sha’ban, Allah will say: “Is there any person repenting so that I forgive him, and any person seeking provision so that I provide for him, and any person with distress so that I relieve him” and so on until dawn (Ibn Majah). This night should be spent in worship and total submission to Allah Almighty as much as possible. The recitation of the Noble Qur’an is another form of beneficial worship in this night. After performing Salah, or at any other time, one should recite as much of the Holy Qur’an as one can. The best benefit one can take from the blessings of this night is by asking Allah sincerely. It is hoped that all our prayers in this night will be accepted by Allah. Du’a itself is a form of ibadah or worship, and Allah Almighty rewards the one who recites for asking, in addition to fulfilling his/her needs.

Also, fasting in the month of Shaban gives you a chance to start preparing for the month of Ramadan. For fasting, you will have to wake up early on Fajr time, and spending a day without eating and drinking, will give you a clear idea of what it would take in order to successfully spend the blessed month of Ramadan. In fact, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) observed more days of fast in Sha’ban than any other month, apart from the compulsory fast in the full month of Ramadan. According to an authentic Hadith, “Sha’ban is a month where 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” (Sunan An-Nasa’i).

Moreover, it was the month of Sha’ban has the virtue of Blessing when prayers are enjoined on Prophet Muhammad (SAW) by all, at all times. More so, it was in the month of Sha’ban that the verse for the regular prayers for Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The Holy Qur’an Al-Ahzab, 33:56 was revealed thus in Sha’ban: “Indeed Allah and His angels bestow their prayers upon the Prophet. O you who believe, bestow prayers and peace upon him in abundance”. Thus, Muslim Scholars (Ijma) constantly reminds us to further increase our prayers (Salawat) and salutations for Prophet Muhammad (SAW) more in the month of Sha’ban, which is a Blessed month for the faithfuls.

Meanwhile, the direction in which we pray (Qiblah) was changed from Baytil Makdis in Jerusalem to Ka’bah Mosque in Makkah on 15th of Sha’ban. This position was supported by Al-Imam Ibn Kathir in Al-Bidayah Wan-Nihayah, and mentioned that the majority of scholars are inclined to the view that the 15th of Sha’ban is also the date when the changing of the Qiblah (direction of prayer) took place. This was 18 months after the Hijrah, migration of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) from Makkah to Madina. The Holy Qur’an Al-Baqarah, 2: 144 says: “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 toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer].”

All Muslims on Ummrah and Hajj demonstrates this during prayers at the Masjid-l-Qiblatain in the outskirts of Medina whenever they visit the Mosque during their holy journey.

Thus, these virtues of the month of Sha’ban compels us to seek for the Blessings of Almighty Allah in the month of Sha’ban with more fasting, night prayers (Qiyamu Layl), acts of God’s Remembrance (Zikr), prayers for Prophet Muhammad (Salawat), supplication (Dua), and alms to the poor (Sadaqat).

Meanwhile, the Blessings of God for our acts of worship in the eighth month of Sha’ban come in form of 1. Being granted forgiveness from our sins; 2. Getting our prayers and sincere hopes answered; 3. Striving for closeness to Allah s.w.t. and having faith in His Mercy.

May Allah give us the utmost love for such a month that meant so much to our beloved Prophet (SAW). May He give us the ability to fast abundantly in this month and committing good deeds and Muslim gain countless blessings from Allah Almighty in addition to receiving pardon and forgiveness. Ameen!



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