Sha’ban is the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is a month of good, that introduces the great month of Ramadan. Sha’ban is given its value and respect by the Muslim because of its religious significance.
The deeds are ascend to Allah in this month:
Usama bin Zaid (may Allah be pleased with them) said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Sha’ban.’ He said: ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)
- The phrase “Sha’ban is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan” indicates that because it comes between two important months, the Sacred Month of Rajab and the month of fasting, people are preoccupied with those two months and they do not pay attention to Sha’ban. Many people think that fasting in Rajab is better than fasting in Sha’ban, because Rajab is one of the Sacred Months, but this is not the case.
- In the hadeeth above, there is an indication that even though certain times, places and people may be commonly thought to posse a particular virtue, there may be others that are better than them.
- It also indicates that it is mustahabb (recommended) to make good use of the times when people tend to be negligent, by doing acts of worship.
The prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fasting in Sha’ban:
A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’ban.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim). According to a report narrated by Muslim, “He used to fast all of Sha’ban, he used to fast all but a little of Sha’ban.”
And she (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The month which the Messenger of Allah most liked to fast was Shaban; indeed he used to join it to Ramadan.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i )
- Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not fast any entire month apart from Ramadan.”
- A group of scholars, including Ibn al-Mubarak and others, thought that the Prophet did not fast all of Sha’ban, but he fasted most of it. This is supported by a report in Saheeh Muslim narrated from A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), who said: “I never knew of him – meaning the Prophet (PBUH) – fasting for any entire month apart from Ramadan.” According to another report also narrated by Muslim, A’ishah said: “I never saw him fast for any entire month from the time he came to Madeenah, apart from Ramadan.”
- Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Fasting in Sha’ban is better than fasting in the Sacred Months, and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadan, before or after. The status of these fasts is like that of al-Sunan al-Rawatib which are done before and after fard (obligatory prayers) and which make up for any shortfall in the number of obligatory prayers. The same applies to fasts observed before and after Ramadan. Just as al-Sunan al-Rawatib are better than other kinds of voluntary prayers, so fasts observed (in the months) before and after Ramadan are better than fasts at other times.
Salaf and sha’ban:
- The Salaf may Allah be pleased with them considered Sha’ban is like an introduction to Ramadan and it has some things in common with Ramadan, such as fasting, reciting Qur’an and giving charity.
They considered fasting the month of Shaban can serve as your training for Ramadan, both spiritually and physically.
- The recitation of the Holy Qur’an is another form of worship that the Salaf used to pay particular attention to in Sha’ban. The month of Sha’ban is the month of the Quran.
Salamah bin Suhayl used to say: “The month of Sha’ban is the month of reciters (of the Qur’an).” Habib bin Abi Thabit used to say, when Sha’ban comes, “This is the month of reciters (of the Qur’an).” When Sha’ban comes, ‘Amr bin Qays al-Mala’i used to close his store and devote his time to reading the Qur’an.
Finally, our noble elders may Allah be pleased with them, used to ask Allah the Mighty and Majestic to allow them to reach Ramadan and sacrifice their rest during this month for the sake of worship so that when Ramadan comes, they will not find worship difficult. They used to ask Allah to allow them to reach Ramadan because of the knowledge they had of the good and wide spread benefit it has.
Written by Shaykh Abou Abdel Rahman