Last night was the 15th night of the eighth lunar month of Sha’ban. It marked the “Night of Freedom.”
Some hadith that describes this night
Mu’adh (may Allah be pleased with him) says that the Messenger (pbuh) said, “On the fifteenth night of Sha’ban, Allah looks upon His creation with special favour, forgiving all except the idolater and the person full of rancour and hatred” [Tadhib wa at-Tarhib].
A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reports that the Messenger (pbuh) once asked me, “do you know what happens on the fifteenth of Sha’ban?” I replied no. He (pbuh) then said, “on this night a list is prepared of all those that will be born and all those that will die that year. On this night, people’s works are raised to the heavens and their annual sustenance is fixed” [Mishkat].
Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say “On the night of the fifteenth of Sha’ban, do the night vigil and fast the next day. For Allah manifests Himself on the sky from sunset announcing ‘is there anyone out there seeking forgiveness so he could be forgiven? Is there anyone seeking sustenance so that he could be blessed with it? Is there anyone who is pain-stricken so that he could be relieved?’ And so on and so on. This continues till dawn” [Ibn Majah].
A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) says the Messenger (pbuh) said Jibril came to me and told me about the fifteenth of Sha’ban, he said “On this night Allah frees people from hell in large numbers as large as the hair of Bani-Kalb’s goats. However, He does not forgive the idolater, the one full of rancour, the one who breaks family ties, the one who is disobedient to his parents and the drunkard” [At-Tahdhi].
These are just some of the hadith narrated by different companions about the virtues of this night. it is truly a night of forgiveness and freedom from Divine wrath. It depicts how the Merciful Lord comes down to the sky offering His mercy and forgiveness to the earthly sinners.
How should we spend this most wonderful night?
The Messenger (pbuh), according to the hadith of Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) did the following things during this night:
Visited the graveyard of Jannat-al-Baqi.
Prayed most of the night, spending a lot of time in prostration.
Made this special Du‘a: “O Lord! You are forgiving, You love forgiveness, forgive us.”
Imam Fakhr-ud-Din ar-Razi describes five distinct benefits of this great night:
1. Every important affair affecting human life is decided upon.
2. The excellence of worship.
3. The Messenger (pbuh) said “whoever prays 100 rak‘ah of nafl, Allah will send 100 angels to bless him.”
3. Showering of Divine Mercy.
4. The Messenger (pbuh) said “Allah forgives the sinners on this night and frees them from the shackles of Hell.”
5. Allah forgives everyone except the persistent sinners like those full of anger, hatred of others, drunkards and those disobedient to parents.
The Messenger (pbuh) interceded for his Ummah on the 13th of Sha’ban, he was granted one third. On the 14th of Sha’ban, he was granted another third, and on the 15th of Sha’ban he was granted the whole of his Ummah.
The night of 15th Sha’ban is a blessed night when pious people immerse themselves in complete devotion and loving worship. They recite the Quran, do zikr and pray nafl during the night and fast the following day.
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