Sha’ban is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar. It comes after Rajab and before Ramadan. It has great significance in Islam. Rasulullah ﷺ used to fast most of the days of the month of Shaban as a part of his preparation for Ramadan. Earlier scholars would also start preparations for Ramadan during Sha’ban.
This article will cover the importance of Sha’ban and give you a guideline to prepare for Ramadan. Also, it will clear your conceptions about what you should avoid during this blessed month. Let’s get started!
What is Shaban?
Sha’ban comes from the word Sha’aba which means to appear, emerge, or branch out. Since it emerges between Rajab and Ramadan, it is called such. Also, it is said that Arabs used to Sha’aba i.e. disperse in raids and forays in this month. So, it could also be another source of the name of the month of Sha’ban.
When is Shaban 2024?
The next Sha’ban (1445H) will likely start on the 11th of February 2024. However, the date may vary in different regions, as Islamic months are based on moon sightings.
What is the Importance of the Month of Shaban?
Sha’ban is the preparation month for Ramadan. Also, it has great significance of its own. Some of the important aspects of Sha’ban are as follows:
- Our Prophet ﷺ would fast in Sha’ban more than any other month except Ramadan.
فَمَا رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم اسْتَكْمَلَ صِيَامَ شَهْرٍ إِلاَّ رَمَضَانَ، وَمَا رَأَيْتُهُ أَكْثَرَ صِيَامًا مِنْهُ فِي شَعْبَانَ
“I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fasting more than he did in Sha’ban.” [Sahih al Bukhari: 1969]
- Deeds are raised to Allah during Sha’ban.
Usama ibn Zayd(R.) said, “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah ﷺ , I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha’ban.’ He ﷺ said: ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.’” [Sahih al-Targhib wa’l-Tarhib, p. 425]
- Rasulullah ﷺ used to love to fast in Sha’ban.
It is reported, “The most beloved of months for the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) to fast in was Sha’ban, and his fasting in Sha’ban was continuous with his fasting in Ramadan.” [Sahih Sunan Abu Dawud: 2/461]
- Scholars of the past (Salaf) would believe that fasting in Sha’ban is better than fasting in other months; even the sacred ones.
Ibn Rajab( RA) said: “Fasting in Sha’ban is better than fasting in the Sacred Months, and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadhan, before or after.”
- Allah forgives all the believers in general; except the polytheists and the jealous people on the 15th night of Sha’ban. [Silsilat ul-Ahadith-as Sahiha, Volume No. 3, Page No. 135, Hadith No. 1144]
Good Deeds to Do on Sha’ban
There are a lot of good deeds that one should perform in the month of Sha’ban. We have listed some of the good deeds you can perform in this blessed month:
1. Keep Voluntary Fasts
Rasulullah ﷺ used the fast most of the days of Sha’ban. Thus, the significance of fasting in the month of Sha’ban is great. As his Ummah, we should follow his Sunnah and keep as many voluntary fasts as we can in Sha’ban as well.
Also, many people fast specifically on the 15th of Sha’ban, thinking it is a Sunnah. But all the hadiths mentioning this act are either weak or fabricated. The sound option is to fast on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of Sha’ban as part of Ayyamul Beed fastings.
P.S. Scholars have differed in opinion as to whether one should fast in the last 15 days of the month of Sha’ban. So, it is better to fast either most of the days of the whole month or the first 15 days.
2. Recite the Quran
Ramadan is the month of revelation of the Quran. Naturally, it is the month when we recite it the most. To get the best results and the most rewards from Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, we should start the habit of reciting it more starting from Sha’ban.
3. Perform Voluntary Prayers
Especially start the practice of praying Tahajjud and having Sehri from Sha’ban. It will help you get used to the Ramadan schedule quicker and gain you the best rewards.
The virtues of the night of the 15th of Sha’ban have been mentioned in a Sahih Hadith. On that night, if you want, you can perform nafl(voluntary) prayers and ask for forgiveness from Allah. But kindly do so at your home individually, as no prayer in congregation is found in the Sunnah during this night.
4. Start Saving Sadaqah Money for Ramadan
Rasulullah ﷺ was the most generous in giving Sadaqah during Ramadan. As his Ummah, we should follow his Sunnah and try to hand out Sadaqah and Zakat during Ramadan. To do it properly, we should do our Zakat calculations in Sha’ban and prepare the money to be given in Ramadan.
5. Make Lots of Duas
We should make a lot of dua in Sha’ban; especially for the upcoming Ramadan. Rasulullah ﷺ used to say:
اَللّٰهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَناَ فِيْ رَجَبٍ وَشَعْبانَ وَبَلّغْنَا رَمَضَانْ
“O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha’ban, and let us reach Ramadan.” [Tabarani al Awsat: 3939].
This Hadith is classified as weak. But there is nothing wrong with a person asking Allah to make him/her reach Ramadan.
Things to Avoid during Shaban
There are certain things we should avoid during the blessed month of Sha’ban. Some of these are: Committing Sins, Engaging in Bid’ah, Being lazy in preparation for Ramadan, etc.
In many parts of the world, the 15th night of Sha’ban i.e. Shab-e-Barat is celebrated jubilantly. People decorate the mosques with lighting and set off fireworks that night. Women at home prepare sweets(halwa) and bread(roti) at home.
All these are done in the name of Sunnah. But in reality, these are despised Bid’ah(innovation) in Islam and have nothing to do with Sunnah. We should avoid all kinds of Bid’ah(innovation in deen) and adhere to the Prophetic Sunnah in the blessed month of Sha’ban.
Q. Is fasting in Shaban recommended?
Ans. Yes. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would fast in Sha’ban more than any other month except Ramadan. Thus fasting as many days as possible in Sha’ban is recommended.
Q. How many days should one fast in Sha’ban?
Ans. Scholars have differed in opinion as to whether one should fast the last 15 days of the month of Sha’ban. So, the sound option is to fast either the entirety of Sha’ban or to fast the first 15 days. But one should avoid only fasting in the last 15 days if they haven’t fasted in the first 15 days of this month.
Sha’ban has great significance for us. We should start getting ready for Ramadan from this blessed month. As a part of the Sunnah, we should fast for as many days as we can during this month. May Allah accept our good deeds and purify our hearts.