What is Sha’ban?
Between Rajab and Ramadan, Sha’ban is the eighth month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar, or Hijri Calendar. Sha’ban is an Arabic word that means “month of separation.” It is also known as the “forgotten month” in various Prophet Muhammad sayings because people overlook its significance.
The Sunnah emphasizes the importance of the month of Sha’ban is a warm-up to Ramadan, a time to prepare ourselves — mind, body, and soul. While Ramadan is the most critical month of the year, serving as both a test of endurance and a gift from Allah, The Messenger (PBUH) emphasized the importance of Sha’ban as well. This is an obvious lesson in mindfulness and organization and a reminder to start preparing for Ramadan a month ahead of time.
There are many ways to prepare oneself during Sha’ban:
- Waking up for Tahajjud– Sha’ban is a great month to start making a habit of getting up in the last third of the night to pray nafl. Nothing compares to the serenity of Tahajjud and the feeling of being close to Allah while the rest of the world sleeps.
- Seeking forgiveness from Allah– What better time to redouble your efforts to seek Allah’s forgiveness than a month before the most spiritual season of the year?
- Fasting on white days– In Sha’ban, there is nothing wrong with fasting a lot; in fact, it is Sunnah. During this month, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast a lot.
- Reciting Quran– Apart from prayer and fasting, another method to make the most of Sha’ban is to refresh our relationship with the Quran by preparing our recitation, revisiting what we have remembered, and researching translation and tafsir.
- Sadaqah– Including others in our duas, imparting knowledge, and offering our time are all simple ways to achieve this. Sadaqa also refers to a selfless philanthropic deed performed for the benefit of others, whether motivated by charity, love, compassion, or faith. These deeds do not have to be physical or monetary in nature. Simple gestures of kindness, like a smile or a helping hand, are considered sadaqah.
- Seeking forgiveness from others– Individuals are taught to be forgiving in Islam, and if someone asks for forgiveness honestly, the harmed person is expected to forgive him.
- Forgiving others– Sha’ban serves as an annual reminder to examine our hearts and let go of whatever bitterness we may harbour. Consider what you’ve learned, have those unpleasant conversations (if possible), and forgive them.
Is celebrating Shab-e-Barat Bid’ah?
Some Muslims mark the beginning of Sha’ban by fasting and praying that day and night. Some people regard the latter days of Shaban as days of goodness. They refer to the final days as al-Shabaaniyyah, which means “days of bidding farewell to food,” and they use these days to eat a much before Ramadan begins.
If someone prays on the night of the 15th Sha’ban because he believes it has particular importance, he is engaging in Bid’ah (religious innovation), which is strictly forbidden in Islam. If a person is accustomed to offering the Night Prayer (Tahajjud) on other nights of the year, he may do it on the 15th Sha’ban night as well. And if a person is accustomed to fasting on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of each month of the year, he may do so on the 15th Sha’ban as well.
To summarize, the month of Sha’ban is one of the most blessed months and one should take maximum advantage of it to improve. There is no celebration in Sha’ban, and no particular act of worship should be performed in the middle or at the end of the month. This is a new concept that has been incorporated into religion.
May Allah save us from the misguidance of personal whims and from all trials whether they are open or secret.