Mid-Sha’ban is the 15th day of the Muslim month of Sha’ban. Laylatul Bara’ah is the night preceding the 15th day of Shaban.
The month of Sha’ban is the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The fifteenth night of this month is known as Laylatul Bara’ah or Laylatun Nisfe min Sha’ban in the Arab world. In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Afghanistan, etc., it is known as Shab-e-barat.
- Lailatul Baraat
- Lailatul Dua
- Nim Sha’ban in Afghanistan and Iran.
- Nisf Sha’ban in Arabic speaking countries.
- Nisfu Sya’ban in Malay speaking countries.
- Shab e Bara’at in South Asia meaning the ‘Night of Emancipation’.
- Berat Kandili in Turkish
Sunnis (except for the ‘Salafi manhaj’) observe Mid-Sha’ban as a night of worship and salvation. The ‘date’ remembers when Allah saved Noah’s followers from the deluge. The Sunni narrative is that Allah determines the destiny of all people, including whether a person lives or dies, in the coming year and for this reason it is sometimes called the “Night of Emancipation”.
Imam Nawawi mentioned in his Majmu`, where he also quoted Imam al-Shafi`i from the latters al-Umm that it has reached him that there are 5 nights when dua ( prayers ) is answered, one of them being the night of the 15th of Sha`ban.
Imam Ibn Khuzaymah also recorded in his Kitab At-Tawheed wa Ithbat Sifat ar-Rabb in a section of “Nuzool” ie, The Descent of Allah, as one of The Almighty God’s Attributes taught to us, and in one of the narrations it specifically mentions His Majesty’s Descent on the night of Nisf-Sha’ban. We mention this just to refute those neo-Salafis who challenge reports from this night for Ibn Khuzaymah and his book Kitab at-Tawheed is one of the books highly recommended in Salafi circles when it comes to ‘Aqeedah. However, there is a caution on how we should believe in “Nuzool” of Rabb al-Alameen as stated by the same Imam Ibn Khuzaymah in Kitab At-Tawheed: “The scholars of Hijaz and Iraq reported from the Prophet that the Lord descends to ‘Samaai Dunya'(approximate translation: the worldly heaven or the first heaven as reported by many narrations) every night. We therefore testify and acknowledge on our tongues while our hearts are certain of the information about the descending of Allah without delving into how it happens because our Prophet did not describe to us how our Creator descends to ‘Samaai Dunya’ but he only informed us that He does descend. And Allah – Most High – and His Prophet did not leave a matter that Muslims are required to know about their religion without mentioning it to them. Therefore, we narrate this information and believe in what it includes about the descending of Allah without delving into how this happens or describing this descending as the Prophet did not describe it to us.”
The night of the 15th starts at sunset on the 14th and ends at sunrise on the 15th.
It is reported from Sayyiduna Ali that the Prophet Muhammad said: “Let all of you spend the night of mid-Sha`ban in worship (i.e. partly) and its day in fasting. Allah descends to the nearest heaven during this night, beginning with sunset, and says: Is there no one asking forgiveness that I may forgive them? Is there no one asking sustenance that I may grant them sustenance? Is there no one under trial that I may relieve them? Is there not such-and-such, is there not such-and-such, and so forth until dawn rises.” is hadith was classified as weak however there is general consensus that weak hadiths may be acted upon for virtuous acts (Fadaail A’mal), such as voluntary fasting and prayer, as long as the hadith is not excessively weak, returns to a general basis in the Shariah, and one is not convinced that Muhammad specifically prescribed it.
There are many other narrations from the Companions and early Muslims confirming this matter, as mentioned by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali in his Lataif al-Ma`arif, and others.
1. About hadith:
On this night, perform Nawaafil, recite the Qur’an, Salawat, Kalima Tayyibah, and seek forgiveness.
As for the other narrations concerning the 15th of Sha’baan (which are not believed authentic), the Hanafi scholar, Shaikh Mulla ‘Alee al-Qaaree (d.1014H) records some of these hadith:
In another narration, the following people have also been mentioned: 1. One who deals in usury (Riba), 2. One who wears his trousers below his ankle with pride and arrogance (In Arabia, people displayed their wealth and boasted in this manner), 3. One who creates disunity among two Muslims, 4. The person who unjustly takes away the right and property of another Muslim and has not yet rectified himself. All these persons are not shown mercy on this auspicious Night. A humble appeal to seek pardon and ask Allah’s forgiveness
Also on this night the Doors of Mercy and Forgiveness are opened wide,and those who sincerely grieve over and repent for their past sins and seek forgiveness from Allah are pardoned and forgiven by the Grace of Allah the Merciful.
