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Mid-Sha'ban is the 15th day of the eighth month (shaaban) of the Islamic lunar calendar. The preceding night is known as Laylatul Bara’ah or Laylatun Nisfe min Sha’ban in the Arab world, and as Shab-e-barat (شب برات) in Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. These names are translated to the night of records, the night of assignment, the night of deliverance or the night of salvation, and the observance involves a festive nightlong vigil with prayers. In some regions, this is also a night when one's deceased ancestors are commemorated.
- Lailat al-Baraa (Arabic: ليلة البراءة, Night of Innocence or Night of Salvation, or Seeking Freedom from Azaab and Calamity)
- Lailat al-Du'a (Arabic: ليلة الدعاء, Night of Prayer or Supplication)
- Nim Sha'ban (Persian: نيم شعبان in Afghanistan and Iran.
- Nisf Sha'ban (Arabic: نصف شعبان, Mid-Sha'ban) in Arabic speaking countries.
- Nisfu Sya'ban in Malay speaking countries.
- Shab e Baraat (Urdu: شبِ براءت in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh meaning the 'Night of Innocence'.
- Berat Kandili in Turkish
Mainstream Sunni view
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With regard to the night mentioned in the quran verses: “We sent it (this Qur’an) down on a blessed night. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship].
Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments”
Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: the commentators differed concerning that night, i.e., which night of the year it is. Some of them said that it is Laylat al-Qadr, and it was narrated from Qurtaadah that it is Laylat al-Qadr. Others said that it is the night of the 15th of Sha’baan. The correct view is the view of those who say that it is Laylat al-Qadr, because Allah has told us of that when He says, ‘Verily, We are ever warning’ [al-Dukhaan 44:3].”
Laylat al-Qadr brings great reward for the one who does good deeds and strives in worship on that night.
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree).
And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is?
The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months),
Therein descend the angels and the Rooh [Jibril (Gabriel)] by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees,
(All that night), there is peace (and goodness from Allah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn”[al-Qadr 97:1-5]
There are many haadiths which speak of the virtue of that night, such as the hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari from Abu Hurayrah, in which Muhammad said: “Whoever spends Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and hoping for reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven, and whoever fasts Ramadaan out of faith and hoping for reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, al-Sawm, 1768).
(Tafsir al-Tabari, 11/221) Sunnis observe mid-Sha'ban as a night of worship and salvation. Various hadiths have been transmitted in this regard, some weak and others graded hasan or sahih. Scholars including Al-Shafi‘i, Al-Nawawi, Al-Ghazali and Al-Suyuti have declared praying extra on the night of mid-Sha'ban as acceptable.
There are many other narrations from Sahaba and early Muslims confirming this matter, as mentioned by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali in his Lataif al-Ma`arif, amongst others.
Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan (the 15th of Sha’baan) is like any other night, and there is no sound report from Muhammad to indicate that on this night the fate or destiny of people is decided.
As for the other narrations concerning the 15th of Sha'baan (which are not believed authentic), the Hanafi scholar, Shaikh Mulla 'Ali al-Qaari (d.1014H) records some of these hadiths:
Also on this night the Doors of Mercy and Forgiveness are opened wide,and those who sincerely grieve over and repent for their past sins and seek forgiveness from Allah are pardoned and forgiven by Allah.
Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani has mentioned in his book ”Ghunyat li Talibee Tariqil Haqq” (i.e., The Gift for those seeking the path of truth) that the month of Shaban according to some narrations is related to Muhammad ﷺ. So, it is the duty of Muslims, as the followers of Muhammad to love and respect this month more than any other month (besides Ramadhan). Muslims should also offer abundantly salutations upon Muhammad.
It is the special night of seeking forgiveness and repenting to Allah, remembering past sins and sincerely settling the mind that one will never commit sins in the future. All the deeds that are against Shari’ah must be totally avoided so that our Du’a and Istighfaar, hopefully, will be accepted.
Dr. Muhammad al-Jibaly said: The hadith indicates that this night surely has a special merit
Even when hadiths are used to justify the night, Salafi scholars have labeled such hadiths as weak (da'if). Day of Arafa, Laylat al-Qadr and Day of Ashura on the other hand have much stronger references in Quran and/or hadiths.
Twelver Shia view
The Twelver Shia spend the entire eve of the 15th of Sha'ban in religious acts such as prayers and worship. This day also marks the birthday of the final Imām, Muhammad al-Mahdi. Shia's believe him to be the Mahdi, an important figure who all Muslims believe will rid the world of tyranny and injustice.
Some Salafi minhaj[disambiguation needed] claimants oppose the recognition of Mid-Sha'ban as exceptional. However, those "neo-"Salafis don't consider quotations from Imam Ibn Khuzaymah's book, Kitab At-Tawhid wa Ithbat Sifat ar-Rabb (which is used extensively by Salafis for 'Aqidah), about Mid-Sha'ban. Imam Ibn Khuzaymah has specifically mentioned the night of Nisf-Sha'ban in his book (in the section on Nuzool, normally meaning Revelation but in the current context Descent (of Allah)) from the hadith of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq. He clarified in the same book that, while it has been revealed that Allah does descend to the world every night, the exact method of the descent remains unrevealed.
