The merits of Shaban

The Spirit Of Islam

Mufti Taqi Usmani

SHABAN is one of the meritorious months for which we find some particular instructions in the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). It is reported in the authentic ahadith that the Holy Prophet (PBUH), used to fast most of the month in Shaban. These fasts were not obligatory on him but Shaban is the month immediately preceding the month of Ramazan. Therefore, some preparatory measures are suggested by the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The blessed companion Anas, (RA), reports that the Holy Prophet (PBUH), was asked, “Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramazan?” He replied, “Fasts of Shaban in honour of Ramazan.”
The blessed companion Usama ibn Zaid (RA), reports that he asked the Holy Prophet (PBUH): “Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Shaban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month.” the Holy Prophet (PBUH), replied: “That (Sha’ban) is a month between Rajab and Ramazan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting.”
Ummul Mu’mineen ‘Aishah (RA), says, “ The Holy Prophet (PBUH), used to fast the whole of Shaban. I said to him, ‘Messenger of Allah, is Shaban your most favourite month for fasting?’ He said, ‘In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting.”
In another Tradition she says, “ The Holy Prophet (PBUH), would sometimes begin to fast continuously until we thought he would not stop fasting, and sometimes he used to stop fasting until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah, fasting a complete month, except the month of Ramazan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more frequently than he did in Shaban.” But it should be kept in mind that the fasts of Shaban are for those persons only who are capable of keeping them without causing deficiency in the obligatory fasts of Ramazan. Therefore, if one fears that after fasting in Shaban, he will lose strength or freshness for the fasts of Ramazan and will not be able to fast in it with freshness, he should not fast in Shaban, because the fasts of Ramazan, being obligatory, are more important than the optional fasts of Shaban. That is why the Holy Prophet (PBUH), himself has forbidden the Muslims from fasting one or two days immediately before the commencement of Ramazan. The blessed Companion Abu Hurairah, (RA), reports the Holy Prophet (PBUH), to have said, “Do not fast after the first half of the month of Shaban is gone.”
According to another report the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said: “Do not precede the month of Ramazan with one or two fasts.” The essence of the above-quoted ahadith is that the Holy Prophet (PBUH), himself used to fast most of the month of Shaban, because he had no fear of developing weakness or weariness before the commencement of Ramazan. As for others, he ordered them not to fast after the 15th of Shaban for the fear that they would lose their strength and freshness before Ramazan starts, and would not be able to welcome the month of Ramazan with enthusiasm.
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