Monday, 25 June 2012

Welcoming the month of Shaban

Alhamdulillah the month of Shaban is here. This is the 8th month in the Islamic calendar. It is reported that Prophet Muhammad (Salla’llahu‘alayhi wa sallam), used to fast most of the month in Shaban except the last few days of the month.
These fasts are supererogatory (nafl). Shaban is the month immediately before the month of Ramadan. The Prophet (Salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) mentioned in a hadith, "Rajab is the month of Allah, Shaban is my month and Ramadan is the month of the Nation".
The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid (Radya’llahu ‘anhu), reports that he asked Prophet Muhammad (Salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): "Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Shaban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month." Prophet Muhammad (Salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), replied: "That (Shaban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting."

Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aishah (Radya’llahu ‘anha), says,"Prophet Muhammad (Salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), used to fast for most of Shaban. I said to him, 'Messenger of Allah, is Shaban your favourite month for fasting?' He said, 'In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting.' "

In another Tradition she says, "Prophet Muhammad, (Salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah, (Salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), fasting a complete month, except the month of Ramadan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Sha'ban."
In another report she says, "I never saw the Messenger of Allah, (Salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), fasting in a month so profusely as he did in the month of Sha'ban. He used to fast in that month leaving only a few days, rather, he used to fast almost the whole of the month."
Ummul-Mu'mineen Umm Salamah, (Radya’llahu ‘anha), says: "I have never seen the Messenger of Allah fasting for two months continuously except in the months of Sha'ban and Ramadan."
The blessed companion Anas, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was asked, "Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?" He replied, "Fasts of Shaban in honor of Ramadan."
These reports indicate that fasting in the month of Shaban, though not obligatory but are very desireble and that Prophet Muhammad (Salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not like to miss it.
However, according to Mufti Taqi Usmani, it should be kept in mind that the fasts of Sha'ban are for those persons only who are capable of keeping them without causing deficiency in the obligatory fasts of Ramadan. Therefore, if one fears that after fasting in Sha'ban, he will lose strength or freshness for the fasts of Ramadan and will not be able to fast in it with freshness; he should not fast in Sha'ban, because the fasts of Ramadan, being obligatory, are more important than the optional fasts of Sha'ban. That is why Prophet Muhammad, (Salla’llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), himself has forbidden the Muslims from fasting one or two days immediately before the commencement of Ramadan. The blessed Companion Abu Hurairah, (Radi-Allahu anhu), reports Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, to have said, "Do not fast after the first half of the month of Sha'ban is gone."
Here is a short video about preparation during the month of Shaban:
The Month of Sha'ban and Preparing for Ramadan

There is also a great talk done by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan on Ramadan preparation. Please do listen and try to take notes inshAllah.

May Allah Subhana Ta’ala give us all the the tawfique (ability) and tayseer (easiness) to fast in this great month. Do remember to do the dua below very frequently insh-Allah:
When the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) sighted the moon of Rajab (two months before Ramadan) he used to pray to Allah in the following words:
اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان
Allahumma barik lana fi Rajab wa Sha’ban wa ballighna Ramadan
O Allah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadan (i.e. prolong our life up to Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings)
[Narrated by at-Tabarani and Ahmad]

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