Many scholars and general people believe that Shab-e-Barat is not what it is believed to be. This belief is based on the fact that there is no mention of such a night in the Quran.
Some quote 44.4 of the Quran to justify the Night from the Quran. With regard to the night mentioned in the verses:
“We sent it (this Qur’an) down on a blessed night. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship].
Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments” [al-Dukhaan 44:3-4]
This hadith is very weak and many scholars advise praying in this night for any special prayers or Dua or any belief that the dead return is false and should not be followed.
In South Asia, Muslims make sweets (especially Halwa or Zarda) to be given to the neighbours and the poor on the evening prior to the 15th of Sha'ban. This custom of distributing Halva is also practiced in Bosnia on the 15th night of Sha'ban, as well as on three other days of Laylatul Qadr, Laylatul Mi'raj and Laylatul Raghaib.
Delhi Bikers Incident
On the night of 25 June 2013, around 2000 bikers who had gathered for the Shab-e-Barat festival, started showing stunts and disrupting traffic, which resulted in death of one biker and injury of several others, including policemen. Policemen who tried to stop this fiasco were targeted with stone pelting by the enthusiastic bikers. This act by youth in festive mood has attracted criticism from prominent Muslims.
Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, Imam of Fatehpuri mosque condemned the incident.
- Dinesh Bihari Trivedi, A. H. M. Zehadul Karim, Law and order in upper India: a study of Oudh, 1856-1877, Northern Book Centre, 1990, ISBN 978-81-85119-83-0, "... The first significant religious occasion shabe-barat (lailat ul-barat or the night of deliverance) is held in the middle of Shaban (eighth month of the Islamic calendar) ..."
- Clare M. Wilkinson-Weber, Embroidering lives: women's work and skill in the Lucknow embroidery industry, SUNY Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-7914-4088-9, "... Shab-barat is observed with nightlong prayer and recitation (in the mosque for men, and at home for the women)."
- Jamal J. Elias, Islam: Religions of the world, Psychology Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-415-21165-9, "... Laylat al-bara'a ... fortune for the coming year is popularly believed to be registered in Heaven ... prayer vigils and by feasting and illumination ... oblations are made in the name of deceased ancestors ..."
- Said Nursî, Şükran Vahide, Letters, 1928-1932: Volume 2 of Risale-i nur, Nur Publishers, 1994, ISBN 978-975-432-043-5, "... on the well-known holy nights, such as the Prophet's birthday and Ragha`ib, and on the Night of Power in particular ... such supplications will be accepted ..."
- Muhammad Umar Memon, Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Ḥalīm Ibn Taymīyah, Ibn Taimīya's struggle against popular religion: with an annotated translation of his Kitāb iqtiḍāʾ aṣ-ṣirāṭ al-mustaquīm mukhālafat aṣḥāb al-jaḥīm, Mouton, 1976, ISBN 978-90-279-7591-1, "... among the Salaf as well as those among the khalaf, however, reject any excellence for the night in question and challenge the authenticity ... Marking mid-Sha'ban by fasting is without foundation, nay marking it is disapproved of. Likewise, celebrating it by preparing ..."
- Shah Muhammad Badi Ul Alam, What Is Man and the Universal Religion of Man - Volume 1, Read Books, 2007, ISBN 978-1-4067-7571-6, "... The process of devolution from spiritual to material world is called نزول 'Nuzul' (Descent) ; and the process of evolution from material to spiritual world is called عروج 'Uruj' (Ascent) ..."
- Ibn Khuzaimah (223 - 311 Hijri), 30 June 2010, "... On The Attribute of Descent and Its Kayfiyyah (i.e. Reality, Howness): Ibn Khuzaymah, may Allah bestow His mercy upon him said: “The scholars of Hijaz and Iraq reported from the Prophet that the Lord descends to the sky of the dunya every night. We therefore testify and acknowledge on our tongues while our hearts are certain of the information about the descending of Allah without delving into how it happens because our Prophet did not describe to us how our Creator descends to the sky of the dunya but he only informed us that He does descend. And Allah – Most High – and His Prophet did not leave a matter that Muslims are required to know about their religion without mentioning it to them. Therefore, we narrate this information and believe in what it includes about the descending of Allah without delving into how this happens or describing this descending as the Prophet did not describe it to us.” ..."
- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/One-dead-several-hurt-as-bikers-go-berserk/articleshow/20769808.cms One dead, several hurt as bikers go berserk
- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Rowdy-bikers-worry-community/articleshow/20807237.cms Rowdy bikers worry community
- Shabe-Baraat: Introduction and guidance on special prayers for the night. (Includes Salaatul Tasbih)
- Significance of Shab-e-Barat
- Article on Shab-e-Barat
- Night of Salvation [Shab-e-Barat] and How to Spend it? http://seekerofthesacredknowledge.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/what-is-night-of-salvation-shab-e-barat-and-how-to-spend-it/