Ahlann Yaa Sha’baan! Can you feel it in the air? For all of us, so eagerly awaiting the blessed Ramadaan, entering into the month of Sha’baan just makes those nights of ‘ibaadah so much more tangible! Today is the first of Sha’baan 1434 AH, coinciding with the gregorian date of 10 June 2013. By now we should be getting into a routine of nafl (voluntary) fasting and increase in good deeds. For those who have Qadaa fasts, now is a great time to keep those missed fasts.
Sha’baan is the name of the (eigth) month of the Islamic lunar calendar, appearing between the months of Rajab and Ramadaan. It is so called because in this month the Arabs used to disperse (tasha’aba) in search of water, or it was said that it is so called because it sha’aba (branches out or emerges).
Being a prelude to Ramadaan, Sha’baan should be a month wherein we should exert ourselves in worship and devotion within the limits of Shari’ah of course. Some may argue that the increase in good acts and worship should be in Rajab rather than Sha’baan but this is a time when many become negligent, rather than spiritually prepare for Ramadaan. The person saying, “I am listening to all my music now so that when Ramadaan comes, I will be saturated with it”, does this in Sha’baan. Also this kind of thinking can never lead one to spiritual purification. The phrase “Sha’baan is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadaan” indicates that because it comes between two important months, the Sacred Month of Rajab and the month of fasting, people are preoccupied with those two months and they do not pay attention to Sha’baan.
Many people think that fasting in Rajab is better than fasting in Sha’baan, because Rajab is one of the Sacred Months, but this is not the case, as we have already explained.
Doing righteous deeds at times when people are distracted and negligent is more difficult. If everyone is fasting and praying, it is easy, but if most people are negligent, this makes it more difficult for those who remember Allah. That is why we find fasting in Ramadaan generally easier than fasting out of Ramadaan, because environment plays a huge factor in the way we feel and our productivity on a daily basis. Muslim narrated from the hadeeth of Ma’qil ibn Yasar (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu): “[The Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:] ‘Worship at times of tribulation (fitnah) is like Hijrah to me.’” (The phrase “worship at times of tribulation” refers to times of upheavals and trials, when people follow their own desires, and those who adhere to Islam are doing something difficult.)
How many times have you heard weary women saying during this month, “Are you done with your savouries?” Or the people trying to get their work-load down before Ramadaan so that they will have a little more time for sleep during Ramadaan. In countries where there is no Jumu‘ah days off except for salaah, and no vacation in Ramadaan, it does become difficult, but not impossible, to manage your time. So exert from this month to make the body accustomed to what it will have to withstand during Ramadaan. Indeed it is difficult especially where the cold has gripped parts of the world, including us here in South Africa. Getting out of that warm bed when so many are in slumber will be a test for many of us. May Allah grant us the Eemaan of Sahaabah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhum) with their unshakeable faith (eemaan) and their treasury of righteous deeds (a’maalus-saalihaat). Come on Ummah, feel it in the air… Let us make juhd (exert ourselves) and pray that we see the blessed month of fasting In-shaa-Allah.