A Month To Which People Do Not Pay Attention: Sha`ban

MY dear brothers and sisters, pay careful attention to what Usaamah ibn Zayd (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha’ban.’ He said,

‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, 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.’”

The beautiful Hadeeth establishes the following points for us, all of which need our serious attention:

a) This is a month in which the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) fasted more than he fasted in any other month other than Ramadan

‘Aaishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) fasting more than he did in Sha`ban (i.e. other than Ramadan, since he fasted the entire month.”

Thus, it is highly recommended for everyone to fast as much as possible in the month of Sha`ban to become accustomed to this difficult act of worship so that when Ramadan arrives they would already be prepared for it. However, many scholars hold that one should stop fasting from the second half of Sha`ban, as the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam) commands: “When it is the middle of Sha`ban, stop fasting…

The scholars made the above conclusion and explained that the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) commanded this so that the believers could replenish their strength/energy so as to observe the obligatory Fasting of Ramadan which is from amongst the most important obligation of that honorable month. This is for those who do not fast on a regular basis during the year. As for those who fast regularly during the year, then they can continue to fast after the first half of Sha`ban, observing the fast that they are regularly used to perform. And Allaah knows best.

Note: Fasting in Sha’ban is a kind of training for the fast of Ramadan. If a person fasts in Sha’ban he would have become used to fasting and he will feel strong and energetic when Ramadhaan comes, in shaa’ Allah!

b) He, (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), loved to fast in Sha`ban

If our beloved sallAllahu ‘alaiyhi wa sallam loved to fast in Sha`ban, should we not love what he loves? Is there anything better for us to love?

Our love for the Messenger of Allaah, (sallAllahu ‘alaiyhi wa sallam), would be manifested if we love what he loves. We all know that we have to love him above everyone as he said: “None of you would truly believe until I am more beloved to him than his son, and his father and all of humankind.”

So, what love can we claim to have for our beloved if we do not love what he loves?

c) Deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the worlds in the month of Sha`ban

This narration provides us with an important piece of information – our deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the worlds.

Tell me, what kind of deeds would you like to be lifted up, good or bad? I am sure only good deeds.

Additionally, when would you be performing deeds in the best way with the most chance of it being accepted? Obviously when you are fasting; after all, you do not only keep away from Haraam at this time but even avoid some things that are allowed for you?

Additionally, even if you avoid these things that are allowed out of fear, you are still worshipping Allaah. You would agree that when you are fasting your deeds are at a different level than when you are not fasting.

d) That he would like that his deeds be lifted up while he is fasting

Here is something else that our beloved Messenger of Allah loves and which we should love – since when one is fasting is definitely the best time for his deeds to be lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds.

e) It is a month to which people do not pay attention

There are a number of benefits that come to those who make good use of those times of worship about which people are negligent, including the following:

✔ It is more concealing of one’s good works.

Hiding and concealing one’s actions of worship is better for a person. For example, one of the Salaf used to fast for years without anybody knowing about it. He would go from his home to the marketplace carrying two loaves of bread, which he would give away in charity, and he would fast. His family thought that he ate the bread, whilst the people in the marketplace thought that he had eaten at home.

✔ It is (recommended) for a person who is fasting to do things that would conceal it.

It was reported that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “When you get up in the morning and you are fasting then apply perfume.” Qataadah said: “It is mustahabb (recommended) for the [man] who is fasting to apply perfume so that there will be no sign that he is fasting.”

✔ Doing righteous deeds at times when people are distracted and negligent is more difficult.

One of the indications of how virtuous a deed is, is how difficult it is to do – if everyone is doing a certain action, the it is easy to do it along with them, but if most people are negligent, then this makes it more difficult.

f) Reciting Qur’aan

Salamah ibn Suhayl used to say: “The month of Sha’ban is the month of reciters (of the Qur’an).”

Habeeb ibn Abi Thaabit used to say, when Sha’ban came, “This is the month of reciters (of the Qur’an).”

Similarly, at the arrival of Sha’baan ‘Amr ibn Qays al-Malaa’i used to close his store and devote his time to reading the Qur’an.

Thus, Sha’ban – the month that comes before Ramadan – should be treated as an introduction for Ramadan. It should be used by a person to prepare for all those beautiful acts of devotion that are so highly recommended in Ramadan since it contains many acts of devotion that can be done in it that is recommended to be done Ramadan.

So, in addition to the above, (i.e. fasting and reciting Qur’an), we should also be firm upon establishing more voluntary prayer, and increase in our thikr, du`aa and giving in charity.

We beg Allah, the Almighty to enable us to reach Ramadan ready to use all that it is bringing with it and we beg Him to bless us with all its blessings and to end it with all our sins forgiven and grant that we are written from among those who are given Jannah! Aameen!

And surely with Allah alone is the success.