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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Excellency of the 15th Night of ‘Shabaan’

By Shaykh Muhammed Abu Ammar


*Source - Traditional Scholarship and Modern Misunderstandings: Understanding The Ahl al-Sunna
http://www.islamicinformationcentre.co.uk

Many Muslims in various countries pray on the 15th night of Shabaan, and ask for forgiveness of their sins and on the following day proceed to fast. To do this is in no way against the Qur’an nor the Sunnah. There are many narrations that support its validity.

There is one night in the year when Allah (Soobha Nahu Wata’ala) gives the knowledge to the Angels, about what is going to happen in the following year, for example, who is going to die, who will be born, who will be ill and how much food people will have in the year, etc.

The Majority of the scholars of Islam say:

That night is Laila-tul-Qadar in the month of Ramadan but the other scholars like Ikramah who is student of Abdullah bin Abbas (Radi allahu unho) says that night is 15th of Shabaan. There is a Hadith which Imam Tabari (Radi allahu unho) writes: Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] said, ‘From Shabaan to Shabaan there is a decision made of who is going to die, be married and some people get married but their names are written in the death program. [Tafsir Tabari, under Surah Dukhan, verse 1 by Imam Tabari]

This narration is Ikrama’s, the other scholar’s statements are proven that 15th night of Shabaan is a holy night but there is no doubt that Allah (Soobha Nahu Wata’ala) gives the full knowledge to the Angels in the night of Laila-tul-Qadar, which is in the month of Ramadan.

If we read all the narration's regarding Laila-tul-Qadar and the 15th night of Shabaan we can reach the conclusion that the yearly program started on the 15th night of Shabaan and completed on Laila-tul-Qadar. There might be a suspicion as to ‘why does a year program take so long from Shabaan to Ramadan? The answer is Allah knows the best. No one can understand for sure the philosophy of Allah’s work. He made the worlds in six days. Who knows why He took six days to make the worlds. To examine all of the above statements consult these books:

“Tafsir Tabari, Fathul Qadeer by Qadi Shawkani, Tafsir Qurtabi, Tafsir Bagawi, Tafsir Mazhari, Tafsir Ma’ah riyful Qur’an, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Zia-ul-Qur’an under the verse of Surah Al- Dokhan verse 1 to 5”

There are some other narrations that inform us about the Excellency of the 15th night of Shabaan.
Imam Ibn Majah states:

It is narrated by Ali (Radi allahu unho) that the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] stated; “ when it is the 15th night of Shabaan, do Qiyaam in the night, and fast in the morning, and ask for forgiveness. Because on that night Allah calls: ‘Is there anyone who is asking for forgiveness so that I can forgive them, who is in distress that I may relieve his distress, is there anyone who needs (rizq) food that I may give it to him.’ And this continues till the morning.” [Ibn Majah chapter Salaah]

Imam Tirmidhi writes:

Aisha Radi Allahu unha said: “On this night the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] went to Jannat-ul-Baqee to make du’a, I followed him. The Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] said to me: Allah puts His attention towards the first Heaven, and forgives the sins of the people, even if they were equivalent to the hairs of the goats of Bunn Qalb. (A tribe who at the time had a lot of goats)
[ Tirmidhi , Kitab-us-Siyaam]

Imam Bukhari has objected upon one narrator but this is compensated by the fact that Ibn Maja has narrated it with different narrations (chains).

Allama Dhahabi, and Hafidhh Ibn Kathir quoted from Hafidhh Abu Zurah that only 30 Hadith in Ibn Majah are weak. [Tadhkaratul- Hufaadh by Hafidhh Dha'ha'bi and Tareek Ibn Kathir biography Ibn Majah

Some other people have stated that more than 30 Hadith are da’eef, (weak) but the narrations we have are not amongst those 30, that is why these Hadith can be used to support the validity of 15th Shabaan night.

Even Imam Tirmidhi’s narration is weak but this does not belittle the subject, when it concerns its merits and excellence - since weak narrations are still acceptable. However, we would like to ask those people who are so against the Mid Shabaan, wether they have even a weak hadith to disprove the prayers on the 15th of Shabaan? In reality they have no narration against the 15th night of Shabaan. If there are any they should prove it. Those who are against the 15th night of Shabaan usually say ‘Why do you celebrate the 15th night of Shabaan?’ The answer is why do all of the Saudi Arabian scholars celebrate Laila-tul-Qadar on the 27th of Ramadan in Haramain (Makkah and Madinah). ‘Did the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] and his companions' celebrate the Laila-tul-Qadar on the 27th of Ramadan?’ The answer is no, they did not. So if this is permitted the 15th night of Shabaan is also permitted as well.

