The Fifteenth of Sha’baan in the light of Qur’aan & Hadeeth
By Shaykhul-Hadeeth (Maulana) Fazlur Rahman Azmi
Allah Ta'ala has, due to his infinite grace and mercy, presented to His bondsmen some special occasions wherein they have a golden opportunity of earning the mercy and forgiveness of Allah. Some explicit examples of these special occasions are the month of Ramadhan and Laylatul Qadr. In the same mould is the fifteenth night of Sha'baan. Several Ahaadith extol the tremendous merit of this occasion. Amongst them is the fact that countless people are forgiven by Allah during this blessed night. It is due to this reason that this night is called "The night of Bara'at" (i.e. the night wherein judgement of saviour from Jahannam and punishment is passed).
However, it should be borne in mind that a vast majority of the narrations declaring the benefit and virtue of this night are in fact quite weak. The weakness of most of the narrations regarding the virtue of Laylatul Bara'at is known to many. However, since these narrations are quite numerous and the weakness in many is not severe, the virtue of this night will be considered authentic due to the sheer number of these narrations. This is the general consensus of the scholars of this field. A study of this book will reveal this quite clearly.
Many fabricated and baseless ideas regarding Laylatul Bara'at have found place in certain books and have been blindly accepted by the masses. The aim of this book is to clearly elucidate in the light of strong evidence, the acceptable and authentic from the baseless.
The foundation of the Shari’ah is the Quraan, Sunnah and lives of the Sahabah (RA), whatever is proven from these sources should be implemented, and that which is not proven from the above should be abandoned. The research of the scholars of Tafseer and Hadith is present. Benefit should be derived from these works and in turn conveyed to the masses as well. It is for this reason that this book is being published. May Allah Ta'ala make it a means of benefit and a saviour for all Muslims (Aameen).
Moulana Fazlur Rahman Azmi Madrasah Arabiyyab Islamia, Azadville
1 It should be noted that the veracity of this statement can only be truly appreciated by one familiar with the science governing the principles of Hadith (Usool-e-Hadith). Let us suffice to say that what is meant is that there are certain deficiencies present in one or more of the narrators of some Ahaadith, thus reducing the reliability of these narrations with regards to their authenticity. These deficiencies vary in their natures and severity, thus governing the classification of the particular Hadith (i.e. each chain of narrators has to be studied individually before its classification). While in one instance the deficiency may be that one of the narrators is known to have a weak memory, another case may have the problem that one narrator is a famous liar and fabricator of Hadith. It is quite apparent that the degree of harm in both cases differs. The crux of the matter is that, Alhamdulillah, Allah Ta'ala has endowed certain individuals with exemplary abilities in this field and they have expended tremendous efforts in the classification of Ahaadith with regards to their strengths. We should accept their rulings and abide by its application. One such principle should be noted; In the case where there exists several narrations concerning a particular virtue or benefit despite most of them being weak, the virtue or benefit will still be accepted due to the conjunction of the narrations (i.e., the sheer number of narrations, despite their weakness, lend credence to the authenticity of their subject matter- Translator).
Some Ahadith concerning Shabe Bara’at
It is reported from Sayyidina Mu'adh Ibn Jabal (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said:
"On the fifteenth night of Sha'baan 2 Allah bestows his special attention on His entire creation. He then pardons His entire creation except an idolater and one who harbours enmity
(Tabarani has recorded this Hadith in Awsat, Ibn Hibaan in his Sahih and Baihaqi in Targhib-wat-Tarhib Page 118 V2, Page 459 V3)
It is narrated from Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Amr (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said:
"Allah looks with special attention towards His creation on the fifteenth night of Sha'baan and forgives all his servants except two categories of people; the person who harbours enmity and a murderer."
(lmam Ahmad reports this Hadith with a slightly weak chain of narrators - Targhib-wat-Tarhib Page 461 V3)
It is related from Sayydina Makhool who narrates from Sayydina Katheer bin Murrah (RA) that Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said:
"On the fifteenth night of Sha'baan Allah forgives all the inhabitants of the earth except an idolater and one who harbours hatred for others."
(Baihaqi has narrated this Hadith and says that it is an acceptable "Mursal" 3 - Targhib-wat-Tarhib Page 461 V3)
It is narrated from Sayydina Makhool who narrates from Sayydina Abu Tha'labah (RA) that Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said:
“On the fifteenth night of Sha'baan, Allah devotes special attention towards His bondsmen. He then pardons the believers and grants respite to the disbelievers (i.e. he delays their punishment), and he leaves the spiteful ones as well, until they abandon their spite (malice) (i.e., no decision of their mercy and forgiveness is made until they resolve their differences).
(Tabarani and Baihaqi have narrated this Hadith, Baihaqi said that this narration is also an unacceptable Mursal 4 between Makhool and Abu Tha'labah (RA) - Targhib-wat-Tarhib Page 461 V3)
2 As is well known, in the Islamic calendar, the night precedes the day; hence the night between the fourteenth and fifteenth of Sha'baan is implied.
3 Mursal is such a narration wherein a Taabi'e (a Muslim who was not blessed with the sight of Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) , but lived during the age of the Sahabah (RA) narrates a statement or action of Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) i.e., he does not mention which Sahabah (RA) he heard it from. Thus it becomes clear that a gap exists in the chain of narrators. Such a narration in the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik (RA) is acceptable. This acceptability will obviously refer to those cases where the Taabi'e concerned is of such high merit that one would expect only good from him. Imam Shaafi and Imam Ahmad (RA) also accept the Mursal when it is supported by another narration. This is exactly the case here.
4 This type of Mursal is also referred to as 'Munqati' i.e., a gap exists in the chain of narrators. In this case it means that Makhool did not hear this Hadith from Abu Tha'labah (RA) directly but from someone else who in turn heard it from Abu Abu Tha'labah (RA). The name of this person is unknown.
