With the month of Ramadhan approaching fast, it is easy to focus on this month as it comes with the usual levels of excitement.
However, often we overlook the month preceding it and that is the month of Sha’ban.
Sha’ban is a month that is between two special months in Islam. We have the sacred month of Rajab that we are currently in and of course the holy month of Ramadhan which every Muslim is acutely aware of.
So how should we as Muslims regard this month? The best way to answer this is by reflecting on a hadith of the Prophet SAWS.
Aisha (may Allah SWT be pleased with her) said of the Prophet SAWS:
“He used to fast until we thought that he would always fast, then he would not fast until we thought that he would always not fast, but I never saw him fast in any month more than he fasted in Sha’ban.
He used to fast all of Sha’ban, and he used to fast all of Sha’ban apart from a few days.”
Dear brothers and sisters, as we can see from this hadith upon reflection, it is that the month of Sha’ban is an important month in the Islamic calendar that shouldn’t be overlooked.
It is also apparent that fasting is recommended in this month as our beloved Prophet SAWS fasted in this month.
But as with all things with our beautiful religion, it comes with a side note of moderation so as to not cause hardship.
Therefore it should be kept in mind that the fasts of the month of Sha’ban are for those persons only who are capable of keeping them without causing deficiency in the obligatory fasts of Ramadhan.
After all, there is no logic to keeping fasts in this month if they cause fatigue or ill-health thus rendering the person unable to keep them in the following month.
So, if one fears that after fasting in this coming month, he will lose strength or freshness for the fasts of Ramadhan, he should avoid fasting in this month as the fasts of Ramadhan are obligatory and hence more important than the optional fasts of Sha’ban.
There is another hadith regarding fasting in the month of Sha’ban which is important to note. The Prophet SAWS is reported to have said about Sha’ban:
That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadhan, 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.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we analyse this hadith, we can see the importance of fasting in this month. It is clearly a month with the potential for great reward through our deeds, in particular the one of fasting.
It also indicates that there is wisdom in taking advantage of times when others may be negligent. So this month is the time in which we should endeavour to remember Allah SWT more in order to gain the extra reward.
As mentioned earlier, this month is also the one in which we start thinking of the upcoming month of Ramadhan. We start shopping for Iftar food and drinks, Eid presents, Eid clothes etc.
However, we can even take advantage of the shopping, such is the mercy and blessings of Islam, and achieve immense reward whilst we do it.
The answer lies in the following hadith of our beloved Prophet SAWS in which he said:
Whoever enters the market and says: “None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, without partner, to Him belongs all sovereignty and praise. He gives life and causes death, and He is living and does not die. In His hand is all good and He Omnipotent over all things.” ..Allah will wipe a million bad deeds from his record and grant him a million good deeds, and will elevate him a million degree (of virtue)-
([and will build him a house in paradise] in another narration).
Dear brothers and sisters, just think about that for a moment. Here you have two hadiths, one stating how good deeds are lifted to Allah SWT in this month and another stating that by performing the dua, whilst shopping of all things, sisters listen up, you can achieve the reward of a million good deeds.
Not only that, you will wipe a million bad deeds from your record. SubhanAllah! Let’s make it the aim of every single person here today to research this dua with the intention of memorizing it.
Ramadhan may be just over a month away dear brothers and sisters, but we can aim to prepare ourselves for it through our actions in this forthcoming month of Sha’ban.
May Allah SWT give us the will to fast in the month of Sha’ban. May Allah SWT enable us to gain the most from the month of Sha’ban. And may Allah SWT generate the excitement of Ramadhan in our hearts during the month of Sha’ban.
Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.