Praise be to Allah Sub’hanahu Wa Ta’ala, the Compassionate, and the Merciful.
"0 Allah, bless Muhammad (Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam) and the members of his household as You blessed the members of Abraham’s household. Grant favors to Muhammad (Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam) and the members of his household as You granted favors to the members of the household of Abraham in the world. You are indeed Praiseworthy and Glorious."
[Sahih Al_Muslim, 4-Book of Salah, Chapter 15, Hadith Number: 0803]
Assalam-u-Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu!
The intention of writing and posting this article here, is to clarify some of the beliefs to which the majority of Muslims adhere. It is intended to refute some of the maliciously incorrect teachings which are being practiced as Islam; these are indeed BID’AAH (Innovations).
What is Hadith?
Hadith is a specific statement of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Traditions or deeds or conduct (Sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
The Hadith and Sunnah are parallel in importance to the Qur’An.
The Holy Qur’An is God's Words and come first in significance and importance, but to understand Qur’An, assistance of Hadith is mandatory.
There is not a single authentic Hadith that contradicts any verse of Qur’An.
Collection and registering of Hadith in distinctive format began in the life of Muhammad (pbuh).
Chain of Hadith Narration was recorded for authenticity's sake.
Such an endeavor took a life time of hard work on the part of the Hadith collectors (Muhaddiseen).
Classification Of Hadith
Al’Sahih (Authentic fulfilling all 05 conditions, obligatory to act and follow)
Al’Hasan (not fulfilling the Sahih criteria, only acceptable with certain set of rules)
Al’Da’eef (presence of blameworthy narrator in the chain of transmitters, not acceptable in religion)
Al’Mauzoo (void, artificially created under false pretenses, also not acceptable in religion)
Two of these are related to our topic, so we would only explain the following.
There are five conditions for a Hadith to be classified as Al’Sahih.
At’asalul sanad: that it’s Isnaad (chain of transmitters) is connected. That every one of its narrators heard it directly from his sheikh/teacher, from the beginning of the sanad till the end.
Al’-Adaalah: that all of its narrators are trustworthy. They are Muslims, of age – they reached sinn ‘Albolough- , sane, they are not sinners and not having bad manners and habits.
Daabit: that all of its narrators a precise in their memorization- This quality of Hifz comes into two types:
Precision in memory: that every narrator has to memorize it correctly and transmit it as he heard it.
Precision in his written work: that he correctly writes it down takes care of it and make sure that it is passed on correctly.
Free from Shuthooth: It’s not Shaath. Shuthooth happens when a reliable narrator narrates something different from what another more reliable narrator –or a group of narrators have narrated.
e. Free from I’llat & hidden defect: It does not contain the I’llat (which affects the authenticity of the hadeeth), while the Isnaad appears to be free from it.
Note: The true religion of Allah Almighty purely based on the Holy revelation of Qur’An and the Sahih (Authentic) Hadith of Muhammad Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam. Any of the above mentioned condition; if not being fulfilled the Hadith would not be coming under the classification of Al’Sahih. No other class of Hadith is acceptable, except Hadith Al’Hasan with certain set of rules.
There are many conditions (even one of them if fulfilled) causes the Hadith to be Da’eef, some of them are as under:
Presence of a Da’eef (weak) Raavi (narrator) in the entire chain of transmitters (Isnaad).
Note: Person engaged in any cases not abiding by Qur’An & Sahih Hadith, blameworthy, stigma like sinner, Liar, dishonest, mudallis, feeble, extremely aged, with psychiatric disorder, even phantasmic person who suffers vagary or pre-conception would be a Da’eef narrator, hence causing the Hadith to be Da’eef.
Gharib (referring to the use of rare words in traditions)
Mauquf (when the Isnaad stops at one of the Companions and does not trace the tradition back to the Prophet Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam).
A DA’EEF HADITH IS VOID & CANNOT BE FOLLOWED FOR ANY ACT.
And now the following quotes will show the position of the early Scholars of Hadeeth on this issue:
Imam Ash-Shaafi'ee gathers in his canonical collection (394-403: #1090-1105).
Muhammad Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam said:
Whoever ascribes to me that, which I did not say, will surely have to occupy his seat in the fire (of hell) [#1091]
Surely, whoever tells untruths about me, will have a house built for him in the fire (of hell). [#1092]
Whoever tells untruths about me is surely seeking for him a resting place in the fire (of hell). The Messenger of Allah began to say that while he was wiping the ground with his hand. [#1093]
Imam Muslim states in the introduction to his saheeh, under the chapter heading,
The Da’eef (weak) AhAdiths are to be discarded and only Authentic AhAdiths are to be narrated.