It is reported from Sayyidina Alaa bin Harith (RA) that Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) said:
"One night Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) woke up and performed Salaah. He prolonged the Sajdah to such an extent that I wondered whether he had passed away. Seeing this, I got up and shook his foot. Perceiving movement, I felt at ease. When Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) lifted his head from Sajdah and completed his Salaah, he said:
"O Humairah (RA)! Did you think that the Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) had deceived you?" I replied in the negative and said: "I swear in the name of Allah, due to the length of your Sajdah I thought that you bad passed away. "
Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: "Do you know what night this is?" I said: "Allah and his Rasul (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) know best." He said: "This is the fifteenth night of Sha'baan, Allah looks at His servants in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness, shows mercy upon those who seek mercy and delays the decision of those who harbour feelings of hatred for others”
(Baihaqi has narrated this Hadith as well and says that this is also an acceptable Mursal. It is possible that Alaa reported from Makhool also. Targhib-wat-Tarhib Page 462 V3)
It is also mentioned in this narration that Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) heard Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) reading this dua in his Sajdah:
Transliteration: A’udho Bi Afwika Min Iqaabika Wa A’udho Bi-Ridaka Min Sakhatika Wa A’udho-bika Minka La O’has Thana-an Alaika Anta Kama Athnaita Ala Nafsika
Translation: O Allah, through the agency of your forgiveness. I seek protection from your punishment; I seek protection from. Your anger by means of Your pleasure; I seek protection in You from You; I cannot truly praise You as You ought to be praised. You are as You have praised Yourself
(Targhib-wat-Tarhib Page 119 V2)
It is narrated from Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) that:
“Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) entered my room. He then removed his clothes (and lay down). Having barely rested, he got up, dressed and left my room. I was overwhelmed by the suspicion that perhaps he had gone to one of his other wives. Hence I followed him and found him at Baqee (the graveyard of Medina) making dua for the forgiveness of the believers. I thought, “May my parents be sacrificed for you, I am pursuing my suspicion while you are engaged in the matter of your Lord. I returned hurriedly to my room and was thus quite out of breath”.
Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) soon returned and asked: -Why are you breathing so heavily, Aisha (RA)?" I related the incident as well as my suspicion to Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) He then said to me: O Aisha, did you fear that Allah and His messenger would deal unjustly with you? Jibraeel (AS) came to me and said: "This is the fifteenth night of Sha'baan. Allah emancipates during this night a multitude of people equivalent to the amount of hair on the goats of the tribe of Kalb. However, Allah does not look on this night:
. 1) at an idolater,
. 2) a person who harbours enmity in his heart,
. 3) one who severs family relations,
. 4) a person who wears his trousers below his ankles,
. 5) a person who disobeys his parents
. 6) and the consumer of liquor.
Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) thereafter removed his clothes and asked: O Aisha, do you permit me to spend the night in Salaah I replied: "May my parents be sacrificed for thee (indicating agreement). Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) thereafter began performing Salaah. During the night he made such a lengthy Sajdah that I feared that he had passed away. I therefore got up and felt for him (because there was probably no lamp in the room). My hand touched the sole of Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)’s foot, due to which he moved. Having felt this movement, I then felt at ease. During the night I heard him saying ... (the same dua as mentioned in the previous Hadith). In the morning, I mentioned this to Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) He advised: "Learn these words and teach them to others. Jibraeel (AS) had taught them to me and Commanded we to repeat these words during Sajdah.·
(Baihaqi has narrated this Hadith - Targhib-wat-Tarhib 5 Page 460 V3)
5 Targhib-wat-Tarhib is a kitaab consisting of a collection of Ahaadith compiled by Hafidh Munziri (RA). In his introduction, Hafidh Munziri (RA) clearly stated that any riwaayah in his compilation having the following two attributes are weak and unreliable:
. a) Usage of the word Ruwiya in the beginning, and
. b) He does not comment at the end of the Hadith
(Introduction Targhib-wat-Tarhib b Page 37)
This Hadith fits the above description and is thus a weak narration. It is recorded in Durre-Manthur that Baihaqi
also regarded this Hadith as weak (Durre Manthur Page 27 Volume 6)
It is probably this very narration that has been concisely narrated in Tirmidhi as follows:
Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) says:
"I woke up one night and did not find Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam). I went outside and found him in the Baqee. He said to me "Did you fear that Allah and His messenger would oppress you" (i.e. go to one of the other wives in your turn)? I replied "O Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam), I thought that you had gone to one of the other wives ." He then said to me Allah descends 6 to the nearest sky on the fifteenth night of Sha 'baan, and He forgives more people than the number of hair on the goats of the tribe of Banu Kalb.'
(Tirmidhi with Al-arfus-shazi Page 156 V1. Tirmidhi said that Imam Bukhari regarded this narration as da'eef (weak) 7. This narration appears in Ibn Majah with the same chain of narrators as well. (Page 99). Razeen has also narrated this Hadith, The narration in Razeen contains the sentence: "Allah forgives more people than the hair on the goats of Banu-Kalb and the forgiven ones were such sinners that they were from those that were destined for Jahannam." - Mishkaat Page 115)
It is narrated from Abu Musa Ash'ari (R.A.) that on the fifteenth night of Sha 'baan, Allah Ta' ala looks at the creation and forgives the entire creation besides the idolaters, and the persons who bear spite in their hearts.
(Ibnu-Majah Page 99. This Hadith is also weak 8.)
6 It is obvious that a physical descension is not implied, since Allah Ta'ala is omnipresent. In this case and others wherein physical attributes are given to Allah Ta 'ala, we refer to these as "Mutashaabihaat”. The human mind cannot fully comprehend what is truly meant by this, nor are we required to comprehend it. Our duty is to believe firmly the truth of its occurrence and to consider that a descension in keeping with the greatness and majesty of Allah does indeed occur. However, the manner of its occurrence is unknown to us.
7 This riwaayah is weak because one of the narrators, Hajaaj ibn Artaat, is a weak narrator. (He has been branded by the scholars of Hadith as unreliable). Besides he did not hear this Haditb from Yahya ibn Abi Katheer. The narration is therefore Munqati. Imam Bukhari says that Yahya ibn Abi Katheer also did not hear this Hadith from Urwa bin Zubair. Thus two gaps exist in the chain of narrators. (Tirmidhi)
8 One of the narrators is Ibn Lahiyah, who has been declared as weak and unreliable (Tuhfatul-Ahwadhi Page 53 V2). The gradient for acceptance of riwaayaah applied by Dahaak (another of the narrators of this Hadith) is unknown. Furthermore, he did not hear Ahaadith from Abu Musa Ash'ari (RA) (Faidhul-Qadeer Page 263 V2).
It is narrated from Sayyidina Ali (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: When the fifteenth night of Sha'baan comes, then spend this night in qiyaam (salaah) and the day in fasting, for verily Allah descends during this night to the nearest heavens. This descension commences from sunset (here such a descension is meant which befits the dignity of Allah (Check Footnote Number 6). Allah then announces: Is there anyone who seeks forgiveness so that he may be forgiven? Is there anyone who seeks sustenance so that he may be provided with sustenance? Is there any person who has been stricken with misfortune so that I may relieve him? Many other similar proclamations are made. This continues until dawn.'
