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• 17 April

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Virtues of the Month of Sha’ban

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said about Sha’ban:

“That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.” [al-Nasai]

 

The above hadith implies that the believers’ deeds are raised and presented to Allah (SWT) in the month of Sha’ban. This is one of the reasons given by the Prophet (PBUH) for fasting a lot during this time.

Fasting in Sha’ban

It is reported by many companions that the Prophet (PBUH) used to fast most of Sha’ban. A distinguished scholar, Ibn Hajar, said about his fasting:

“He observed more voluntary fasts in Sha’ban than in any other month, and he used to fast most of Sha’ban.”

There are various hadith that mention that the Prophet (PBUH) either fasted for the whole month or most of it during Shaban. Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said:

“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.” [Bukhari 1833]

This highlights the importance of voluntary fasting in the month of Sha’ban. Following in the noble example of the Prophet (PBUH) is an act of worship and a matter of great reward. Allah (SWT) commanded the believers in the Quran to obey the Messenger (PBUH). Fasting in the month of Sha’ban is a form of obedience to the Prophet (PBUH) and Allah (SWT).

Sha’ban – a Neglected Month

In the above-mentioned hadith, the Prophet (SAW) declared Sha’ban a neglected month. It falls between two important months in the Islamic calendar – the sacred month of Rajab and the holy month of Ramadan. Both months are held in high esteem by most Muslims because of their great virtue, while many ignore the blessings of Sha’ban. It is a time when most people can be distracted or preoccupied with personal matters. In these situations, it is highly recommended to make good use of one’s time by engaging in acts of worship.

In Islam, good deeds performed at times of difficulty assume greater virtue. It becomes harder to follow the injunctions of faith when others are heedless. For the same reason, good deeds at such times increase in value. According to a hadith of the Prophet (PBUH):

“Worship at times of tribulation (Fitnah) is like Hijrah to me.” [Muslim 2984]

Sha’ban Comes Before Ramadan

The month of Sha’ban precedes Ramadan. In the light of the Islamic teachings, the virtuous deeds performed closest to the month of Ramadan are considered the best deeds. A respected scholar, Ibn Rajab, stated the following about the fasting of Sha’ban.

“Fasting in Sha’ban is better than fasting in the Sacred Months, and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadan, before or after.” [Ibn Rajab]

He compared the Sha’ban month to voluntary prayers observed before and after the obligatory Salah. In his view, the voluntary fasts at this time contain greater virtue just like Sunnah prayers preceding and following Fard prayer.

The Month of Reciters

The righteous people of the past singled out Sha’ban for noble deeds similar to those performed in Ramadan. They called Sha’ban ‘a month of reciters’. An eminent predecessor used to close his shop in Sha’ban to dedicate his time to the recitation of the Quran.

Likewise, it is beneficial to increase noble deeds in the month of Sha’ban, which includes fasting, reading and reflecting on the Quran and spending on the needy.

Making Up for Missed Fasts

Sha’ban provides a great opportunity to make up for the missed fasts of previous Ramadan. This was the act of Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) according to sound reports from her, such as the following hadith.

“I used to have fasts that I still owed from Ramadan, and I could not make them up until Sha’ban, and that was because of the position of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) [as a husband].” [Bukhari 1950]

The Training Period for Ramadan

The month of Sha’ban serves as a training period for the fasting month of Ramadan. Those who get used to fasting some days in Sha’ban find it easier to fall into the distinctive routine of Ramadan. Fasting in Sha’ban also helps control the urge for caffeine and other food and drink in a gradual manner.

Sha’ban Dua

As mentioned above, Sha’ban is a great time for engaging in remembrance of Allah (SWT) by way of dua, dhikr and recitation. It is common for Muslims to pray for reaching Ramadan in the days and weeks leading to the holy month. A believer can make any dua for goodness that is mentioned in the Quran and hadith. Many Muslims make the following dua in Sha’ban and preceding months.

“Allahumma Ballighna Ramadan”

(Translation: O Allah, let us reach Ramadan).

 

It is also reported that righteous Muslims of early generations used to make the dua mentioned below.

“O Allah, keep me safe until Ramadan, keep Ramadan safe for me, and accept it from me.” [Lataif al-Maarif, p. 148]