Sha’baan is here, and there’s little time left before Ramadan. Everyone is preparing in their own little ways, awaiting the blessed month of spirituality. Sadly, some preparations have nothing to do with the Sunnah and are based on pure innovations. The biggest one during this month is the various rituals that are performed on the 15th of Sha’baan, or more commonly known as Shab-e-baraat, laylatul-baraa, or laylatu-nisf.
Many believe that on this night Allah particularly descends to the first heaven to forgive our sins.
The truth is, that the Prophet peace be upon him informed us, “Every night when it is the last third of the night, Our Lord, the Superiror, the Blessed, descends to the nearest heaven and says, ‘Is there anyone to invoke Me that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” (Collected by Bukhari and Muslim)
When ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubaarak was asked about the descent of Allah on the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan, he said to the one who asked him: “O weak one! The night of the fifteenth?! He descends every night!” (Narrated by Abu ‘Uthmaan al-Saabooni in I’tiqaad Ahl al-Sunnah, no. 92)
Our Lord descends every night in a manner that befits His Majesty to answer our supplications, to grant us our needs and to forgive us. His forgiveness and descent is not limited to the 15th of Sha’baan.
For a more detailed discussion regarding this matter, please see https://islamqa.info/en/49678
Others believe this is the night when our fate, lifespan and provisions are decreed.
Everything that is to happen or that has happened has already been written. The hadith that state that decrees are written on this night are all weak.
In the authentic hadith collected by Muslim, the Prophet said, ‘when the drop of (semen) remains in the womb (of the mother) for forty (days) or forty nights, the nagel comes and says, ‘My Lord, will he be good or evil?’ And the angel says, ‘My Lord, would he be male or female?’ And both these things are written. And his deeds and actions, his death, his livelihood; these are also recorded.’
( For a more detailed discussion on this matter please see, https://islamqa.info/en/113939)
Another belief is that our deeds are taken up to Allah on this night.
This true due to the following hadith: Usaamah ibn Zayd said: I said: O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting as much in any month as you fast in Ramadaan. He said: “That is a month concerning which the people are heedless, between Rajab and Ramadaan, but it is a month in which good deeds are taken up to the Lord of the Worlds, and I would like my deeds to be taken up when I am fasting.” (An-Nisa’i, Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’.
However, deeds are also shown to Allah twice daily, ‘deeds are shown (to Allah) on Mondays and Thursdays, and I like my deeds to be shown when I am fasting.’ (Tirmidhi, classed as Sahih by Sh Al-Albaani in Sahih Al-Targheeb)
And also twice weekly, “Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “People’s deeds are shown [to Allah] twice each week, on Monday and Thursday, and every believing slave is forgiven except a person between whom and his brother there is a dispute, and it is said, ‘Leave these two until they reconcile.’”
Hence there is nothing specific to Sha’baan to be done on this occasion, and neither is it the end of the year.
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allah preserve him) said concerning commemorating the end of the year: “There is no basis for that, and singling out the end of the year for specific acts of worship such as fasting is a reprehensible innovation (bid’ah).” End quote.
All the above beliefs lead many individuals to partake in various acts of worships, including extra nawafil, believing that they hold extra weight and will yield extra reward if performed on this night. But there is no authentic hadith, or any other evidence to support this claim and belief. Some pray 6 rak’aat with the inteion of warding off calamity and having a long life. But this has not been proven from the sunnah, nor from the ways of the righteous salaf.
Similarly some believe that it is recommended to fast on the 15th of Sha’baan, again because it has a great reward in the sight of Allah. There is no report to single out the 15th of Sha’baan specifically for fasting. However, there is a general Ahadith concerning the 3 white days of every month, which would include the 15th. The Prophet peace be upon him said, ‘If you fast any part of the month, then fast the 13th, 14th, and 15th.’ This hadith is not specific to the month of Sha’baan.
This is the night when the souls of departed ones return to their families: Souls can never return to the world; as when the soul departs the body it goes into the barzakh. I guarantee you that if you see a soul who has passed on it is the jinn playing with you, and Shaytaan deceiving you!
Another innovative belief, is calling the final days of Sh’abaan as ‘Al-sha’baniyyah’ meaning bidding farewell to food, and eating as much as possible before the onset of Ramadaan. This practice only encourages gluttony and greed. Some scholars are of the opinion that this originated from Christendom, where Christians would stuff themselves before Lent. Hence, this practice has no basis in Islam.
An argument put forward by many who engage in these practices is that there are so many people who partake in these rituals, surely they are not wrong?
My dear brothers and sisters, if you follow the majority of people, you will end up the hellfire! As Allah says in the Quran (The translation of which is), “and if you obey most of those in the earth, they will lead you astray from Allah’s way; they follow but conjecture and they only lie.” (6:116)
This is just a of a few of the many innovations that occur on the night of the 15th of Sha’baan. If you are ever unsure about a practice, research it.
Better to be safe than sorry.