The Ahl-Sunnah say this is a permissible act, but it is not a Sunnah. There is enough proof that if the majority of the Muslims consider it to be good then it is sufficient. As the Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] stated: The thing that group of a Muslims says is good, it is accepted to Allah.
[ “Mishkat chapter Ihtisaam”]

Two great followers of Ibn Taymiyah and Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab Al Najdi, are Hafidhh Abdullah Rawpari and Thanaa’ullah Amritsari, both state that to worship on the 15th night of Shabaan is not Bid’ah and the person who does Ibada (Worship) on this night will obtain reward for it. The narrations concerning this night are weak but this does not matter since weak Ahadith are acceptable for virtuous actions.
[Fatawa Ahl-e-Hadith by Hafidhh Rawpari and Fatawa Thanaa’iya by Thana’ullah Amritsari, chapter on fasting]

Hafidhh Ibn Tayymiya writes:

The excellency regarding the 15th of Shabaan is an area of dispute between the Scholars, some of them say that there is no significance of this night, but Imam Ahmed recognises the excellency of this night, our other Hanbli Scholars also agree with Imam Ahmed. There are Ahadith on this night being significant, some of them are from Sunnan
(Tirmizy, Ibn Majah) and the other Ahdeeth books as well
[Iqtidah Siratul Mustaqeem page 203 by Hafidhh Ibn Taymiyah]

The people who reject the significance of this night argue that the holy Qur’an was not revealed on this night so that is why there is no significance of this night It is true that the Holy Qur’an was revealed in Ramadan, but the significance is because the Ahadeeth that tells us bout the reward one will get if he/She worshipped on15th night of Shabaan. We pray to Allah if everything stated is correct eccept it, but if there is any mistake may Allah forgive us. (Amin)

The Night of the 15th of Sha`ban
By Sidi Faraz Rabbani

It is a sunna to worship Allah at every moment and with every breath.

It is clearly stated in the fiqh works of the madhhabs that it is recommended to worship on this night. Even Ibn Taymiyya says this…

1. Imam Haskafi said in his Durr al-Mukhtar, one of the primary references in the Hanafi school:

"Among the recommended [prayers] are on. . . . the nights of the two Eids, the middle of Sha`ban, the last ten of Ramadan, and the first [ten] of Dhul-Hijjah."

2. Ibn Taymiyya was asked about the prayer of mid-Sha`ban [i.e. the night of].

He answered:

“If a person prays that night alone, or in a select congregation, as many groups (tawa’if) of the Early Muslims used to do, it is very good.

“As for gathering in the mosque for a particular fixed prayer, such as gather for 100 rakats in which 1,000 “QulhuwaAllahuAhad” are read every time, this is a reprehensible innovation, which none of the imams have allowed.” [Ibn Taymiyya, al-Fatawa al-Kubra, 2; 222-138]

3. This corresponds to what Imam Nawawi mentioned in his Majmu`, where he also quoted Imam al-Shafi`i from the latter’s al-Umm that it has reached him that there are 5 nights when dua is answered, one of them being the night of the 15th of Sha`ban.

Note, of course, that the night of the 15th is the night before it.

It is reported from Sayyiduna `Ali (Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "Let all of you spend the night of mid-Sha`ban in worship (i.e. partly) and its day in fasting. Allah descends to the nearest heaven during this night, beginning with sunset, and says: ‘Is there no one asking forgiveness that I may forgive them? Is there no one asking sustenance that I may grant them sustenance? Is there no one under trial that I may relieve them? Is there not such-and-such, is there not such-and-such, and so forth until until dawn rises.’” [Narrated by Ibn Majah with a weak chain.]

There are many other narrations from the Companions and early Muslims confirming this matter, as mentioned by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali in his Lata’if al-Ma`arif, and others.

There is general consensus that weak hadiths may be acted upon for virtuous acts, such as voluntary fasting and prayer, as long as the hadith is not excessively weak, returns to a general basis in the Shariah, and one is not convinced that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) specifically prescribed it.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani
www.sunnipath.com

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