This 8th month of the Islamic year is Sh’abaan. The 15th night of this month is considered by the Muslims as a holy night and on this night Muslims stay awake and offer special prayers seeking forgiveness, salvation, security, peace and prosperity from the Creator, Allah Almighty. It is expected that well over one thousand people will gather on this blessed night at the Leicester Central Mosque on Conduit Street, there will also be gatherings in other Mosques throughout Leicester. Immediately after sunset the special programme for this night will begin that will consist of special ritual prayers, recitation of the Holy Qur’an and speeches in Urdu and English. At the end of the programme Muslims will be making a collective prayer (Dua) Many Muslims also go to the cemetery on this night where they visit the graves of their loved ones and make special prayers (Fatiha) seeking forgiveness for the souls of the deceased. The next day is generally a day of fasting and it is hoped that men, women and grown up children will observe this fast throughout Leicester.
Regarding Sha`baan-ul- Mu`azzam, The Holy Prophet has said, `Sha`baan is my month and Ramadhaan is Allah month.`(Al Jamia-us-Sagheer, Hadith No. 4779)
As our master (صلى الله عليه وسلم) called it my month, so its significance and importance touches to the sky because every thing that has got any link directly or indirectly with the holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) becomes an exalted thing for his true followers and momineen. Imam Ali bin Hussein Al-Zaynul Aabideen (ra) told his companions: “The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to observe fast during the whole month of Sha’ban. Therefore whoso, in love of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), wishes to seek nearness to Allah and receive bounties, favors and rewards in this world and in the Hereafter, must connect Sha’ban with Ramadan (in the matter of fasting and special prayers).
Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) is reported to have highlighted the significance of this event in his numerous sayings (Hadith) some of his sayings are as follows:
1. “In this night the blessings and mercy of Allah descends down to this world and angels on the command of Allah keep proclaiming throughout the night: ‘Is there anybody seeking forgiveness? I shall forgive them. Is there anybody seeking freedom from calamities? I shall bless them and grant them peace and comfort. Is there anyone seeking provision and prosperity? I shall answer their call.’” (Reported by Hazrat Ali, Ibn Majah)
2. Hazrat Aisha (Wife of Prophet) says that once in this Holy night she witnessed the Prophet visiting the cemetery of Baqi in Madinah where he said to Aisha; “In this night Allah the Merciful grants forgiveness and pardons the sins of the believers enormously.”
Muslims scholars and Sufi masters have also highlighted the importance of the event in their many writings quoting references from the Islamic texts. One of the things they generally mention about this night makes this night one of a divine budget, when Allah Almighty releases to His angels the details of His decrees in respect of birth, death, sustenance and natural disasters etc.
Names of the people who are going to die:
Sayyidatuna Aisha Siddiqa says: “The Holy Prophet would fast during all of Sha`baan-ul- Mu`azzam. “ She says, “I said, `Oh Messenger of Allah ! Do you prefer fasting in Sha`baan-ul- Mu`azzam as compared to other months?` The Holy Prophet replied, `Allah writes the names of all the people who will die in that year and I wish that at the time of me leaving this world, I be in the state of fasting.“`
(Musnad-e-Abu Ya`laa, V4, P277, Hadith No. 4890)
My Dear Islamic Brothers! The fifteenth of Sha`baan-ul- Mu`azzam is indeed very delicate! Who knows what will be written in our fortune. Ah! Sometimes a person is negligent and who knows what is written for him. It is stated in Ghunya-tut-Talibeen , `The shroud of many people is washed and ready but the people who are going to wear that shroud are wandering around in the markets, there are many people whose graves have been dug and are ready but they are lost in happiness, some people be laughing even though the time of their destruction is close, many people are busy building houses but they die before the construction is complete.` (Ghunya-tut- Talibeen, V1, P251)
Generosity upon the sinners:
My Dear Islamic Brothers! Shab-e-Bara` at is a very important night because who knows what will be written in their destiny. Therefore this night should not be spent in negligence. Mercy falls in abundance on this night. In this blessed night, Allah forgives more people from the nation of The Holy Prophet than the amount of hair on the goats of `Bani Kalb`. It is narrated in books that the tribe of `Bani Kalb` had more goats than any other tribe in Arabia. However, there are still some unfortunate people who will not get forgiven on Shab-e-Bara` at meaning the night of freedom. Hujja-tul-Islam Hazrat`e Sayyiduna Imam Muhammad Ghazali says, (1) An alcoholic, (2) an adulterer, (3) the one who disobeys his parents, (4) the one who breaks relations, (5) the one who creates trouble and (6) the one who tells tales will not be forgiven on this night. In one narration, the person who creates trouble has been replaced with the one who makes pictures.(Mukashifa-tul- Quloob, P304, Dar-ul-Kutbul Ilmia Beirut) Similarly, a wizard, a magician, the person who keeps his shalwaar or tehband below his ankles due to pride, the one who creates trouble between two Muslims and the one who has malice in his heart for another Muslim will not be forgiven on this night. Allah forbid, if any Muslims are committing any of these or any other sins, they should repent sincerely and fulfil any persons rights before Shab-e-Bara` at.
The fast of the fifteenth of Sha`baan:
Hazrat`e Sayyiduna Ali narrates that The Holy Prophet said, `When the night of the fifteenth arrives, stay standing (in worship) and fast during the day because from sunset,
Allah looks down at the earth from the sky and says: `Is there anyone that seeks my forgiveness so that I may forgive him! Is there anyone that seeks my sustenance so that I may provide it to him! Is there anyone with problems so that I may remove them! Is there anyone like this! Is there anyone like this! And He says this until sunrise.`
(Sunan ibn-e-majah, V2, P160, Hadith No. 1388)
The record of deeds is changed on Shab-e-Bara` at therefore if possible, try and fast on the fourteenth of Sha`baan-ul- Mu`azzam so that the last day of your record of deeds has a fast written on it. Stay in the Masjid after Salaa-tul-Asr on the fourteenth of Sha`baan with the intention of Nafli (voluntary) I`tikaaf so that the last moments of your record of deeds has I`tikaaf written in it and the beginning of Shab-e-Bara` at will begin in the merciful atmosphere of the Masjid.
Safeguard from magic for the whole year:
On the fifteenth night of Sha`baan, get seven leaves from a berry tree, boil them in water and perform ghusl with that water (adding plain water if needed). In`shaa-Allah you will be saved from magic all year round.
(Islami zindagi, P113, Maktaba Islami, Markaz-ul-Auliya Lahore)
Six Nafl after Maghrib:
To read six nafl after the fardh and sunnats etc. is one of the practices of the pious After reading the fardh and sunnats etc, read six rak`ats of nafl in sets of two. Before reading the first two rak`ats, say: `Oh Allah ! With the blessing of these two rak`ats, grant me a good long life.` Before the second two rak`ats, say: `Oh Allah ! With the blessing of these two rak`ats, save me from any problems.` Before the third two rak`ats, say: `Oh Allah ! With the blessing of these two rak`ats, do not make me needy of anyone apart from yourself.` After every two rak`ats, recite Sura` Ikhlaas twenty one times or Sura` Yaseen once but if possible try and recite them both. It is also possible that one Islamic brother recites Sura` Yaseen while the rest listen. Keep in mind that the other brother(s) do not read along. In`shaa-Allah you will have piles of good deeds just as the night begins. After each Sura` Yaseen, recite the Dua of Sha`baan.