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|Official name||Arabic: برات, romanized: the bright night|
|Observances||Commemoration of the recently deceased Forgiveness|
|Date||Night between 14 & 15 of Sha'ban, which is known as Mid-Sha'ban|
Using tabular calculations
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Shab-e-Barat, Barat Night, Cheragh e Brat, Berat Kandili, or Nisfu Syaaban (in Southeastern Asian Muslims) is a Muslim holiday celebrated on the 15th night (the night between the 14th and 15th) of the month of Sha'ban, the eighth month of the Islamic calendar. Shab-e-Barat is observed simultaneously with the Shia Mid-Sha'ban festival, but has different origins. Shab-e-Barat has its roots in the Persian festival of Mehragan (also known as Cheragh), where tributes were offered to the recently deceased.
Shab-e-Barat is considered a major event in the Islamic calendar, where Muslims collectively worship and ask for forgiveness of their wrongdoings. It is believed to reward them with fortune for the whole year and cleanse them of their sins. In many regions, it is also a night when prayers are offered to forgive one's deceased ancestors. Additionally, Twelver Shia Muslims commemorate the birthday of Muhammad al-Mahdi. Salafi adherents oppose the recognition of Mid-Sha'ban as exceptional for prayer.
Some people mistake Shab-e-Barat and Mid-Sha'ban as they take place at the same time, but Shab-e-Barat's rituals and styles differ from region to region, while Mid-Sha'ban is celebrated the same everywhere. The observance involves a festive nightlong vigil with prayers. In most regions, it is a night when one's deceased ancestors are commemorated.
According to a study by Eiichi Imoto and Mohammad Ajam, Shab-e-Barat is rooted in pre-Islamic religions in the Middle East and Persia. Eastern Iranians traditionally preserve the Barat like the Bon Festival in Buddhism and Pitri Paksha in Hinduism and Zoroastrianism. The study states that the Persian word brat (bright) is different from the Arabic word bara'at. The Khorasan people call the Barat the Cheragh (light) Brat, meaning bright or light festival. Al-Biruni (973 – after 1050) had written about "a festival from 12 to 15 of the lunar month that in Arabic is Al Baiz meaning bright, and Barat also is called al Ceqe meaning Cheque." In some Iranian cities, people celebrate this festival by gathering in the cemeteries, lighting Peganum harmala (wild rue)—a holy plant in old Persia—placing the fire in a corner of the tombs, and pouring some salt on the fire while reading a poem saying: "The Peganum harmala is bitter and salt is salty so the jealous eye of the enemy be blind."
Shab-e-Barat is also known as the Night of Forgiveness or Day of Atonement. Muslims observe Mid-Sha'ban as a night of worship and salvation. Scholars like Imam Shafii, Imam Nawawi, Imam Ghazzali, and Imam Suyuti have declared praying acceptable on the night of mid-Shaban. In his Majmu'[definition needed], Imam Nawawi quoted Imam al-Shafi'i's Kitab al-Umm that there are five nights when dua (prayer) is answered, one of them being the night of the 15th of Sha`ban.
Shab-e-Barat is mainly celebrated by Muslims in South Asia. Muslims believe that on the night of Shab-e-Barat, God writes the destinies of all men and women for the coming year by taking into account the deeds they committed in the past. It is of high value to Sunni Muslims, and is regarded as one of the holiest nights on the Islamic calendar.
Significance and traditions
To pray for the dead and ask God for the forgiveness of the dead is a common ceremony in all cities that hold Barat ceremonies. According to a hadith tradition, Prophet Muhammad went into the graveyard of Baqi' on this night, where he prayed for the Muslims buried there. On this basis, some clerics deem it advisable on this night to go to the graveyard of the Muslims to recite part of the Qur'an and pray for the dead.
Customs in different countries
The Brat festival in Khorasan, especially in the Greater Khorasan region, Kurdistan, and parts of Iran, is one of the most important festivals for respecting the souls of the dead. People in every area have their own customs, but the common tradition is to prepare sweets and candy with dates (Halva) and Date palm. Groups gather in cemeteries to clean the tombs to place offerings of sweets and candy pot on the tombs for the departed to eat, to pray, and to light candles to turn on the lights (cherag). In some Iranian cities, to celebrate this festival people gather in the cemeteries to burn Peganum harmala or haoma (wild rue) in a corner of the tombs and pour some salt on the fire, and recite a poem saying: the Peganum harmala is bitter and salt is salty so the jealous eye of the enemy be blind." In Iran, the Barat festival is celebrated in two different ceremonies. On the 15th, all city streets are lit to commemorate the birth date of Imam Al Mahdi, the last imam of Shia.
In Iraq, people give children candies as they walk through their neighborhoods. Sunni Muslims in Iraqi Kurdistan and Afghanistan celebrate this holiday 15 days before Ramadan, so Muslims in Indonesia do communal dhikr devotions in mosques followed by a lecture (ceramah) led by an ustadz[definition needed]. This tradition is rarely followed in Indonesia, but it is widely followed in Aceh, West Sumatra, and South Kalimantan. In southern Asia, Muslims make sweets (especially halwa or zarda) to give to neighbors and the poor on the evening before the 15th of Sha’ban.
Barat is observed by Bangladeshi Muslims. Many schools remain closed on that day. Many people fast on that day and pray after the Isha Prayer.
Historically, Shab-e-Barat in India has been associated with fasting, visiting mosques, charity, and lighting lamps, candles, and fireworks. The Darul Uloom Deoband seminary in India has opined that individual worship on the night of 15th Shaban is mustahab (virtuous) but practices such as lighting bulbs, preparing a variety of dishes, wearing new clothes, making halwa and collective worship in mosques are bid'ah (innovation) and should be avoided.
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Shab-e-Barat is observed throughout Pakistan, and is an optional holiday that can be chosen from employment and holiday laws in Pakistan. Some employees may choose to take this day off, though most offices and businesses remain open.
- Dr. Ajam. "Brat and its roots".
- Jamal J. Elias (1999). Islam: Religions of the world. Psychology Press. 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 ...
- "The great Shia scholar, Abu Ja'far Mohammad ibn Uthman al-Amri – Imam Reza (A.S.) Network". imamreza.net. Archived from the original on 29 September 2017.
- The Return of al-Mahdi. P11
- Muhammad Umar Memon, Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Ḥalīm Ibn Taymīyah (1976), 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 ...
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- Origin of Cherag (light) e Brat in Khorasan 
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