Thursday 17th March 2022 (at Maghrib) will mark the night of 15th Sha’ban.
The 15th of Sha’ban, also known as Laylat al-Bara’ah, Laylat an-Nisf min Sha’ban, and Shab-e-Barat, is regarded by Muslims as one of the most important days on the Islamic calendar. Some celebrate the night with special prayers and fast the following day.
The importance of the 15th night of Sha’ban is a subject of debate among Muslims. The reality is that scholars consider the hadiths about 15th Sha’ban as being sound (Sahih), good (Hassan) and weak (Dha’if). However, due to the fact that there are numerous hadith, the virtue of this night is accepted as authentic by scholars.
Ibn Taymiyyah (rh) says, ‘So many hadith and reports exist regarding the excellence of the 15th night of Sha’ban that one is compelled to accept that this night does possess some virtue’. This is the general consensus of scholars regarding this night.
The main blessing of this night is that Allah pours His mercy and forgiveness upon earth from Maghrib until Fajr. The Prophet (saw) described the extent of His forgiveness in powerful language in numerous narrations:
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 Muslims’. [Ahmad]
(In other narrations, he (saw) mentioned more categories of people who wouldn’t be forgiven, including those who severed the ties of kinship and those who disobeyed their parents, among others).
Aishah (ra) also narrated that the Prophet (saw) once remained in Sajdah for so long during this night that she became scared, and touched his foot to make sure he was still alive. He (saw) moved his foot and she heard him reciting the following du’a:
The Prophet (saw) also said to Aishah (ra), ′Allah descends on the night of the middle of Sha’ban to the lowest heaven, and He forgives more than the numbers of hairs on the sheep of Banu Kalb (an Arab tribe renowned for their great flocks of sheep)’. [Ibn Majah and others].
Finally, the Prophet (saw) said that on this night, 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]
Therefore, make du’a for forgiveness on the 15th night of Sha’ban. Increase your dhikr, and ask Allah for forgiveness, mercy, relief from suffering and provision. Remember to forgive anyone who you have a grudge against and resolve your problems with them.
Again, the hadith regarding prescribed prayers for this night – such as prayers of fourteen raka’at – are weak hadith, so it cannot be considered a Sunnah practice. However, you can still perform nafl (voluntary) prayers during this night to benefit from its blessings. As Ibn Taymiyyah (rh) says, ‘Some of the pious predecessors used to specially devote this night (15th Sha’ban) for Salah’.
Moreover, the Prophet (saw) always encouraged performing nafl prayers and making du’a at night, particularly during the last third of the night. This is the case for any night in the year.
Most scholars agree that the night of 15th Sha’ban is not mentioned in the Qur’an.
Some commentators have said that the night of 15th Sha’ban is mentioned in Surah Ad-Dukhan – ‘Indeed, We sent it [the Book] down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind]. On that night is made distinct every precise matter’. [The Noble Qur’an, 44:3-4]
However, most scholars agree that this ayah refers to Laylat al-Qadr. The opinion that 15th Sha’ban is ‘the Night of Destiny’ – i.e. the night on which your provision and time of death is named – is not a strong opinion. And Allah knows best.
Umar bin Abd al-Aziz (rh) and others have said, ′Do not neglect four nights in the year, because on those nights Allah pours His mercy upon His slaves: the first night of Rajab, the fifteenth night of Sha’ban, the night before Eid al-Fitr and the night before Eid al-Adha’.
Thus, we should make an effort to increase our ’ibadah and ask for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness on this night. We should also strive to remove any hatred or grudges in our hearts in order to receive Allah’s forgiveness on this night.
Remember: Sha’ban is the month in which our annual deeds are raised to Allah – and the night of 15th Sha’ban is the perfect opportunity to enter Ramadan with our sins forgiven, in sha’ Allah!
*This article was taken from Muslim Hands.