Virtues of the 15th Night of Sha‘ban

Virtues of the 15th Night of Shaban Image Full Moon Mosque Minaret

­­Translated by Ismaeel Nakhuda, Hamood Aleem and Adam Ahmed

(Translators’ foreword: Below is a translation of a very well researched and informative treatise prepared by the late Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafiz Makki (may Allah sanctify his secret) on the virtues of the 15th night of Sha‘ban. With the blessed night almost nigh and the holy month of Ramadan a matter of weeks away, the translators request all readers to remember them, the author, and our scholars and elders in their pious supplications that Allah Most High grant us all, including the Ummah of Muhammad, His love and the love of His beloved Prophet ﷺ.)

Introduction

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All praise is for Allah, we praise Him, seek His aid and forgiveness, believe in Him and place our trust in Him. We seek refuge with Allah from the mischief of our selves and the wickedness of our deeds. Whoever Allah guides, there is none that can lead him astray and whoever He leads astray, there is none that can guide him. I bear testimony that there is none worthy of worship except Allah alone; He has no partner. I bear testimony that our Master and Leader Muhammad is His slave and messenger. May Allah bless him, his family, his companions, his wives and his followers, all of them, and grant them peace.

To continue: one of the young erudite scholars in Britain — that is Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat, a graduate of Dar al-‘Ulum al-‘Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Bury, Britain, who is active in Islamic work, especially among the Muslim youth — asked me last year in 1419AH regarding the 15th of Sha‘ban and what has been narrated regarding it in terms of hadiths and athars (non-prophetic narrations), and whether it is appropriate for a Muslim to mark this night with worship and to fast during the day.

I, therefore, compiled for him at that moment, with the accordance of Allah, a collection of narrations and athars regarding its virtues in a booklet that I sent him and, likewise, sent some copies to some dear people and friends.

At the beginning of Rajab in 1420AH, some of the people of knowledge, especially some of the brothers in charge of the Khalil Islamic Foundation in Pakistan, asked me to revise the booklet, address any deficiencies and prepare it for printing and publishing to make its benefit widespread.

 I was not able to fulfil this request immediately due to my preoccupation in correcting and revising the proofs of al-Kanz al-Mutawari fi Ma‘adin Lami‘ ’l-Dirari wa Sahih al-Bukhari; this was due to the importance of this great and blessed work which is a great and detailed commentary on the Sahih al-Bukhari and which shall insha’-Allah be complete in around 25 volumes. It is the work of our shaykh, the imam, the hafiz, the rabbani, Shaykh al-Hadith, ‘Allamah Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandhalwi al-Siddiqi (may Allah have mercy on him).

 Allah Most High granted me the accordance to complete the above work at the beginning of Sha‘ban and I completed this booklet on the fifth night of Sha‘ban in 1420AH with the grace and favour of Allah. I have hastily included within it, with the accordance of He Most High, some valuable material in terms of narrations, athars and sayings of the people of knowledge which will suffice anyone who intends to follow the truth. As to he who is stubborn, I ask Allah for guidance and righteousness for him and us. There is no power or might, except with Allah.

 I hope Allah Most High accepts this humble effort in exposing the truth and makes it purely for His Noble Pleasure, and a means and way of drawing close to Him. Likewise, it pleases me to inform every Muslim bother that this book is not under any copyright and that anyone is permitted to print and distribute it for free or for a cover price. I only hope that the person is diligent in ensuring its accuracy when printing it and that he remembers me, my parents and my shaykhs in his pious prayers. For us Allah is enough and He is the best trustee. May Allah send peace and blessings on our master Muhammad and on his family and Companions, all of them. All praise is for Allah at the beginning and at the end.

 ‘Abd al-Hafiz Malik ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Makki
Makkah al-Mukarramah
05/08/1420


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise belongs to Allah alone. Blessings and peace upon the Last Prophet, and upon his family, and his Companions, and his wives, and all of his followers.

To continue, I say: Through Allah, the Sublime and Exalted, is all accordance to do good (tawfiq) and from Him is all assistance. I beseech Him, the Generous, Beneficent and Guide, that [O Allah!] let us recognise the truth as truth and allow us to follow it, and let us recognise falsehood as falsehood and allow us to abstain from it, and, guide our steps, and bestow us with sincerity, taqwa and acceptance before You with Your grace and generosity. Amin.

Many narrations, authentic and sound, about the month of Sha‘ban in general have been narrated from the Prophet in regards to especially fasting in it and strongly encouraging worship and good actions during its days and nights. To illustrate [this], I will only mention some of these narrations here:

[1] Imam Hafiz al-Mundhiri mentioned in Al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib: from the Mother of the Believers, Sayyidah ‘A’ishah Siddiqah (may Allah be pleased with her), she said:

“The Messenger of Allah would 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 Allah’s Messenger fasting a complete month except the month of Ramadan, and I have never seen him fasting in a month more than he did in Sha‘ban” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud).

[2] Imam al-Tirmidhi cited in Al-Jami’ with his chain of transmitters: from the Mother of the Believers, Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her), she said:

“I have never seen the Prophet fast for two months consecutively except in the months of Sha‘ban and Ramadan.”

Abu ‘Isa (Imam al-Tirmidhi) said:

“The hadith of Umm Salamah is hasan (sound). This hadith has also been narrated from Abu Salamah, from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), she said: ‘I have never seen the Prophet fasting more in a month than he did in Sha‘ban. He used to fast Sha‘ban except for a little’. In one variant, ‘He used to fast all of it.’ It is narrated from Ibn al-Mubarak that he said regarding this hadith, ‘It is permissible in the speech of the Arabs that if one fasts most of the month that it is said, He fasted all of the month, and [for example] it is said, So and so spent an entire night in prayer, and perhaps he ate and busied himself with some of his matters [in this night].’ It is as if Ibn al-Mubarak deemed both hadiths to be in agreement with each other and he would say that the meaning of this hadith is that Allah’s Messenger would fast most of the month.” Imam al-Tirmidhi’s statement ends here.

[3] Imam Hafiz al-Mundhiri mentioned in al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib: from Usamah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with them), he said:

“I asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha‘ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month?’ Allah’s Messenger replied, ‘That is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. It is a month in which deeds are presented before the Cherisher of the worlds and I like that my deeds be presented at a time when I am fasting” (Narrated by al-Nasa’i).

I say: Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal cited this hadith in his Musnad as well.

[4] Imam Hafiz al-Mundhiri also mentioned in Al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib: from the Mother of the Believers, Sayyidah ‘A’ishah Siddiqah (may Allah be pleased with her) that:

“The Prophet used to fast the whole of Sha‘ban. She asked [him], ‘O Messenger of Allah, is Sha‘ban for you the most beloved month for fasting?’ He replied, ‘In this month Allah prescribes a list of all persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes while I am fasting.’” (Narrated by Abu Ya‘la). It is gharib and its chain of transmission is hasan.

