In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is due to Allah, lord of all worlds, the creator of everything, who gave us every thing, and honoured us with Islam.
Dear brothers and sisters! Know that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) used to offer a lot of acts of worship in general and he used to perform the most voluntary fasts in the month of Sha’aban. And with that, he (Peace be upon him) used to pray and rest. He used to fast and break his fast on other days. He married women. This is his way (His Sunnah) and whoever turns away from it is not from him.
Respected servants of Allah! Be conscious of Allah Almighty and obey Him. And fill your time with His remembrance (Zikr). For the term is near and the accounting is severe. And death comes in an instant without notice. And there are no deeds after death. For there will be accounting and recompense. Allah Almighty says:
“Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.” [Qur’an, 3:185]
My Dear brothers and sisters! The astute believer is the one who gives this worldly life its proper weight. And gives it what it is due. And does not make it his hope, purpose and end. For this worldly life is the stage of deeds and striving. It is followed by death and the “Barzakh” life in the grave. A person does not know how long he dwell in it. Maybe he will stay there for 1000 or 2000 years, or more or less. Then it will be followed by an eternal life in the hereafter. And it is a great injustice for a person to focus on the worldly life and it is only a few decades. It may reach a century if a person lives for a long time. And he forgets about his “Barzah” life that may stretch throughout centuries. And he ignores the eternal house that has no death. Rather permanence and eternity. Either blessed or tormented. Whoever truly realises this will work more for after his death than he does for this world.
My people! The month of Sha’aban is a great month. It falls between the sacred month Rajab and the blessed Ramadan. And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to perform plenty of fasts within it. As in the Hadith narrated by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) who said:
“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) used to fast until we said: ‘He will not break his fast.’ And he used not to fast until we said: ‘He will not fast.’ And I never saw the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) fast more in any month than in Sha’aban.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) indicated the reason for his frequent fasting in Sha’aban. As was related in the Hadith of Usamah Bin Zaid (may Allah be pleased with them) who said:
“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Sha’aban.’ He said: ‘That is a month to which people do not pay much attention, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting.”‘
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) mentioned two reasons for his fasting in Sha’aban. First, the inattentiveness of the people to it. And the reason for this is that Sha’aban falls after the month of Rajab which is a sacred month. And Allah the Exalted said about the sacred months:
“So do not wrong yourselves during them.” [Qur’an, 9:36]
And before Ramadan and it is the month of fasting, night prayer, Qur’an and doing good.
And this Hadith is a basis for remembering Allah Almighty at times of inattentiveness. And reviving the neglected times with acts of obedience has benefits:
• And from them is that it is concealed. And concealing a voluntary act of worship is more virtuous.
• And from them is that it is harder on the inner self. And the best of deeds are those that are more difficult for the inner self. And the reason for this is that people copy what they see other people do. So if people’s acts of obedience increase, then the people of obedience will increase due to the increased number of people for them to emulate. Thus the acts of obedience become easier. And if heedlessness and it’s people increase, then the general population emulates them. And acts of obedience become more difficult to perform due to the decrease in the number of people for them to follow.
• And from them is that a single person performing acts of obedience can repel the calamity from the rest of the people. So it is as if he is protecting and defending them.
And from what the Prophet (Peace be upon him) mentioned of the reasons of fasting in Sha’aban is his words:
“It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting.” [An-Nasa’i]
Thus the deeds of the year are raised in Sha’aban. Just as fasting in Sha’aban is training for Ramadan.
Dear brothers and sisters! A believer should increase reciting the Qur’an in Sha’aban so that he gets accustomed to that. So that Ramadan does not enter except that he is used to reciting much. So that boredom and weariness do not befall him. And he trains his soul to delight in reflecting on the Qur’anic verses. Salamah Bin Kuhail said:
“It was said: the month of Sha’aban is the month of recitation.”
And when Sha’aban entered Habib Bin Abi Thabit said:
“This is the month of recitation.”
And when Sha’aban entered, Amr Bin Qais closed his shop to free himself for reciting the Qur’an.
Respected servants of Allah! The middle night (15th) of Sha’aban was related in two weak Hadiths which should not be relied upon. And it does not have any preference over any of the other nights. So one should not designate its day for fasting or its night for prayer. Rather it is like the other nights. So whoever regularly fasts in Sha’aban, fasts on the 15th because he usually fasts during Sha’aban. And whoever regularly prays night prayer, prays the night of the 15th because it is usual for him to observe the night prayer. And not because it is the 15th of Sha’aban.
And it is prohibited to fast the last part of Sha’aban if it is done as a precautionary measure for Ramadan. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“None of you must fast one day or two days just before Ramadan, except in the case of a man who has been in the habit of observing a particular fast, for he may fast on that day.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
So if it coincides with a day that he usually fasts such as Monday or Thursday, there is no harm in him fasting it because he does not intend through his fasting to include Ramadan.
And in every case, a Muslim should change his condition in Sha’aban. And he should plentifully fast and recite Qur’an in it. So that he is not among the heedless and so that he prepares for Ramadan. So that it does not enter except that he is accustomed to fasting and reciting Qur’an and he more actively worships during Ramadan.
We ask Allah Almighty to teach us what benefits us. And to bestow on us acting upon what we learn. And to help us with remembering Him, being Grateful to Him to worship Him in the best manner. Indeed He is All Hearing, Answering.
I conclude with this and send prayers of blessings and peace upon our beloved Prophet as your Lord commanded:
“Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.” [Qur’an, 33:56]
O Allah, guide us with those whom You have guided, grant us well-being among those You have granted well-being, be an ally to us along with those whom You are an ally to, and bless what You have bestowed upon us, and save us from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can decree over You. He whom You support can never be humiliated. Glory is to You, our Lord, You are Blessed and Exalted.
O Allah, We ask You for all that is good, in this world and in the Hereafter, what we know and what we do not know.
O Allah, we seek refuge with You from all evil, in this world and in the Hereafter, what we know and what we do not know.
O Allah, we ask You for the good that Your servant and Prophet has asked You for, and we seek refuge with You from the evil from which Your servant and Prophet sought refuge.
O Allah, we ask You for Paradise and for that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed, and we seek refuge in You from Hell and from that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed. And we ask You to make every decree that You decree concerning us good.
Servants of Allah! Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.
Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favours – He will increase you therein. And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters. And, establish the prayer.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State,