It is 22 June 2013. Here in South Africa, Laylat an-Nisf min Sha’baan (Eve of 15th Sha’baan 1434 AH) will fall on 23 June 2013 (Sunday) after Salaat-al Maghrib.
Fasting on the 15th Sha’baan
FASTING ON THE FIFTEENTH OF SHA’BAAN IS NOT ESTABLISHED FROM HADEETH. Some people believe the misconception that fasting on the fifteenth of Sha’baan is Sunnah. They have been deceived by the Hadeeth of Sayyidunaa ‘Ali (RadhiyAllaahu ‘anhu) that appears in Ibn-Maajah which has been fabricated. The Hadeeth states that Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “When the 15th night of Sha’baan comes, then spend this night in Qiyaam (Salaah) and the day in fasting. For verily, Allaah descends during this night to the nearest Heavens”. [Ibnu-Maajah, pg 99]. This Hadeeth is however very weak. Some scholars have declared it as fabricated (mowdoo’). One of the narrators of this Hadeeth is Ibnu-Abi-Sabrah, who has been accused of fabricating Ahaadeeth. [Taqrib of Ibn Hajar, pg 396].
Imaam al-Bukhari and others have also proved him to be weak. [Mizaanul I’tidaal, vol 5, pg 503]. Thus this Hadeeth cannot be relied upon. Hence the fasting of this day should not be regarded as Sunnah, since a weak narration is not sufficient to prove this fast as been Sunnah.
Another interesting fact is that fasting on this day is only discussed in this weak Hadeeth. If it were a Sunnah act, a stronger Hadeeth would have been available to prove it.
Shaykhul Hadeeth Fazlur Rahman
As we know have previously mentioned, Sha’baan is a month where we exert ourselves because it is a prelude to Ramadaan. There are sound Ahaadeeth that substantiate how Rasoolullah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) used to fast during throughout Sha’baan and not just on the fifteenth day of Sha’baan alone as many people do these days. It is not haraam to single out this day and fast on the fifteenth day of Sha’baan. It is however not something Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) did and therefore bid‘ah.
As the fifteenth day of Sha’baan 1434 (here in SA) will be falling on a Monday, there is no harm in fasting it as it falls in the category of Ayyaamul Beed (13, 14 and 15 of every month which is definitely sunnah and mustahab). It was narrated that Abu Dharr (RadhiyAllaahu ‘anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said to me: “If you fast any part of the month, then fast the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.” [Tirmidhi (761); al-Nasaa’i (2424)] One may also fast on Monday, 15 Sha’baan 1434 and Thursday, 18 Sha’baan 1434 as these are also a sunnah of Nabi Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam).
PLEASE NOTE: The Hadeeth on Rajab, Sha’baan and Ramadaan: “Rasoolullaah (SallAllaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Rajab is Allah’s month, Sha’baan is my month and Ramadaan is the month of my Ummah”, is a mawdoo’ (fabrication) and NOT saheeh (reliable and authentic). [Akhbaare-Modhoo’, pg 329].
Fasting the entire month of Sha’baan is makrooh (disliked) and against the sunnah of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam). Ibn ‘Abbās (RadhiyAllahu ‘anhu) said: “The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) did not fast any entire month apart from Ramadaan.” [al-Bukhari]
Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) said: “He observed more voluntary fasts in Sha’baan than in any other month, and he used to fast most of Sha’baan.”
It is also prohibited to fast at the end of Sha’baan with the intention of not missing the first days of Ramadaan, except for those who have the habit of fasting regularly and the last day of Sha’baan coincides with a day when the person habitually fasts, those who are bound by vows or have to make up some obligatory fasts (qadaa). It is reported in Bukhari from Abu Hurayrah (RadhiAllahu ‘anhu) that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Do not pre-empt Ramadaan by one or two days, except for those who have the habit of fasting regularly, in which case they may fast.”
Fasting at the end of Sha’baan is prohibited to maintain distinction between the fard (obligatory) and nafl (voluntary) fasts. For this same reason, it is also prohibited to fast on the ‘day of doubt.’ A day of doubt is when people are not sure about the start of Ramadaan, because of cloudy weather, or some other reason.
It should be kept in mind that the fasts of Sha’baan are for those persons only who are capable of keeping them without causing deficiency in the obligatory fasts of Ramadaan.
Is Taqdeer decreed, or ‘our books’ opened on this night?
There is no saheeh marfoo’ hadeeth that speaks of the virtue of the middle of Sha’baan that may be followed, not even in the chapters on al-Fadaa’il (chapters on virtues in books of hadeeth etc.). Some maqtoo’ reports (reports whose isnaads do not go back further than the Taabi’een) have been narrated from some of the Taabi’een, and there are some ahaadeeth, the best of which are mawdoo’ (fabricated) or da’eef jiddan (very weak). These reports became very well known in some countries which were overwhelmed by ignorance; these reports suggest that people’s lifespans are written on that day or that it is decided on that day who is to die in the coming year. On this basis, it is not prescribed to spend this night in prayer or to fast on this day, or to single it out for certain acts of worship. One should not be deceived by the large numbers of ignorant people who do these things. And Allaah knows best.
