Friday 19th April 2019 (at Maghrib) will mark the night of 15th Sha’ban, also referred to as ‘Shab-e-Barat’, ‘Laylat-ul-Barat’, and ‘Laylat-ul-Nisf-min-Sha'ban’.
The importance of the 15th night of Sha'ban is a subject of debate among Muslims. Some celebrate the night with special prayers and fast the following day, while others say that this practice is not from the Sunnah.
The reality is that scholars consider the hadiths about 15th Sha'ban as being sound (Sahih), good (Hassan) and weak (Dha'if). However, due to the fact that there are numerous hadith, and the weakness of many of the hadith is not severe, the virtue of this night is accepted as authentic by scholars.
Ibn Taymiyyah says, 'So many Ahadith and reports exist regarding the excellence of the 15th night of Sha'ban that one is compelled to accept that this night does possess some virtue'. This is the general consensus of scholars regarding this night.
So what are the blessings of 15th Sha'ban, and how can you take advantage of them?
Allah (swt) forgives many of His servants on this night
The main blessing of this night is that Allah pours His mercy and forgiveness upon earth from Maghrib until Fajr. The Prophet (saw) described the extent of His forgiveness in powerful language in numerous narrations:
The Prophet (saw) said, 'Allah gazes at His creation on the fifteenth night of Sha'ban and then forgives all His slaves except for two types of people: those who attribute partners to Allah and those who have rancour for their fellow Muslims'. (Ahmad)
(In other narrations, he (saw) mentioned more categories of people who wouldn’t be forgiven, including those who severed the ties of kinship and those who disobeyed their parents, among others).
‘A’isha (ra) also narrated that the Prophet (saw) once remained in Sajdah for so long during this night that she became scared, and touched his foot to make sure he was still alive. He (saw) moved his foot and she heard him reciting the following du’a:
The Prophet (saw) also said to ‘A’isha (ra), 'Allah descends on the night of the middle of Sha'ban to the lowest heaven, and He forgives more than the numbers of hairs on the sheep of Banu Kalb (an Arab tribe renowned for their great flocks of sheep)'. (Ibn Majah and others)
Finally, the Prophet (saw) said that on this night, from sunset until dawn, Allah asks His servants, 'Is there anyone seeking forgiveness from Me so that I may forgive him? Is there anyone seeking provision from Me so I may provide for him? Is there anyone suffering so I may relieve his suffering?' (Ibn Majah)
Therefore, make du’a for forgiveness on the 15th night of Sha'ban. Increase your dhikr, and ask Allah particularly for forgiveness, mercy, relief from suffering and provision. Remember to forgive anyone who you have a grudge against and resolve your problems with them, especially if they are family members, so Allah will forgive you.
Fasting on 15th Sha’ban
There is only one weak hadith regarding fasting on the 15th day of Sha'ban; however, it is from the Sunnah to fast the 'bright days' (the 13th, 14th and 15th) of every month anyway. Furthermore, it is recommended to increase your voluntary fasts during Sha’ban, as this is the month in which actions are raised to Allah:
Prescribed prayers for this night
Again, the hadith regarding prescribed prayers for this night - such as prayers of fourteen raka’at - are weak hadith, so it cannot be considered a Sunnah practice. However, you can pray nawafil during this night to benefit from its blessings. Ibn Taymiyyah says, 'Some of the pious predecessors used to specially devote this night (15th Sha'ban) for Salah'.
Moreover, the Prophet (saw) always encouraged praying nawafil and making du’a at night, particularly during the last third of the night.
Is this the night of destiny?
Most scholars agree that the night of 15th Sha'ban is not mentioned in the Qur’an.
Some commentators have said that the night of 15th Sha'ban is mentioned in Surah Dukhan - 'Indeed, We sent it [the Book] down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind]. On that night is made distinct every precise matter’. (Qur’an, 44:3-4)
However, most scholars agree that this ayah refers to Laylat-ul-Qadr. The opinion that 15th Sha'ban is ‘the night of destiny’ - i.e. the night on which your provision and time of death is named - is not a strong opinion.
Whether it is mentioned in the Qur’an or not, it is still a blessed night. Umar bin ‘Abd al-’Aziz, and others, said, 'Do not neglect four nights in the year, because on those nights Allah pours His mercy upon His slaves: the first night of Rajab, the fifteenth night of Sha`ban, the night before Eid al-Fitr and the night before Eid al-Adha'.
Thus, we should make an effort to increase our ‘ibadah and ask for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness on this night.
And Allah knows best.
Preparing for Ramadan
Sha'ban is a special month, and we shouldn't neglect its blessings. It is a time where our actions are raised to Allah, where our love for the Prophet (saw) increases, and where we should be preparing for the blessed month of Ramadan.
One of the ways you can prepare for Ramadan is by giving Iftar to those in need. The Prophet (saw) said, 'Whoever feeds a person breaking his fast will earn the same reward as him, without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person'. (Tirmidhi)
By giving Iftar from now, you can earn the reward of giving charity in Sha'ban - and multiply the rewards of your fasts in Ramadan! Muslim Hands will be providing cooked community Iftars and family food parcels (Iftar and Suhur) throughout Ramadan - and we need to start preparing from now. Your donations will ensure that those most in need will have a nutritious meal at the end of a hard day of fasting.
To read more about the blessings of Sha'ban and how you can benefit from them, check out our previous blog post.
May Allah (swt) allow us to benefit from the blessings of this night. May He forgive our sins, increase our provision and relieve us of hardship. May Allah bless us in Sha'ban and enable us to reach Ramadan, Ameen!