Our lives have been created solely for the worship of Allah Ta’ala and thus we are expected to dedicate our lives wholly for this purpose. However being man who is constantly prone to weaknesses and flaws we become in need of forgiveness and mercy time and time again when we stray from the objective of our creation and fall into sin. Through His mercy and grace Allah Ta’ala has appointed certain times throughout the year when forgiveness is easier obtained and furthermore there is an abundance of rewards for good deeds.

So as we journey through life we accumulate sins, both minor and major. Allah Ta’ala’s special moments afford us the opportunity to shed these sins and get back on track thereby earning His pleasure and distancing ourselves from His displeasure. The blessed month of Shabaan is going to be soon over us if not already with us and this is one of Allah Ta’ala’s special days wherein we are given the opportunity to once again become sinless and start afresh.

Shaaban is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar, falling between the holy month of Rajab and the glorious month of Ramadaan. It is one of the most meritorious months of the year; the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam made special mention of it and gave specific instructions on its observance which tells us a lot of the greatness of this beautiful month. 

Hadrat Usama Bin Zaid Radiyallaahu Anhu reports that he asked the Prophet, Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam: " O Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha'baan so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month." The Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, replied: "Sha'baan is a month between Rajab and Ramadaan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting." (An Nasaai)

The above narrations denotes quite clearly the virtue of the month of Shabaan where we find the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam fasted often in this month

Several lessons can be deduced from the above hadeeth. The Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam observed fasting in abundance during this month to direct our attention to its importance and special merits. Since the month of Shabaan falls between two months of extra worship — Rajab, a sacred month, and Ramadaan a month brimming with blessings — the people tended to neglect this month, thereby missing out on the great good it entails. This is why the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam wanted through practical example to redirect his ummah’s attention to this month lest they ‘miss out’ on the many opportunities of salvation presented in this month. The hadeeth further provides us with the motivation to increase our acts of Ibaadah (worship) as it is a month when the record of our deeds are raised to Allah Ta’ala.” So it is only fitting that our deeds be presented to Allah Ta’ala when we are in a state of piety, sincerity, patience, self-restraint, and humility which are best produced by fasting.

 And then crowning this beautiful month is the night of the 15th of Shabaan known as Shabe Baraat or Laylatul Baraa which means the night of emancipation or freedom from the fire of hell.

Hadrat Aishah Radiyallaahu Anha is reported to have said, "Once the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam performed Salaatut Tahajjud and made a very long Sajdah until I feared that he had passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he is alive). His thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying in Sajdah: ' O Allah I seek refuge of Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge of Your pleasure from Your displeasure, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise You as fully as You deserve. You are exactly as You have praised Yourself.' Thereafter, when he raised his head from Sajdah and finished his salaah, he said to me: ' O Aishah, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?' I said, 'No, O Prophet of Allah, but I was afraid that your soul has been taken away because your Sajdah was very long.' He asked me, 'Do you know which night is this?' I said, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, 'This is the night of the half of Shabaan. Allah Ta’ala looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy but keeps those who have malice (against a Muslim) as they were before, (and does not forgive them unless they relieve themselves from malice).'" (Ibni Maajah)

In another Hadeeth Hadrat Aishah Radiyallaahu Anhaa, has reported that Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, has said, "Allah Ta’ala descends (in a manner He best knows it) in the night occurring in the middle of Shabaan and forgives a large number of people more than the number of the fibres on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb." (Tirmidhi)

Kalb was a big tribe the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore, the last sentence of the hadeeth indicates the large number of the people who are forgiven in this night by Allah Ta’ala.

And then in another hadeeth she has reported that the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said, "This is the middle Night of Shabaan. Allah Ta’ala frees in it a large number of the people from Fire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb. But He does not even look at a person who associates partners with Him, or at a person who nourishes malice in his heart (against someone), or at a person who cuts off the ties of kinship, or at a man who leaves his clothes extending beyond his ankles (as a sign of pride), or at a person who disobeys his parents, or at a person who has a habit of drinking wine." 

Although the chain of narrators of some of these traditions suffers with some minor technical defects, yet when all these traditions are combined together, it becomes clear that this night has well- founded merits, and observing this night as a sacred night is not a baseless concoction as envisaged by some modern scholars who, on the basis of these minor defects, have totally rejected to give any special importance to this night. In fact, some of these traditions have been held by some scholars of hadeeth as authentic and the defects in the chain of some others have been treated by them as minor technical defects which, according to the science of hadeeth, are curable by the variety of their ways of narration. That is why the elders of the ummah have constantly been observing this night as a night of special merits and have been spending it in worship and prayers.

Thus gauging from the above the month of Shabaan is a month overflowing with untold Divine prosperity, mercy, and forgiveness, which has become more easily attainable than at other times, which we all are in desperate need of. Considering that currently we are an ummah whose suffering at various levels has become as common as autumn leaves, the month of Shabaan heralds a new hope for a turn-around in our sad and deplorable situations. Shabaan is where we can start taking the first step towards restoring the honour and prestige which has left us through our saturation in sin, by securing the mercy and forgiveness of Allah Ta’ala.

Rajab is the month when we plant seeds; the month of Shabaan is the month in which we water the seeds, and the month of Ramadaan is the month when we harvest the fruit of our labour of the two preceding months .How can the seeds bear fruit if we do not plant or water them?

Let us not squander these precious opportunities which Allah Ta’ala has singled out with great blessings. Let us not be among those who are heedless of this month but instead become of those who seize the innumerable blessings and opportunities presented to us. Let us knock hard on the door of Allah Ta’ala beseeching and imploring Him to forgive us, to have mercy on us so that our pitiable conditions change and to accept us among His righteous servants. Aameen

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