Mid-Sha'ban

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See also: All Saints' Day

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.[1][2] 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.[3] In some regions, this is also a night when one's deceased ancestors are commemorated.[3]

Other names[edit]

  • Nisf Sha'ban (Arabic: نصف شعبان‎, Mid-Sha'ban) in Arabic speaking countries.
  • Nim Sha'ban (Persian: نيم شعبان‎ in Afghanistan and Iran)
  • Nisfu Sya'ban in Malay speaking countries.
  • Lailat al-Baraa (Arabic: ليلة البراءة‎, Night of Innocence, or Night of Salvation, or Seeking Freedom from Calamity)
  • Shab e Baraat (Urdu: شبِ براءت‎ in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh meaning the 'Night of Innocence'.
  • Şeva Beratê
  • Berat Kandili (in Turkey)

Acts of Worship[edit]

  • Recitation of Surah Yaseen shareef (Arabic: سورة يس‎)
  • Recitation of Surah Mulk (Arabic: سورة الملك‎).
  • Recitation of Surah Alif Lam meem Sajdah (Arabic: سورة السجدة‎).
  • Performing nawafil prayers

Intention(Niyat) is very important in performing acts of worship as it is the hadith of Prophet Muhammad(SAW) On the authority of Omar bin Al-Khattab, who said : I heard the Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alaihi Waalahi Wasallam say : “Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His messenger, his migration was for Allah and His messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated.” ~ Related by Bukhari and Muslim. Imam Bukhari RA selected the first hadith, ‘Innamal a’malu binniyat’ of Sahih Bukhari Shareef as an introduction to the whole collection.

Also remember to recite Sallah alhi waa aalahi waslam after name of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW).

Mainstream Sunni view[edit]

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”

[al-Dukhaan 44:3-4]

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 (peace be upon him) 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.

In his Majmu`, Al-Nawawi quoted Al-Shafi`i saying that there are 5 nights when dua (prayer) is answered, one of them being the night of the 15th of Sha`ban.[4]

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.

About hadiths[edit]

On this night, Muslims perform Nawaafil, recite the Qur'an, Salawat, Kalima Tayyibah, and seek forgiveness.

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.[citation needed]

Each Tasbih or Du’a should begin and terminate with the recital of Salawat and one who wishes for the acceptance of his Du’as should use the Wasila of Muhammad.[citation needed]

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.

Ruling[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Salafi View[edit]

Some Salafi minhaj[disambiguation needed] claimants oppose the recognition of Mid-Sha'ban as exceptional.[5] 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.[6][7]

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.

Related Customs[edit]

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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) ..." 
  2. ^ 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)." 
  3. ^ a b 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 ..." 
  4. ^ 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 ..." 
  5. ^ 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 ..." 
  6. ^ 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) ..." 
  7. ^ 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.” ..." 

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