Time do flies. Do you agree? Only a month back I wrote about Rajab and yesterday was already Syaaban. And another 29 days from today with be the holy month of Ramadan.
So let’s ponder the beauty of the month of Syaaban.
The merit of fasting in the month of Syaaban can be judged from the following narratives:
‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) did not observe fast in any month of the year more than in the month of Syaaban, and used to say: Do as many deeds as you are capable of doing, for Allah will not become weary (of giving you reward), but you would be tired (of doing good deeds) ; and he also said: The deed liked most by Allah is one to which the doer adheres constantly even if it is small.
The Prophet would fast most of the month of Syaaban. ‘Aishah said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah fast a complete month save for Ramadan, and I have never seen him fast more in a month than he did in Syaaban.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Usamah ibn Zaid inquired: “O Messenger of Allah, I never find you fasting in any month like you do during the month of Syaaban.” The Prophet responded: “That is a month the people neglect. It comes between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are raised to the Lord of the Worlds. I love that my deeds be raised while I am fasting.” This is related by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, and by Ibn Khuzaimah in his Sahih.
However it is also reported that the Prophet (s.a.w.) advised people to not fast after half the month of Syaaban had gone by and in another narrative to not fast in the one or two days preceding Ramadan:
The blessed Companion Abu Hurairah, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, to have said, “Do not fast after the first half of the month of Sha’ban is gone.”
“Do not precede the month of Ramadan with one or two fasts.”
The Prophet probably advised this so that we experience no deficiency in strength when fulfilling our obligation of fasting in Ramadan, for fasting in the days before can cause people to loose strength and not be feel fresh for the fasts of Ramadan.
It is said by scholars that it is not encouraged to fast after 15th Syaaban but it is permissible to fast after the 15th of Syaaban for those who fast regularly, such as those who fast Mondays and Thursdays on a regular basis or for those who have to repay their fast (qadha’). If it is fasting without any particular intention, it is then makruh.
In a Hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad, Rasulullah s.a.w has stated that when it is the middle of Syaaban, one should stop fasting. Scholars have differed with regards to what hukum this Hadith entails. A number of them have regarded this Hadith as weak. Another group of scholars have accepted this Hadith and are of the opinion that fasting after Nisfu Syaaban is makruh, with the exception of those who are fasting regularly throughout the year, such as fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and it is also permissible for those who have to repay their past year’s fast (qadha’).
Nisfu Syaaban is a clear indicator that the blessed month of Ramadan is around the corner. One can fast as many as days as one likes before Nisfu Syaaban. But after Nisfu Syaaban, the 15th Syaaban, one should not fast, except for those who are used to fast on certain days, every Mondays and Thursdays for example as mentioned above.
But in our earnest to pursue the blessings of Nisfu Syaaban, or any other nights or days for that matter, there are two important things we should remember.
First, we must not dedicate specialized acts of worships for a particular time period, except specified by Al-Quran or authentic hadiths.
Thus for the night of Nisfu Syaaban, we should reject all accounts of special prayers or recitations for that night. There is no special solat for Nisfu Syaaban. Instead, we should increase our general acts of worship, such as performing sunat prayers, tahajud prayers, reciting Al-Quran, remembering Allah through zikir, and to seek his forgiveness.
The second thing that we should remember is that: when we perform any acts or worship, we should not do them purely for the sake of receiving its promised rewards. For example, it has been promised by our Prophet Muhammad s.a.w that whosoever fast six days after Ramadan, will be rewarded as if he has fasted for the whole year. While this promise can be regarded as an encouragement and motivation for us to perform such act of worship, it should not be the only reason for us to perform that worship.
Instead, we should be sincere when worshiping Allah. Not for this reward or that reward. For sincerity is its best reward.
When someone is sincere in worshiping Allah, he will receive unlimited rewards. Rewards that only Allah knows. Allah says in surah Al-Baiyyinah, verse 5:
Which means: And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer; and to practise regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight.
In general here are some guidelines about fasting for those who want to observe sunat or voluntary fasting. The recommended days to fast are:
- 6 days in Syawal.
- In Rejab and Syaaban.
- The first 9 days of Zulhijjah.
- 10 Muharram.
- On Mondays and Thursdays.
- On the 13, 14 and 15 of each month.
You can read about the days when fasting is forbidden at: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/law/fiqhussunnah/fus3_51.html
and also about the days encouraged for voluntary fasting at: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/law/fiqhussunnah/fus3_52.html
Syaaban: Merits, Do’s and Dont’s at:
and never forget to read about the info of Syaaban in Bahasa Melayu