[5] Imam Hafiz al-Suyuti mentioned in Al-Durr al-Manthur: And al-Khatib and Ibn al-Najjar cited: from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), she said:

“Allah’s Messenger used to fast all of Sha‘ban until he reached Ramadan and, aside from Sha‘ban, he did not fast any other month in its entirety. I asked [him], ‘O Messenger of Allah, is Sha‘ban for you the most beloved month for fasting?’ He replied, ‘Yes, O ‘A’ishah, there is no one who dies during the year except the decision of his death is made in Sha‘ban. Therefore, I like that the decision of my death is made while I am [engrossed] in the worship of my lord and good actions.’” The words of Ibn al-Najjar are: “O ‘A’ishah, in this month the Angel of Death writes down [the names of] those whose souls are to be seized. Therefore, I like that my name is written while I am fasting.”

[6] Imam Hafiz al-Suyuti also mentioned in Al-Durr al-Manthur: And Ibn Mardawayh and Ibn ‘Asakir cited: from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), she said:

“The Messenger of Allah did not fast more in any month than Sha‘ban because in this month the souls of the living are written in the dead [i.e., in the list of those destined to die] to the point that a man is getting married even though his name is in the list of those to die and a man is performing Hajj even though his name is in the list of those to die.”

[Consequently,] without a doubt these hadiths and those similar to them include in their generality (‘umum) the night of the 15th of Sha‘ban and its day.

No prohibition has been related from the Prophet in regards to keeping the night of the 15th of Sha‘ban awake for worship and good actions and likewise for fasting during its day. Yes, prohibition is established from the Prophet in some narrations in regards to fasting after the 15th of Sha‘ban but some scholars have interpreted them and not acted upon them due to some other authentic hadiths. However, in any case, no prohibition in the definitive sense has been related regarding the fast of the 15th of Sha‘ban. Rather, the 15th day of Sha‘ban is from those bright white days (ayyam al-bidh or the 13th, 14th and 15th of each lunar month) which due to the encouragement of Allah’s Messenger are recommended for fasting every month.

Many blessed hadiths in regards to the virtues of the 15th night of Sha‘ban and the fast of its day have also especially been mentioned and, hence, keeping this blessed night awake in worship and [performing] good actions and fasting during its day increases even more in emphasis.

We will mention by the grace and tawfiq of Allah the noble prophetic hadiths related to this first, then some reports which have been related in this regard from the pious predecessors of the Ummah such as the Companions, the Followers (Tabi’un) and those who have followed them in excellence, and then statements from the people of knowledge (may Allah be pleased with them all).

[1] Imam Hafiz al-Mundhiri mentioned in al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib: from Mu’adh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him), from the Prophet , he said:

“Allah bestows His special attention to His entire creation on the 15th night of Sha‘ban. He then forgives His entire creation except a polytheist and one who harbours enmity.”

And he (al-Mundhiri ) said:

“Al-Tabarani narrated it and Ibn Hibban narrated it in his Sahih.” I say (i.e. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafiz writes regarding himself): Imam Hafiz al-Suyuti mentioned it also in Al-Durr al-Manthur from al-Bayhaqi and Hafiz al-Haythami mentioned it in Majma’ ‘l-Zawai’d (vol. 8, p. 65) and he said: ‘Al-Tabarani narrated it in [Al-Mu’jam] al-Kabir and [Al-Mu’jam] al-Awsat, and its narrators are reliable.’”

[2] Imam Hafiz al-Mundhiri also mentioned in Al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib that Imam Ahmad narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah said:

“Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, bestows His special attention to His entire creation on the 15th night of Sha‘ban. He then forgives His creation except two: one who harbours enmity and the murderer.” I say: Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali mentioned it in Lata’if al-Ma’arif and its marginal notes writer, Shaykh al-Sawas, said, “Musnad Ahmad (2/176) and its chain of transmission is sahih (authentic)”.

I say: Hafiz al-Haythami mentioned it in Majma’ ‘l-Zawa’id (vol. 8, p. 65) and said:

“Imam Ahmad narrated it and in it is Ibn Lahi‘ah, and he is layyin (lenient) in hadith. The remaining narrators are all reliable.”

I say: Al-Albani has mentioned it in Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah …. (vol. 3) After discussing the chain of transmission of the hadith and relating the statements of the scholars, he stated: “The hadith is hasan.

[3] Imam Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali mentioned in Lata’if al-Ma’arif, and Ibn Majah cited from the hadith of Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him), from the Prophet , he said:

“Allah bestows His special attention to His entire creation on the 15th night of Sha‘ban. He then forgives His entire creation except an polytheist and one who harbours enmity.”

And the marginal notes writer [on Ibn Rajab’s Lata’if al-Ma’arif], Shaykh Yasin al-Sawas, said:

“No. 1390 in establishing the salat, the chapter on that which has come in regards to the 15th night of Sha‘ban and al-Albani has mentioned it in Sahih Ibn Majah (1/233).”

I say: Imam al-Suyuti has mentioned it in Al-Durr and he said: “Al-Bayhaqi cited it from Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (may Allah be pleased with him).”

[4] Hafiz Nur al-Din al-Haythami mentioned in Majma’ ‘l-Zawa’id from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), he said: the Messenger of Allah said:

“When it is the 15th night of Sha‘ban, Allah forgives His creation except the polytheist and one who harbours enmity.”

And al-Haythami said:

“Al-Bazzar narrated it and in it is Hisham ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman and I do not recognise him. The remaining of its narrators are reliable.”

[5] Imam al-Suyuti mentioned in Al-Durr al-Manthur, he said: And al-Bayhaqi cited from Abu Tha’labah al-Khushani (may Allah be pleased with him), from the Prophet , he said:

“When it is the 15th night of Sha‘ban, Allah, Exalted is He, bestows his special attention to His creation. He then forgives the believers, grants respite to the disbelievers and he leaves those who harbour malice with their malice until they themselves desist from it.”

I say: Al-Shaykh al-Ghumari mentioned it in Husn al-Bayan and he said: “Al-Tabarani and al-Bayhaqi cited it,” and al-Bayhaqi said: “And between Makhul and Abu Tha’labah it is mursal jayyid[1]”.

[6] Al-Shaykh al-Muhaddith ‘Abdullah al-Ghumari mentioned in his treatise, Husn al-Bayan: Al-Bazzar and al-Bayhaqi cited from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him), from the Prophet , he said:

“Allah descends to the lowest heaven on the 15th night of Sha‘ban. He then forgives His entire creation except a idolatrous man and a man who has enmity in his heart.”

And al-Ghumari said:

“There is no problem (la ba’sa bihi) in its chain of transmission as Hafiz al-Mundhiri has said.”

I say: Al-Hafiz al-Haythami mentioned similar to it in Majma’ ‘l-Zawa’id and he said: “Al-Bazzar narrated it and in it is ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Abd al-Malik. Ibn Abi Hatim has mentioned it in al-Jarh wa’ ’l-Ta‘dil and he did consider it weak, and the remaining of its narrators are reliable.”

