Shaban is the eighth month in the Islamic calendar and is best known as the month that comes before Ramadan. It is often overshadowed by the divine rites associated with the month of fasting that follows, but there are a number of glorious merits associated with Shaban that Muslims can work to in order to please Allah (SWT) and gain valuable rewards for their efforts.
To help you make the most of all this revered month has to offer, we’ve highlighted the key compensations that can be gained during this time.
What is Shaban?
Shaban is the name given to the eighth month in the Islamic calendar. When translated, it means ‘separation’. This is an ode to the Arab tribes who would disperse during this month to collect stockpiles of food and water that would provide an essential reprieve during the intense heat of the next month (Ramadan means ‘scorching heat’ as it traditionally fell in the height of summer).
Whilst Ramadan is now associated with fasting, which makes collecting food and water in the preceding month obsolete, Shaban is still regarded as a month of preparation. Rather than preparing food stocks, many Muslims practice fasting and prepare to maximise the virtues of Ramadan by reciting the Qur’an.
When is Shaban?
Shaban 2022 is expected to commence on Monday 4 March, though this is subject to the official sighting of the moon.
What Can be Gained from Shaban?
Sometimes referred to as the ‘neglected’ or ‘forgotten’ month, the rewards and merits associated with Shaban are easily overlooked, though be in no doubt, they are great. In line with this, there is a lot to be gained from Shaban, including the following:
Shab e-Barat usually falls on either the 14th or 15th night of Shaban and is one of the holiest nights in Islam. It is on this night that Allah (SWT) descends to the lowest heaven to listen to the prayers of His followers and grant them mercy like no other time in the year.
On Shab e-Barat, Allah (SWT) exhibits extraordinary generosity and benevolence, giving those who have been condemned to hell the opportunity to escape such a fate should they choose to repent for their sins on this night. In a similar manner, many Muslims attend the graves of loved ones who have passed and pray that their souls be granted mercy and rest.
Overall, one of the best merits of Shaban is the divine mercy that the Almighty demonstrates,
Another important facet of Shab e-Barat is that Allah (SWT) writes the fortunes of all living creatures on this night. If you repent for your sins and dedicate your time to the Almighty on Shab e-Barat when He is at the lowest heaven, He will hear you and surely write you a good fortune for the year ahead.
Strengthened Bond with Allah (SWT) and the Prophet (SAW)
Fasting is mostly associated with Ramadan, which follows Shaban, although fasting during Shaban is beneficial as it means your good deeds will be raised to Allah (SWT) whilst you are doing so.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“It is a month where people tend to neglect, between the months of Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are raised to the Lord of the worlds, and I like my deeds to be raised while I am fasting.”
Fasting cleanses the mind and body and allows Muslims to focus solely on Allah (SWT) and building their bond with Him. Building a strong bond with Allah (SWT) is the goal for every Muslim, and fasting presents the perfect opportunity to do this. Another advantage of fasting during Shaban is that you are able to prepare for fasting during Ramadan, hopefully getting your body used to the changes, so it’s less of a shock to the system when the time to fast comes.
By following in the way of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and fasting during Shaban, you are also able to draw closer to him.
Notable Shaban Events
In addition to Shab e-Barat, a number of notable Islamic events took place during Shaban that are of particular importance.
It is believed that in the middle of Shab e-Barat, the direction of the Qiblah was changed. This refers to the direction that Muslims pray to Allah (SWT). Up until 624 A.D, Muslims prayed in the direction of Jerusalem, but during Shaban of that year, this changed to Mecca.
This was a significant change for Muslims and is a major part in the Islamic timeline.
Making the Most of Shaban
If you’re keen to make the most of the virtues of Shaban, there are a number of ways you can do so. Firstly, you can repent for your sins on Shab e-Barat and stay up overnight so that Allah (SWT) hears your prayers and grants you forgiveness. You may also visit the graves of passed loved ones and pray for their peace.
Secondly, you may fast in the same way the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did to strengthen your bond with the Almighty and prepare for Ramadan.
Shaban is the month where good deeds are carried to Allah (SWT), so you may also choose to increase your acts of kindness and charity by making an additional donation to an appeal that helps those less fortunate.
May Allah (SWT) carve out a prosperous and fortunate year for you this Shaban, and may your prayers be answered and forgiveness be bestowed upon you.