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The virtues of the month Sha’ban (2)
HE said, "No." He said: "If you have not fasted, then fast two days." According to a report narrated by al-Bukhari: I think he meant Ramadan. According to a report narrated by Muslim, (the Prophet - PBUH) said: "Have you fasted anything of the sirar of Sha'ban?"
There was some dispute as to the meaning of the word sirar. The most well known view is that it refers to the end of the month. The end of the month is called sirar because the moon is hidden at that time. Someone may raise the point that it was reported in al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "Do not pre-empt Ramadan by one or two days, except for those who have the habit of fasting regularly, in which case they may fast." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
How can we reconcile the Hadith which encourages fasting at this time with the Hadith which says not to fast at this time? The answer is: many of the scholars and most of those who commented on this Hadith said: this man to whom the Prophet (PBUH) addressed this question was known to have the habit of fasting regularly, or else he had made a vow, so the Prophet (PBUH) commanded him to make up his fast. There are also other points of view on this issue.
In brief we may say that there are three scenarios for fasting at the end of Sha'ban:
The first scenario is when a person fasts at the end of Sha'ban with the intention of being on the safe side and not missing the first day of Ramadan.
This is forbidden.
The second scenario is when a person fasts with the intention of fulfilling a vow or of making up a day of Ramadan that he missed or as an act of expiation (kaffarah), etc. This is permissible according to the majority.
The third scenario is when this is purely a voluntary fast. This is regarded as makrooh (disliked) by those who said that we should differentiate between Sha'ban and Ramadan by not fasting for a while. Among those who said this was al-Hasan. If it happens to coincide with a day when a person habitually fasts, Malik and those who agreed with him permitted this, but al-Shafa'i, al-'Awza'i, Ahmad and others made a distinction between cases where it is a fast which a person habitually observes or otherwise.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah quoted above is what we should follow according to the majority of scholars. It is makrooh to observe a voluntary fast one or two days before Ramadan for those who do not habitually fast on those days and who have not previously fasted until the end of Sha'ban.
It may be asked: why is it makrooh to fast just before Ramadan (for those who do not have a prior habit of fasting)? The answer is that there are a number of reasons why this is so, such as:
Firstly: lest extra days be added to the fast of Ramadan that are not part of it.
Fasting on the day of Eid is prohibited for the same reason, lest we fall into the same trap as the People of the Book with regard to fasting, as they added to their fasts because of their own whims and desires. For the same reason it is also forbidden to fast on the "day of doubt". 'Ammar said: whoever fasts on this day has disobeyed Abu'l-Qasim (PBUH). The "day of doubt" is a day when people are not sure whether it is Ramadan or not, when news of the sighting of the crescent moon comes from one whose word cannot be accepted. As for a cloudy day, some of the 'ulama' said that this was also a 'day of doubt' and said that fasting was not allowed on this day. This is the view of the majority.
Secondly: to make a distinction between fard (obligatory) fasts and nafl fasts, because making a clear distinction between fard actions and nafl actions is prescribed in Islam. Hence, it is haram to fast on the day of Eid, and the Prophet (PBUH) forbade following an obligatory prayer immediately with another prayer unless they are separated by saying salam or speaking, especially in the case of the Sunnah prayer performed just before Fajr. It is prescribed to make a clear separation between this prayer and the obligatory prayer. Hence, it is prescribed to pray it at home and to lie down afterwards.
When the Prophet (PBUH) saw a man praying at the time when the iqamah had been given for Fajr, he said to him: "Al-Subh is four rak'ahs?" (Narrated by al-Bukhari).
Some ignorant people may think that the reason why we do not fast just before Ramadan is that we can make the most of eating and have our fill of our desires before we have to deny ourselves by fasting. This is an ignorant mistake on the part of those who think this.
Shabaan is the eight month of the Islamic calendar. It falls between two sacred months, Rajab and Ramadaan. Allah's Messenger used to spend most part of Shabaan by fasting, Imaam Bukharee (rahimahullah) reports in his Saheeh that Aa'ishah (radhi allahu anha) said: “The Messenger used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and he would not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Shabaan.”
Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) said: “Fasting in Shabaan is better than fasting in the sacred months (i.e. Dhul-Qadah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab - Soorah Tawbah (9): 36), and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadaan, before or after. The status of these fasts is like that of al-Sunan al-Rawaatib, which are done before and after fard (prayers) and which make up for any shortfall in the number of obligatory prayers. The same applies to fasts observed before and after Ramadaan. Just as al-Sunan al-Rawaatib are better than other kinds of voluntary prayers, so fasts observed (in the months) before and after Ramadaan are better than fasts at other times.” [Lataa'if al-Ma'aarif fimaa li Mawaasim al-'Aam min al-Wazaa'if, by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali]
When Allah's Messenger was asked, why he fasted so abundantly in the month of Shabaan, he said: '(Shabaan) is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadaan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.” This and other Some ignorant people may think that the reason why we do not fast just before Ramadan is so that we can make the most of eating and have our fill of our desires before we have to deny ourselves by fasting.
This is an ignorant mistake on the part of those who think this. of Allah's messenger encourage performing good deeds when people are likely to become negligent of Allah's remembrance and worship, like remembering Allah in the market place, where people get busy in their dealings and in times of difficulty - Allah's messenger said: “Worship at times of tribulation (fitnah) is like Hijrah (migration) to me.” The virtue and superiority of worshiping Allah when people tend to become negligent of Allah's remembrance is because worship at such times is more difficult than worshiping Allah when everybody is engaged in the worship.
Fasting in Shabaan serves as training before Ramadaan. However, fasting the whole month of Shabaan is Makrooh (dislike) and against the Sunnah of Allah's messenger. Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) said: “The Messenger of Allah did not fast any entire month apart from Ramadaan.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee] It is also prohibited to fast at the end of Shabaan 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 Shabaan coincides with a day when the person habitually fasts, those who are bound by vows or have to make up some obligatory fasts.
It is reported in Saheeh al-Bukharee from Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) that the Prophet 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.”
[Saheeh al-Bukharee. Fasting at the end of Shabaan is prohibited to maintain distinction between the obligatory and voluntary fasts - it is also a precaution to prevent the people from falling into the trap of Shaytaan, who persuaded the People of the Book to add more fasts to that which Allah had made obligatory for them. 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.
Some ignorant people have themselves specified particular nights of the year, when they stay awake all night and worship Allah. It is believed that anyone who worships Allah in these specific nights, it will recompense for his yearly deeds and will be enough for his salvation and entering Jannah. One among these nights is the night of mid Shabaan (15th Shabaan), which is popularly known as 'Shabb-e-Baraa't' in the Indian sub-continent.
Specifying particular nights for worshiping Allah is against the Sunnah of the Prophet. In fact, he has strictly forbade specifying particular nights for worship, he said concerning Friday: “Do not single out the night (preceding) Friday among the nights for prayer and do not single out Friday among days for fasting but only when anyone among you is accustomed to fast (on dates) which coincide with this day (Friday).” [Saheeh Muslim (no. 2546).Share