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 are many practices and customs common in some Muslim countries related to Shaban 15th such as making a sweet dish, setting off fireworks, etc.
- These things have no meaning and no reference in hadiths. There are also some superstitious beliefs about this night.
Responding to the question, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of the Fiqh Council of North America, states:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “Truly, there are nafahat (blessed seasons or days) in which your Lord vouchsafes plentiful mercy. So, make sure that you make the best use of such seasons!” (At-Tabarani)
A true believer should purify himself from the fleshly inclinations and the earthly desires and make his aspirations so high and beseech Allah for mercy in such blessed seasons which witness the abundant mercy of Allah.
One point here to be stressed is that a true Muslim should consider his whole life a long-term season of obedience so as to show gratitude to the everlasting blessing of Allah.
The month of Shaban is the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The fifteenth night of this month is known as laylatul-bara’ah (the Night of Innocence) or laylat un-nisf min Shaban (the Middle Night of Shaban) in the Arab world.
In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Afghanistan, etc., it is known as shab-e-barat.
Some people believe that in Surat Ad-Dukhan (44:3-4) there is a reference to this night as Allah says, “We sent it (the Qur’an) down during a blessed night. We are truly Warners. In that night is made distinct every affair of wisdom.“
But the night referred to here cannot be a Shaban night because it is said here clearly that the Quran was revealed in this night.
We know from the Surat Al-Qadr (97) that the Quran was revealed in the Night of Qadr and we also know from the Quran (Al-Baqarah 2:185) that the Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan.
So it is obvious that the night of the revelation of the Quran was in Ramadan, not Shaban, and that it was laylat ul-qadr (the Night of Power) not shab-e-barat.
Some people also say that in the 2nd year of Hijrah, the direction of the Qiblah was changed from Jerusalem to the Kabah in Makkah on the 15th day of Shaban. This report is also not confirmed by authentic hadiths.
According to most of the Quran commentators, the Quran has not mentioned anything about the Shaban night.
There are some hadiths that speak about the Middle of Shaban and its night. However, the scholars of hadith say that most of the hadiths concerning this night are not authentic. They are weak (da`if) according to the criteria of the narrators and scholars of Hadith.
These are the things that we learn from some hadiths about the significance of this night. However, there are many practices and customs common in some Muslim countries, such as making a sweet dish, setting off fireworks, etc. These things have no meaning and no reference in hadiths. There are also some superstitious beliefs about this night.
For example, some people believe that the spirits of the deceased visit their relatives during this night. Some believe that there is a special tree in Heaven upon whose leaves are the names of all human beings, and whatever leaves drop during this night, those people are destined to die in this year.
Some think that the decisions about the life and death of people are made during this night. All these beliefs and superstitions do not belong to the authentic teachings of the Quran and Sunnah.
We must try to follow the Quran and the authentic Sunnah of the blessed Prophet. It is our duty as Muslims to take advantage of all good occasions to revive our faith, to purify our souls, and to increase our love and devotion to Allah (glory be to Him), but we must follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). We must not do anything in our celebrations that is against his teachings.
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.