Each Tasbih or Du’a should begin and terminate with the recital of Salawat and one who wishes for the acceptance of his Du’as should use the Wasila of Muhammad.
Hadrat Ghawth al-A’zam, Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani has mentioned in his famous book ”Ghunyat li Talibee Tariqil Haqq” (ie, The Gift for the student who seeks the path of truth) that the month of Shaban according to some narrations is related to Muhammad. So, it is our duty, as the followers of Muhammad to love and respect this month more than any other month (besides Ramadhan). One should also offer abundantly salutations (Salaat-o-Salaam) upon Muhammad.Note, Al-Ghawth al-A’zam Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani put together his famous book “Ghunyat” and heavily emphasized the ‘Aqeedah of the Salaf as regards the Attributes of Allah without ‘Tawil’, ‘Tadheel’, or ‘Takyeef’ but just as they are presented in the Quran and the sunnah of Muhammad.
It is the special night of seeking forgiveness and repenting to God, remembering past sins and sincerely settling the mind that one will never commits sins in the future. All the deeds that are against Shari’ah must be totally avoided so that our Du’a and Istighfaar, hopefully, will be accepted.
Dr. Muhammad al – Jibaly said: The hadith indicates that this night surely has a special merit
The Shia spend the entire eve of the 15th of Sha’ban in prayers and worship. Twelvers spend the 15th day in celebration, as it marks the birthday of their final Im?m, Muhammad al-Mahdi. Twelvers believe him to be the Mahdi, an important figure who Muslims believe will rid the world of tyranny and injustice.
In this night, Narjes, the mother of Al-Mahdi and the grand-daughter of the Byzantine Emperor, gave birth to him at midnight. The story of Narjes summarized here, was considered from the dynasty of one of the Twelve “Hawaryin” who were the true followers of Jesus ( or Issah ). The grandfather of Narjes, the Byzantine Emperor of the time, agreed to marry Narjes to several knights in turn. However, every time the palace was shaken during the marriage ceremony and the marriage then cancelled. One night, Narjes saw in a dream that Prophet Jesus ( Issa ) ( Jesus Christ ) came with Prophet Mohammad and his grandchild, Imam Hassan Al-Askari (Askari – Arabic for Soldier). She heard prophet Mohammad asking prophet Issa ( Jesus ) to marry Narjes for his grandchild, and prophet Issa accepted in the ‘other place’. Narjes awoke frightened and decided to forget the dream. However, she frequently dreamt similar things and remained thinking of the matter. Once she saw Al-Zahraa, who told her to go into the Byzantine Army as a soldier to be captured. She told her that Imam Al-Hadi was going to buy her later on and marry her to his son , Al-Hassan Al-Askari. She did exactly and was captured to be sold at the slave market. Many tried to buy her but she always refused sharply, until Imam Al-Hadi sent a man from his side with a letter to her in her language. She agreed and went with him to Imam Al-Hadi. Some time later, she married Al-Hassan Al-Askari and soon she was pregnant with Al-Mahdi. The Abbassids had sent spies to watch for any pregnancy, since they were afraid of the promised Al-Mahdi. However, no signs appeared on Narjes until the night of the birth of Al-Mahdi. Al-Mahdi was given birth, and his parents saw him sitting on his knees and having a tatoo (a writing on his hand) which indicated that he was the promised rescuer.
Many scholars and general people believe that Shab-e-Barat is not what it is believed to be. This belief is based on the fact that there is no mention of such a night in the Quran.
Some quote 44.3 of the Quran to justify the Night from the Quran. However, reading the entire quote,
44.1 Ha. Mim. 44.2 By the Scripture that maketh plain 44.3 Lo! We revealed it on a blessed night – Lo! We are ever warning – 44.4 Whereon every wise command is made clear
It demonstrates that this Night referred to in 44.3 is in fact the Night in which the Quran was revealed, which is the Laylatul Qadr and not Laylatul Barat. Hence the concept of Laylatul Barat is somewhat disputed.
In the Indian subcontinent Muslims make sweets (especially Halwa or Zarda) to be given to the neighbors and the poor on the evening prior to the 15th of Sha’ban, but is deemed as an innovation to the faith by some Sunni scholars; some even consider it as a sin.
Even when hadiths are used to justify the night, some Sunni scholars (and again that is just some) have labeled such hadiths as weak (da’if).
Some Muslims are not convinced with the idea that fate for the coming year is to be determined in this very night.