[7] Al-Hafiz al-Haythami has mentioned in Majma‘ al-Zawa’id: it has been narrated from ‘Awf ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said that the Messenger of Allah said:

“Allah the Blessed and Exalted, gives attention to His creation on the 15th night of Sha‘ban. He then forgives them all, except for the polytheist or the one who has in his heart enmity.”

Al-Haythami said:

“Al-Bazzar has narrated it and in it is ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Ziyad ibn An‘am. Ahmad ibn Salih has considered him reliable whereas the majority of the imams have considered him weak. Ibn Lahi‘ah is layyin (lenient) and the rest of its narrators are reliable.”

[8] Al-Bayhaqi has narrated in Shu‘b al-Iman (3/373) with his chain of transmission from ‘Uthman ibn Abi ’l-‘As (may Allah be pleased with him), from the Prophet who said:

“When it is the 15th night of Sha‘ban, a crier calls out: ‘Is there anyone seeking forgiveness that I may forgive him? Is there anyone asking so I may give him?’ None shall ask but he shall be given, except for the woman who commits adultery with her private part or a polytheist.”

I say: Hafiz Ibn Rajab has mentioned it in Al-Lata’if, alGhumari in Husn al-Bayan and al-Suyuti in Al-Durr al-Manthur.

[9] Imam al-Suyuti has mentioned in Al-Durr al-Manthur: Ibn Abi Shaybah, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Bayhaqi have narrated from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said:

“I found the Prophet  missing one night so I went out to search for him; he was in al-Baqi‘ with his head raised to the skies. He said: O ‘A’ishah, were you afraid that Allah would wrong you and His Prophet? I said: That is not the case with me. However, I thought that you might have gone to visit one of your wives. So he said: Surely, Allah Glorious and Exalted descends on 15th night of Sha‘ban to the nearest heaven and forgives more [people] than the number of hairs on the sheep of the tribe of Kalb.”

I say: Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali has mentioned this in Al-Lata‘if and added that Imam Ahmad has also included it in his Musnad.

Hafiz al-Mundhiri has mentioned in Al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib: al-Bayhaqi has narrated from the hadith of ‘A’ishah that (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet said:

“Jibra’il (peace be upon him) came to me and said: This is the 15th night of Sha‘ban and Allah frees from the fire so many people according to the number of hairs on the sheep of the tribe of Kalb; Allah does not look in that night to the polytheist, he who has hatred in his heart, the severer of family ties, one who drags his clothes below his ankles, he who disobeys his parents and an incessant drinker of wine.” He then mentioned the hadith in full.

[10] Hafiz al-Bayhaqi has cited in Shu‘b al-Iman (3/379) from Yahya ibn Abi Kathir who said:

“The Messenger of Allah came out one night and ‘A’ishah came out searching for him in al-Baqi‘; she saw him with his head raised to the skies. He said: O ‘A’ishah, were you afraid that Allah would wrong you and His Prophet? I said: I thought you might have gone to visit one of your wives. He said: Surely, Allah forgives on the 15th night of Sha‘ban more [people] than the number of hairs on the sheep of the tribe of Kalb.”

Al-Bayhaqi said:

“This hadith (i.e. the hadith of ‘A’ishah) is mentioned in mursal form from the chain of Hajjaj ibn Artat from Yahya ibn Abi Kathir.” Then Imam al-Bayhaqi narrated the mursal hadith mentioned under 10 with his chain of transmission here and said: “This hadith has various shawahid (supporting narrations) such as the hadiths of ‘A’ishah, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari; in some of them the polytheist and the one who harbours ill thoughts are exempted, and in some of them the polytheist, the highway robber, the disobeyer of parents and the one who harbours ill thoughts.”

[11] The Shaykh, the hadith scholar ‘Abdullah al-Ghumari has mentioned in Husn al-Bayan: Al-Bayhaqi has cited from Makhul from Kathir ibn Murrah from the Prophet :

“In the 15th night of Sha‘ban, Allah forgives the people of the earth except the polytheist or the one who harbours ill thoughts.”

Al-Bayhaqi said: “It is mursal jayyid.”

[12] Imam al-Suyuti has mentioned in Al-Durr al-Manthur: Al-Khatib has cited in the narrations of Malik from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said:

“I heard the Prophet say: Allah opens goodness in four nights: the night of ‘Id al-Adhah, ‘Id al-Fitr, the 15th night of Sha‘ban in which He writes deaths and sustenance (rizq), and writes who will perform the Hajj, and the night of ‘Arafah until the adhan.”

[13]  Imam Hafiz al-Mundhiri has mentioned Al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib: from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said:

“The Prophet stood at night and performed salat; he lengthened the prostration until I felt that he had passed away. When I saw this, I stood so that I could move his toes; he moved [them] and hence I returned and I heard him say in his prostration: ‘I seek your refuge with your forgiveness from your punishment, and I seek your refuge with your pleasure from your anger, and I seek your refuge with you from yourself. I am unable to praise You as you ought to be. You are as You praise Yourself.’ When he raised his head from prostration and had finished from his prayer, he said: ‘O ‘A’ishah,’ or ‘O Humayrah, did you think that the Prophet has broken his promise with?’ I said: ‘No, I swear by Allah O Messenger of Allah. However, I thought that you had passed away due to the length of your prostration.’ So he said: ‘Do you know which night this is?’ I said: ‘Allah and His Prophet are more knowledgeable.’ He said: ‘This is the 15th night of Sha‘ban. Indeed Allah Most High turns His attention to His slaves in the 15th night of Sha‘ban. He forgives those who seek forgiveness, has mercy on those who seek clemency and leaves those with enmity in the heart as they are.”

Imam Hafiz al-Mundhiri says:

“Al-Bayhaqi has narrated this from the chain of al-‘Ala ibn al-Harith from ‘A’ishah and said that this is mursal jayyid in that al-‘Ala did not hear from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) and Allah Most High is the most knowledgeable.”

