In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Ramadan, the month of piety is coming and today inshaallah we will talk about the night of mid Sha’ban and about an introduction to the month of Ramadan. Before that, there should be an introduction. You know that Allah Almighty says:
(148. For every nation there is a direction to which they face. So hasten towards all that is good. Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection). Truly, Allah is Able to do all things.)Man has free will to choose the way of belief or disbelief, the way of doing good or doing bad, the way of obedience or disobedience, Allah says:
(For every nation there is a direction to which they face. So hasten towards all that is good)It is well proved that man has free will. If man was not free to choose, there wouldn’t have been a reward or punishment, promise or warning, responsibility or obligation. In that case bearing the trust would have been a mere play, and the Quran would have been useless. Had Allah forced His servants to be obedient, there would have been no reward, and had He forced them to be disobedient, there would have been no punishment, but if He had left them, it would have been a lack of ability. Man has free choice.
(For every nation there is a direction to which they face. So hasten towards all that is good)This means that for every human being since Allah created the earth and till the Doomsday has a direction he faces. He gets sins if that direction is wrong or he gets reward if it is correct. Allah says:
(So hasten towards all that is good)The meaning is that now you are free to choose, you have the opportunities of survival, of happiness. Now you are is the place of racing, action, repentance, correction, and forgiveness. As long as your heart is beating, you have time, the door of repentance is open, the door of forgiveness is open, the door of correction is open, the door of coming closer to Allah is open. To every nation there is a direction they face so hasten towards all that is good. This means that the direction that you may face wherever you are, you don’t control that direction always, you control it temporarily. The evidence is:
(Wheresoever you may be, Allah will bring you together)It means, you have to hasten and race to Allah’s obedience. Once, the prophet (PBUH) went up the minbar (pulpit) and said (Amen), went up the second step and said (Amen), and went up the third step and said (Amen), then he delivered a speech, performed the prayer, and some of his companions asked him why he said (Amen). He said :
((Jibrael came to me and said: May his nose be rubbed in dust (a sign of humiliation), who remembers you and does not send peace on you, so I said: Amen, so he said: May his nose be rubbed in dust, who attains parents and does not enter Paradise, so I said: Amen, so he said: May his nose be rubbed in dust, who attains Ramadan and is not forgiven by it, so I said: Amen”.If he was not forgiven in it, then when would he be forgiven?
In other words, Ramadan is an occasion, an occasion for worship, Thikr (remembrance of Allah), good deeds, and Quran recitation, so our state with Allah should not be ordinary in this occasion. We should work hard to win the race. There is a point that leads us to Sha’ban or to the night of mid Sha’ban, which is that machines need preparation, training. If you stay as you are till the first day of Ramadan, your body and soul can’t take off directly, but if you notice in Sha’ban that this month is approaching, if you free yourself of some work and prepare to meet this month with connection, seeking Allah’s forgiveness, love, and passion, the first day of Ramadan would come when this machine is prepared to take off in fasting, night prayer, worship, Quran recitation and good deeds to gain Allah’s pleasure.
In fact, there are many things related to the night of mid Sha’ban, but most of them are not authentic. What is authentic is the hadith:
((Usama bin Zaid said: I said: O Messenger of Allah, I haven’t seen you fasting in any month as you fast in Sha’abn. He said: It is a month that people forget between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are raised to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, so I would love my deeds to be raised while I am fasting))The prophet (PBUH) used to do many acts of worship in Sha’ban as a preparation to Ramadan. There is also another thing. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
(( Upon seeing the crescent of Sh’aban ,the prophet’s companions used to take mushafs and reauthor them, the rich paid the zakat of their money to support the weak and the needy in fasting Ramadan, the governors used to call the prison managers to punish those who deserve legal punishment or else to set them free, traders used to settle their payments, so when they saw the crescent of Ramadan they used to take baths and stay in the mosques in I’tikaf.))
So the prophet’s companions and the righteous Muslims who came after them used to make the month of Sha’ban as a preparation to Ramadan, as I said before, so that their souls would be fully prepared to start one of the most sacred and great occasions.
