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Are We More Likely to Die in Shaban Than Any Other Month?

23 February, 2023
Q As-salamu `alaykum. Is there any report that more people die during Sha`ban?


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

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

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

There is no sahih (authentic) hadith to indicate that there are more deaths in Shaban.

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Responding to your question, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, the prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, states:

What is mentioned in some reports is that the names of those for whom death has been decreed in the coming year are all revealed to the Angel of Death in the month of Shaban, and that he is told of their names in scrolls from Allah, or that the annual decree of people’s deaths is written in Shaban, so death is decreed in this month according to these reports.

However, these reports and hadiths are all weak, so they should not be relied upon and no attention should be paid to their contents.

Al-Qadi Abu Bakr ibn Al-Arabi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

There is no reliable hadith about Laylat al-Nisf min Sha`ban (the night of mid-Shaban) or about its virtues, or that people’s deaths are decreed on this day, so no attention should be paid to that.” (Ahkam Al-Quran 4: 117)

We will quote here some of the reports quoted by As-Suyuti (may Allah have mercy on him) which speak of the decree of death during Shaban, in his book Ad-Durr Al-Manthur (7/401-401), and we will comment briefly on each report.

– He (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir and Ibn Abi Hatim narrated via Muhammad Ibn Suqah from `Ikrimah: “Therein (that night) every wise affair is made distinct.” (Ad-Dukhan 44: 4) He said: On the night before the fifteenth of Shaban, the affairs of the year are decreed, and death is decreed for some people, and it is decreed who is going to perform Hajj, and no name will be added to or omitted from whatever is decreed.

This is contrary to the correct view and interpretation of the verse on which the salaf (ancestors) were agreed, which is that what is meant thereby is Laylat al-Qadr.

– Ibn Zanjawayh and Ad-Daylami narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Death is decreed from one Shaban to another, even if a man gets married and a child is born to him when his name is among those who are going to die.” (This was classed as da`if by Ash-Shawkani in Fathul-Qadeer (4/801), in As-Silsilah ad-Da`ifah (no. 6607) Al-Albani said: it is munkar)

– Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated that `Ata’ ibn Yasar said: Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) did not fast in any month more than he did in Shaban, and this is because death is decreed for some people in that month for the coming year.” (This is mursal and da`if.)

– Abu Ya`la narrated from `A’ishah that the Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) used to fast all of Shaban, and she asked him about that and he said: “Allah decrees in it every soul who will die that year, and I want the decree of my death to come to me when I am fasting.” (This was classed as da’if)

– `Ata’ ibn Yasar said, “When the night before the fifteenth of Shaban comes, a scroll is given to the angel of death, and it is said, ‘Take (the souls) of those who are mentioned in this scroll.’ A man may furnish a house and get married and build houses, but his name is already written among those who are to die.” These are only the words of `Ata’; there is no isnaad for this report.

– Al-Khatib and Ibn al-Najjar narrated that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) used to fast all of Shaban, until he joined it to Ramadan, and he did not fast any month in full except Shaban. I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, is Shaban one of the dearest of months to you in which to fast?’ He said: “Yes, O `A’ishah, for there is no soul who is to die during the year but her death is decreed in Shaban, and I want my death to be decreed when I am worshipping my Lord and doing righteous deeds.

The version narrated by Ibn al-Najjar says: “O `A’ishah, in it the angel of death writes down whose soul he will take, and I do not want my name to be written down except when I am fasting.” (Classed as very weak)

To sum up: there is no sahih (authentic) hadith to suggest that there are more deaths in Shaban.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.