Imam Hafiz al-Suyuti has mentioned in Al-Durr al-Manthur: al-Bayhaqi has quoted, and considered it weak, from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said:

“The Prophet entered upon me and removed both his clothes. Not much time had passed that he stood up and got dressed. Immense jealousy (ghayrah) overtook me and I felt that he has gone to one of my co-wives. I went out following him and met up with him at the Baqi‘ Gharqad, seeking forgiveness for the believing men, women and the martyrs. I said: ‘May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, you are in need of your Cherisher and I am in need of the world.’ I turned and entered my room and I was breathing heavily. The Prophet said: ‘What is this breathing O ‘A’ishah?’ I replied: ‘May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, you came to me and you took off your two clothes, then not much time had passed and you stood and got dressed. Intense jealousy overtook me and I thought you had gone to some of my fellow wives until I saw you in al-Baqi‘ doing what you were doing.’ He said: ‘O ‘A’ishah, do you fear that Allah and His messenger would oppress you. Rather, Jibra’il (peace be upon him) came to me and said: “This night is the 15th night of Sha‘ban. In it, Allah frees from the fire according to the number of hair on the sheep of the tribe of Kalb. In it, Allah does not look towards the polytheist, nor to the one who bears hatred, nor to the one who breaks relations, nor the one who hangs his clothes below the ankles, nor to the one who is disobedient to his parent, nor to the one who has habit of drinking wine.” She said: He took off his two clothes and said to me: “O ‘A’ishah, do you give me permission to stand [in prayer] on this night?” I said: Yes, may my father and my mother be sacrificed for you. He stood [in prayer] and made a lengthy prostration for the entire night until I thought that his soul had been taken. I stood to search for him and placed my hand on the sole of his foot. He then moved it and I heard him saying in his prostration: ‘I seek your refuge with your forgiveness from your punishment, and I seek your refuge with your pleasure from your anger, and I seek your refuge with you from yourself, your being is most high, I am unable to praise You as you ought to be. You are as You praise Yourself.’ So, in the morning, I mentioned these words to him. He said: ‘O ‘A’ishah, have you learnt them?’ I said yes. He said: ‘Learn them yourself and teach them for indeed Jibra’il (peace be upon him) taught me them and ordered me to repeat them in prostration.’”

Imam Hafiz al-Suyuti mentions in Al-Durr al-Manthur: Al-Bayhaqi has cited from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said:

“The 15th night of Sha‘ban was my night and the Prophet was by me. When it was the middle of the night, I could not find him. Then that jealousy that takes hold of women took hold of me and so I wrapped myself in my cloak and sought him in the rooms of his wives. I did not find him and returned to my room where I found him all of a sudden like a piece of cloth that had fallen and he was saying in his prostration: ‘My body and shadow have prostrated to You, my heart has brought faith on You. These are my hands and I have not committed a crime with them against myself. O Mighty One Whose help is hoped for in every mighty affair. O Mighty One, forgive the mighty sin. My face has prostrated to the One Who created it and created its hearing and vision.’ He then raised his head and then returned to prostration and said: ‘I seek your refuge with your pleasure from your anger, I seek your refuge with your forgiveness from your punishment, and I seek your refuge with you from yourself, You are as You praise Yourself. I say as my brother Dawud (peace be upon him) said: ‘I rub my face in dust for my master, every right for Him is that He is prostrated to.’ He then raised his head and said: ‘O Allah grant me a god-fearing heart that is pure from evil, not harsh nor wretched.’ Then he turned and entered with me into the blanket and I was breathing heavily. He said: ‘What is this breathing O Humayra? I told him and he began to rub his hands on my knees and say: ‘How regretful is the difficulty that these two knees had to bear on this night, this night is the 15th night of Sha‘ban, in which Allah descends to the heaven closes to the earth and forgives His slaves, except a polytheist and a bearer of hatred.”

[14] Imam Hafiz al-Suyuti mentions in Al-Durr al-Manthur: Ibn Majah and al-Bayhaqi in Shu‘b al-Iman has cited from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet said:

“When it is the 15th night of Sha‘ban, then spend the night awake in worship and fast during its day, for indeed Allah descends in it from the setting of the sun to the nearest sky to the earth and says: Is there not a seeker of repentance that I may forgive him, is there not a seeker of sustenance so that I may give him sustenance, is there not someone in difficulty that I may give him respite, is there not a seeker that I may grant him, is there not such and such, is there not such and such? Until the breaking of dawn.”

I say: Hafiz al-Mundhiri has mentioned it in Al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib and likewise Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali in Lata’if al-Ma‘arif.

This is what Allah made easy for me to gather from narrations that are marfu’[2] narrations that reach the Prophet of Guidance, the Messenger of Mercy – May Allah bless him him and his family and Companions, all of them.

Then, know that al-Shaykh al-Muhaddith Nasir al-Din al-Albani has mentioned in Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahihah wa Shay min Fiqhiha wa Fawa’idiha (3/135):

“That which is sahih in relation to the 15th night [of Sha’ban].

1144 – Allah the Blessed, the Most High, turns attention to His creation on the 15th night of Sha‘ban. He forgives all of his creation, except a polytheist or a bearer of hatred.

This is a sahih hadith narrated from a group of Companions, from various chains, which strengthen each other; they are: Mu‘adh ibn Jabal, Abu Tha‘labah al-Khushani, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, ‘Awf ibn Malik and ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with them all) …”

Al-Albani then goes into detail in the takhrij[3] of the hadiths of these eight (may Allah be pleased with them). Then he says:

“The summary of the discussion is that the hadith with all of these chains of transmission are sahih without doubt, and the authenticity can be established with fewer [narrations] in number as long as it is safe from severe weakness as is the case in this hadith. Hence, that which Shaykh Al-Qasimi (may Allah have mercy on him) has narrated in Islah al-Masajid (p. 107) from the people of ta‘dil and tajrih (narrator accreditation and criticism) that there is no hadith that is sahih in relation to the virtue of the 15th night of Sha’ban, then reliance upon it is not appropriate. And if one of them expressed the like of these words, then it has only come about due to hastiness and lack of widespread effort in searching for the various chains [of narration] according to the methodology that is before you – and Allah Most High is the granter of accordance.”

I say, that which Shaykh al-Albani has mentioned, fundamentally, is that some of the hadiths are hasan, some are jayyid and some are da‘if (weak) by themselves, but collectively the message of the various hadiths become sahih li ghayrihi[4] (authentic through corroboration) according to the principles of the leading hadith scholars (may Allah have mercy on them). On account of this, it shall be ruled that the text of the hadith is sahih as Shaykh al-Albani has mentioned.

According to this weak slave (Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafiz) this view is the closest to what is correct. This is especially when I have added many other narrations also, such as from ‘Uthman ibn Abi al-‘As and ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, and the mursal narration of Kathir ibn Murrah from the Prophet and the narration of Sayyidah ‘A’ishah that is marfu’[5] regarding the opening of goodness in four nights. This is what increases this view in strength and preference.

However, if we were to take the view of those who say that all of the hadiths narrated regarding the 15th night of Sha‘ban are da‘if (weak)[6] in themselves, then we shall say that the multitude of these chains relating to the common subject of the hadiths strengthen each other and so the hadith at that time becomes, due to the multitude of chains, hasan li ghayrihi[7] according to the principles of the leading hadith scholars that are agreed upon as is known.

Then there are also athars (statements and actions of the Companions) that support the 15th night of Sha‘ban, and also statements and actions from the pious predecessors from the leading Followers (Tabi‘un), the major mujtahid scholars, and the ‘ulama of the Ummah and its chosen ones until this day that strengthen the hadith and its common message in explaining the virtue of the 15th night of Sha‘ban and to be diligent in worshipping, dhikr, supplicating, seeking forgiveness and carrying out pious actions in it.

