Month Of Sha'aban (Watan Sha'aban - As In Hausa Language)

06 July 2010

By Hassan M.D Chiranchi

All praise is due to Allah, the creator of the universe, the controller of all affairs, and peace and blessings be upon to His Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).

No doubt that Muslims are urged to strive hard in getting close to Allah with all forms of acts of worship; they should take that as a top priority. However, they are instructed that whatever they do, they should not deviate from the teachings and principles set by the noble Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). He has set for us a shinning model that we should follow in order to keep firm on the right path. Therefore it’s very important for a committed Muslim to make sure that his acts of worship have basis both in the Qur’an(Alkur’ani) and the Sunnah(teaching) of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).

Sha’aban(watan Sha’aban) is a month of good that introduces the great month of Ramadan. The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was keen(interest) on fasting in the month of Sha`aban(watan Sha’aban) more than he was in other months. `Nana A'ishah ( R.A.) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) never fasted for a whole month except in Ramadan. This refutes what some people do; observing fast for three consecutive months: Rajab, Sha`aban and Ramadan, followed by six days of Shawwal . That is, they start fasting at the beginning of Rajab until the seventh of Shawwal, leaving nothing but the Day of `Eidul-Fitr.

Neither the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) nor his Companions or even their successors were reported to have done so. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) usually observed fasting on Mondays and Thursdays and three days of each month may be fasted at the beginning of the month, in the middle or at the end, and may be done separately or consecutively, but it is better to fast on the “AYYAMUL-BEED”, which are the days on which the moon is full, namely the 13th, 14th and 15th of each lunar month.

Hadith from Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Observing Saum (fasting) on three days of every month is equivalent to a full month's fasting.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) some times used to fast every alternate day, following the pattern of Prophet Dawud(Dauda) (peace be upon him). He even made this clear: “The best way of fasting in Allah’s sight is that of Dawud, who used to observe fasting every alternate day.”

The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) used to observe fasting in Sha`aban more than he did in other months. This was a kind of self-preparation for the coming of Ramadan; that is, to act as some sort of girding oneself for Ramadan. But there are no textual evidence that there are specific days in Sha`aban in which fasting is commendable. It is, by and large, impermissible for one to prefer certain days to observe voluntary fasting or certain nights to perform Night Prayers, lacking any
juristic basis for that action.

Fasting in the second part of the month of Sha`aban is a controversial issue among Muslim jurists. According to the Hanbali School, it is makruh (disliked). For the Shafi`i School, it is haram (forbidden). The majority of Muslim jurists state that it is permissible. Hence, it is better for the person to avoid fasting in the second half of the month of Sha`ban unless the person himself is accustomed to fast regular days such as Mondays and Thursdays of every week, or when a person is obliged to make up for missed days of Ramadan before the new Ramadan begins.

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “When Sha`ban is half over, do not fast.” (Classed as authentic by

This hadith indicates that it is not allowed to fast after halfway through Sha`aban, i.e., starting from the sixteenth day of the month.

However, there are reports which indicate that it is permissible to fast at this time. For example:

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Do not anticipate Ramadan by fasting one or two days before it begins, but if a man habitually fasts, then let him fast.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

This indicates that fasting after halfway through Sha`aban is permissible for someone who has the habit of fasting, such as a person who regularly fasts on Mondays and Thursdays, or who fasts alternate days(ayi Azumi yau gobe a huta), and the like.

‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) “used to fast all of Sha`aban and he used to fast Sha`ban except a few days.” (Reported by Muslim)

Imam An-Nawawi said: In the words, “He used to fast all of Sha`aban, and he used to fast Sha’ban except a few days” the second phrase explains the first, and indicates that the word “all” means “most of”.

The above hadith indicates that it is permissible to fast after halfway through Sha`ban, but only for those who are continuing after fasting in the first half of the month. The Shafi`i School followed all of these hadiths and said:

It is not permissible to fast after halfway through Sha`aban except for those who have a habitual pattern of fasting, or who are continuing after fasting before halfway through the month.

According to some scholars, the prohibition here means that it is haram. (See Al-Majmoo`, 6/399-400; Fath Al-Bari 4/129)

Some, such as Al-Ruyani, suggested that the prohibition here is to be understood as meaning that it is makruh but not haram.

In Riyadh As-Saliheen (p. 412): Imam An-Nawawi has a chapter entitled: “On the prohibition on anticipating Ramadan by fasting after halfway through Sha`aban, except for one who is continuing after fasting before halfway through the month or who has a regular pattern of fasting such as fasting on Mondays and Thursdays”.

The late prominent Saudi scholar Sheikh Ibn Baz was asked about the hadith which says that fasting after halfway through Sha`aban is not allowed, and he said:

This is an authentic hadith as Sheikh Nasir Ad-Deen Al-Albani said. What is meant is that it is not allowed to start fasting after halfway through the month. But if a person fasts most or all of the month, then he is following the Sunnah. (Majmoo` Fatawa Ash-Shaykh Ibn Baz 15/385).

Moreover, the prominent Saudi scholar Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in his commentary on Riyadh As-Saliheen (3/394):

Generally speaking, we would like to stress that Qiyam Al-Layl (Night Vigil Prayer) is an act of Sunnah offered on all the nights of the year. As for the Tarawih Prayer, it is an act of Sunnah peculiar to the month of Ramadan to be offered starting from the first night of Ramadan. Regarding offering the Tarawih Prayer on the night of the 30th of Sha`aban or laylat ash-shak, on which people expect to sight the crescent of Ramadan, generally, Muslims may not offer it until they make sure the crescent has been sighted.

If astronomers have sighted the crescent moon of Ramadan on that night, people can offer the Tarawih Prayer. If not, there is no Tarawih Prayer to be offered. People may, instead, offer Qiyam Al-Layl, which is a Sunnah throughout the year.




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