Goodness of Mid-Sha’ban Night (Shab-e-barat)

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Mid-Sha’ban is the 15th day of the eighth month (shaaban) of the Islamic lunar calendar and month which precedes the holy month of Ramadhan.  The preceding night of mid sha’ban’s day is known as Laylatul Bara’ah or Laylatun Nisfe min Sha’ban in the Arab world, and as Shab-e-barat in Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India.

Some other names of this blessed occasion and their meanings:

– Lailat al-Baraa (Arabic: ليلة البراءة‎, Night of Innocence or Night of Salvation, or Seeking Freedom from Azaab, Punishment and Calamity)
– Lailat al-Du’a (Arabic: ليلة الدعاء‎, Night of Prayer or Supplication)
– Nim Sha’ban (Persian: نيم شعبان‎ in Afghanistan and Iran)
– Nisf Sha’ban  (Arabic: نصف شعبان‎, Mid-Sha’ban) in Arabic speaking countries.
– Nisfu Sya’ban in Malay speaking countries.
– Shab e Baraat (Urdu: شبِ براءت‎ in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh meaning the ‘Night of Innocence’. Berat Kandili in Turkish

Shaykh Abdur Qadir Jilani (q.s) writes in al Ghunya Al Talibeen, provisions for the seekers:

Significant feature of the month of Sha`ban is that it consists of a night which is termed in Shari`ah as “Laylatul-bara`ah” (The night of freedom from Fire). This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th day of Sha`ban ( In Islamic lunar calendar the night precedes the day so really it is the night before the fifteenth day of Sha`ban). Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), prove that it is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by special Divine mercy.

Shaykh Ibrahim al-Hakki (r.a), in his tafsir Ruh al-Bayān, says: “and some of the mufassireen said that the intent in “Blessed Night” [Qu’ran Chapter44: Verse 3] is the Night of mid-Sha`bān, and his has four names, the first being “Blessed Night” due to the huge number of people performing good deeds in it, and truly the blessing of Allah’s Beauty reaches to every atom from the Throne to the earth, as in Laylat al-Qadr and in that night all the angels gather in the Holy Presence.
Regarding the Words of Allah the Blessed and Exalted,

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“We sent it down during a Blessed Night: for We (ever) wish to warn (against Evil). On that [night] was made clear, in wisdom, the distinction between all things [good and evil]” [ Qur’an 44:3-4]

On the above verse  the `ulama(scholars) differed as to which night which is intended in this blessed verse. And among them are those who went with it being Laylat al-Qadr which is in Ramandan and among them are those who went with it being the Night of mid-Sha`bān, and among them are those who went with it being Laylat al-Qadr and that is the Night of mid-Sha`bān.

Al-Alusi (r.a) said, in his Tafsir(exegesis of Qur’an) , regarding the above verse of Qur’an that it is Laylat al-Qadr, from what is related from ibn `Abbas (r.a) and Qatādah (r.a) and ibn Jubayr (r.a) and Mujāhid (r.a) and ibn Zayd (r.a) and al-Hasan (r.a). And that is what most mufassireen stood upon and the majority agree with them. And `Ikrimah (r.a) and his group said, “It is the Night of mid-Sha`bān.”

And an-Nisāburi in his Tafsir of the blessed verse also said:

and most mufassireen say it is Laylat al-Qadr from Allah, the Exalted’s saying “Verily we revealed it on Laylat al-Qadr” [ Qur’an 97:1] and Laylat al-Qadr, in  the view of most, is in Ramadan.

Imam at-Tabari (r.a) wrote, and some of them [early mufassireen] like `Ikrimah (r.a) and others, claimed that it [refers] to the Night of mid-Sha`bān.

It appears in  hadeeth ad-Daylami, Anas (r.a) related that the Prophet (s.a.w) said: “There are four whose nights are like their days and their days are like their nights; in them Allah confirms the oath and He frees the breaths and in them He gives in plenty: the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr) and its morning; the Night of `Arafat and its morning; the Night of mid-Sha`bān and its morning; the Night of Jumu`ah and its morning.”

The Prophet (s.a.w) also said to his wife`Aisha (r.a), “Allah pours down goodness in  four nights without measure: the Night of Eid ul Adha and [the night of] Fiţr, and the Night of mid-Sha`bān. In it, Allah records the lifespans the allotments of provision, and in it those who will make Hajj are written; and the Night of `Arafat until the adhān is called.”