We now begin mentioning some of the athars and the sayings of the people of knowledge that we stumbled upon with haste; accordance is from Allah Most High and He is the Guider to the path of righteousness.

[1] Imam Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali mentions in Lata’if al-Ma‘arif (p.162): It has been narrated from Nawf al-Bakkali that ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) came out in the 15th night of Sha‘ban and came out many times, looking to the sky. He said:

“Indeed Dawud (peace be upon him) came out one night in the likes of this time, looked to the sky and said: ‘Verily in this hour, none calls on to Allah except that He responds to him, nor does anyone seek His forgiveness in this night except that He forgives him, as long he is not one who takes tax unlawfully or a magician, or someone who indulges in unlawful poetry, a soothsayer, a fortune-teller, an unjust policeman, a tax collector (jabi) or a person who plays drums (kubah) or the lute (‘artabah) – Nawf said that the kubah is the drum (tabal) and the ‘artabah is the lute (tanbur) – O Allah, the Cherisher of Dawud, forgive he who calls unto you in this night and he who seeks your forgiveness in it.”

I say: Al-Ghumari has also mentioned it in Husn al-Bayan.

[2] Imam Hafiz al-Bayhaqi has cited in Shu‘b al-Iman (3/381) with his chain from Hasan ibn al-Harr who said that Makhul narrated to me:

“Indeed Allah turns His attention to the people of the world in the 15th [night] of Sha‘ban, and He forgives them, except two men: the non-believer and the bearer of hatred.”

[3] Imam Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali mentions in Lata’if al-Ma‘arif also: It has been narrated from ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz that he wrote to his governor in Basra:

“Observe four nights in the year, for indeed Allah pours forth mercy abundantly: the first night of Rajab, the 15th night of Sha‘ban, the night of ‘Id al-Fitr and the night of ‘Id al-Adhah.”

Ibn Rajab has mentioned: “There is discussion regarding its authenticity from him.”

[4] I say: However, that which Imam Shafi‘i (may Allah have mercy on him) has explicitly mentioned in his book Al-Umm regarding worship in the night of the two ‘Ids (1/231) supports it:

Al-Shafi‘i said:

“It has reached us that it used to be said: Surely, the supplication is accepted in five nights: in the night of Friday, the night of ‘Id al-Adhah, the night of ‘Id al-Fitr, the first night of Rajab, the 15th night of Sha‘ban…”

Al-Shafi‘i said:

“Everything that has been narrated regarding these nights are considered preferable without them being obligatory.”

Shaykh Dilawar Kumla’i said in his treatise regarding the 15th night of Sha‘ban after mentioning the [aforementioned] balagh (direct quote of the Prophet) of Imam al-Shafi‘i, his words are:

“Likewise, it is as such in Kitab al-Umm; and al-Bayhaqi has also narrated this in Al-Sunan al-Kubra in Bab ‘Ibadah Laylah al-‘Idayn under Kitab al-Salat and also in Ma‘rifat al-Sunan wa ’l-Athar; and al-Munawi has mentioned it in Fayd al-Qadir Sharh al-Jami‘ al-Saghir, al-Zabidi in Ithaf al-Sadah al-Muttaqin in the issues relating to the two ‘Ids…”

He then said: I say that the balaghat of Imam Shafi‘I (may Allah be pleased with him) are accepted like the balaghat of Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani and Imam Malik, and the ta’liqat[8] of Imam al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on them).

[5] Imam Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali has said in Lata’if al-Ma‘arif (260) after an excellent discussion regarding the prohibition of fasting after the 15th of Sha‘ban:

“All of this is regarding the fasting after the 15th of Sha‘ban. As to fasting on the 15th itself is not forbidden for indeed it is from the collection of bright white days (al-ayyam al-bid) whose fasting is preferable every month. And the issue of fasting in Sha‘ban has been mentioned specifically…”

Then Ibn Rajab mentions the narration of ‘Ali [may Allah be pleased with him] that has been previously mentioned under number 14 in the section regarding marfu‘ narrations. Then he said:

“In relation to the virtue of the 15th night of Sha‘ban there are numerous other hadith. There have been differences of view in relation to them, the majority of them have declared them weak (da‘if) and Ibn Hibban has considered some of them to be authentic (sahih) and quoted them in his Sahih.”

I say: We have previously mentioned in the discussion regarding these narrations that even though each hadith, according to the scholars, is in itself da‘if  and if we were to agree to that, even then the multitude of chains of narration strengthen one another and render each one of them hasan li-ghayrihi (sound due to another supporting narration) according to the principles of the hadith scholars as has previously been discussed and Allah is the Most Knowledgeable.

He then mentions a number of marfu‘ hadith and the athars of Sayyiduna ‘Ali narrated from Nawf al-Bakkali and writes after that:

“The Followers (Tabi‘un) from the people of Levant (al-Sham) such as Khalid ibn Ma‘dan, Makhul, Luqman ibn ‘Amir and others would revere the 15th night of Sha‘ban and strive in worshipping in it. From them people learnt its virtue and greatness. It has been said that an Israelite narration had reached them …”

(I say: This claim is not accepted from Hafiz Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him), especially when he has not mentioned the person who said this and did not mention their proof relating to this. Then note that he indicated towards the weakness of this statement by saying “it has been said.” On the opposite, we find that Makhul al-Shami, who was the faqih (jurist) of Sham in his era and one of the notable hafiz of Hadith, narrated the hadith of the 15th night of Sha’ban at times in mawquf[9] form, at times from Kathir ibn Murrah in mursal form and in marfu’ form from Abu Tha‘labah al-Khushani from the Messenger of Allah likewise from Malik ibn Yukhamir from Mu‘adh ibn Jabal from the Prophet . Likewise, al-Bayhaqi has also mentioned this in Shu‘b al-Iman (3/381) and others. So, how can it be thought that he forgot these noble prophetic narrations and relied on Israelite narrations? Yes, it might have been the case that he might have found some Israelite narrations in agreement to these narrations that are established from the Prophet that he accepted and mentioned to the people. There is no objection to this at all.)

“…and so when that became famous regarding them in the cities, the people differed in relation to the night. Some of them accepted the greatness of the night from them and agreed with them regarding its greatness. Among them were a group of worshippers from the people of Basra and others. The majority of scholars from the people of the Hijaz disapproved of them. Among them was ‘Ata and Ibn Abi Mulaykah. ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam has narrated this view from the jurists (faqihs) of Madinah and that is the view of the companions of Malik and others who said: All of that is an bid’ah (innovation) …”

(I say: It is clear that the bid‘ah according to the people of the Hijaz and the companions of Malik is not due to the diligent observance of worship in the 15th night of Sha‘ban itself, but rather the bid‘ah is the gathering in the mosque in this night and to keep it awake in a gathering, wearing one’s best clothes, to burn incense, to apply kuhl on the eyes and other various activities in it. They considered that this was not from the habits of the Companions and the major Followers (may Allah be pleased with them). This is an issue of ijtihad in which we do not reprimand anyone in regards to it. In each of the two sides there at major hafizs of Hadith, jurists, and pillars of knowledge and guidance. Hafiz Ibn Rajab has mentioned after this, as you will note, that Imam Hafiz Ishaq ibn Rahwayh inclined to the view of the imams of knowledge and religion from the people of the Levant like Khalid ibn Ma‘dan, Makhul, Luqman ibn ‘Amir and others.