(Ibn Majah p.99; Baihaqi has also narrated the above Hadlth in Shu'abul-lmaan; Durre Manthur Lis-Suyuti Page 26 V6. This Hadith is however very weak 9. Some scholars have declared it as Mawdhu (i.e., a fabrication).
There is a narration from Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: "On the fifteenth night of Sha'baan, Allah Ta'ala descends to the lowest heaven. He thereafter forgives everyone, besides an idolater and one in whose heart there is hatred for others.
(Durre Manthur Lis-Suyuti Page 26 V6. Hafidh Mundhiri says that Bazzaar and Baihaqi have narrated this Hadith of Sayyidina Abu Bakr (RA) with an unacceptable chain of narrators. The riwaayah would thus be unacceptable. Targhib-wat-Tarhib Page 459 V3. However, the strength is not such as to render it free of criticism 10)
Sayyidina Uthmaan bin Abil Aas (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said:
"On the fifteenth night of Sha'baan Allah descends to the nearest Heaven. Thereafter a proclaimer proclaims: Is there anyone who seeks forgiveness so that I may forgive him? Is there anyone who desires anything so that I may grant his wishes? Allah thus fulfils the requests of all except the adulteress and idolater. "
(Baihaqi has reported this Hadith. - Durre Manthur Page 27 V6)
9 One of the narrators in the chain of narrators of this Hadith is Ibn Abi Jabrah, There is a difference of opinion regarding his actual name. He has been accused of fabricating Hadith (Taqrib of Ibn Hajr Page 396). Imam Ahmad said that he fabricates Hadith. Nasa'i said that his narrations should be abstained from. Ibn Mu'een said that his narrations are baseless. lmam Bukhari and others have also proved him to be weak (Mizan-ul-I'tidal of Dhahabi Page 503 V4). This Hadith is thus extremely weak. Such a Hadith cannot be relied upon even with regard to the virtues of any action. The fasting of this day should therefore not be regarded as Sunnah as such, since a weak narration is not sufficient to prove this fast being Sunnah.
10 There is an unknown narrator in the chain of narrators and the Hadith is Munqati (there exists a gap in the chain of narrators See Footnote Number 4).
Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) narrates that on the fifteenth night of Sha'baan Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) was at her place. It was her turn for Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) to spend the night with. She says: "During the night I did not find Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) due to which I felt a sudden twinge of suspicion (an occurrence not uncommon with women). I covered myself with my sheet and looked for Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) at the homes of his other wives, but I did not find him there. When I returned to my room, I saw Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) engaged in Sajdah. In his Sajdah he was saying:
Translation: My body and innermost thoughts have prostrated before You. And my heart has brought faith on You. I implore You, placing in front those sins with which I have transgressed upon my soul. O Mighty One who is yearned for at the time of every enormous task. O Mighty One! forgive my great sins. My face has prostrated before He who created it and granted it the faculty of hearing and sight.
Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) lifted his bead and then went into Sajdah for a second time and said:
Translation: O Allah. I seek protection from Your auger by means of your pleasure; through the agency of Your forgiveness. I seek protection from Your punishment; I seek protection in You from You; I cannot truly praise You as You ought to be praised. You are as You have praised Yourself. I implore You in the manner that my brother Dawood (AS) did. I place my face in the sand before My Master whose greatness demands that He be prostrated in front of.
He (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) thereafter lifted his head and said:
Translation: O Allah! Grant me a pious heart free evil. Do not make me hard-hearted and deviated.
After completing this Salaah, he came to sleep with me under the sheet. I was breathing heavily. He asked: "O Humairah, why are you out of breath? I informed him of what had transpired. He gently passed his hands over my knees and said:
These knees have carried a great burden today. This is the fifteenth night of Sha'baan. During this night, Allah forgives all His bondsmen besides an idolater and the person who harbours hatred for others.
(Durre Manthur Page 27 V6. The condition of this narration is not known.)
None of the narrations regarding the excellence of this night of Bara’at are void of criticism and comment by the scholars of Hadith. Moulana Yusuf Binouri (RA) says: "I have not come across any Sahih, Marfoo', Musnad 11 Hadith regarding the excellence of this night.' (Ma'aarifus Sunan Page 419 V5)
The Muhaddith, Ibn Dihya, has also agreed that neither has anything authentic been narrated regarding the fifteenth 'night of Sha'baan nor has any specific SaIaat been narrated for this night via reliable narrators. (Faydhul- Qadeer – Sharhul Jaamius-Sagheer Page 317 V2)
An overview of the various narrations regarding this night lends credence to the acceptability of the virtue of this night. The reason being that although these narrations are weak, they are numerous and narrated by a number of Sahabah. Some are such that not much criticism has been levelled at their Sanad (chain of narrators). Ibn Hibbaan has included some of these narrations in his "Sahih" and Hafidh Mundhiri has remarked regarding the Sanad of some that LA BA’SA BISI (it is acceptable). Therefore, according to the principal of the Muhadditheen, the excellence of the night of Bara'at is proven from a conjunction of all these narrations (check footnote 1). This is the general consensus of the Muhadditheen and Fuqaha, and this is correct.
Even Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah, a scholar notorious for refuting such things, also accepts the virtue of the night of Bara'at. He says: "So many Ahaadith and reports exist regarding the excellence of the fifteenth night of Sha'baan that one is compelled to accept that this night does possess some virtue. - Some of the pious predecessors used to specially devote this night for Salaah. (Faydhul-Qadeer Page 317 V2)
Moulana Abdur Rahman Mubarakpuri writes in his commentary of Tirmidhi: "The sheer number of Ahaadith regarding this night serves as proof against those people who refute the excellence of this night. (Tuhfatul-Ahwazi Page 53 V2)
We should therefore not fall prey to the deception of a few zealots, who completely reject this night. We should instead derive maximum benefit from this night.
MAY ALLAH TA'ALA GRANT US TAWFEEQ
11 Musnad - A narration with a complete chain of narrators from the reporter right till the original source.
Marfoo - A narration containing the speech of Nabi (S.A. W.). This term is used in contrast to Mauqoof (saying of a Sahabah), and Maqtoo (saying of a Taabi'e).
Sahih - An authentic and reliable narration fulfilling all the requirements of acceptability laid down by the scholars of Hadith e.g. all the narrators are reliable, etc. This term is also comprehensive and inclusive of the above two. (Translator)
The virtue of this night that is established from these Ahaadith is that from the very beginning of the night Allah turns with special mercy and attention towards the creation and forgives those who repent and seek forgiveness. Every Muslim should therefore value this night. Turn towards Allah with sincere regret and shame over sins committed and make a promise never to return to sin again and seek forgiveness from Allah. Seek forgiveness for oneself and the rest of the Muslims, living and deceased. Have the firm hope and resolution in the heart that Allah will surely show mercy and forgiveness.