From `Ikrimah (r.a), the client of Ibn `Abbās(r.a) (regarding the verse) “In the (Night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom,” [44:4] he said, “That is the night of mid-Sha`bān, when Allah (Exalted is He) arranges the affairs of the year. He transfers [some of] the living to the list of the dead, and records those who will make pilgrimage to the House of Allah, neither adding one too many nor leaving a single one of them out.”

Abu Hurayrah (r.a) related that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said, “the lifespans are cut from Sha`bān to Sha`bān, until a man marries and a child is born to him while his name has been pulled out as one destined to die.”

It  appears in Sunan Ibn Mājah, narrated by `Abd al-Razzāq (r.a) and is reported from Sayyīdunā `Ali (k.w) that the Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Let all of you spend the night of mid-Sha`bān in worship (i.e. partly) and its day in fasting. For verily in it, 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.

It appears in Musnad of Ahmad, Ibn Mājah, and al-Tirmidhi,  A’isha (r.a) said: “I missed the Prophet (s.a.w) one night so I went out to al-Baqi` [and found him there]. He said: `Were you afraid that Allah Most High would wrong you and that His Prophet would wrong you?’ I said: `O Messenger of Allah, I thought that you might have gone to visit one of your wives.’ He said: `Allah Most High descends to the nearest heaven on the night of mid-Sha`bān and He forgives to more people than the number of hairs on the hides of the sheep of the tribes of Kalb.'” however, al-Bukhāri graded this hadith as weak because some of the sub-narrators did not narrate directly from each other, but is correct in meaning.

The Prophet (s.a.w) is reported as saying:

Angel Jibreel (a.s) came to me on the night of mid-Sha`bān and said to me: “O Muhammad, raise your head heavenwards!” I asked him: “What night is this?” and he replied: “This is the night when Allah (Glorified is He) opens three hundred of the gates of mercy, forgiving all who do not make anything His partner.”

It appears in Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal and at-Tirmidhi,

The Prophet (s.a.w) said, “Allah Almighty looks upon His slaves night of the mid-Sha`bān and forgives His servants (or those who are involved in worship) except for two [types]: someone who bears malice and a murderer.'” [Hasan, Healthy Hadeeth]

It appears in  Ibn Zanjuwiyya, ad-Darqutni in his Sunan, Ibn `Adee in his Kamil and al-Bayhaqi in his Shu`b.

Al-Qāssim ibn Muħammad ibn Abī Bakr as-Siddīq (r.a) related from his father from his uncle that his grandfather said: “Allah Almighty looks upon all those created by Him in the middle Night of Sha`bān and forgives all human beings, except the man who associates partners with Him or the man who has malice in his heart.”

Mu`adh (r.a) related that the Prophet (s.a.w) said, “Allah Almighty looks upon His creation on the night of the mid-Sha`bān and forgives all His creation except for a idolater or someone who bears malice.”
Narrated by Ibn Hibban (12:481 n.o 5665) with a sound chain according to al-Arna’ut and by al-Tabarani with a chain of sound narrators according to al-Haythami and by al-Bayhaqi in Shu`b al-Imān and Ibn `Asākir.

On the night of mid-Sha`bān Allah reveals to the Angel of Death those whose souls He wishes him to take in that year. Al-Daynuri in his al-Majalisa, from Rashid ibn Sa`d (mursalan)

Sayyidah `Aishah, (r.a), reported Prophet Muhammad, (s.a.w), to have said, “O `Aishah! Did you think that Allah and His Prophet would oppress you. Rather Jibrīl came to me and said, ‘This is the Night of mid-Sha`bān. Allah frees in it a large number of the people from Fire, more than the number of hairs on the sheep of the tribe of Kalb. But He does not even look at an idolater or at a person who nourishes malice against someone in his heart, or at a person who cuts off the ties of kinship, or at a man who leaves his clothes extending beyond his ankles [as a sign of pride), or at a person who disobeys his parents, or at a person who has a habit of drinking wine.”  this appears in Bayhaqi’s Shu`b.

When all these traditions are combined together, it becomes clear that this night has well-founded merits, and observing this night as a sacred night is clearly indicated. In fact, some of these traditions have been held by some scholars of hadith as authentic and the defects in the chain of some others have been treated by them as minor technical defects which, according to the science of hadith, are curable by the variety of their ways of narration. That is why the elders of the Ummah have constantly been observing this night as a night of special merits and have been spending it in worship and prayers.