"To proceed, May Allah has mercy upon you. If it were not from the evil practice that we have seen from many who take upon themselves the position of Muhaddith, in their leaving the obligation to discard the weak ahaadeeth and munkar narrations and to suffice with only the authentic ahaadeeth - well known and transmitted from reliable narrators, well known for their truthfulness and trustworthiness. After knowing and admitting with their tongues that
much of what they fling at the ignorant is to be rejected and is transmitted by unsatisfactory narrators whose narrations are censured by the scholars of hadeeth like Maalik, Yahya bin Sa'eed al-Qattaan and others ... And know may Allah have mercy upon you, that what is obligatory upon everyone who is able to distinguish between authentic and weak narrations and between the suspect and reliable narrators, is that he should narrate there from except that known to be authentic and have trustworthy narrators..."
Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi said, while commenting on the hadeeth,
"The halaal is clear and the haraam is clear", "... What I have [as the reason] regarding that, and Allah knows best, is that which we have transmitted from Ahmad ibn Hanbal that he permits weak ahaadeeth regarding al-wara` (abstaining from doubtful matters). May Allah be pleased with al-Bukhaaree who did not see for the heart to hold to, nor for the religion to be connected through-is nothing except the authentic [ahaadeeth], and that our position. If we were to incline to the position of Ahmad; then holding to Da’eef ahaadeeth cannot be [accepted] except in lessons/admonishment which soften the heart, but as for the basis (usul) there is no way to [accept] that."
[Aridat al-Ahwadhee Sharh Sunan at-Tirmidhee (5/201), quoted from Abu Ghuddas introduction to al-Muhasibi's 'Risalah al-Mustarshideen' (pp58) where he states that he has abridged the quote from ibn al-Arabi.]
Imam Ibn Taymiyyah says, "... And it is not permissible to rely in the Sharee'ah upon Da’eef Ahadith which are not Sahih.”
Ibn Hazm says in 'al-Milal', "... And it is not permissible with us that we say as these Ahadith say (i.e. those Da’eef (weak) and fabricated narrations), or to trust in them, or to take anything from them."
Especially in this day and age, when so many innovations and misunderstandings about Religion are present, many of them having their roots in these Da’eef ahaadeeth, it becomes even more essential to narrate only authentic ahaadeeth as part of the process of purifying the understanding of the Religion.
So, we concluded that: IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO ACT IN ACCORDANCE OF A DA’EEF HADITH.
What is an Innovation (Bid’aah)?
The Sharee’ah definition of Bid’aah is: “A newly invented way (in beliefs and actions) in the religion, in imitation of the Sharee’ah, by which nearness to Allaah is sought, not being supported by any authentic proof, neither in it’s foundations nor in the manner in which it is performed.”
[Al-I’tisaam 1/231 of ash-Shaatibee]
A Bid’aah (innovations) are the acts that have been newly-invented into the religion, neither did Allah’s Messenger Sal’Allahu Alayhi Wa’sallam, nor the Rightly-Guided Khalifahs (Successors), nor the Companions, may Allaah be please with them all, nor any of their followers from the first three excellent generations, observed these practices - and they were the most knowledgeable of people concerning the Sunnah (the Prophetic guidance), and had the greatest love for Allah’s Messenger Sal’Allahu 'Alayhi Wa’sallam and were the foremost in following his Sharee'ah (Prescribed Laws).
Prophet Muhammad (Sal’Allahu Alayhi Wa’sallam) said: “I warn you of the newly invented matters (in the religion), and every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire”
[Sunan NisA’ee, Volume-1, Book pertaining to Eidain, Hadith n0: 1581]
He (Sal’Allahu alahi wa-sallam) used to declare at the beginning of his lectures, “….and the best speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (Sal’Allahu alahi wa-sallam), and the worst of all affairs is Bid’aah (the newly invented matters in the religion)”
[Sahih Al-Muslim, volume-2, Hadith n0: 1885]
And he (Sal’Allahu alahi wa-sallam) also commanded us, to reject everything, which has no basis in the religion saying: “Whosoever does an action, which we have not commanded then it must be rejected.”
“Whosoever introduces into this religion of ours that which is not a part of it then it must be rejected”
"I urge you to follow my Sunnah and the way of the rightly-guided Khalifahs after me; adhere to it and cling to it firmly. Beware of newly-invented things, for every newly-invented thing is an innovation (Bid’aah) and every innovation is a going-astray."
[Narrated by Ahmad, 4/126; at-Tirmidhî no. 2676].
So regarding specifically fasting during the 15th of Sha’baan or any other month, if there is no (authentic) proof established on the authority of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) or from the Qur’An to indicate the legality of fasting on that particular day — It shall be rejected by Allah SWT.
Singling out 15th of Sha’baan to fast or to do acts of worship on that night – Is it from the Sunnah???