It is understood from the Ahaadith that even on this night, some servants of Allah are deprived of His forgiveness. They are as follows:
. 1) Idolaters;
. 2) Those who harbour enmity against others;
. 3) Consumers of alcohol;
. 4) Those who disobey their parents;
. 5) Those who wear their trousers, Kurtas (Shirt, upper garment etc.) , Lungis (lower garment etc.) etc. below
. 6) Those who commit adultery and murderers;
And those who sever family ties.
We can thus gauge the severity of these sins and the need to perpetually abstain from them as they are so grave that even on an occasion when Allah's mercy comes to the fore; they still pose an obstacle to our forgiveness.
Every Muslim should consider carefully and if he is involved in any of these sins, he should sincerely repent and seek forgiveness for his sin lest he be deprived of this night. Another important point is the fact that those sins which deal with the rights of our fellowmen (Huqooqul Ibaad), will not be forgiven by Allah until forgiveness has not been sought from the one who has been harmed and a genuine effort to redress the wrong committed against him has not been made.
O Allah, Forgive us and the rest of the believers, the living amongst them and the deceased.
The Special Virtue of the Night of Bara’at
The special virtues of the night of Bara'at are:
Contrary to other nights wherein the last third of the night has special blessings and Allah descends to the lowest Heaven during this section of the night, on the night of Bara' at the special rain of the mercy and forgiveness of Allah begins to shower down right from the beginning of the night and continues right up till dawn.
The sins of countless of people are pardoned. As already mentioned, Allah's descension during this night to the nearest Heaven occurs from the very beginning, unlike the other nights. Furthermore, the number of pronouncements seeking out those who want forgiveness far supersede those which occur on other nights. (This is the opinion of Hafidh Zaynud-deen Iraqi - Faydhul Qadeer Page 317 VI)
It should be remembered that while all the narrations regarding the night of Bara 'at are weak, the narrations regarding Allah's descending to the nearest Heaven during the last third of every night are totally correct 12. It should therefore be understood in this manner, that Allah has bestowed upon his grateful servants a chance to earn His mercy and forgiveness every night. How unfortunate are we that we fail to capitalise on this wonderful opportunity that frequents us every night. We are very sinful, and this is our attitude whereas Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) who was sinless, used to get up during the nights and perform Salaat of lengthy qiraat, rukus and sajdahs. The Ummah should never forget this Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam).
12 The point being that when one is imbibed with a spirit to exert oneself on the night of Bara'at because of the virtues, then considering the fact that the special virtue of the last third portion of every night is a much more accepted and proven one, it is logical that one’s exertion in this direction should be even greater. May Allah grant us the Tawfeeq.
Consider the following Ahaadith;
Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)’s Ibaadah every night:
Sayyidina Abu Hurairah (RA) reports that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: "Almighty Allah descends to the nearest Heaven during the last third of every night. He then proclaims: "Is there anyone who will make dua unto me so that I may accept his dua? Is there anyone who will ask of Me so that I may grant him? Is there any who desires forgiveness so that I may forgive him?"
(Bukhari Page 153; Muslim Page 258 V1)
The narration of Muslim contains this addition: "He thereafter spreads out his hands and says: "Who will grant a loan to a being who is neither in need of it nor is he an oppressor."
(Mishkaat Page 109)
Amar bin Absah (RA) reports that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: “Allah is nearest to His bondsmen during the last portion of the night. If you have the ability, then make dhikr (remembrance) of Allah during this time."
(Tirmidhi has quoted this Hadith and remarked that it is "Hasan Sahih Ghareeb" - Mishkaat Page 109)
Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) reports that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) used to go to bed during the first portion of the night and he would stay awake the last portion of the night (i.e. he used to spend this portion of the night in Ibaadah)
(Bukhari and Muslim, Mishkaat Page 109)
Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) says that in Ramadhan as well as in other months Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) would never perform more than eleven raka'ats of Salaah (i.e. referring to his Tahaijud and Witr). He would first perform four raka'ats, the sheer magnificence and length of these raka'ats is beyond words. He would then perform another four raka'ats of resplendent beauty and length (i.e., the raka'ats were both excellent and long). He would thereafter read three raka'ats (of Witr).
(Bukhari Page 154 V1)
Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) says that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) used to perform such lengthy Salaat that his feet would swell. Sometimes she would say that his feet would crack. When it would be. asked of him; "Why do you strain yourself so much whereas your past and future errors have been forgiven?", he would reply: "Should I not be a grateful servant?"
(Bukhari Page 716 V2, Page 152 V1. The recitation of the dua mentioned in Hadith number 5 is also proven for Tahajjud Salaah. Muslim Page 192 V1)
Sayyidina Umar (RA) used to wake up his wives as well during the last portion of the night so that they also may perform Salaat. He would then recite the verse “And command your family members regarding Salaah and you also remain steadfast thereon. We seek not sustenance from you but in fact We sustain you and provide for you. Verily the favourable outcome awaits the pious." (Surah 20 Verse 132)
There are many similar authentic narrations from which it is understood that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) was extremely particular regarding the performance of Salaah during the nights. He would vehemently command the companions to do likewise. They also were very particular with regard to Tahajjud Salaat. In fact, the Quraan also attests to this.
Let us reiterate that while it is indeed commendable that the many weak Ahaadith narrated regarding the excellence of the night of Bara'at creates an urge within us to exert ourselves in Ibaadah on this night, we should realise that the abovementioned strong Ahaadith should definitely engender within us an even greater urge to do likewise every night. Consider especially the fact that Allah descends to the lowest Heaven during the last portion of every night. Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) and the Sahabah (RA) were very particular regarding this and encouragement towards it is present in the Quraan and Hadith. Nevertheless, we must understand that no Ibaadah should be carried out as a customary practice or in prescribed formulas that have no basis in Shari'ah.
Visiting the Graveyard on the night of Bara’at
Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) awakened during the night and visiting the graveyard is recorded in some of the previously mentioned Ahaadith. However, visiting of the graveyard is not a special characteristic of this night. Instead, it is proven from another authentic narration that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) would visit the graveyard during the last portion of every night.
Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) narrates that whenever it was her turn for Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) to spend the night with, he would visit the Baqee (graveyard of Madinah) and would say:
Translation: "Peace be upon you O dwellers of the Muslim graveyard. Death, which was promised to you has indeed befallen you. You are already journeying towards tomorrow (the Hereafter). Verily, if Allah wills, we will also join you. O Allah, forgive the inmates of Baqee.
(Sahih Muslim Page 313 V1)
Imam Nawawi writes "From this it is learnt that visiting the graveyard, greeting its inmates and making dua of forgiveness and mercy for them is Mustahab (desirable)."
(Sahih Muslim Page 313 V1)
There is another Hadith in the Sahih Muslim wherein Sayyidituna Aisha (RA)explains a similar subject matter as was seen in the narration concerning the night of Bara'at. (It is a generally accepted fact that all the Ahaadith in Muslim Shareef are authentic.) She says: "Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) once entered my room when it was my turn for him to spend the night with. He placed his sheet aside, removed his sandals and kept them at his feet. He spread the edge of his lungi (lower garment) over the bedding and lay down. He lay still until he thought I had fallen asleep. He then took his sheet slowly, wore his shoes and gently opened the door, and (as he left), closed the door very gently. I also dressed, donned my veil and left behind him. He went to Baqee where he remained standing for a long time. He thereafter raised and dropped his hands thrice and returned. I also returned. He was walking fast and I did the same in order not to be detected. I· hastened my pace in conformance to his and thus reached home before him. Just as I lay down, he entered the room. He asked: 0 Aisha, why are you breathing so heavily? I replied that there was nothing to it. He said: Tell me otherwise Allah will inform me. I replied: May my parents be sacrificed for thee and then related the entire incident to him. He asked: Are you the same person I saw in the distance? I replied in the affirmative. He gave me a slight push with his fist in my chest, the effect of which I felt, and he asked once again: Did you think that Allah and His Rasul (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) would oppress you? I replied: No matter how much people try to hide something from you, then too Allah informs you. Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) then said to me Jibraeel (AS) came to me. He secretly called me. I also secretly answered him (this concealment was due to the fact that) he does not enter the room when you have removed your clothes. I thought that you had fallen asleep and did not desire to awaken you. Besides, I feared that you would become scared. Jibraeel (AS) said to me: Your Lord commands you to visit the inmates of Baqee and make dua for their forgiveness. Sayyidina Aisha (RA) questioned Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) as to what he recited there. He replied: Say (the following dua:
اَلسَلاَمُ عَلی اَھلِ الدِّیَارِ هِيَ الوُوهٌِِیيَ وَالوَ لِسوِیيَ وَ یَرحَنُ اللّھَ الوُتَقدِّهِیيَ هٌََا
وَالوُتاَ ِخّرِیيَ وَ اًَِا اِى شَاءَاللھُ ِبکُن لَلَاحِقُوىَ
Translation: Peace be upon the believing (Mu'min) Inhabitants of the home and may Allah shower mercy upon the deceased amongst us and those whose death still awaits them. And verily, if Allah wills, we will soon join you.
(Sahih Muslim Page 314 V1)
There is no specific reference in this Hadith to the night of Bara'at or any other night. Furthermore, it is understood from the previous' Hadith that whenever it was Sayyidituna Aisha (RA)’s turn for Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) to spend the night with, he would visit the graveyard. Thus a wide and general application of this practice is understood. Aside from visiting the graveyard on the night of Bara'at, we should ponder as to what extent our practice conforms to the authentic Ahaadith of Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam). Are we following a norm, or are our actions truly spurred by an intention to follow the Sunnah? The turn of Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) occurred once every week. It can thus be concluded from the above riwaayat that Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) would visit the graveyard a minimum of once a week.
Sayyidina Buraidah Aslami (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: "I originally prohibited you from visiting the graves, however 1 now advise you to visit the graves." Another Hadith on the topic adds that this will cause you to remember death.
(Sahih Muslim Page 314 V1)
This Hadith does not restrict the visit to either day or night. We should therefore visit the graveyard whenever we have an opportunity. Remember death and make dua for the forgiveness of the deceased. We should not suffice with visiting the graveyard on the night of Bara'at and thereafter neglect this virtuous act during the rest of the year. In the Hadith, no specific day e.g. Friday, Thursday, etc., has been reserved for the visiting of the graves. We should therefore abstain from giving any particular day significance for this practice.
There is no specific prescribed salaah reserved for the night of bara’at
Allamah Anwar Shah Kashrniri (RA) has agreed that the significance of the night of Bara'at is proven. There is however no proof for those weak arid unacceptable narrations mentioned in certain books. (Alarfus-Shazi Page 156)
Allamah Yusuf Binnouri (RA) writes in Ma'arifus-Sunan that Abu Talib Makki recorded these narrations in his book Qut-ulQuloob. Imam Ghazali, following Abu Talib Makki, did the same and Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani has followed them in his book Ghunyat-ut-Talibeen, They mention a narration of Sayyidina Ali (RA) that discusses a Salaah of one hundred raka'ats, However, Ibn Jawzi (RA) and others declared this narration to be a fabrication (Mowdhu') - Page 419 V5. Allamah Dhahabi, Ibn Arraq, Suyuti, Mulla Ali Qari and other scholars of Hadith have vehemently refuted such prayers. (Those who desire further references should consult the books of Mowdhu'aat - fabrications.)
Imam Dhahabi says regarding the book Ghunyat-ut-Talibeen that although it is the work of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, many additions were made to his book after his death.
(Taqreer Moulana Shabeer Ahmad Uthmani, published by Jamea Islameah Dhabel Page 277. The above book therefore cannot be relied upon. As far as Hadith is concerned, the opinion of the scholars of Hadith (Muhadditheen) is always considered and not that of Waa'izeen and Sufis. 13)
Mulla Ali Qari has discussed this matter under a special chapter regarding the prescribed prayers of the night of Bara'at. After mentioning these prayers, be declares them to be unfounded and therefore writes that these prayers were first introduced in the fourth century in Baytul-Muqaddas and thereafter Ahaadith were fabricated in order to support these baseless formulae .
(Mowdhu 'aate-Kabeer Page 330 Beirut edition, also see Tadhkiratul-Mowdhu'aas of Fattni Page 45)
13 No disrespect is intended towards the Masha'ikh of Tasawwuf, etc. The point mentioned is that the opinions of the scholars specializing in a particular field is always given preference over others, when that field is under discussion. Therefore, the matters of the acceptance or rejection of narrations, the opinion of the Muhadditheen will always come first.
