The inherent nature of human being is to do sins and disobey Allah (SWT) but Allah loves them very much and gives them many opportunities to come back to the right path and to the path of heaven. Allah is most forgiving and loves to forgive. As comes in Hadith, Anas (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SA) said, "Every son of Adam is sinner, and the best of the sinners are the repentant." (Jami’ AT-Tirmidhi Book: 37, Hadith: 2687) In order to forgive mankind he makes many scopes like the month of Ramadan, Night of decree and Shab-e-Barat etc. The significant month of Ramadan, which is month of forgiveness and nearness to Allah (SWT) and the Qur’an is very close to us. Now we are staying in the month of Sha’ban; in this month there is a rewarding night called Shab-e-Barat. In this month the prophet (SA) used to increase his worship and fasting as a preparation for Ramadan. On the authority of Usman Ibne Zaid Said (RA) who said, ‘I said, “O messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Sh’aban” He (SM) said, “That is a month that people neglect, between Razab and Ramadan. It is a month in which actions are presented to the lords of the universe, and I like my actions to be presented while I am fasting. “Narrated by Nasai”
It is very unfortunate that ‘Shab-e-Barat’ or Laylatun-Nisf- Min-Sha’ban now has been the issue of a debate among the Muslims Community. Some exaggerate to celebrate it with some activities which do not go with Islam while some ignore it completely. So the solution is that all the Hadiths of Shab-e- Barat are not weak, fabricated and baseless on the other hand considering the Shab-e-Barat as significant as night of decree is a very wrong concept. We have to follow the middle way as Allah said, “In the way I made you a moderate Ummah (Community)” “Sura Al Baqarah, Verse: 143”. The Hadiths regarding the significance of Shab-e-Barat are being mentioned bellow. Hazrat Muaz (RA) narrated, The Prophet (saw) said, ′Allah gazes at His creation on the fifteenth night of Sha’ban and then forgives all His slaves except for two types of people: those who attribute partners to Allah and those who have rancour for their fellow Muslim. “Sahih Ibne Hibban, Hadith No: 5665”.On this night Allah opens his mercy and blessing for everyone but two types of people are deprived of it who involve in activities related to shirk and envy others. In another Hadith Ala Ibnul Haris (RA) narrated, Ayesha (RA) said, “In one night Prophet (SW) stood for prayer and remained in sazdah for a long time that I became scared and touched his thumb to make sure he was still alive. He moved his foot. When he sat straight and finished prayer he called me Oh Ayesha! Are you afraid that Allah’s prophet will spoil your right? I replied no Yea Rasulullah. I was afraid of your death as you were in sizdah for a long time. He (SM) asked me do you know what night it is. I replied Allah and his prophet know better; then he said, it is the night of middle Sha’ban. In the night of middle Sha’ban Allah looks at his slaves and forgives who seek for forgiveness and bestows his mercy upon those who want mercy and leaves envier in their position”. (Shuabul Iman, Baihaqi 3/382-368).
Ali Ibne Abi Taleb (RA) described when 15th Sha’ban comes do worship in this night and do fasting in this day. Because Allah descends at first sky from sunset until dawn, Allah asks His servants, ‘Is there anyone seeking forgiveness from Me so that I may forgive him? Is there anyone seeking provision from Me so I may provide for him? Is there anyone suffering so I may relieve his suffering?’ (Ibn Majah, Hadith no 1384). The scholar said the source of this hadith is weak but the following hadiths support the fasting and worshiping in this night.
It was narrated that ‘Abdullah ibne Amr Ibnul Aas (RA) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me: “It is sufficient for you to fast three days every month, because for every good deed you will have (the reward of ten like it, so that will be like fasting for a lifetime.” [Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1874); Muslim (1159).] So fasting in Al-Ayyam-ul-Beed” 13, 14 and 15 of every month is recognized by Islamic scholar. 15th of Sha’ban is in Al-Ayyam-Ul Beed also. Besides this our prophet (SM) used to keep fasting from 1st Sha’ban until 27th Sha’ban. It indicates that we can keep fasting in this day but it is not obligatory. Let us come to worship in this night. Abu Huraira (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah, (peace and blessings be upon him), said, “Our Lord Almighty descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of every night, saying: Who is calling upon Me that I may answer him? Who is asking from Me that I may give him? Who is seeking My forgiveness that I may forgive him?”(Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī - 1145, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 758). As Allah comes down to the lowest heaven in the last third of every night, so he comes down in this night as well.
The above mentioned Hadiths imply that we can worship, ask for forgiveness and provision as well in Shab-e-Barat. Now let us discuss what we should do and what we should not do. There is no particular salat or Ibadah in this night in type but we can perform voluntary prayer, stand long time in prayer, remain long time in sazdah, ask for forgiveness, do dhikir, make dua and recite the Holy Qur’an. All these prayers should be performed personally so that nobody feels disturbed. We have to keep in mind that nafl prayers are not mandatory like the daily five-time prayers. We should make it sure that Fajr prayer is not missed despite nightlong prayers of Shab-e-Barat. At the same time, we should avoid such practices as using microphones all over the night disturbing the sick, children and elderly people, lighting of premises and using fireworks. May Allah (SWT) enable us to do what should be done and give up what should not be done in this Shab-e-Barat. May Allah bless us in this month and enable us to reach Ramadan.
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