Then, if it is by way of argument clearly established from some of them that observing worship in the 15th night of Sha‘ban in itself, even if it is done alone, is an bid‘ah , then no attention will be paid to this view and, regardless of who it is, the utterer shall be told that we only take and act on that which has been established for us  from the sayings of our beloved, our master, our imam, our Prophet, the beloved of the Cherisher of the Worlds, the master of the prophets and messengers, the prophet of guidance and clemency Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah

The view of everyone is taken and abandoned except he who is infallible (may Allah bless him and his family and Companions and grant them peace, all of them). We have mentioned the noble prophetic narrations at the beginning and they are the foundations on which we place our trust. When there is a dispute among the scholars, we take that which is closer and more in agreement to the noble prophetic narrations because we have, fundamentally, commanded to obey him and follow his commands .

Soon, the words of Imam Ibn al-Hajj al-Maliki will be quoted from his book Al-Madkhal in which he narrates from the Salaf in general “their reverence for it and their preparation for it before its coming.” He has not excluded the companions of Malik from that. Hence, it is learnt from this as we have mentioned that they would object to spending it awake in the mosque in congregation, but not keeping it awake in general.)

“… The scholars of the people of al-Sham have differed in how to keep it alive according to two views:

“The first: it is preferable to spend the night in congregation in the mosques. Khalid ibn Ma‘dan, Luqman ibn ‘Amir and others would wear their best clothing in it, they would burn incense, apply kuhl and would spend that night in prayer in the mosque. Ishaq ibn Rahwayh agreed with them on that. He said in relation to standing in prayer in the mosque in congregation: ‘That is not a bid’ah.’ Harb al-Kirmani has narrated it from him in his juristic issues.

“The second: it is disliked (makruh) to gather in the mosques for prayer, narrating stories and supplication. It is, however, not disliked that a man prays salat in it by himself. This is the view of al-Awza’i who is the imam of the people of al-Sham, their faqih and their scholar. That is what is the closest, insha’-Allah.

“It has been narrated from ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz that he wrote to his governor in Basra: ‘Observe four nights in the year, for indeed Allah pours forth mercy abundantly: the first night of Rajab, the 15th night of Sha‘ban, the night of ‘Id al-Fitr and the night of ‘Id al-Adhah.’ There is discussion regarding its authenticity from him.

“Al-Shafi‘i said: ‘It has reached us that it used to be said: Surely, the supplication is accepted in five nights: in the night of Friday, the night of ‘Id al-Adhah, the night of ‘Id al-Fitr, the first night of Rajab, the 15th night of Sha’ban.’ Al-Shafi‘i said: ‘Everything that has been narrated regarding these nights have been considered preferable.’

“It is unknown if there is any discussion from Imam Ahmad regarding the 15th night of Sha‘ban. However, in relation to the preferability of standing in prayer on that night, two narrations have been cited from him, and these are from two narrations regarding standing in prayer on the night of ‘Id. This is because in one narration he has not considered preferable standing in prayer with congregation because this has not been conveyed from the Prophet and his Companions. And in another narration he has considered it preferable due to ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Yazid ibn al-Aswad doing this – and he is from the Followers. Likewise, regarding standing in prayer on the 15th night of Sha‘ban, nothing has been established from the Prophet or from his Companions[10], but there is something established from a group of the Followers from the notable jurists of al-Sham.

“It has been narrated from Ka‘b who said: ‘Indeed, Allah Most High sends Jibra’il on the 15th night of Sha‘ban to Jannah and Jibra’il commands it to beautify itself and says: Surely, Allah Most High has emancipated in this night of yours people equivalent to the number of stars in the skies, and equivalent to the number of days and nights in the world, and equivalent to the leaves on the trees, and equivalent to the weight of the mountains, and equivalent to the number of sand particles’.

“Sa‘id ibn Mansur narrates that Abu Ma‘shar narrates from Abu Hazim and Muhammad ibn Qays from ‘Ata ibn Yasar who said: ‘There is no night after the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr) more virtuous than the 15th night of Sha‘ban; Allah Most High descends to the heaven closest to the earth and forgives all of his slaves except the polytheist, or the one who harbours enmity or he who severs ties.’

“O you who has gained emancipation from the hellfire in this night, glad tidings to you, this is a might gift. O you who has been rejected in this night, may Allah make correct your difficulty for indeed it is a great difficulty. 

I cry over myself and I have every right to cry,

I am not in doubt in regards to frivolously spending my life,

If I were to say that I am pious in my actions,

Then I am in my stating a person of deceit,

On the nights of Sha‘ban and the night of its middle,

In any way, a difficulty could descend on me,

And it is my right of my life that I make perpetual my imploring,

Perhaps, the God of the creation grants emancipation.

“It is befitting for the believer that he frees himself on this night for the dhikr of Allah Most High and to supplicate to him for forgiveness of sins, veiling of faults and remove hardships, and that he proceeds this with repentance for indeed Allah Most High turns His attention to he who repents.

So, stand in prayer in the middle noble night,

As, the most noble of this month is its middle night,

How many youths that spent the middle night heedless,

Whereas, in this night the scroll of his death was written,

So, hasten with good deeds prior to its passing,

Be cautious of the engulfing of death in it by spending it in pious deeds,

Fast during its day for Allah and entertain pious hope in Him,

So that you may be successful at the time of difficulty with His favour.

It is designated on the Muslim that he abstains from sins that prevent repentance and the acceptance of supplications on this night…”

(I say: It is surprising that some of those who attribute themselves to knowledge and religion, despite that which we have mentioned from the exhortations of Imam Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali in poetry and verse after a unique research discussion and inclusion of marfu‘ narrations and athars in relation to the observance of the 15th night of Sha‘ban and fasting during its day in this book of his Lata’if al-Ma‘arif, include him (may Allah have mercy on him) among some of those who have negated the observance of this blessed night. I do not know what calls for this: either their ignorance in understanding his words or stubbornness and insisting on their view which is contrary to the explicit noble prophetic hadiths and the athars of the pious predecessors (may Allah be pleased with them all). We hope from Allah that He grants us sincerity and correctness in speech and actions and that He grants us accordance to that which He loves and which pleases Him, and accepts us. Surely He Most High is generous and noble.)

After this Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali has detailed an excellent discussion on those sins that prevent one from gaining forgiveness and also the most superior of actions that a person should always observe, especially on this blessed night.