Fasting on the Fifteenth of Sha'baan is not established from Hadith
Some people are of the misconception that fasting on the fifteenth of Sha'baan is Sunnah. They have been deceived by the Hadith of Sayyidina Ali (RA) that appears in Ibn Majah. This narration is totally unreliable. An interesting point is that fasting on this day is only discussed in this weak Hadith. No other narration regarding any significance of fasting on this day is found. This Hadith is Hadith number 8 which has passed. It was also mentioned in the footnote under the badith that one of its narrators, Ibn Abi Sabirah, is a very weak narrator and has been accused of fabricating Hadith.
(Mizanul-A'itidal of Dhahabi Page 503 V4. No action can be proven as Sunnah on the basis of such a weak Hadith)
The author of Durre-Mukhtar writes that the condition (pre-requisite) for practising upon a weak Hadith is that:
The weakness of the Hadith is not severe (i.e. the factors contributing to its weakness are not severe);
The action enjoined or prohibited in the Hadith should be in keeping with the general practise of the
Shari'ah, i.e. it must not be something new that nobody has heard of before and has no basis in Shari'ah; The act established from the weak Hadith should not be regarded or referred to as Sunnah;
(Durre-Mukhtar-Ma’Shami Numan'iyyah Edition Page 87 VI Allamah Shami explains in the commentary of this excerpt that an example of severe weakness would be when at least one of the narrators of the hadith is a liar or accused of fabricating Hadith. (This factor is found in this Hadith as already explained.) He thereafter quotes from Imam Suyuti that at no time of practising on such a Hadith should it be regarded as proven. (Ibid)
This Hadith is extremely weak and it is not even narrated by any other chain of narrators 14.
Fasting on this day therefore cannot be regarded as Sunnah, it could be regarded as Nafl (optional) only. If fasting on this day be regarded as Sunnah, this will result in attributing to Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) something which cannot be proven from him and this could be very dangerous. Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: “Abstain from reporting (attributing) Hadith from me except concerning that (Hadith) which you have knowledge of (are certain of its authenticity). He who attributes a lie to me should prepare his abode in Hell” (Mishkaat).
14 Ahaadith are more often than not found narrated by more than one chain. An explanation of this is as follows: Two or more Sahabah (RA) may have heard the Hadith from Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam). Each Sahaabi may then teach it to several students, each student in turn may have several students. Thus one can quite easily see how the chain multiplies. Even if only one Sahabi (RA) reports the Hadith, the chains could still be many as he could have many students.
As previously mentioned, the weakness of a Hadith is sometimes alleviated by a study of any other chain of narration from which this Significance of the 15th night gains credibility due to the various Ahaadith discussing the topic. Fasting on the 15th day is however narrated in only one hadith which besides being weak is narrated by only one chain of narrators. There is therefore no question of this fast gaining any strength on the basis of its being more than one chain of narrators. (Translator)
Hadith is narrated. Sometimes, while one chain may be weak, the others are found to be acceptable or the Hadith gains strength by the sheer number of chains by which it is reported. (Translator)
Baihaqi has quoted a narration in Shua'bul-Imaan which discusses a prayer of Fourteen Raka'ats, after which Surah Fateha, Surah Ikhlaas, Surah Falaq, Surah Naas, Ayatul Kursi, etc. should be read fourteen times each. The following day (fifteenth of Sha'baan) should be spent in fasting. The reward of fasting on this day being equivalent to two years of fasting. Baihaqi thereafter quotes Imam Ahmad's statement that this Hadith seems to be a fabrication and it is "Munkar" (unacceptable).
Amongst its narrators is Uthmaan bin Saeed and others who are unknown.
(Shua'bul-Imaan of Baihaqi Page 387 V3 15)
Shaikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi, after quoting this Hadith quotes similar remarks regarding it and thereafter writes that Jawzani has regarded this Hadith as baseless and lbn Jawzi has regarded it as a fabrication and says that the chain of narrators of this Hadith is obscure.
(Ma-Thabata-bis-Sunnah page 213)
15 I have seen this book in Madinah Munawwara. This Hadith has been quoted directly from the original. This book is now available in the Darul-uloom library Azaadville)
Fasting during the Month of Sha'baan is Sunnah and a clearly established practice of Shari' ah
Fasting in the month of Sha'baan, without the stipulation of any day, is proven from Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam). In fact, he used to fast excessively during this month.
Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) describing the fast of Nabi (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) says that aside from the month of Ramadhan, he never used to fast for the entire month. However, of the remaining eleven months, he would fast in Sha'baan the most (Bukhari Page 264 V1). Although it is mentioned in some narrations that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) would fast throughout the entire month of Sha'baan, however the famous scholar of Hadith, Abdullah bin Mubarak, explains that these Ahaadith refer to fasting the major portion of the month. General Arabic usage permits a person to refer to the majority of the month spent in fasting as being the entire month. (Tirmidhi Page 155)
Ibn Abbas (RA) has also narrated that besides the month of Ramadhan, Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) never spent the entire portion of any month in fasting. To fast excessively during the month of Sha'baan would therefore definitely be in conformance to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam).
However, one should not fast during the second half of Sha'baan if one fears that one might become weak, thus putting off the fast of Ramadhan. Sayyidina Abu Hurairah (RA) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) has said: "Do not fast during the second half of Sha'baan (Tirmidhi Page 155). Imam Tahawi has interpreted the prohibition in the above Hadith to be based on compassion and sympathy. He writes that the person who fears weakness (due to excessive fasting in Sha'baan) will be well advised not to fast during the second half of Sba'baan so that he may be able to keep the compulsory fast of Ramadhan without any strain (Sharhu Ma 'anil-Aathaar Page 289 VI)
Similarly it will not be correct to fast during the last one or two days of Sha'baan, if such a fast is kept with the intention that should Ramadhan have already started, (and no one saw the moon) then I will not be missing any of its fasts. Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) had prohibited this 16.
Yes, if it is a person's habit to fast at the end of every month or during a specific day of the week and that day occurs at the end of Sha 'baan, then such a person will be permitted to fast during the last days of Sha'baan since such a fast would not be kept on account of Ramadhan.
Similarly, the general masses would not be permitted to fast on the day of "Shak" (doubt). They should instead wait until noon. If by then no news of the moon is received, they should continue eating, etc. Ulama, Muftis and other special people would however be permitted to fast on this day with the intention of Nafl. (Durr-e - Mukhtaar-Ma '-Shami Page 87 VI)
NOTE: The day of Shak refers to the 30th of Sha'baan when, due to overcast conditions on the night preceding it, one is placed in doubt over the sighting of the moon.
