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15 th of Sha’ban. An Academic Analysis. Why is this topic important?. The merit of the night of the middle of Sha'bān is strongly debated among Muslims. Some celebrate the night and fast the following day, whilst others declaring it an innovation .

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15 th of sha ban

15th of Sha’ban

An Academic Analysis

why is this topic important
Why is this topic important?
  • The merit of the night of the middle of Sha'bān is strongly debated among Muslims. Some celebrate the night and fast the following day, whilst others declaring it an innovation.
  • If this night is truly a blessed night then to dismiss it, is a great loss. However, if it does not hold any significance then to glorify it is an innovation and a deviation from the sunnah of the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam).
  • The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam) said:"Anyone who introduces something into this matter of ours, which is not from it, will have it rejected." (Bukhārī and Muslim)*
some a d th concerning the merit of the night of the middle of sha b n
Some aḥādīth concerning the merit of the night of the middle of Sha'bān
  • `Ā'īshah (raḍiyallāhuanhā) reported that, I could not find the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam) on one of the nights, so I went out and found him in (the cemetery of) Baqī. The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam) said: "Did you fear that Allāh and His Messenger will do injustice to you?" I said: O Messenger of Allāh, I thought you might have gone to the house of some of the wives. The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam) replied: "Verily, Allāh descends on the night of the middle of Sha'bān to the first heaven and forgives the sins of the people, even if they were equivalent to the hairs of the goats of BanīQalb. [Reported by Aḥmad (6/238), At-Tirmidhī (2/121), IbnMājah (1/444) and others]. Al-Bukhārī, At-Tirmidhī and Ad-Dāraquṭnī graded the ḥadīthweak. [1]
hadeeth 2
Hadeeth 2
  • AbūMūsa al-Ash'arī (raḍiyallāhuanhu) narrates: The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam) said: "Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven on the night of the middle of Sha'bān and forgives the occupants of the Earth except the one who associates partners with Allāh and one who harbors enmity." [Reported by IbnMājah (1/455), Ad-Daraquṭnī in an-Nuzūl(94), IbnAbīĀṣim in 'as-Sunnah' (510) and others.] Al-Būṣayrī and Ibn al-Jawzī graded the ḥadīthweak. Al-Mundhirī also stated that the chain of transmission was interrupted. [2]
praying extra during this night
Praying Extra During this Night
  • Alī (raḍiyallāhuanhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu 'alayhiwa-sallam) stated; “When it is the night of the middle of Sha'bān, do Qiyām in the night, and fast in the morning, for Verily Allāh descends during the night (from sunset) to the nearest heavens. Allāh then announces: "Is there anyone who is asking for forgiveness so that I can forgive them, is there anyone who needs sustenance (rizq) that I may give it to him, who is in distress that I may relieve his distress. Many other similar proclamations are made, and this continues till fajr.” [Reported by IbnMājah (1/144) and others] Al-Būṣayrī, Al-Irāqī and others graded the ḥadīth as a fabrication. One of the narrators (IbnAbīSabirah) was judged as a fabricator by Aḥmad, IbnMa`īn, Al-`Uqaylī and others. Al-Bukhārī said he is munkar inḥadīth. [6]
praying 100 rakahs
Praying 100 Rakahs
  • `Alī (raḍiyallāhuanhu) said, that the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam) said: "O `Alī, whoever prays a hundred rak`āts (units of prayer) on the night of the middle of Sha'bān, and recites 'al-Fātiḥa' in every rak`āh and 'QulHuwaAllāhuAḥad" (Surah al-Ikhlās) ten times, O `Alī, there is none from my servants who prays this ṣalāh, except that Allāhfulfils all the needs he asks for that night…." [Reported by Ibn al-Jawẓī in 'Al-Mawdū'āt' (2/127)] Ibn al-Jawẓī, Adh-Dhahabī, Ad-Dāraquṭnī, Ash-Shawkāni, as-Suyūṭī and others graded the ḥadīth as a fabrication. Ibn al-Jawẓī comments on the ḥadīth: "This ḥadīth without a doubt is fabricated. The majority of its narrators via the three channels are unknown. Furthermore, there are weak narrators in the chain. [Al Mawdū'āt 2/129] [7]
reading surah ikhlaas a thousand times
Reading Surah Ikhlaas a thousand times
  • Ibn `Umar (raḍiyallāhuanhu) said: The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam) said: "Whosoever reads on the night of the middle of Sha'bān, Surah Ikhlās a thousand times in one hundred rak'āts (units) he will not leave this world but that Allāh will send a thousand angels in his sleep giving him glad tidings of Paradise, thirty giving him security from the Fire, thirty protecting him from making mistakes and ten plotting against his enemies." [Reported by Ibn al-Jawzī in 'al-Mawdū'āt'] This ḥadīth is fabricated and most of its narrators are unknown. 