[6] Imam Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-‘Abdari, who is famously known as Ibn al-Haj al-Maliki al-Fasi (may Allah have mercy on him) mentions in his book Al-Madkhal (1/214) under the title “Night of the 15th of Sha‘ban”:

“There is no doubt that it is a night that is blessed and of great worth by Allah Most High. Allah says: ‘In that (night), every wise matter is allocated’ (44:4). The scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) have differed whether this is that night (the 15th night of Sha‘ban) or the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr) according to two views. The popular view is that this is the Night of Power.

“In sum, this night, even if it is not the Night of Power, has great virtue and major goodness. The Salaf (may Allah be pleased with them) would revere it and prepare for it before its coming. It hardly arrived and they would be prepared for meeting it and to revere its sacredness according to what has been known about their revering the sacred signs of Islam (sha‘air) in line with what has been mentioned.”

[7] Imam Hafiz ‘Allamah Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari mentions in his commentary of Al-Mishkat al-Masabih entitled Mirqat al-Mafatih under his commentary of the hadith of Sayyidah ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) and her going to Baqi‘ where she found the Prophet . In this [discussion] is the mention of the virtue of the 15th night of Sha’ban which al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah have [also] mentioned and which the author of Mishkat al-Masabih has cited in the second section (al-fasl al-thani) of the chapter on standing [in prayer] in Ramadan.

At the end of it is mentioned:

“Al-Tirmidhi said: I heard Muhammad i.e. al-Bukhari considering this hadith weak (da‘if).”

Al-Qari writes:

“However, weak hadith can be practiced upon in virtues (fada’il) according to the agreement of the scholars. It is said that the reason for the relation to the chapter title is informing that when innumerable reward for keeping awake [in worship] the 15th night of Sha‘ban has been narrated then it is like a precursor for standing in prayer (qiyam) during Ramadan, hence the mention on Ramadan called for the mention of this night.”

Imam Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari also mentions in the same chapter in the third section where the author of Al-Mishkat mentions from ‘A’ishah, from the Prophet who said:

“Do you know what is in this night?” (In other words the 15th night of Sha‘ban.) She said: “What is in it O Prophet of Allah?” He replied: “In it, every child to be born to the children of Adam this year will be written, and every person to die from among the children of Adam this year will be written. In it the actions they shall do shall be written and in it their sustenance (rizq) shall descend…”

Al-Qari mentions in the commentary to the Prophet’s ﷺ saying, “Do you what is in this night?”:

“Meaning what reverence, power and designating of matters happen. Ibn Hajr has mentioned: ‘Through this rhetorical question, He has drawn attention to the significant importance of this night and what occurs in it so that it makes the Ummah observe it in the most beautiful way, and he has stressed on keeping it awake in worship, supplication, contemplation and dhikr.’”

[8] Imam ‘Abd al-Hayy al-Lakhnawi, the Hadith scholar (may Allah have mercy on him), writes in Al-Athar al-Marfu‘ah:

“There is no discussion on the preference of keeping the Night of Bara’ah awake with whatever one wishes in acts of worship and supererogatory (nafl) deeds in it as one wishes due to the marfu‘ hadith from ‘Ali of Ibn Majah and al-Bayhaqi in Shu‘b al-Iman. There are other hadiths on this subject that al-Bayhaqi and others have quoted as Ibn Hajr al-Makki has detailed in Al-Iydah wa al-Bayan that show that the Prophet increased worship and supplications on this night and visited graves and prayed for the dead. The preference to increase worship in it is understood from all of these hadiths that show [both] statements and actions. One is able to choose whether to offer salat or other acts of worship. If one opts for prayer then the number of units (rak‘ahs) and its form is his choice as long he does not do that which the legislator (the Prophet) explicitly or indirectly forbade.”

[9] The ‘allamah, the Hadith scholar Muhammad ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, has mentioned in Tuhfah al-Ahwadhi bi Sharh Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi in the chapter regarding what has come regarding the 15th night of Sha‘ban:

“It is the 15th night of Sha‘ban and named Laylah al-Bara’ah. The author has mentioned this chapter here as a digression because of the mention of Sha‘ban or else the discussion is regarding fasting. Abu ’l-Tibb al-Madani has mentioned this.”

(I say: Imam al-Tirmidhi has brought this chapter here in the chapters on the fasting of the Prophet . It is because of this that Shaykh al-Mubarakpuri has clarified the relation of mentioning it here.)

Then, after explaining the aforementioned hadith of Sayyidah ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) in Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi he says:

“Know that a number of hadiths have been narrated regarding the virtue of the 15th night of Sha‘ban; all of them show that there is a basis for it. Among them there is the hadith of …”

He then mentions the other hadiths of Sayyidah ‘A’ishah, Mu‘adh ibn Jabal, Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, Makhul from Kathir ibn Murrah and Abu Tha‘labah, and ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with them) and a short takhrij of them. He then writes:

“All of these hadiths, collectively, are proof against those who think that there is nothing established regarding the virtue of the 15th night of Sha‘ban. And Allah is the most knowledgeable.”

[10] The Hadith scholar Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Ghumari has mentioned in Husn al-Bayan after mentioning several hadiths and athars that have been narrated in regards to the 15th night of Sha‘ban:

“It can be understood from these hadiths and athars the preference of standing in prayer on this night and to strive in it on reciting the Qur’an, dhikr and supplication as a way of obtaining the breeze of Allah’s mercy as has come in the marfu‘ hadith that al-Tabarani and others have narrated from Muhammad ibn Muslimah: ‘Indeed, Allah has in the days of time some days when special breezes of mercy flow, obtain them for maybe one of you will obtain a breeze and he shall not be wretched thereafter ever.’

How beautiful is the speech of some of the erudite:

So, stand in prayer in the middle noble night,

As, the most noble of this month is its middle night,

How many youths that spent the middle night in peace,

Whereas, in this night the scroll of his death was written.”

As to the books of fiqh in the four madhhabs, then they are full of describing the preferability of keeping awake this blessed night. We shall now mention from them some of the sayings of the leaders of the Hanafi jurists (may Allah have mercy on them):

It is mentioned in al-Durr al-Mukhtar of al-Haskafi:

“From among the preferable actions is keeping awake in worship the nights of the two ‘Ids and the middle of Sha‘ban.”

It is also mentioned in al-Bahr al-Ra’iq:

Among the preferable actions is keeping awake the last ten nights of Ramadan, the two nights of the two ‘Ids, the nights of the ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah and the 15th night of Sha‘ban as the hadiths mention and which has been mentioned in Al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib in detail.”

Its like is in Fath al-Mu‘in ‘ala Sharh Al-Kanz li Mulla Miskin by Shaykh Abu ’l-Sa‘ud and in Maraqi al-Falah ‘ala Nur al-Idah by al-Shurunbulali: “It is preferable to keep awake the 15th night of Sha‘ban.”