Shedding light on the question “whether it is allowed to specify the 15th of Sha’baan with some acts of worship or not”:
There is nothing firm nor reliable established on the authority of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), that he did or recommend extra worship during the night of the 15th of Sha’baan. So, the night of the 15th of Sha’baan is like any other night in the month of Sha’ban.
When specifying a time for any act of worship requires an authentic proof (from Qur’An or authentic Hadith), because if there is no authentic proof then the act is regarded as an innovation and all innovations are misguidance, and all misguidance will be in the hellfire. So the one who does single out the 15th night of Sha’baan and does particular acts of worship with the intention that this is a special night with much reward/etc, i.e. reciting certain parts of the Qur’An or making (particular) supplications has committed an innovation as this has no basis for this in Sharee’ah; but if one does so seeking the pleasure of Allah SWT and it just happens to fall on that night then Allah knows what your intention
was. One should strive to worship Allah all year round; and not specify days to worship Him that have not been established in the Sharee’ah, but rather stick to those days that have evidence to back them up.
Anyway, Let us prove it and now carry out an analysis in order to validate authentication of the ground on the basis of which fasting and special worships are being practiced by the majority, who is indeed unaware of this Bid’aah.
Narrated: Abi Moosa Al-Ash’ari that, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Allah looks down on the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan and forgives all his creation except a mushrik or one who harbours hatred against the Muslims.”
[Sunan Ibn Maajah, Book of Prayer, Chapter concerning the virtue of the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan, Hadith number: 1390]
Chain of Transmitters(Isnaad) of this Hadith
Rashid Bin Sa’eed Bin Rashid Ramali.
Abd-Allaah Ibn’ Lahee’ah
Dahhaq Bin Aiman.
Dahhaq Bin Abd-Arrahman Bin Arzab.
Abi Moosa Al-Ash’ari.
In Al-Zawaa’id it says: Its Isnaad (chain of narrators) is da’eef, because Abd-Allaah ibn Lahee’ah is da’eef (weak) and Al-Waleed Ibn Muslim is mudallis.
There is also some idtiraab (weakness) in the Hadith, as stated by Imam Al’Daaraqutni in Al-‘Ilal, 6/50, 51. He said: This Hadith is not proven.
It was narrated from Mu’aadh ibn Jabal, ‘Aa’ishah, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Tha’labah al-Khushani and others, but the Isnaad are not free of some weakness, and some of them are very weak.
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali said: Concerning the virtue of the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan there are numerous Ahadith, concerning which the scholars differed, but most of them classed them as Da’eef.
[Lataa’if al-Ma’aazif, 261]
Allah’s descending to the first heaven does not only happen on the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan, rather it is proven in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere that Allah descends to the first heaven every night, in the last third of the night. The night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan is included in this general meaning.
Hence, when ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Mubaarak was asked about the descent of Allaah on the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan, he said to the one who asked him: O weak one! The night of the fifteenth?! He descends every night!
[Narrated by Abu ‘Uthmaan Al-Saabooni in I’tiqaad Ahl Al-Sunnah, no. 92]
Al-‘Aqeeli (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: With regard to Allah’s descending on the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan there are Ahadith which are weak, but the reports that He descends every night are proven and Sahih, so the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan is included in that, in sha Allaah.
Hence, the ground of this act is found to be Da’eef, and in this regard it’s mentioned in Sahih Al-BuKhAri, Book-3, Knowledge, 106-110 that, Muhammad Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam said:
“Whoever ascribes to me that, which I did not say, will surely have to dwell in the fire (of hell)”
so we cannot abide by it, otherwise it will lead us to innovation, astray, disobedience to Allah and His Messenger Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam, and subsequently to the Hell fire, because it’s mentioned in Sunan Ibn’MAAJA, Volume-1, Book of Sunnah, Chapter-1, Hadith n0: 046, and in Sunan NisA’ee, Volume-1, Book pertaining to Eidain, Hadith n0: 1581 and in Sahih Al-Muslim, volume-2, Hadith n0: 1885 that Muhammad Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam said:
“And the best speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam), and the worst of all affairs is Bid’aah (the newly invented matters in the religion), and every Bid’aah (innovation) is misguidance, and every misguidance will lead to the Hellfire.”
Moreover it is mentioned in Sunan Ibn’MAAJA, Volume-1, Book of Sunnah, Chapter-1, Hadith n0: 049 that Muhammad Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam said:
“Allah Sub’hanahu Wa Ta’ala does not accept the Fast, Prayer, Zakat (charity), Pilgrimage, Umrah, Jihad (struggle), Obligatory acts
(Farz), Supererogation (Nifil) [for it be any righteous deed] of a person who practices innovations, he exiles from Islam as a hair is separated from the flour.