reading different surahs a number of times
Reading different Surahs a number of times
  • `Alī (raḍiyallāhuanhu) said: "I saw the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam) on the night of the middle of Sha'bān praying fourteen raka'āhs and then sat down after completing it and prayed 'Surah al-Fātiḥa' fourteen times, 'Surah al-Ikhlās' fourteen times,'Surah al-Falaq' fourteen times, 'Surah an-Nās' fourteen times and the 'verse of the throne' and the verse "and has come to you a Messenger from amongst you" once. After completing his prayer, I asked him about what I saw him do, to which he said: "Whoever does what you saw will get the reward of twenty accepted Ḥajj, and (the reward for) twenty years of accepted fast. If he wakes up fasting that day he will get the reward of fasting two years, the past year and the coming year." [Reported by al-Bayhaqi (3841) in 'Shu`ab al-Imān' and Ibn al-Jawzi in 'al-Mawdū'āt' (2/444)] Al-Bayhaqi writes: "ImāmAḥmad said: This ḥadīth appears to be a fabrication and it is 'Munkar'. In the narration there are unknown individuals the likes of `Uthmān b. Sa`īd. [10]
are things determined on this night
Are things determined on this night?
  • It is narrated of Ikrimah that he explained the āyah in the Qur'ān:
  • {Truly, We revealed it in a blessed night. Truly, We have ever been warning. Therein (i.e. on that night) are decided all matters of wisdom}[Surah ad-Dukhān: 3-4]
  • "It is the night of the middle of Sha'bān, and in it the affairs of the year are approved, the living and the dead are transcribed and the (names of the) pilgrims are written, and no one is added on to it or taken off from it.”
  • In response, IbnKathīr writes in his Tafṣīr: "As for those who say it is the night of the middle of Sha'bān – as is reported of Ikrimah- (they) have gone further from the truth. The Qurā'nic text clearly stipulates that it is in Ramaḍān. [TafsīrQur'ān al-Aẓīm (7/246)]
  • Ash-Shanqītī argues:"The claim that it is the night of the middle of Sha'bān, as has been reported of Ikrimah, is without a doubt a false claim; since it contradicts a clear Qurā'nic text, and no doubt whatever contradicts truth is falsehood. [Aḍwā al-Bayān (7/319)]
some innovations that occur on this night
Some Innovations That Occur on This Night
  • Uthmānī remarks: "In this night some people indulge in some activities which they regard as necessary for the celebration of the night, like cooking some special type of meal, or illuminating houses or mosques, or improvised structures. All such activities are not only baseless and innovated in the later days by ignorant people, but in some cases they are pure imitation of some rituals performed by non-Muslim communities. Such imitation in itself is a sin; performing it in a blessed night like the Night of the middle of Sha'bān makes it worse. Muslims should strictly abstain from all such activities."
  • Azmi writes: "Some people firmly believe that on the al-Barā'ah the souls visit the families homes and see whether any food has been prepared in their honour…these are baseless ideologies that clearly contradict the (authentic) aḥādīth."
some scholars that have allowed extra acts on the 15 th of sha ban
Some Scholars That Have Allowed Extra Acts on the 15th of Sha’ban
  • Imāmash-Shāfi'īرحمه الله
    • The supplications are answered on five nights:…the night of the middle of ofSha'bān…and I prefer everything that has been reported about these nights without it being compulsory." [Al-Umm]
  • Imam Ahmadرحمه الله
    • It was said to Abū `AbdAllāh (ImāmAḥmad): "Does Allāh the Most High descend to the lowest heaven every night? He said: Yes. He was asked: And in Sha'bān as we find it in the narration? He said: Yes" [Abu Ya'la, 'Ibtāl at-Ta'wīlāt li akhbāraṣ-Ṣifāt' (1/260)] [12]
  • IbnTaymiyyahرحمه الله
  • . IbnTaymiyyah writes:
    • "And under this chapter (is) the night of the middle of Sha'bān. Some marfūaḥādīth and āthārregarding its merit have been narrated which shows that it is a chosen night. Moreover, some of the pious predecessors (salaf) used to dedicate it with ṣalāh and fasting in the month of Sha'bān, as has been related in authentic narrations.He continues: "And from the salaf, from the people of Madinah, and those who came later, (they) rejected its merit and criticized the narrations mentioned regarding it
scholars who rejected the merits of the 15 th of sha ban
Scholars Who Rejected the Merits of the 15th of Sha’ban
  • IbnRajab رحمه اللهwrites:
    • "Most the scholars from Hijāẓ rejected it (the merit of the night of the middle of Sha'bān). From them are `Atā' (b. Rabāh) and IbnMulaykah. It is also similarly reported by `Abdar-Raḥmān b. Zayd b. Aslam from the Jurist of Madinah, and this is the opinion of the companions of Mālik and others. They said: All of that is an innovation." ['Laṭā'if al-Ma'ārif', pg. 263)]
  •  Al-ḤāfiẓIbnDahīyah رحمه الله argues:
    • "The scholars of 'JarḥwaTa'dīl" say: "There is no authentic narration regarding the night of the middle of Sha'bān…." ['Taslīh ash-Shaja'ān', pg. 88)]
  • Imam As-Shaatibi رحمه الله
    • Imām ash-Shāṭibī comments in his book al-I'tisām whilst discussing different types of Bid'ah(innovations):
    • "And from it (innovations), is to do a specific worship at a specific time without any specification in the Sharī`ah, like fasting on the middle of Sha'bān and worshipping during its night." ['Al-I'tisām', (pg. 28)
  • Imam An-Nawawiرحمه الله
    • الصلاة المعروفة بصلاة الرغائب...، وصلاة ليلة النصف من شعبان مائة ركعة، هاتان الصلاتان بدعتان منكرتان، ولا يغتر بذكرهما في كتاب: "قوت القلوب"، و"إحياء علوم الدين"، ولا بالحديث المذكور فيهما، فإن كل ذلك باطل، ولا يغتر ببعض من اشتبه عليه حكمهما من الأئمة فصنف ورقات في استحبابهما، فإنه غالط في ذلك).