 Scholars including Al-Shafi‘i (r.a), Al-Nawawi (r.a), Al-Ghazali (q.s) and Al-Suyuti (r.a) have declared praying extra on the night of mid-Sha’ban as recommended. Even the so called Salafi sect icon such as Ibn Taymiyya (r.a) was asked about the prayer of mid-Sha`ban [i.e. the night of it] and he said “What should be done in this night?If a person prays that night alone, or in a select congregation, as many groups (tawaif) of the Early Muslims used to do, it is very good.” [al-Fatawa al-Kubra, 2; 222-138]

Ibn Taymiyya also wrote, the opinion of many of the people of learning, and that of the majority of our companions (i.e. the Hanbali school) and other than them is that it is a night of superior merit, and this is what is indicated by the words of Ahmad (ibn Hanbal), in view of the many ahadith which are transmitted concerning it, and in view of what confirms this from the words and deeds transmitted from the early generations (al-athar al-salafiyya). Some of its merits have been narrated in the books of hadith of the musnad and sunan types. This holds true even if other things have been forged concerning it. (Ibn Taymiyya, Iqtida’ al-sirat al-mustaqim (1369/1950 ed.) p. 302.)

“ As for the middle night of Sha’baan, there are various narrations that have been narrated regarding its significance and it has been reported from a group of the Salaf (predecessors) that they performed Salaat in it individually, hence, such a deed cannot be disputed.’ (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa ibn Taymiyah vol.23 pg.132)

 

 

What should be done in this night?

Shaykh Abdur Qadir Jilani (q.s) writes in his Al Ghunya, On the Holy Night of 15th Shaban, after Maghrib or Isha prayer it is traditional practice to read Surah Yasin three times, and after each time, read a special du`a with the following intentions:

1st reading the niyyat (intention) for should be for Long Life.
2nd reading the niyyat (intention) should be for Protection from Calamities.
3rd Reading the niyyat (intention) should be for not being needy to anyone except Allah and being blessed with a good ending(death)

 

After each reading of Sūrah Yā Sīn it is preferred to read the following supplication:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله رب العالمين

اللهم صل على سيدنا محمد و آله و صحبه و سلم

اللهم يا ذا المَنِّ ولا يُمَنُّ عَلَيْهِ يا ذا الجَلالِ والإكْرام ياذا الطَوْلِ والإنْعام لا إلهَ إلا أَنْتَ ظَهْرَ اللاَّجِينَ وجَارَ المُسْتَجِيرينَ وأَمَانَ الخائِفِينَ

اللهم إِنْ كُنْتَ كَتَبْتَنَا عِنْدَكَ أَشْقِياءَ أَوْ مَحْرومينَ أَوْ مَطْرودِينَ أَوْ مُقَتَّراً عَلَيْنَا في الرِّزْقِ فَامْحُ اللهم بِفَضْلِكَ شِقَاوَتَنا وحِرْمَانَنا وطَرْدَنا

وإِقْتَارَ أَرْزَاقَنَا وأَثْبِتْنَا عِنْدَكَ في أُمِّ الكِتابِ سُعَداءَ مَرْزوقينَ مُوَفَّقِينَ لِلْخَيْراتِ

فَإِنَّكَ قُلْتَ وقَوْلُكَ الحَقُّ في كِتابِكَ المُنْزَل على لِسَانِ نَبِيِّكَ المُرْسَل (يَمْحُو اللهُ ما يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ وعِنْدَهُ أُمُّ الكِتَابِ)

إلهَي بِالتَّجَلِّي الأَعْظَمِ في لَيْلَةِ النِّصْفِ مِنْ شَعَبانَ المُكَرَّمِ الَّتي يُفْرَقُ فِيها كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ وَيُبْرَمُ نَسَأَلُكَ أَنْ تَكْشِفَ عَنَّا مِنَ البَلاءِ ما نَعْلَمُ

وما لا نَعْلَمُ وما أَنْتَ بِهِ أَعْلَمُ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الأَعَزُّ الأَكْرَمُ

وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم


Transliteration:

BismiLlāhi’r-Raḥmani’r-Rahīm al-Ḥamdu liLlāhi Rabbi’l`ālamīn

Allāhumma ṣalli `alā Sayyidinā Muḥammadin wa ālihi wa ṣaḥbihi wa sallim

Allāhumma yā dhā’l-Manni wa lā yumannu `alayhi yā Dhā’l-Jalāli wa’l-Ikrām yā Dhā’ṭawli wa’l-In`ām

