Mid-Sha’ban is the 14th day of the eighth month (Sha’ban) of the Islamic lunar calendar. The preceding night is known as Laylatul Bara’ah or Laylatun Nisfe min Sha’ban in the Arab world, and as Shab-e-barat (شب برات) in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Afghanistan.
The night of the 15th starts at sunset on the 14th and ends at sunrise on the 15th.
It is reported from Sayyiduna Ali that the prophet Muhammad said:
“Let all of you spend the night of mid-Sha`ban in worship (i.e. partly) and its day in fasting. Allah descends to the nearest heaven during this night, beginning with sunset, and says: Is there no one asking forgiveness that I may forgive them? Is there no one asking sustenance that I may grant them sustenance? Is there no one under trial that I may relieve them? Is there not such-and-such, is there not such-and-such, and so forth until dawn rises.” This hadith was classified as weak however there is general consensus that weak hadiths may be acted upon for virtuous acts (Fadaail A’mal), such as voluntary fasting and prayer, as long as the hadith is not excessively weak, returns to a general basis in the Shariah, and one is not convinced that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)specifically proscribed it.
1. Ummul-Mu’mineen Aishah (radiyallahu anha) is reported to have said, “Once Rasulullah, (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) performed the Salaah of the night (Tahajjud) and made a very long Sajdah until I feared that he had passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he is alive). The thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying in Sajdah: ‘I seek refuge in Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your annoyance, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise You in the manner that You deserve. You are exactly as You have defined Yourself.’ Thereafter, when he raised his head from Sajdah and finished his salaah, he said to me: ‘Aishah, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?’ I said, ‘No, O Prophet of Allah, but I was afraid that your soul has been taken away because your Sajdah was very long.’ He asked me, ‘Do you know what night it is ?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘This is the night of the half of Shábaan. Allah Ta’ala looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy but leaves those who have malice (against a Muslim) as they were before, (and does not forgive them unless they free themselves from malice).’”
Targheeb wat tarheeb(vol 2 pg.119) on the authority of Imam Bayhaqi (rah)
2. In another Tradition, she has reported Rasulullah, Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, to have said, “This is the middle Night of Sha’ban. Allah emancipates in it a large number of the people from the Fire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb. But He does not cast a glance at a person who associates partners with Him, or at a person who harbours malice in his heart (against someone), or at a person who severs family ties, or at a man who leaves his clothes extending below his ankles, or at a person who disobeys his parents, or at a person who has a habit of drinking wine.”
Targeeb wat Tarheeb, vol. 2, pg. 118 authority of Imam Bayhaqi (rah)
Kalb was a big tribe the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore, the last sentence of the Hadith indicates the large number of people forgiven on this night by Allah Ta’ala.
3. Sayyiduna Muaz ibn Jabal, Radiyallahu anhu, reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allah Ta’ala looks upon all those he created in the middle Night of Shábaan and forgives them all, except the one who associates partners with Him or the one who has malice in his heart (against a Muslim)”.
Targeeb wat Tarheeb, vol. 2, pg. 118 from Imam Tabrani and Saheeh ibn Hibban
4. Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Amr radiyallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, Allah Ta’ala looks upon his creation on the middle night of Shábaan and forgives them, except one who harbours malice in his heart and a murderer.
Targeeb wat Tarheeb, vol 2 pg. 119 from Imam Ahmad (rah)
The virtue of this night established from these Ahadith is that from the very beginning of the night Allah Ta’ ala turns with special mercy and attention towards the creation and forgives those who repent and seeks forgiveness. Every Muslim should therefore value this night. Turn towards Allah Ta’ ala with sincere regret and shame over sins committed and make a promise never to re- turn to sin again and seek forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala. Seek forgiveness for oneself and all Muslims, living and deceased. Have firm hope and resolution in the heart that Allah Ta’ ala will surely show mercy and forgiveness.
It is understood from Ahadith that even on this great night, some unfortunate individuals are deprived of Allah’s forgiveness. They are:
2. Those who harbour enmity against others
3. Those who consume alcohol
4. Those who disobey their parents
5. Those who wear their trousers, kurtas, lungis, etc. below their ankles
6. Those who commit murder
7. Those who sever family ties.
We can thus gauge the severity of these sins and need to abstain from them at all times.
Special virtues of this night
The special virtues of the night of Bara’at are:
1. Contrary to other nights where the last third of the night has special blessings and Allah descends to the lowest Heaven during this section of the night, on the night of Bara’at the special rain of mercy and forgiveness of Allah Ta’ ala begins to shower down right from the beginning of the night and continues until dawn.
2. The sins of countless people are pardoned. As already mentioned, Allah Ta’ala’s descension during this night to the lowest Heaven occurs from the very beginning, unlike other nights. Furthermore, the number of pronouncements seeking forgiveness far supercede those, which occur on other nights.
Hafiz Zaynud-deen Iraqi, Faydhul Qadeer, vol. 2, pg. 317