Sha’ban: An oft overlooked month
Nestled in between some of the most revered months of the Islamic (hijri) calendar, Sha’ban is an oft overlooked month of the year, but it is no less significant. In fact, as it precedes the holy month of Ramadan, Shaban is especially important in terms of ibaadah (worship) and preparing for the month of fasting and worship.
What is Sha’ban?
Sha’ban is the eighth month of the Islamic (hijri) calendar and is a significant month in the year. While it doesn’t form one of the four sacred months, it was an incredibly important month to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in terms of ibaadah (worship) and offers some key dates for Muslims.
When is Sha’ban?
Sha’ban follows the holy month of Rajab and precedes the holy month of Ramadan. In 2022, Sha’ban will begin on the 4th March.
Why is Sha’ban important?
Sha’ban is a precious month for several reasons, namely because the Prophet (SAW) used to spend much of it fasting, and it is the month in which Allah (SWT) raises the deeds of his servants. The Prophet (SAW) indicated that he liked for his deeds to be liften up when he was fasting.
Another benefit of worship and fasting in Shaban is that it an opportunity to train oneself in preparation for Ramadan.
What is the importance of 15th Shaban?
The 15th of Sha’ban is the day in which many scholars believe that Allah (SWT) raises the deeds of his servants, due to various narrations.
Deeds are taken up to Allah (SWT) regularly: daily, weekly and annually:
- Daily, after Fajr and ‘Asr prayer
- Weekly on Mondays and Thursdays
- Yearly, during the month of Sha’ban
In a famous Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“When it is the night of the middle of Sha’ban, spend its night in prayer and observe a fast on that day. For Allah descends at sunset on that night to the lowest heaven and says: ‘Is there no one who will ask Me for forgiveness, that I may forgive him? Is there no one who will ask Me for provision so that I may provide for him? Is there no one who is afflicted by trouble, that I may relieve him?’ And so on, until dawn comes.’” [Ibn Majah]
Preparing for Ramadan
Ramadan is the month in which Muslims are obliged to fast for 30 days. For many, it is an opportunity to reset the physical, spiritual, and mental state of a Muslim while dedicating oneself to worship and the commandments of Allah (SWT).
However, like any task done well, it can need some training.
That’s why Sha’ban is the perfect time to prepare oneself to achieve the mindfulness, awareness, and discipline over oneself that Ramadan has to offer.
However, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) regarded it a special month for preparing for Ramadan.
In a famous Hadith, Aishah (ra) said:
“The Messenger (SAW) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’ban.” [Bukhari]
It’s also a good time to incorporate beneficial habits and extra acts of ibaadah (worship), such as sadaqah (charity), daily du’a, tahhajud and nafl prayers (voluntary night prayers and voluntary prayers respectfully), istaghfir (du’a for forgiveness) and Qur’an recitation.
Fasting in Sha’ban
Shaban is the month in which the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to fast his voluntary fasts the most:
Aishah (ra) said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (saw) used to fast (so continuously) that we said that he would not break it, and he did not fast at all until we said that he would not fast. And I did not see the Messenger of Allah (saw) completing the fast of a month, but that of Ramadan, and I did not see him fasting more in any other month than that of Sha‘ban’. [Muslim]
If you’re looking for a way to prepare for Ramadan and fulfil acts that are pleasing to Allah (SWT) during the month in which deeds are raised, there’s no better way than following the example of our Prophet (SAW):
“And whoever loves my Sunnah has loved me; and whoever loves me will be with me in Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]