Jun 21, 2012

Importance Of Shabaan

By Abeer S


Shabaan; derived from shaaba (شَعَبَ) meaning to emerge. And how true this is! When most of us are preoccupied with mundane worldly affairs, out of nowhere, this month emerges and we are left in awe at how quickly the year went by and how quickly it is almost Ramadhan.
There are a few things that are synonymous with the month of Shabaan regardless of what culture or ethnicity a Muslim is from: excitement, preparation and much anticipation.
No matter how out of touch a Muslim is with their deen, they know that these months to come will acquaint them with the sweetness of eeman their soul yearns for. The peace and tranquility that softens the harshest of hearts will be theirs. For many, the months to come will be a new beginning, an opportunity to start over and it is these thoughts and preparations of hearts, minds and pantries that occupy most of Shabaan.

And so in the following article I want to highlight the importance of this month. And how we should go about making the most of this blessed month especially in light of the month to follow. And how our beloved peace and blessings be upon him valued this month.

Furthermore, this month sees an over-excitement that leads a lot of people to fall into celebrations, rituals, gatherings, etc. that were not part of our prophet’s life, that are not part of Islam, and thus I shall also cover those briefly at the end.

The virtues of Shabaan

Our deeds are sent to Allah.
We learn from prophetic tradition that our deeds are shown to Allah subhaneh wa taala during pre-set regular time intervals:

Daily: There are some angels that are sent to earth on shifts, and they change their shifts at Asr and at Fajr. When they go back to Allah, Allah subhaneh wa taala asks them, “how did you leave my slave?” Although He is All-Aware. If we were performing our salah, they reply, “When we came they were praying and we left they were praying”. Their answer is dependent on our situation in those two times of the day.

Weekly: Mondays and Thursdays and this is one of the reasons why we fast on both these days.

Yearly: A month every year, and this month is Shabaan. And thus we are encouraged to do good as we will be reported to Allah in that state.

Fasting in this month:

“The Prophet ﷺ did not observe voluntary fasting so frequently during any other month as he did during Shabaan. He observed fasting throughout the month of Shabaan.
And in another narration: He observed fasting during the whole month of Shabaan except a few days.”
[Bukhari and Muslim]

A few things are to be clarified with the issue of fasting during this month:

It is mustahab (recommended) to fast a greater part of Shabaan, however he - peace and blessings be upon him - never fasted the entire month, and he we would vary the number of days he fasted each year so that there were no set number of days.

And from other sayings of the prophet it is clear that he – peace and blessings be upon him – encouraged for there to be at least a gap of one day between Shabaan and Ramadan.

Furthermore, it is forbidden to fast on ‘yawm al-shakk’ (literally: the day of doubt), in other words, the day when it is uncertain whether it is last day of Shabaan or the first day of Ramadan.

As for our sisters who need to make up their missed fasts, it is best for them to do so right after Ramadan, but for whatever reason if a sister is unable to make up her missed fasts of the previous year’s Ramadan, then she is encouraged to make them up in Shabaan.

An advice: scholars have discouraged from fasting excessively nearing the end of Shabaan for someone who is not used to fasting – based on hadiths of our Prophet – as it might cause them to weaken and be unable to fast during Ramadan. However, those who are used to fasting voluntarily throughout the year, they can continue to do so till then end.

Misconceptions Surrounding Shabaan

Eat and Party to your Heart’s Content 

As silly as it may sound to some of us, there are people who see the month of Ramadan as an end to all forms of liveliness and happiness and to make up for it in advance parties are thrown near the end of Shabaan and massive exaggerated amounts of food is devoured (and much is wasted). And this is clearly against what Islam teaches, and it is goes against one of the purposes of the blessed month of Ramadan.

Not only do people indulge in such nonsensical behaviour but on a worse level, some take the month of Shabaan as a free ‘all-you-can-sin’ period. And so they indulge in sins upon sins before Ramadan comes in and “deprives” them of their so called pleasures of life. And these are very misguided actions.

I pose to these people – may Allah not make us of them – a simple question: What is your guarantee that you will live to see Ramadan and what is the guarantee that Allah will accept your repentance?

Celebrations of Mid-Shabaan..?

In Islam the right from the wrong has been made clear, crystal clear. And for us to worship Allah with a doubtful matter is forbidden.

In order to know what is right and what is wrong we refer to the texts that we have readily available and if we are unable to interpret them, then we refer to Ahl al-Ilm; the people of knowledge.

