Tuesday 21st February 2023 is the first day of Sha'ban 1444.
Sha’ban has always been a ‘neglected month’, since it is overshadowed by the significant months of Rajab and Ramadan. However, Sha’ban is packed with opportunities to maximise our good deeds and draw closer to the Prophet (saw) by sending Salawat (blessings) upon him. Historically, momentous events also took place during Sha’ban which deserve to be commemorated.
Let's not be one of those who neglects this special month. Here are some of its incredible benefits:
The month in which deeds are raised to Allah (swt)
Our deeds are constantly being written down by our angels and Allah is already aware of all we do and say. However, the Prophet (saw) singled out specific times when our deeds would be raised to Allah to remind us to account ourselves for our actions and focus on our worship:
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'Angels take turns among you by night and by day, and they all assemble at the dawn and afternoon prayers. Those (of the angels) who spend the night among you, then, ascend, and their Lord asks them, though He is the best informed about them, "How did you leave My servants?". They say, "We left them while they were praying and we came to them while they were praying"'. [Muslim]
For example, our deeds are displayed to Allah on a daily basis after Fajr and 'Asr, on a weekly basis on Mondays and Thursdays, and on a yearly basis during Sha'ban.
The Prophet (saw) used to fast more during this month to gain extra reward. This is a reminder to us to pay extra attention to our deeds in Sha’ban and maximise our worship, rather than neglecting this month in favour of Ramadan.
By simply reading more Qur’an, praying voluntary prayers, and following the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) by fasting more, you can strengthen your Taqwa (consciousness of Allah) and establish good habits in time for Ramadan.
The month of preparing for Ramadan
As well as fasting, there are multiple ways you can prepare for Ramadan during Sha’ban. Set yourself targets for what you want to achieve in your worship for Sha’ban and Ramadan - remember, making the intention to do something good is rewardable too!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Draw up and commit to a simple Qur’an reading schedule (or a memorisation schedule, if you feel you can commit).
- Feed someone who is homeless / in need (The Open Kitchen targets needy families in London, while our Food4Kids programme provides food to orphans and needy children worldwide).
- Spend time with family members you haven’t seen in a while, especially the elderly.
- Commit to giving up a bad habit and seek Allah’s forgiveness.
- Sign up for one of our volunteering opportunities
- Commit to a schedule for praying Tahajjud - this will make it easier for you to pray at night in Ramadan.
- Start saving money for Sadaqah and plan where you will spend it. Remember, during Ramadan you will be spending a lot less money on food, so it’s the perfect time to invest in your akhirah!
The month of the Prophet (saw)
The Prophet (saw) said, 'Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah'. [Suyuti]
This means that we should be making an effort to draw closer to the Prophet (saw) during this month. We can do this by learning more about his Seerah, and increasing our knowledge of topics like the du’as he loved, the foods he ate, and the people who were most beloved to him (so we can follow their example).
Another way to strengthen this connection is by following his Sunnah, such as supporting and caring for orphans, a cause particularly beloved to the Prophet (saw).
Since Sha’ban is the month of the Prophet (saw), it’s the perfect time to begin sponsoring an orphan. For just 97p a day, you can sponsor an orphan in need and be among the people beloved to Allah and His Messenger (saw).
The month of momentous events
Sha'ban is often overlooked by many Muslims because incredible miracles took place in Rajab (Al-Isra' wal-Mi'raj) and Ramadan (the revelation of the Qur'an), so we forget that Sha'ban is also a month to commemorate! Here are a few significant events that took place in Sha’ban:
Splitting of the moon:
Anas bin Malik (ra) narrated, ‘The people of Makkah asked Allah's Messenger (saw) to show them a miracle. So he showed them the moon split in two halves between which they saw the Hira' mountain [the Mountain of Light]’. [Bukhari]
This incredible miracle took place in Sha’ban, and it is referred to in the Qur'an: 'The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two]'. [The Noble Qur'an, 54:1]
Changing of the Qiblah:
‘We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [O Prophet (saw)], 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…’ [The Noble Qur’an, 2:144]
SubhanAllah, the Prophet (saw) kept wishing he could face the first House of Allah (swt) while he was praying, but it was impossible to face both the Ka’bah and Masjid Al-Aqsa while he was living in Madinah. So Allah changed the Qiblah for him and his Ummah.
Ayah commanding fasting in Ramadan:
The following ayah was revealed in Sha'ban:
'The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for mankind, and as clear signs that show the right way and distinguish between right and wrong. So whoever witnesses (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 (i.e. he must make up the missed fasts). Allah intends for you ease and does not intent for your hardship, and (He wants) you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you, and perhaps you will be grateful'. [The Noble Qur'an, 2:185]
Alhamdulillah, we were commanded to fast for an entire month, allowing us to attain the immense rewards of fasting every single year! Every Ramadan increases us in Taqwa and gratitude, in sha' Allah.
Ayah commanding Salawat:
During Sha’ban, Muslims were also commanded to send Salawat upon the Prophet (saw). As mentioned before, Sha’ban is the month of the Prophet (saw) and we should take advantage of this opportunity to draw closer to him. The Prophet (saw) said, ‘The person closest to me on the Day of Judgement is the one who sent the most Blessings [Salawat] upon me’. [Tirmidhi]
The best etiquette for making du'a is to begin by praising Allah and then sending Salawat upon the Prophet (saw).
The 15th night of Sha’ban:
This is one of the greatest nights of the year, and you definitely don’t want to miss out on its blessings! It is a night for seeking forgiveness from Allah and making du’a, and a night upon which He showers His mercy and generosity upon the world!
May Allah accept all our efforts during Sha’ban. May He bless us and help us increase our worship, and may He allow us to draw closer to Him and His Messenger (saw) during this time, Ameen.