Some scholars use to reauthor Ya-sin surah once asking Allah to give them long life in Allah’s obedience, a second time asking Allah to protect them from the afflictions of life, and a third time asking Allah in order not to be in need to ask sh3er. This is not an act of worship but the prophet used to say the following du’aa (invocation):
((O Allah, indeed You are the Pardoner and You love to pardon so pardon me))It was one of the dua’as that the prophet (PBUH) used to say most during the night of mid Sha’ban. It was also narrated that the prophet said that it is a month in which deeds are raised to Allah, so he used to stay awake in worship during this night and fast the next day.
As for the special prayer or du’aa mentioned in some books, none of that was done by the prophet (PBUH). We should stay within the limits of the authentic sunna. They say there is a prayer and a special du’aa, this is not a sunna, and we always stick to the sunna and wish our work to be sincere for the sake of Allah and correct according to the sunna of the prophet (PBUH). You all know that inventing something in religion is a bid’aa. The prophet (PBUH) said:
((Every matter newly begin is innovation , every innovation is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in Hellfire))In other words, if we open the door to addition on religion in ideology and worship it will not be a religion any more. Allah says:
(This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion).Religion is complete in terms of quality and quantity. So religion deals with every issue of interest to human beings in full, and no one after prophet Muhamad (PBUH) can add anything to this religion because it is from Allah. Allah says:
(44. And if he (Muhammad) had forged a false saying concerning Us (Allah),
45. We surely should have seized him by his right hand (or with power and might),
46. And then certainly should have cut off his life artery (Aorta),
47. And none of you could withhold Us from (punishing) him.)
Scholars express this. The prophet (PBUH) is the trusted on the revelation. It is the trust of delivering that the prophet carried out, and there is the trust of performance that scholars are responsible to tell people about this religion as narrated form the messenger of Allah without any addition, change, or deletion. Anything not related as done by the prophet could be done as thikr and nawafil (voluntary prayer), this is acceptable, but if you say: it is an act of worship it is not acceptable:
((Every matter newly begin is innovation , every innovation is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in Hellfire))Anything new in ideology or worship is bid’aa, but if you do this as thikr, nawafil, prayer, and Qur’an recitation, and you don’t say it is religion, it is rather nawafil and good deeds, it is OK. I say that for everybody who hears something about this night (mid Sha’ban) not related from the prophet (PBUH). We should stick to the sunna.
"wake up on the night of the 15th of Sha'ban, fast during the day because from the time of sunset on this night Allah descends to the first heaven and announces:
Is there anyone who seeks forgiveness so that I may forgive him, is there anyone who seeks providence (rizq) so that I may provide him, Is there anyone who seeks good health so that I may give him good health. This proclamation continues until dawn.”
Ibn Asaker also related from Abu Umama (may Allah be pleased with him) that the prophet (PBUH) said:
((There are five nights in which du’aa (invocation) is not rejected)).We said that Allah the Almighty gave certain times special excellence. For example, among night hours, Allah made the last third special. Allah says:
(15. Verily, the Muttaqun (pious) will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs (in the Paradise),16. Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this Muhsinun (good-doers).17. They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord (Allah) and praying, with fear and hope].18. And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness,)The late night time (sahar) has an excellence. So the prophet (PBUH) said:
((Abu Huraira narrated that the prophet (PBUH) said: if they knew the reward of 'Isha' and Fajr (morning) prayers in congregation, they would come to offer them even if they had to crawl ))Among week days, Friday is special. The prophet said about those who pray in the first row in Friday prayer:
"Any person who takes a bath on Friday like the bath of Janaba and then goes for the prayer (in the first hour i.e. early), it is as if he had sacrificed a camel (in Allah's cause); and whoever goes in the second hour it is as if he had sacrificed a cow; and whoever goes in the third hour, then it is as if he had sacrificed a horned ram; and if one goes in the fourth hour, then it is as if he had sacrificed a hen; and whoever goes in the fifth hour then it is as if he had offered an egg. When the Imam comes out (i.e. starts delivering the Khutba), the angels present themselves to listen to the Khutba."There is an hour on Fridays in which du’aa is accepted, this is very nice, so try to be all the day on remembrance of Allah, du’aa, and Quran recitation so that you may get that good invitation. Among the best days of the year the first ten days of thi- Al-Hijja, and the best of them us the day of Arafa (9th of thi- Al-Hijja). It is one of the most loved days for Allah. This is Allah’s will. There are nafahat (blessed seasons or days) in which your Lord vouchsafes plentiful mercy. So, make sure that you make the best use of such seasons!