Shaykh Ibn Jibreen.
Hence there is NO sound report from the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) to indicate that on this night the fate or destiny of people is decided.
Qadi Abu Bakr bin Arabi writes that there is no reliable and authentic Hadeeth regarding the fifteenth of Sha’baan from which it may be understood that sustenance, life and death are decided on that night. He has even gone so far as to say that there is no reliable narration concerning this night being the blessed one. [Ma’ariful Qur’aan, vol 7, pg 757]. Since the significance of this night has been mentioned in a number of narrations, and the narrations are not in conflict with any verse in the Qur-aan or any authentic narration, we do accept its significance. However, the opinion that sustenance, death, etc. are determined on this night is in conflict with the Qur-aan and is therefore unacceptable. It has been established from the Qur-aan that these decisions are passed to the Malaa-ikah (Angels) on Laylatul Qadr and NOT on the Night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan. It is on this account that the scholars of research have always rejected this opinion.
The opinion of the lecturers would not be considered in this discussion, instead the opinion of the scholars of Tafseer and Hadeeth will be relied upon.
There is a Hadeeth of Sayyidah ‘Aa-ishah (RadhiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) mentioned in Mishkaat [pg 115] on the authority of Baihaqi’s Da’waatul-Kabeer. This Hadeeth discusses that the decisions are passed on this night regarding those who will be born ; those who will die ; the actions of men are placed in front of Allaah and sustenance is revealed. The Condition of this Hadith is unknown and the scholars of Tafseer and Hadeeth DO NOT consider it reliable.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (rahimahullah) said in Hukm al-Ihtifaal bi Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan (Ruling on celebrating the fifteenth of Sha’baan): Celebrating the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan (Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan) by praying (excessively) etc, or singling out this day for fasting, is a reprehensible bid’ah (innovation) according to the majority of scholars, and there is no basis for this in sharee’ah.
And he also said: There is no saheeh hadeeth concerning the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan (Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan). All the ahaadeeth that have been narrated concerning that are mawdoo’ (fabricated) and da’eef (weak). No recitation of Qur-aan or prayer, whether alone or in congregation, is specified for this night. What some of the scholars have said about it being special is a weak opinion (da‘eef). It is not permissible to single it out for any special actions. This is the correct view. And Allah is the Source of strength.
Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/511.
We do not say that this night means absolutely nothing. Ibnu-Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) also accepted the virtue of the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan, saying: [Some] said there is no difference between this and other nights of the year. However, the opinion of many of the people of learning and that of the majority of our [Hanbali] colleagues and other than them is that it is a night of superior merit, and this is what is indicated by the words of Ahmad [ibn Hanbal], in view of the many Ahaadeeth transmitted about it and in light of what confirms this in the words and deeds transmitted from the early generations (al-athar al-salafiyya). Some of its merits have been transmitted in the books of Hadeeth of the types Musnad and Sunnan. This holds true even if other things have been forged concerning it.
Ibn Taymiyya Iqtidaa al-Sirat al-Mustaqim (1369/1950 ed. P 302) translation by Shaikh Jibril Haddad in his Sunnah Notes (Vol 1, p. 208)
Moulana Abdur Rahman Mubarakpuri writes in the commentary of Tirmidhi, “The sheer number of Ahaadeeth regarding this night serve as proof against those people who refute the excellence of this night”. [Tuhfatul-Ahwazi. vol 2. pg 53].
However we find that when importance IS attached to this night, so many bid’ah acts take place.
‘Ibaadah on the 15th Sha’baan.
There are fabricated ahaadeeth on what to read mention a narration of Sayyidunaa ‘Ali (RadhiyAllaahu ‘anhu) that discusses a Salaah of a hundred raka‘ats. However, Ibnu-Jawzi (rahimahullaah) and others declared this narration to be a fabrication (mawdoo’). [Maarifus Sunan, vol 5, pg 419]. Some people argue that this is the the book, Ghunya-tut-Talibeen written by Abdul Qadir Jilani, but many additions were made to this book after his death. No specific ‘ibaadah is mentioned in Ahaadeeth no matter which book says so.
If a person wants to pray qiyaam on this night as he does on other nights – without doing anything extra or singling this night out for anything – then that is okay. The same applies if he fasts the day of the fifteenth of Sha’baan because it happens to be one of the ayyaam al-beed, along with the fourteenth and thirteenth of the month, or because it happens to be a Monday or Thursday. If the fifteenth (of Sha’baan) coincides with a Monday or Thursday, there is nothing wrong with that (fasting on that day), so long as he is not seeking extra reward that has not been proven (in the saheeh texts).
Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid
So in conclusion, tomorrow is the Eve of the Night of Immancipation. If you want to spend your night in prayer and ask of Allah, then do so. Praying would definitely be better than watching television. Just remember that it is better to continue to be in ‘ibaadah rather than on a specific, single night and that there are no specific salaahs or adhkaar to be recited on the eve of the fifteenth of Sha’baan.