16 The wisdom behind such a prohibition is quite apparent. Some may start out keeping fast on the 29th or 30th of Sha’baan with this in mind that it may perhaps be Ramadhan, Others may add to this and fast on the 28th also. While others may soon begin to consider these fasts as compulsory or important. The result is that an unproven
practise would become introduced. When the Shari' ah has not made it difficult for us, why do we bring difficulty upon ourselves? (Translator)
The Night of Bara’at and the Quraan
Has the night of Bara'at been mentioned in the Quraan? The most correct opinion is that the night of Bara'at has not been mentioned in the Quraan.
Allah Ta'ala says in Surah Dukhan: "By the oath of the clear Book (the Holy Quraan). Verily We revealed it (Holy Quraan) in a blessed night. Verily We are the Warners. On this night the decision of every matter of wisdom is passed and established." (Verses 2-5)
The words "blessed night" in the above verse refers to Laylatul Qadr which occurs in the last ten days of Ramadhan. Laylatul Qadr has been called "a blessed night" because unlimited Divine blessings descend upon the creation on this night. As mentioned in Surah Qadr, the Quran was revealed in this night. Similarly, it is mentioned' in Surah Baqarah (Verse 23) that the Quraan was revealed from the Lawhe-Mahfuz (a protected tablet in the Heavens) to the lowest Heaven, in the month of Ramadhan.
The meaning of the above-mentioned verse from Surah Dukhan would therefore mean that on the night of "Qadr" the details of all those who will die or receive sustenance etc. during the forth-coming year are transmitted from the Lawhe-Mahfuz to the Angels (Ibn Katheer). This is the opinion of most commentators of the Quraan such as Ibn Abbas, Qatadah, Mujahid, Hasan Basri, etc. Scholars such as Imam Nawawi have also accepted the authenticity of this opinion. Hafidh Ibn Katheer writes that those like Ikramah, who have explained the "blessed night" in the above verse as the night of Bara'at are very distant from the correct interpretation. The reason being that the aayat refers to the night of the revelation of the Holy Quraan which has already been proven to be Laylatul Qadr (lbn Kathir in the Tafseer of Surah Dukhan, Ma 'arifus-Sunan Page 420 VS, Ma 'ariful Quraan Page 757 V7). Ibn Kathir writes further that there is a Hadith attributed to Uthmaan bin Muhammad that Rasulullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)said: "The ages of people (i.e. whether they live further) are decided from Sha'baan to Sha'baan. A person marries and is even blessed with a child, yet his name is amongst those who are to die (and he is completely unaware)."
This Hadith is however Mursal and cannot be given credit when its subject matter directly contradicts that which has been established from the Quraan (i.e., that these decisions are passed to the Angels on Laylatul Qadr and not on the night of Bara' at). Qazi Abu Bakr bin Arabi writes that there is no reliable Hadith regarding the fifteenth of Sha'baan from which it may be understood that sustenance, life and death are decided on this night. He has even ventured so far as to say that there isn't any reliable narration concerning this night being a blessed one (Ma 'ariful Quraan Page 757 V7). Since the significance of the night of Bara'at has been mentioned in a number of weak narrations, and the narrations are not in conflict with any verse of the Quraan or any authentic narration, we do accept its significance. However, the opinion that sustenance, death, etc. are determined on this night is in conflict with the Quraan and is therefore unacceptable. It is on this account that the research scholars have always rejected this opinion. The opinion of the lecturers would not be considered in this discussion, instead the opinion of the scholars of Tafseer and Hadith would be considered.
A Hadith that is attributed to Ibn Abbas (RA) states that sustenance, life and death are decided on the night of Bara'at and this information is transmitted to the Angels on the night of Qadr (Ruhul-Ma' ani). However, this Hadith is unreliable since its chain of narrators are unknown.
There is a Hadith of Sayyidituna Aisha (RA) mentioned in Mishkaat (Page 115) on the authority of Baihaqi's Da'waatul-Kabeer. This Hadith discusses that decisions are passed on this night regarding those that will be born, those that will die, the actions of man are placed in front of Allah and sustenance is revealed. The condition of this Hadith is unknown and it is possible that the scholars of Tafseer and Hadith do not consider it reliable.
The fifteenth of Sha’ban, which is commonly referred to as “Laylatul Bara-ah” (refer: Tafseer Razi and Ruhul ma’ani, surah 44. Ayah:3) is one of the significant nights in the Islamic calendar.
Ibnul Haj (rahimahullah) states:
“The salaf (pious predecessors) would sanctify this night and prepare themselves for it in advance”
(Al-Madkhal, vol.1 pg.299)
Some people, due to being ill-informed actually refute the auspiciousness of this occasion. The following paragraphs serve to correct that false notion.
Ahadith on the virtue of the night
There are several ahadith (plural of hadith) in which the merit of the 15th of Sha’ban has been discussed.
1) Amongst them is the narration of Sayyiduna Mu’azh ibn Jabal (radiallahuánhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahuálaihi wasallam) said:
“Allah Ta’ala pays special attention to his entire creation on the fifteenth night of Sha’ban and forgives all of them except one who ascribes partners to Him and one who harbors enmity in his heart.”
(Al- Mu’jam al-Awsat hadith: 6776 and Al-Mu’jam al-Kabir vol.20 pg.108-109)
Reliability of this narration
Imam Ibn Hibban (rahimahullah) has classified this narration as sahih (authentic) and has included it in his book – Al-Sahih. (Sahih ibn Hibban vol.12 pg.482; hadith:5665). Hafiz Al-Haythami (rahimahullah) has mentioned that all the narrators of this hadith are reliable. (Majma’ al-Zawa’id vol.8 pg.65)
2) Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radiyallahu’anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:
“On the middle night of Sha’ban Allah Ta’ala’s mercy come to the first sky and He forgives all besides the polytheists and those who harbour enmity for their brethren”
(Musnad Bazzar & Shu’abul Iman of Baihaqi, hadith:3546)
Reliability of this one
Hafiz al-Mundhuri (rahimahullah) has classified this as sound (لا بأس به) in his Al-Targhib (vol.3 pg.459).
Al-Haithami (rahimahullah) says: “Abdul Malik hasn’t been declared weak by Ibn Abi Hatim, and the rest of the narrators are reliable” (Majma’uz Zawaid, vol.8 pg.65)
In fact, Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) has also classified one of its possible chains as hasan (sound). (al-Amali al-mutlaqah pgs.119-1222)
Besides the above two narrations, there are many other Sahabah (radiallahuánhum) that narrated ahadith regarding the merit of this night. Among them are the following:
3) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiallahuánhu) (Musnad al-Bazzar hadith: 3551 and Amali of Ibn Sam’un.
