The 15th of Sha’ban (Laylatul Barat)
6th April 2007
Allah swt says: ‘Ha Meem, By the book that makes things clear, we sent it down during a blessed night, for we ever wish to warn against evil. In that night is made distinct every affair of wisdom. By command from us, for we send revelations’ (Ad Dukhan)
In regards to the above ayat of Quran, some of the Mufasireen (commenters of the Quran), Akrama (rah) and others refer to the night of Laylatul Barat (15th Sha’ban). However, the usual opinion of the Mufariseen refer to Layatul Qadr which falls within the last 10 days of Ramadan on the odd nights, which is directly mentioned by Allah (swt) in Surah Qadr.
In Ruhul Ma’ani one narration from Ibn Abbas (ra) states: ‘Rizq, meaning, wealth, life and death are written on the night of 15th Sha’ban and passed to the angels on the night of Power (Laylatul Qadr).’ (Mariful Quran, Ibn Kathir)
By placing both the above views together, the majority of Mufasireen state: Maybe the 15th Sha’ban is when the Rizq etc… is written and decided and on the night of Power the matter is fulfilled. (Tafsiri Uthmani)
The month of Sha’ban has begun in which there is a blessed night, named “Shab-e-Bara-at”. Some people think that the excellence of this night is not proved from the Qur’an and the Ahadith and it is baseless to keep vigil in this night. They think that worship and devotion in this night have no special claim to reward. Moreover, they think that it is a Bidah (innovation) to specify this night for some special worship. As such, various questions are arising in the minds of the people about this night.
It is not right to think that the excellence of this night is baseless
It is in fact absolutely wrong to say that no excellence of Shab-e-Bara’at is proved from the hadith. It is a fact that ten noble companions (RA) have narrated that the holy Prophet (SAW) did mention the excellence of this night. Some of these Ahadith are indeed week in authenticity. On this account some ‘Ulama’ have declared that the claim of excellence for this night baseless. It is however, the decision of the Muhaddithen that, if a weak hadith is confirmed by many other ahadith, its weakness in authenticity disappears. As narratives of ten companions are available in support of the excellence of this night. It is, therefore, not right to declare that the excellence of this night is baseless.
Shab-e-bar’-at and the earlier centuries
Care was taken to benefit from the excellence of this night during the earlier centuries of the Muslim Ummah. The people used to take special care to indulge in worship in this night. It is a source of reward and divine favour to take worship and devotion in this night.
Hazrat Ali (ra) relates: RasulAllah (saw) said: ‘When the 15th night of Sha’ban comes, on that night offer nafl prayers in the presence of the lord and keep fast on that day for, in that night, soon after sunset, the special mercy of Allah descends on the first Heaven and he proclaims, ‘Is there a bondsman who begs forgiveness from me that I may forgive him? Is there a bondsman who begs sustenance from me that I may grant him sustenance? Is there a bondsman in distress who begs good health and well-being from me that I may bestow good health and well-being upon him?’ In the same way, God calls different kinds of needy people to supplicate to him for their needs at that time so that he may grant their petitions. From sunset till dawn, in that night, the mercy of the lord calls his bondsmen in a like manner.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
From the above Hadith the fast of the 15th Sha’ban is mentioned, this is the only narration in respect of this nafl fast. However, there are many other Hadith related from many Sahaba (ra) in the books of Hadith mentioning the nafl ibadat at night in the form of salaat etc…For this reason of the numerous narrations mentioning ibadat by night. Ibn Silah the great Muhadith has written: ‘the spending of this night in ibadat is correct (verified).’ The mention of observing the 3 nafl fast a month on the 13th, 14th and 15th can be found in the books of Nisai, Tirmidi, Abu Dawud etc…thus, the observance of keeping the fast of the 15th of Sha’ban is Mustahab (preferred).
No specific form of worship is prescribed
It is, however, quite correct to say that no specific form of worship has been prescribed for this night. Some people have invented various ways of praying from their own minds. They suggest, without any proof and authority, that so many Rak’ats with such and such verses should be offered and so many times. This is all baseless. Nafl slat that were performed in a congregation in the time of the prophet were Salatul Kusuf (time of eclipse), and Salatul Istiska (for rain), to read salat in jamaat other then this is not proffered.
We pray that Allah (swt) guides us to take advantage of this blessed opportunity, to follow in the footsteps of our predecessors and grant us honour and status through actions which attain his pleasure, Aameen.
Mufti Yusuf Danka (CMIC)