As to our shaykhs – the imams of Hadith and fiqh who are well-researched, including Imam al-Rabbani Shaykh Rashid Ahmad al-Gangohi al-Ansari, Hujjat al-Islam Imam Muhammad Qasim al-Nanotwi, Imam ‘Arif billah Muhammad Ashraf ‘Ali al-Thanawi al-Faruqi, Shaykh al-Islam Imam Sayyid Husayn Ahmad al-Madani al-Husayni until our Shaykh, Imam al-Rabbani Shaykh al-Hadith, the knower of Allah, the exemplar, the blessing of the era, the ‘allamah Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandhalwi al-Siddiqui then al-Madani and others (may Allah have mercy on them, be pleased with them) – and the majority of their students, they are agreed in observing the awakening of this blessed night with various types of worship, which they would choose as they wished and likewise the fast of the middle day of Sha‘ban. And it is superior to fast on all three of the bright white days (ayyam al-bid).

We saw our Shaykh Zakariyya always diligently observing that and encouraging us to also observe.

This is what Allah has opened the heart of this one who is in need of the mercy of his Noble Cherisher to write on the virtues of the 15th night of Sha‘ban, while hoping from His Most High acceptance, sincerity and righteousness in all speech and actions.

Likewise, I hope from the readers that if they notice any mistake or error that they inform me – and I greatly thank them and pray that Allah rewards them well – so that I may, with the will of Allah, make corrections in forthcoming editions.

May Allah Most High send salutations on the best of His creation, the master of His prophets and messengers, and their final one, Sayyiduna, Mawlana Muhammad, and on his family, Companions, wives and followers, all of them. May He bless and send an abundant of peace upon them. And all praise is for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds.

Written by he who is in need of the mercy of his Noble Cherisher

‘Abd al-Hafiz Malik ‘Abd al-Haqq
5 Sha‘ban 1420AH

_____________________________

  1. Jayyid” (good) means that its narrators are all trustworthy and reliable. However, a “mursal” (expedited) narration is one in which the Sahabi (Companion) is omitted in the chain of transmission by the Tabi’i (Follower) who directly quotes Allah’s Messenger . (Translators) []
  2. A “marfu’“ (raised) hadith is that which is attributed to the Prophet . (Translators) []
  3. Takhrij” refers to the science of the citation and extraction of hadith. (Translators) []
  4. Sahih li ghayrihi” refers to hadith that are deemed sahih due to corroboration and support of other narrations. (Translators) []
  5. A “marfu’“ (raised) hadith is that which is attributed to the Prophet . (Translators) []
  6. This despite the fact that this statement is contrary to the reality for, indeed, definitely some of the hadiths are hasan in chain (sanad) in themselves as has been discussed, rather some of the imams of hadith like Ibn Hibban and others have authenticated some of them, and Allah is the most knowledgeable. (Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafiz) []
  7. Hasan li ghayrihi” refers to hadith that are deemed hasan due to corroboration and support of numerous da’if (weak) narrations through which the weakness is removed. (Translators) []
  8. Taʿliq (suspension), pl. ta‘liqat: Omission of a narrator at the beginning of the hadith. (Translators) []
  9. A “mawquf“ (halted) hadith is that which is attributed to a Sahabi (Companion). (Translators) []
  10. Meaning in relation to standing in prayer in congregation in the mosques as is apparent. As to observing the night and spending it in different types of worship such as prayer, dhikr, supplication, ‘Umrah, Tawaf, sending salutations upon the Prophet, seeking forgiveness, reciting the Noble  Qur’an and other actions of piety have been established through marfu‘ narrations and athars as has been mentioned. The general scholars past and present have mentioned this. (Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafiz) []

5 Comments

  • In regards to the translation, ‘Virtues of the 15th Night of Sha’ban’.

    With the blessed night being very close, the compilation of this well translated work has been of great benefit. The compilation has assisted the reader in understanding the virtues of the 15th night of Sha’ban. A few individuals have personally disclosed to me that this translation has thoroughly supported them, including myself in understanding what the ahadith and the non-prophetic narrations are in regards to the Night of Sha’ban.

    The translation has been structured well and simply, allowing the reader to follow the text with more ease and understanding. The fluent and vibrant translation of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafiz al-Makki’s words has also made the matter regarding fasting on the 15th Night of Sha’ban more coherent removing misconceptions and doubts.

    With this accurate translation of Ahadith and Athar’s in relation to the blessed night, it has resulted to being greatly helpful in knowing whether it is appropriate for a Muslim to devote this night in worshipping Allah and fasting during the day. I, along with many others have greatly benefitted from this translation. May the Almighty grant every individual behind the completion of this work full ajr’. Āmeen.

  • The author mentions “I say: It is clear that the bid‘ah according to the people of the Hijaz and the companions of Malik is not due to the diligent observance of worship in the 15th night of Sha‘ban itself, but rather the bid‘ah is the gathering in the mosque in this night and to keep it awake in a gathering, wearing one’s best clothes, to burn incense, to apply kuhl on the eyes and other various activities in it. They considered that this was not from the habits of the Companions and the major Followers (may Allah be pleased with them). This is an issue of ijtihad in which we do not reprimand anyone in regards to it. In each of the two sides there at major hafizs of Hadith, jurists, and pillars of knowledge and guidance. Hafiz Ibn Rajab has mentioned after this, as you will note, that Imam Hafiz Ishaq ibn Rahwayh inclined to the view of the imams of knowledge and religion from the people of the Levant like Khalid ibn Ma‘dan, Makhul, Luqman ibn ‘Amir and others. Then, if it is by way of argument clearly established from some of them that observing worship in the 15th night of Sha‘ban in itself, even if it is done alone, is an bid‘ah , then no attention will be paid to this view …”

    Is this how the majority interprets ibn Rajab r.a. statement?

    If the author is saying there is no valid disagreement about this night, then is the following information false? If there is disagreement about the night why not just say they are different views regarding the night.
    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=220039098484183&id=177664909388269&refid=8&__tn__=%2As

    http://www.propheticguidance.co.uk/the-night-of-the-middle-of-shaban-its-significance-according-to-the-quran-and-sunnah-and-the-position-of-muslim-scholars-regarding-it/

    http://www.muslimmatters.org/2013/06/21/fussing-over-the-15-shaban/

  • I forgot to add this link above:
    https://www.central-mosque.com/index.php/Soul/shaban-merits-dos-and-donts.html

    “Another group of Scholars such as Shaykh (Mufti) Rasheed Ahmed Ludhyanwi (RA) in Ahsanul-Fatawa concludes that it is correct that in some instances “many weak Hadeeth” give credence to a matter but in this case the weakeness of narrations is so severe that even if we have in excess of a 1000 narrations it would make no difference and hence rejects any significance of this night. Shaykh (Mufti) Rasheed Ahmed Ludhyanwi (RA) in Ahsanul-Fatawa also produces the opinions of major Deobandi Ulamah to substantiate his Fatwa that there is nothing significant in this night.”

  • Assalamu alykum wa rahmtullahi wa barakathu

    I just had a question, what was the view of Sheikh Hijazai about Sheikh albani? Generally deobandi ulamas don’t have any favorable views of Sheikh albani.

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