If Allah gives a certain day, hour, month, or week something special we should be where Allah wants us to be.
((There are five nights in which du’a (invocation) is not rejected; the first night of Rajab, the 15th night of Sha’ban, Friday night, the night of Eid Al-Fitr, and the night of Eid Al-Adha))This is related form the prophet (PBUH), in this night if there is something you need, if you suffer of poverty, illness, sadness, difficulty in your job, you should ask Allah. The most thing that Allah loves is du’aa. And the best thing for Allah is du’aa. It is the weapon of the believer
((Your lord is Bashful and Generous. He is ashamed of His servant if he raises his hands to Him (in du’aa) to return them unanswered.))Moreover, caution doesn’t prevent predestination, but du’aa is useful for what has afflicted you or not. So supplicate to Allah. Who created that problem? Allah. Who made you in need? Allah. He created the problem or put you in an unpleasant situation so that you would resort to Him. He made you go to His door where you find happiness, satisfaction, quietness, safety. So du’aa is not meant for itself. The problem afflicted you and pushed you to du’aa, and du’aa led you to be connected to Allah, and in this connection you find everything. So Lady Aisha narrated that the prophet used to be with us talking and listening to us but when the time of prayer came, he was as if he didn’t know us. He used to say:
“ O bilal, give us rest with it (adhan)”This is great. Religion is not information, rituals, or acts only. It is connection with Allah and being good towards people. Allah says in the Quran reporting from prophet Jesus:
((and has enjoined on me Salat (prayer), and Zakat, as long as I live.(31))The essence of religion is to have this connection with Allah and this connection cannot be held unless you are in a situation that pleases Allah, you should be straight, good doing, pure, sincere…
((Narrated by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) I missed Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) during the night and found him in al-Baqi’. He said: Were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger would deal unjustly with you? I said: Allah’s Messenger, I thought that you had gone to some of your other wives. He (the Prophet) said: Verily Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, comes down to the heaven of the world in “the middle night of Sha’ban” and forgives sins even more abundant than the hair of the goats of Kalb)).The tribe of Kalb had the greatest number of sheep. The prophet (PBUH) said also:
((Narrated by Abu Musa al-Ash’ari that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: Allah,the Exalted and Glorious looks down on “the middle night of Sha’ban” and forgives all His creation. except a polytheist or one who is mushahin (who makes trouble with people). ))With the two groups excluded in the Hadith, we may add the one who is ungrateful to his parents, the one who eats usury, the gambler, the one who doesn’t perform prayers, the adultery, but those who repent and pay back the rights of people will be forgiven by Allah.
These are some of the traditions mentioned about the occasion of 15th Shaban. Again, Allah wants us in this night praying, and fasting the next day. So Allah may have mercy on us, forgive us, save us from what we are afflicted with. It is the month of Sha’ban that should be a training and preparation to Ramadan as the sunna before the obligatory prayer is a preparation and the sunna after it is a redeem. This means that your prayer should be done in a perfect way, so you perform sunna prayer before it as a preparation and after it to redeem what you miss of it. In the same sense, the month of Sha’ban is a preparation to Ramadan and fasting six days of Shawwal redeem what is missed of Ramadan. Fasting in Sha’ban is a preparation and training and fasting in Shawwal is a redeem.
Now we go back to the month of fasting. We all know that Islam contains ideology, worship, transactions, and morals. Some people think that Islam is only ideology and their ideology is solid, or that Islam is worship only so they perform the prayers and stay praying at night without learning to be raised with knowledge and good deeds. Those people understand only part of religion, those who understand Islam as transactions understand another part of religion, and those who understand that it is morals and a heart full with the love of Allah understand a fourth part, but Islam is a combination of all these parts. The one who comprehends all the sides of Islam is the one who gives it victory. The minimum is to have a solid ideology, to perform the acts of worship as Allah wants, to be disciplined with legal rulings in transactions, and to have a pure, honest, and repenting self as Allah wants. Your movement should be in four ways and your struggle should be on four fields; to have a true ideology, true worship, knowledge of jurisprudence, and purification of the heart.