Lā ilāha illa anta Zahra’l-lājīna wa jāra’l-mustajīrīna wa amāna’l-khā’ifīna

Allāhumma in kunta katabtanā `indaka ashqiyā’a aw maḥrūmīna aw maṭrūdīna aw muqattaran `alaynā fī’r-rizqi fāmḥu Allāhumma bifadhlika shiqāwatanā wa ḥirmānanā wa ṭardanā wa iqtāra arzāqanā wa athbitnā `indaka fī ummi’l-kitābi su`adā’a marzūqīna muwaffaqīna li’l-khayrāti

Fa innaka qulta wa qawluka’l-ḥaqqu fī Kitābika’l-Munzal `alā lisāni Nabiyyika’l-Mursal (yamḥū Allāhu mā yashā’u wa yuthbitu wa `indahu Ummu’l-Kitābi)

Ilhayi bi’t-tajallī’l-l`aẓam fī Laylati’n-Niṣfi min Sha`abāna al-Mukarrami’llatī yufraqu fīhā kullu amrin ḥakīmin wa yubramu nasaluka an takshifa `annā mina’l-balā’i mā na`alamu wa mā lā na`alamu wa mā anta bihi a`alamu innaka anta al-`Azzu al-Akramu

Wa ṣallā Allāhu `alā Sayyidinā Muḥammadin wa `alā ālihi wa ṣaḥbihi wa sallim

Translation:

“In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate.All praise is due to Allah Lord of the Worlds.

O Allah, bestow peace and blessings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his Family and Companions.

O Allah, the Bestower of favours. No one has favour over You. O Possessor of Majesty and Nobility, the One Who constantly bestows His bounties. There is no god but You, the One who grants safety and refuge to those that seek it and to those in fear.

O Allah, if You have recorded us as being wretched, deprived, cast out or if You have recorded that our provision be restricted then erase this by Your bounty. Instead record us in “the Mother of the Book” as being felicitous, as having plentiful provision and grant us the ability to do good works. Truly You have said, and Your word is true, in Your revealed Book, on the tongue of Your Prophet: Allah erases and confirms what He wishes and with Him is the Mother of the Book.

O Allah, through Your most mighty manifestation on the fifteenth night of Sha`ban the Ennobled, in which every decreed affair becomes distinct and unchangeable, we ask You to remove all tribulations, those that we know and those that we do not know and those about which You know more, truly You are the Most Mighty, the Most Generous.

O Allah, bestow peace and blessings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his Family and Companions.”

It is very necessary that just as others observe this night, you observe it. To make an invitation to feed people on that night, to remember Allah (s.w.t) and to remember His Prophet (s.a.w), and to fast its day and pray its night, will be rewarded for that night and for whoever observes it.
In order to observe the Night of Bara`ah, one should remain awakened in this night as much as he can. If someone has better opportunities, he should spend the whole night in worship and prayer. However, if one cannot do so for one reason or another, he can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably of the second half of it for this purpose, and should perform the following acts of worship: It is good to spend that night praying Salat ul-Khair, which conists of 100 raka`ts, in each raka`t reciting Sura al-Fatiha and 10 Surat Ikhlas. To complete the prayer one recites 1000 Sura Ikhlas.
The Night of Bara`ah is a night in which special blessings are directed towards the Muslims. Therefore, this night should be spent in total submission to Allah Almighty, and one should refrain from all those activities which may displease Allah.

Imam al-Ghazali (q.s) wrote in his Ihyā, “The Night of mid-Sha`ban, in it [pray] 100 raka’ts, reciting in each raka`t after al-Fātiha, Surat al-Ikhlās 10 times; they never left it, as we related about the voluntary extra prayers and the Night of `Arafat.”

Fast of the 15th Sha`ban:

On the day immediately following the Night of Bara`ah, i.e. the 15th of Sha`ban, it is mustahabb (advisable) to keep fast. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), is reported to have recommended this fast emphatically. A large number of the predecessors (salaf) of the Ummah have been observing the fast of the 15th of Sha`ban.
Therefore, it is advisable to fast the 15th of Sha`ban as an optional (nafl) fast. One can also keep a fast of qada on this day and it is hoped that he can also benefit from the merits of this fast.
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