Significance of the 15th night of Sha’ban

By Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Shaykh Harun Abasoomar

Many ahadith have been narrated extolling the virtue of the 15th of Sha’ban. Amongst  them is the narration of Mu’adh ibn Jabal (Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Allah turns to his entire creation on the fifteenth night of Sha’ban and forgives all of them except one who ascribes partners to Him and one who harbors enmity in his heart.” This hadith has been recorded by Imam al-Tabrani in his Mu’jam al-Awsat (hadith no. 6776) and Mu’jam al-Kabir (20:108-109).

Imam Ibn Hibban (Allah have mercy on him) has classified this narration as sahih (authentic) and has included it in his book (Sahih ibn Hibban, 12:482). Hafiz al-Haythami (Allah have mercy on him) has mentioned that all the narrators of this hadith are reliable (Majma’ al-Zawaid, 8:65).

Besides this narration classified as sahih by Imam Ibn Hibban (Allah have mercy on him), there is another classified as sound by Hafiz al-Mundhuri (Allah have mercy on him) in hisal-Targhib wa ‘l-Tarhib (3:459)This narration is of Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) and is recorded by Imam Bazzar (Allah have mercy on him) in his Musnad. In fact, Hafiz Ibn Hajar (Allah have mercy on him) has also classified one of its chains as hasan (sound) (al-Amal al-Mutlaqah, pg.119-120)

Besides the above two, there are many other Sahaba (Allah be pleased with them) that narrated ahadith regarding the merit of this night.

  1. Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) (Musnad al-Bazzar,  hadith no. 3551)
  2. Abu Tha’laba (Allah be pleased with him) (Shu’’ab al-Iman)
  3. ‘Awf ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) (Musnad al-Bazzar)
  4. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As (Allah be pleased with him) (Musnad Ahmad, hadith no. 6642)
  5. Abu Musa ‘l-Ash’ari (Allah be pleased with him) (Sunan Ibn Majah, hadith  no. 1390; Shu’’ab al-Iman, hadith no. 3552)
  6. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him) (Sunan Ibn Majah, hadith  no.  1388; Shu’’ab al-Imanhadith no. 3542)
  7. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him)
  8. ‘Uthman ibn Abu ‘l-‘As (Allah be pleased with him) (Shu’’ab al-Imanhadith no. 3555)
  9. ‘Aa’isha bint Abi Bakr (Allah be pleased with her) (Shu’ab al-Iman)
  10. Kathir Ibn Murrah (Allah be pleased with him) (Shu’ab al-Iman, hadith no. 3550, Ajwibat al-Mardiyyah, 1:325-332)

The collective strength of these narrations cannot be refuted.

The general virtue of this night has been accepted by many great ulama of the past. From amongst the many great scholars who have attested to the virtue of this night are listed below.

‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Aziz, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Awza’i, ‘Ata’ bin Yasar, Imam al-Majd ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali and Hafiz Zayn al-Din al-‘Iraqi (Allah be pleased with them) – refer Lataif al-Ma’arif of Hafiz Ibn Rajab pg. 263-264 and Fayd al-Qadir 2:317

In fact, Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah (Allah have mercy on him) has said, “As for the middle night of Sha’ban, there are various narrations that have been narrated regarding its significance and it has been reported from a group of the salaf (predecessors) that they performed salah in it individually, hence, such a deed cannot be disputed.” (Majmu’ah al-Fatawa ibn Taymiyyah, 23:132)

Imam ‘Ata’ bin Yasar (Allah have mercy on him), the great tabi’i said: “After Laylat al-Qadr, there is no other night in the year that is more virtuous than the middle (15th) night of Sha’ban” (Lataif al-Ma’arif, pg.197)

Hafiz Ibn Rajab (Allah have mercy on him) has quoted Imam Shafi’i (Allah have mercy on him) to have mentioned that du’as are accepted by Almighty Allah on the 15th of Sha’ban. (Ibid, pg. 196)

All of the above sufficiently confirm the significance of the 15th night of Sha’ban.

Together with  du’a and istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah), on this night one should engage in any act of worship that one feels comfortable with.

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