Sha’ban is the eighth month of the Islamic (hijri) calendar. Nestled in between some of the most revered months of the Islamic (hijri) calendar, Sha’ban is an oft overlooked month of the year, but it is no less significant. While it doesn’t form one of the four sacred months, it was an incredibly important month to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in terms of ibaadah (worship) and offers some key dates for Muslims.
Sha’ban follows the holy month of Rajab and precedes the holy month of Ramadan. In 2023, Sha’ban will begin on the 21st February.
There are either 29 or 30 days in Sha’ban, depending on the sight of the moon’s crescent.
The most significant day in Sha’ban is the 15th, also known as Shab-e-baraat or Nisf Sha’ban.
The 15th of Sha’ban is the day in which many scholars believe that Allah (SWT) raises the deeds of his servants, due to various narrations.
Deeds are taken up to Allah (SWT) regularly: daily, weekly and annually:
Sha’ban is a precious month for several reasons, namely because it is the month of the Prophet (SAW):
‘Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah’. [Suyuti].*
*Please note that there is a difference of opinion regarding the authenticity of this particular narration.
The Prophet (SAW) used to spend much of it fasting, and it is the month in which Allah (SWT) raises the deeds of his servants. The Prophet (SAW) indicated that he liked for his deeds to be liften up when he was fasting.
Another benefit of worship and fasting in Shaban is that it an opportunity to train oneself in preparation for Ramadan.
It’s also a good time to incorporate beneficial habits and extra acts of ibaadah (worship), such as sadaqah (charity), daily du’a, tahhajud and nafl prayers (voluntary night prayers and voluntary prayers respectfully), istaghfir (du’a for forgiveness) and Qur’an recitation.
Sha’ban is the month of the Prophet (PBUH). It’s an important month in preparation for Ramadan, and a month which hosts shab-e-baraat, the 15th Sha’ban which is one of the most sacred nights of the year, according to a number of scholars. Muslims celebrate by offering extra naffal prayers, spending time with and building bridges with loved ones, and generally increasing their dhikr (remembrance of Allah).
One of the most virtuous acts of reward is Sha’ban in Sadaqah, which is a means of our purification in preparation for Ramadan.
As the month of the Prophet (PBUH), we should honour him and show our gratitude for his mercy in helping the poor and needy, or helping an orphan. These were deeds particularly loved by the Prophet (PBUH).
Give Sadaqah and sponsor an orphan with Islamic Relief today.
The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah’. [Suyuti]. (Please note that there is a difference of opinion regarding the authenticity of this particular narration).
As the month of the Prophet (PBUH), Sha’ban is a great time to learn about his blessed life (the Seerah), sending increased salutations (salawat) upon Him and to try and implement more sunnah acts in our lives.
The Prophet (saw) said, ‘The person closest to me on the Day of Judgement is the one who sent the most Blessings [Salawat] upon me’. [Tirmidhi]
“When it is the night of the middle of Sha’ban, spend its night in prayer and observe a fast on that day. For Allah descends at sunset on that night to the lowest heaven and says: ‘Is there no one who will ask Me for forgiveness, that I may forgive him? Is there no one who will ask Me for provision so that I may provide for him? Is there no one who is afflicted by trouble, that I may relieve him?’ And so on, until dawn comes.’” [Ibn Majah]- (Please note that there is a difference of opinion regarding the authenticity of this particular narration).
The dua of the Prophet (saw), ‘O Allah bless us in Rajab and Shaban and enable us to reach Ramadan’ [Ahmad], showing the importance of Sha’ban in helping us to prepare for Ramadan. (Please note that there is a difference of opinion regarding the authenticity of this particular narration).
Find out more about special duaas to read on the 15th Sha’ban here.
Shaban is the month in which the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to fast his voluntary fasts the most and Sha’ban fasting is very important to Muslims:
Aishah (ra) said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (saw) used to fast (so continuously) that we said that he would not break it, and he did not fast at all until we said that he would not fast. And I did not see the Messenger of Allah (saw) completing the fast of a month, but that of Ramadan, and I did not see him fasting more in any other month than that of Sha‘ban’. [Muslim]
If you’re looking for a way to prepare for Ramadan and fulfil acts that are pleasing to Allah (SWT) during the month in which deeds are raised, there’s no better way than following the example of our Prophet (SAW) and fasting in Sha’ban:
“And whoever loves my Sunnah has loved me; and whoever loves me will be with me in Paradise.” [Tirmidhi]
As the month of the Prophet (PBUH), following his sunnah and fasting in Sha’ban is particularly important.
Many Muslims also fast in Sha’ban as a way of making up missed fasts from the previous Ramadan before the next Ramadan begins. Recommended fasting dates in the of Sha’ban in 2023 are anywhere throughout the month 21st February-22nd March, but especially on 7th March which is the 15th Sha’ban.
Ramadan is the month in which Muslims are obliged to fast for 30 days. For many, it is an opportunity to reset the physical, spiritual, and mental state of a Muslim while dedicating oneself to worship and the commandments of Allah (SWT).
However, like any task done well, it can need some training.
That’s why Sha’ban is the perfect time to prepare oneself to achieve the mindfulness, awareness, and discipline over oneself that Ramadan has to offer.
Sha’ban is often considered a neglected month because of its place between two of the four sacred months, Rajab and Ramadan.
However, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) regarded it a special month for preparing for Ramadan and the month has many benefits from which we can gain.
It is a significant month for seeking forgiveness, implementing more sunnah in our lives, increasing worship and gaining closeness to Allah so that we can reap the rewards of Ramadan.