Hafiz Sakhawi (rahimahullah) has said: “There are no narrators in this chain that have been declared unreliable.” Al-Ajwibat ul-Mardiyyah vol.1 pgs.325)
4) Sayyidatuna Aishah (radiyallahu’anha) (Sunan Tirmidhi, hadith: 739, Musnad Ahmad, hadith: 26018 & Shu’abul Iman, hadith: 3545)
5) Sayyiduna Abu Tha’labah (radiallahuánhu) (Shu’abul-Iman, hadith:3551)
6) Sayyiduna Awf ibn Malik (radiallahuánhu) (Musnad al-Bazzar, hadith: 2048, see Majma’uz Zawaid, vol.8 pg.65
7) Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As (radiallahuánhu) (Musnad Ahmad hadith 6642, classified as “layyin” i.e, slightly weak by Mundhiri and Haithami rahimahumallah, Targheeb, vol.3 pg.460 & Majma’uz Zawaid, vol.8 pg.65)
8) Sayyiduna Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (radiallahuánhu) (Ibn Majah hadith 1390; Shu’abul -Iman hadith 3552)
9) Sayyiduna ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (radiallahuánhu) (Ibn Majah hadith: 1388; Shu’abul -Iman hadith: 3542)
10) Sayyiduna ‘Uthman ibn Abil-‘As (radiallahuánhu) (Shu’abul-Iman hadith 3555)
11) The Tabi’i, Kathir Ibn Murrah (rahimahullah). (Shu’abul -Iman hadith: 3550) (see Ajwibat al-Mardiyyah vol.1 pgs.325-332)
12) The Tabi’i,Yahya ibn Abi Katheer (rahimahullah). (Shu’abul Iman, hadith:3544)
The collective strength of these (twelve) narrations cannot be refuted.
After quoting some of the above narrations, Imam Baihaqi (rahimahullah) says:
“…when they are combined they acquire some strength”
(Da’watul Kabeer; see: Is’aful Khullan, bima warada fi laylatin nisf min Sha’ban, of Shaykh Hammad Al-Ansari (rahimahullah) pg.19)
Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) has also accepted the collective strength of these narrations. (Majmu’ Fatawa. See below)
The Grand Mufassir, ‘Allamah Alusi (rahimahullah) has termed those who refute the virtues of the night entirely as “rash” and “reckless”. (Tafseer Ruhul Ma’ani, surah:44, Ayah:3)
Shaykh ‘Abdullah Siddeeq Al-Ghumari (rahimahullah) (a recent Moroccan Faqih and Muhaddith) has also termed this as an exaggeration. (Husnul Bayan fi laylati nisf min Sha’ban, pg.7)
Statements of the Scholars
The general virtue of this night has been accepted by many great ‘Ulama of the past.
Amongst those many great scholars who have attested to the virtue of this night are:
Verdicts of the Tabi’un
1) Imam ‘Ata ibn Yasar (rahimahullah) –the great Tabi’i of Madinah- said:
“After Laylatul-Qadr, there is no other night in the year that is more virtuous than the middle (15th) night of Sha’ban” (Lataif al-Ma’arif, pg.264 & Sunan Sa’eed ibn Mansur; refer: Husnul Bayan, pg.11)
2) Khalifah ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul Aziz (rahimahullah) wrote to his governor in Basrah: “Allah Ta’ala pours his mercy in abundance on four nights of the year, so ensure that you benefit there from. One of them being the middle (15th) night of Sha’ban” (Lataiful Ma’arif, pg.263. After quoting this, Ibn Rajab has expressed his reservation on the attribution of this statement to ‘Khalifah ‘Umar.)
3) & 4) There exists a narration from Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu’anhu) and from Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhuma) in which they two attest to the virtue of this night. (Lataiful Ma’arif, pg. 262 & Musannaf ‘Abdur Razzaq, hadith:7927) However, the authenticity of this unverified.
Those after the Tabi’un
5) Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) mentioned that duas are accepted by Almighty Allah on the 15th of Sha’ban. (ibid, pg. 264 & Sunan Baihaqi; refer: Husnul bayan,pg.7)
6) Imam Awza’i (rahimahullah) was of the view that people should engage in individual worship on this night. (ibid, pg.263)
7) Imam Is-haq ibn Rahuyah (rahimahullah) also approved of spending this night in worship/in the masjid. (ibid, pg.263)
8) Imam al-Majd ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) (Faidhul Qadeer, vol.2 pg. 317)
9) Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah has said, ‘As for the middle night of Sha’ban, 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 salat in it individually. Hence, such a deed cannot be disputed.’ (Majmu’ al-Fatawa ibn Taymiyyah vol.23 pg.132)
10) Ibn Rajab al-Hambali (rahimahullah) writes: “Every Muslim is recommended to avail himself for ‘ibadah on this night” (Lataif, pg.265)
11) Hafiz Zaynuddeen al-‘Iraqi (rahmatullahi’alaih) (Faidhul Qadeer, vol.2 pg.317)
12) Ibnul Haj –Demise: 737- (rahimahullah) states: “ This night has great virtue and abundant good” (Al-Madkhal, vol.1 pg.299)
Scholars who would personally engage in ‘ibadah (worship) on this night
Hafiz Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) has cited that the following (and other) Tabi’un would engage in ‘ibadah (worship) on the fifteenth night of Sha’ban;
1) Makhool (rahimahullah)
2) Khalid ibn Ma’dan (rahimahullah)
3) Luqman ibn ‘Amir (rahimahullah) and others…
Those after the Tabi’un
4) Hafiz Ibn ‘Asakir –Demise:571- (rahimahullah) the author of the volumous “Tareekh Dimashq” (in 70 volumes) would also engage in ‘ibadah on this night. (Siyar A’lamin Nubala, vol.20 pg.562)
5) Ibnul Haj –Demise: 737- (rahimahullah) states: “The salaf (pious predecessors) would sanctify this night and prepare themselves for it in advance” (Al-Madkhal, vol.1 pg.299)
From the above paragraphs it is clear that:
The virtue of the night is reported by more than ten Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) and Tabi’un (rahimahumullah)There are verdicts of over ten ‘Ulama (from the Tabi’un onwards) that support this.To engage in worship on this night (in addition to other occasions) has been the practice of numerous ‘Ulama.That those who totally refute the merit of this night have been labelled as reckless and exaggerated