The Month of Sha’ban
Sha’ban is the eighth month in the Islamic calendar and has some significant dates. Sha’ban means ‘scattered’ or ‘dispersed’, which refers to when the early Arab tribes would go out to look for water during this month to prepare for the heat of the following month. Today, Muslims use the month of Sha’ban to prepare for the long fasting days of Ramadan and begin building up good habits.
The month of Sha’ban often goes neglected as it is between two sacred months; Rajab and Ramadan, but it is important to continue good deeds from the month of Rajab, and to prepare for Ramadan by starting up new habits and cutting out bad ones.
Our deeds are written by the angels on our shoulders, and Sha’ban is the month in which our deeds are shown to Allah (SWT). This encourages Muslims to fast or engage in other forms of worship during this month.
The Islamic Calendar
The Islamic calendar consists of 12 months, four of which are said to be sacred. These are Muharram, Rajab, Dhul Qa’da, and Dhul Hijjah. Significant events and Islamic festivals occur in these months that make worship in this month more highly rewarded, but we should strive to increase our worship all year round to follow the sunnah, not just in these sacred months, albeit the reward for acts of worship done in these months is more virtuous.
We are in the Islamic year 1444 AH, meaning 1444 years ‘after Hijrah’, which was the migration from Makkah to Yathrib, now commonly known as Madina: The Illuminated City. The Hijrah took place in 622 (CE) and was vital in spreading the message of Islam more widely. It will soon be the year 1445 AH, as the New Islamic Year will start on 19th July, which will be determined by moon sightings.
Sha’ban 2023 dates:
Sha’ban 2023 will begin on 21st February and will end on 22nd March. The 15th of Shaban will fall on 7th March 2023.
15th of Sha’ban
The 15th night of Sha’ban is said to be one of the greatest nights of the year. 15th Sha’ban is known as Shab-e-Barat in Urdu, and it fell on 17 March in 2022, two weeks before Ramadan. On this night, Allah (SWT) descends to the lowest heaven to grant Muslims forgiveness.
In many countries around the world, including Pakistan, Lebanon, Indonesia, Iraq, and Bangladesh, Muslims celebrate the month of Sha’ban in different ways, some of which include engaging in dhikr and giving out sweets.
Fasting in Sha’ban
Fasting in this month helps to prepare you for Ramadan, physically and spiritually. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) loved to fast during this month and would fast regularly, as seen in the hadith, "I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’ban.” (Al-Bukhari)
Giving Charity in Sha’ban
It is important to increase and keep up good deeds during this month, following on from the month of Rajab and before Ramadan begins. It is also very important to perform good deeds all year round, not just in the four holy months.
Giving charity during this month will ensure you make the most of this month. Donate to Orphans in Need here or sponsor an orphan to drastically improve the life of an orphaned child, as well as benefitting yourself by reaping the rewards. ‘The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “the one who cares for an orphan and myself will be together in paradise like this” and he held his two fingers together to illustrate’ (Bukhari).