contemporary scholars
Contemporary Scholars
  • Shaykh Bin Baazرحمه الله
    • "Among the innovations that have been invented by some people is the celebrating of the middle of Sha’bān, and singling out that day for fasting. There is no reliable evidence for that. Some weak aḥādīth have been narrated concerning its virtues, but we cannot regard them as reliable. The reports which have been narrated concerning the virtues of prayer on this occasion are all fabricated, as has been pointed out by many of the scholars. [HukmIḥtifālbil-Laylat an-Nisf min Sha'bān', (pg. 8)]
  • ShaykhIbnUthaymeen رحمه الله
    • "That which is correct, is that, fasting the 15th of Sha'bān or specifying it with reciting (the Qur'ān) or making (particular) supplications has no basis.The day of the 15th of Sha'bān is like any other 15th day of other months." ['FatāwāIbn al-'Uthaymīn' (393)]
  • Mufti TaqiUsmanحفظ الله
    • Therefore, the correct position is that this Hadith is not fabricated. However, being reported by a weak narrator, it cannot be relied upon in the matter of the injunctions of Shariah. Thus, the fast of the 15th of Shabaancannot be termed as Sunnah or Mustahab in the strict sense of the term. Does advocate that the night be prayed and the day be fasted
  • ShaykhQardawiحفظ الله
    • وقال العلامة يوسف القرضاوي ـ حفظه الله: (ليلة النصف من شعبان لم يأت فيها حديث وصل إلى درجة الصحة...)، وقال أيضا: (أما ليلة النصف من شعبان فمعظم ما يفعل فيها من أشياء ليس واردا،ولا صحيحا ولا من السنة في شيء)، وقال في جواب عن تخصيص صيام أيام من شعبان: (...أما أن يصوم أياما محددة، فلم يرد قط، وفي الشرع لا يجوز تخصيص يوم معين بالصيام، أو ليلة معينة بالقيام دون سند شرعي ..إنّ هذا الأمر ليس من حق أحد أيا كان وإنما هو من حق الشارع فحسب ..
conclusion
Conclusion
  • 1. Sha'bān is a blessed month and the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam) would observe fast throughout this month.
  • 2. There is no Qur'ānic evidence for the excellence of the 15th of Sha'bān.
  • 3. The opinion that sustenance, death etc is determined on the night of the 15th of Sha'bān is false.
  • 4. Most aḥādīth on the merit of the 15th of Sha'bān are either very weak or fabricated. However, there is a narration which has been argued by some scholars (when supported collectively) reaches the level of acceptability.Hasan Theḥadīth states that Allāh descends to the lowest heaven and forgives the sins of everyone except one who associates partners with Allāh and one who harbors enmity on that night.
conclusion continued
Conclusion Continued…
  • 5. The scholars have differed on the excellence of this night, with the scholars of Hijāz denying it any merit. Other scholars have agreed on its excellence.
  • 6. Fasting specifically on the 15th of Sha'bān is not a sunnah nor was it practiced by the early scholars rather to fast specifically on this day, with the belief that it is meritorious is makrūḥ.
  • 7.  All aḥādīth which describe specific prayers to be done on this night are fabrications and innovations.
  • 8. There is nothing specifically mentioned from the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhiwa-sallam) on what should be done on this night.
  • 9. Burning lanterns, preparing special foods, sweet dishes, and to believe that souls visit the families are all false and wretched innovations (Bid'ah).  
  • And Allāh knows best.
resources
Resources
  • The Significance of the Night of the Middle of Sha'bān - Abū ‘AbdAllāh I. Damielhttp://islamicstudies.islammessage.com/ResearchPaper.aspx?aid=335
  • ليلة النصف من شعبان؟!!! أبو عبد الرحمن المقدسي
  • http://www.saaid.net/mktarat/12/8-12.htm
  • The Fast Of 15th Shaban (Revised opinion of Mufti TaqiUsmani) http://www.central-mosque.com/fiqh/15fast.htm