And the Truth of the matter is that most of the Hadiths that speak about the virtues of mid-Shabaan are weak and others are fabricated (!). And it is a fact that whenever there is a weak Hadith, there is always something from the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ that is better than it, thus we have absolutely no need to resort to weak narration of the traditions of the Prophet ﷺ. The companions of our most beloved ﷺ would always ask for a sound narration of the Prophet in order to implement it. And they are our example in everything!

As for the fabricated narrations, the following Hadith should suffice with regards to what our stance should be with them:

Our Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever attributes a saying to me that I did not say then he should look for his place in the Hellfire”
[Narrated in Bukhari]

Thus to put plainly: there is absolutely nothing that is special about the 15th of Shabaan. Our righteous predecessors who were the closest to the time of the Prophet ﷺ and who were most heedful in practicing the sunnah, never paid any special attention to mid-Shabaan (and neither did the sahaba). And for this matter it becomes forbidden for us to single this day out for worship.

We cannot single out this day to celebrate it, nor can we single it out to perform extra units of prayer, nor can we single it out to fast it.

A question to ask ourselves; who’s right is it to select days (or months) and assign them as revered days of Islam? Who’s right is it to assign days and events as Islamic celebrations? It is Allah’s right. And whatever is a holy month or day has been clearly stated in the Quran or sahih sunnah. And it is not up to us to assign virtuous days to the Islamic Calendar according to what pleases us or what seems right to us. We must know better than to attribute things to Islam that have not been attributed to it by The Master!

To sum up, Shabaan is a special month as mentioned above in light of the sunnah of our Prophet ﷺ; however there is no special day that can be segregated for worship or celebration.

The righteous companions of the Prophet ﷺ prepared for Ramadan six months in advance! Seeing that we are left with but a few days till Ramadan, we must make the most of it. Some of the things that you can pre-plan for Ramadan:

1. Select a Masjid for salat al Taraweeh. - Masjid that has a room for women.
- Islamically, you are allowed to select one Masjid over another if the imam hastens during the salah and you are unable to attain khushu’.

2. Islamic Lecture. It is always encouraged for Muslims to make it a habit of attending Islamic talks and lectures. And especially in the month of Ramadan when people are generally leaning towards Islam, it would be a good opportunity to start. So researching mosques that give talks, scheduling talks, registering, planning how you’ll get there, etc.

3. Feeding People. Something that my parents do: set a budget to feed a poor family (or even person) every day of Ramadan (or whatever is easiest for you) and make arrangements on how you will get the food to the poor, how you will cater the food, etc.
And this is especially important as one of the purposes of fasting is to feel for our brothers and sisters who are deprived of the blessings that we have.
And we tend to focus on preparing our pantries instead of considering feeding those who are in need.

4. Gatherings. We know that Ramadan brings with it a host of iftar parties. And it is all well and good and Islamically encouraged to get together and eat. However, many of these gatherings are barren of any remembrance of Allah.
So to set an example for others, plan iftar events that you can host and instead of it being just a regular all-you-can-devour extravaganza, invite Islamic Dai’ees to give a talk on a relevant topic and initiate discussions pertaining to Islam so that people can get their questions answered. And encourage people to pray taraweeh and remember Allah during this holy month.

Finally, instead of involving ourselves in doubtful and forbidden matters we must take the precious time that we have been blessed with to implement the sunnah of our Prophet and to prepare for Ramdan. We must take every opportunity that we have to prepare a schedule for Ramadan and work to improve right from when you read this.

We have this mentality that when Ramdan comes we will turn over a new leaf and become better Muslims, but becoming a better Muslim takes practice and it is only with practice that you become better. And thus we have been blessed with Shabaan; an opportunity to practice.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


JazakAllahu Khair sister for the wonderful ideas on preparing for Ramadan from the month of Shabaan and for putting light on the importance of Shabaan! :) Alhumdulillah, it was very beneficial!

Thank you for the wonderful information on shabaan. May Allah guide all of in the right direction, Ameen.

Jazakillah-khairan this is very good information. keep it coming inshAllah :)

Wa iyyaki my dear sister! Alhamdulillah you benefited :) 

Wa Iyyaki. :) InshaAllah! 

loved this article! it really is very sad to see people all around you "celebrating" particular nights in Rajab and Sha'baan. I know you probably had a word limit, but I think many of us would appreciate it if you included the actual ahadith instead of just saying that something is proven from "various ahadith" or something.
But overall, Jazakallah Khair for writing this! May Allah Bless you and the rest of us with a productive Sha'ban and Ramadan inshaAllah! :)

Wa iyyaki =) 

Jazake Allah khair for your feedback, I really appreciate it. 
InshaAllah I shall be more careful in providing detailed references, but I believe I have mentioned the sources and ahadith, at least for this article.

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