Shab-e-Barat is the night on which Allah (SWT) grants repenting Muslims forgiveness for their sins and answers their duas. Muslims believe that on this night, Allah (SWT) decides the fate of every creature on earth for the next year. This encourages Muslims to pray and ask for forgiveness on this night.
"When it is the night of the middle of Sha’ban, spend its night in prayer and observe a fast on that day. For Allah descends at sunset on that night to the lowest heaven and says: ‘Is there no one who will ask Me for forgiveness, that I may forgive him? Is there no one who will ask Me for provision so that I may provide for him? Is there no one who is afflicted by trouble, that I may relieve him?’ And so on, until dawn comes.’" (Ibn Majah)
When is Shab-e-Barat?
Shab-e-Barat is expected to fall on the 8th March 2023, but will be on the 14th or 15th night of Sha’ban, depending on the moon. In 2022, it fell on 18 March 2022.
How is Shab-e-Barat observed?
This night is often observed through increased worship and Shab-e-Barat dua, in which Muslims ask Allah (SWT) for forgiveness, to pardon them from their sins, and to answer their prayers. Many Muslims choose to fast during the day or spend the night in the Mosque, where they can increase their Ibadah (worship).
In some communities and countries, Muslims observe Shab-e-Barat by giving out sweets and food to family and friends, as well as the poor and impoverished.
Month of Sha’ban
In the month of Sha’ban , Allah (SWT) descends to the lowest heaven for one night (Shab-e-Barat) and grants Muslims mercy and forgiveness for their sins, as well as answering their duas. This is an extremely important time but is often neglected due to the month of Sha’ban falling between the two sacred months of Rajab and Ramadan. However, it is important to continue to do good deeds following Rajab and build up good habits before Ramadan.
Sha’ban is the eighth month in the Islamic calendar and translates to ‘scattered’ or ‘dispersed’. This refers to the Arab tribes in the past who would go out looking for water during this month to prepare for the month of Ramadan. Muslims today still use the month of Sha’ban to prepare for Ramadan, mainly by practicing good deeds and cutting out bad habits.
Our deeds, written by angels on our shoulders, are presented to Allah (SWT) daily after Fajr and Asr Salah, weekly on Mondays and Thursdays, and annually in Sha’ban. This encourages Muslims to fast or engage in other forms of worship during this month, as well as more regularly.
Fasting in Sha’ban
Fasting in this month will help to prepare you for Ramadan, physically as well as spiritually. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) loved to fast during this month and did so regularly, as indicated 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)
The Islamic Calendar
There are 12 months in the Islamic calendar, of which four are said to be sacred: Muharram, Rajab, Dhul Qa’da, and Dhul Hijjah. There have been several significant events and key Islamic dates and festivals during these months, which make them important. However, we should strive to increase in other months as well, to follow the Sunnah of the prophet (PBUH), but the reward for acts of worship in these months is more highly regarded.
Giving charity throughout the month of Sha’ban is highly recommended as it is a way of continuing good deeds following the end of Rajab, as well as building on new habits for the month of Ramadan.
Giving charity on Shab-e-Barat will also gain you reward, Insha'Allah, as it is a special month in which you can seek the forgiveness of Allah (SWT).
Donate to Orphans in Need here or sponsor an orphan to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). ‘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).