The month of Shabaan is one of those blessed months in the Islamic calendar which heralds the great and virtuous month of Ramadhan. When it arrives, Muslims begin to prepare for the month of Ramadhan and wait anxiously to welcome it. In fact, the common talk among Muslims in Shabaan is about the arrival of Ramadhan.
Thus, Shabaan is indeed a precursor to Ramadhan as it heralds the coming of this great month. But besides this, Shabaan itself has its own merits and virtues which Allah has placed in it. It is for this reason, the Prophet (S.A) used to observe the fast frequently in the month of Shabaan. In this regard, Usamah Ibn Zaid (R.A) narrates, ‘I said: ‘Oh Messenger of Allah! I have not seen you fasting as much as you fast in Shabaan.’ He (S.A) replied: ‘this is a month that people are negligent about. It is the month that is between Rajab and Ramadhan. It is the month in which the deeds are raised to the Sustainer of the worlds. I therefore love that my deeds be raised while I am fasting.’ (Sunan An Nasaii, Hadith No.2359, Pg.458, Darussalam, صوم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بأبي هو أمي وذكر اختلاف الناقلين الخبر فى ذلك).
In another tradition, it is mentioned that Anas (R.A) narrates that the Prophet (S.A) was asked ‘Which fast is the most superior after Ramadhan?’ He (S.A) replied ‘Shabaan, to show the greatness of Ramadhan.’ He was asked ‘Which charity is the most superior?’ He (S.A) replied ‘Charity in the month of Ramadhan.’ (Tirmidhi, Hadith No.662, Pg.323, Vil.1, Altaf and Sons, ابواب الزكاة – باب جاء فى فضل الصدقة).
From the narrations, it can be seen that Shabaan is a month from which great blessings can be achieved, hence, Muslims must take advantage if this blessed time and increase in doing good actions. In this blessed month, there is a special night that is known for its greatness and special significance. This night is known as the 15th night of Shabaan and is commonly refered to as ‘Lailatul Bara’at’ or ‘Shabe Bara’at’. This night is spoken about in several traditions which all together tell us about the special virtues of this night. Although some scholars have spoken about the weakness of some of these traditions, they are nevertheless acceptable by the majority of the great and accepted scholars of hadith.
In this regard, a tradition is narrated by Muaz bin Jabal (R.A) which states that the Messenger of Allah (S.A) said, ‘Allah looks to his creation on the 15th night of Shabaan and forgives everyone except two people: a polytheist and one who holds a grudge against people.’
Imam Ibn Hibban has narrated this hadith in his Sahih, Imam Baihaqi has narrated it in his Shu’bal Imaan, Imam Tabarani in Al Mu’jam al Kabeer and Abu Nuaim in his Al Hulya. Imam Haithami has also narrated it in his Majmauz Zawaaid and after narrating it, has commented that all the narrators in the sanad of the above hadith are trusworthy and reliable and this hadith is authentic. This hadith has also been narrated by Imam Mundhari in At Targheeb and by Imam As Suyooti in Durrul Manthoor. Shaikh Albani has also narrated it in his Silsilah Sahiha (a book in which he has narrated only authentic hadith according to him). (Ibn Majah, Hadith No.1390, Pg.245, Darussalam, باب ما جاء في ليلة النصف من شعبان / Silsilah Sahiha, Hadith No.1144, Pg.135, Vol.3, Maktaba Ma’arif, ما صح في ليلة النصف)
In another tradition narrated by Abu Thalaba (R.A), the Messenger of Allah (S.A) said, ‘On the 15th of Shabaan, Allah looks at his creation and forgives all the believers except the one who begrudges and hates. He leaves them in their enmity.’
This hadith has been narrated by Imam Baihaqi in Shubal Imaan, Ibn Abi Asim has narrated it in Kitabus Sunnah, Imam Suyooti has narrated it in Durrul Manthoor. Shaikh Albani confirms its authenticity by narrating it in his Silsila Sahiha.
Muajamul Kabeer, Tibrani, Hadith No.590, Pg.5134, Vol.15, Muassasah Rayaan, مكحول عن أبي ثعلبة /Silsilah Sahiha, Hadith No.1144, Pg.136, Vol.3, Maktaba Ma’arif, ما صح في ليلة النصف)
In another tradition, Abdullah bin Umar (R.A) has narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A) said, ‘Allah, on the 15th of Shabaan looks at the people and forgives all believers except for two kinds of people: Someone who holds a grudge for others and someone who has taken an innocent life.’
This hadith has been narrated by Imam Mundhari in At Targheeb, Imam Ahmad has narrated it in his Musnad and Hafiz Al Haithami in Majma uz Zawaaid. Shaikh Albani has narrated this hadith in his Silsilah Sahiha, and after a lengthy discussion concerning its chain of narrators, he concludes that it is a good (hasan) hadith. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Hadith No.6653, Pg.589, Vol.2, Darul Fikr, مسند عبدالله بن عمرو العاص / Silsilah Sahiha, Hadith No.1144, Pg.136, Vol.3, Maktaba Ma’arif, ما صح في ليلة النصف)
Along with the above mentioned traditions, there are many different statements which have been made by the great scholars regarding the virtues of this night.
In this regard, Hafiz Ibn Taimiyah has mentioned, ‘as for the 15th night of Shabaan, there are many narrations and Athar (quotes from the sahabahs) regarding its virtues. It has been reported of the salaf (pious predecessors) that they prayed on this night. Therefore, praying alone on this night, having precedence in the salaf, is sufficient evidence and something of this kind cannot be denied. (Rasail Wa Fatawa Ibn Taimiya Fil Fiqh Vol. 23 Pg. 131).
At another place, he writes, ‘If one performs salaah on the 15th night of Shabaan, just as many groups of the salaf did, then it is good. (Rasaail wa Fatawa Ibn Taimaiya Vol. 23 Pg. 131).
Shaikh Mansoor Bahooti Hanbali writes in his famous book of Fiqh, Kashful Qina Vol.1 Pg. 444, ‘As for the 15th night of Shabaan, it is a night of virtue. Some salaf (pious predecessors) performed salaah for the whole night. And the reward of the ibadah of the 15th night of Shabaan is the same as the reward of the ibadah of the night of Eid.
Imam Shafi (R.A) has mentioned in his book Al Umm Vol.1 Pg.231, “Of the narrations that have reached us, verily, dua is accepted on five nights; the night of Juma, the night of Eid Al Adha, the night of Eid Al Fitr, the first night of Rajab, and the 15th night of Shabaan.’
The great scholar and commentator of the book of ahadith known as Jame Tirmizi, Shaikh Mubarakpuri writes, ‘You should know that a sufficient number of hadith has been narrated confirming the virtues of the 15th night of Shabaan. These ahaadith prove that it has a basis’. (Tuhfatul Ahwazi Vol.3 Pg.365).
At another place, after quoting many ahaadith about the importance of this night, he says, ‘The sum of all these ahaadith is strong evidence against the one who thinks there is no proof for the virtue of the 15th night of Shabaan. And Allah knows best.’
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.