And Allah Sub’hanahu Wa Ta’ala says, in the glorious Qur’An:
"So let those who oppose his (Muhammad's Sal’Allahu 'Alaihi Wa’sallam) commands beware that they will be afflicted with a trial or a painful punishment."[Chapter 24, Al-Noor, verse no: 63]
"Say (O Muhammad to mankind): 'If you (really) loves Allah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’An and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins'."[Chapter 3, Al' Imran, verse 31]
"Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord (the Qur’An and Prophet Muhammad's Sunnah)[Chapter 7, Al-A'raf, verse no: 3]
"And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path."[Chapter 6, Al-An’AAm verse 53]
THE EXCEPTION — For the one who regularly does acts of worship
If someone regularly observes acts of worship e.g. during the nights OR regularly fasts in the middle of the month/etc, then they may prayer on this night without assuming anything special (i.e. because of it being the night of the 15th of Sha’baan), and continue his worship as he usually does. May ALLAH SWT reward them and increase them in goodness, Ameen!
1. To conclude, it can clearly be analyzed that the 15th of Sha’baan is just like any other day in the month of Sha’ban, as there is no authentic Hadith which calls upon Muslims to perform special prayers, fasting, dhikr or particular worship on that day.
2. However, we cannot stop people from performing nawafil at any time; for nawafil are simply optional prayers; except for those times when prayers are forbidden.
3. But these nawafil must not be done only on a specific day with the intentions claiming it will bring certain blessings (that the Sharee’ah has not authorized), this is when it becomes innovation and Allah hates innovation! (aou’thubillah), we must realize when one innovates they are saying Allah SWT did not complete this religion for us, when He SWT has told us He has in the Qur’An. When we specify a certain time, place, quantity or method of worship – we must be able to bring forth the evidence. If no evidence can be found, and if after consulting the people of knowledge they verify this act has no basis from the Sharee’ah and one continues with the act, then they have committed this serious grave sin and must repent immediately.
May Allah accept our repentance, for Allah surely is The One who forgives all sins no matter how big or small.
“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”
[Chapter-5, Al-Maeda, verse n0:3]
Those who wish to spend this night in Ibadah (worship), please do so and to do so in other nights – inshAllah they will get rewards for such deeds. But one should not to single out this day, as this particular night is not a special night that warrants people staying up all night.
May Allah protect us from falling into that which causes Him displeasure, Ameen!
POINTS TO REMEMBER
1) There is no specific prescribed Salah reserved for this night. 2) There is no specific form of Ibadah prescribed for this night. 3) It was the noble habit of Rasoolullah Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam to engage in Ibadah during the last portion of every night. Ibadah was not restricted to the 15th of Sha’baan or any other specific night. Ayesha Radhiyallahu Unha reports that Rasoolullah Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam used to go to bed during the first portion of the night and he would stay awake the last portion of the night (spending it in Ibadah). (BuKhAri and Muslim)
4) Allah Ta'ala descends to the nearest heaven during the last third of every night. (BuKhAri p. 153) This is not restricted to the 15th night of Sha'ban. 5) Visiting the graveyard is not a special characteristic of this night; it is proven from other authentic narrations that Rasoolullah Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam would visit the graveyard during the last portion of many nights. 6) It is the consensus (Ijma) of all jurists that it is better for an individual to perform optional prayers in ones own home. 7) It was the practice of Rasoolullah Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam and the Sahaabah Radhiyallahu Unhum to engage in Nifil/optional prayers in their own homes through out the month. One can conclude from this that the customs and traditions prevalent today where people assemble on nights such as these have no base in the Qur’An or Sunnah. 8) Fasting on the 15th of Sha'ban is not proven from any Sahih Hadith 9) It is a misconception that the fast of the 15th of Sha'ban is Sunnah. There is only one Hadith regarding fasting on this day but it is extremely weak, as one of its narrators, Ibn Abi Sabirah is extremely weak, has been accused of fabricating Ahadith too. (Mizaan al-I'tidaal, p. 503, v. 4) NO ACTION CAN BE PROVEN Sunnah ON THE BASIS OF SUCH A WEAK HADITH. 10) Fasting in the month of Sha'ban without the specification of any day is proven from Rasoolullah Sal’Allahu Alaihi Wa’sallam. Infact, he used to fast excessively during this month. 11) Fasting on the Ayyam-e-Beedh (13th, 14th and 15th of every lunar month) is proven from the Ahadith. 12) The BLESSED NIGHT, mentioned in Surah Dukhan of the Qur’An, according to the Majority (Jumhoor) is the night of Qadr, and not the 15th night of Sha'baan. 13) The name Laylatul Bara'at was introduced after a few centuries. Earlier Hadith books would mention Ahadith regarding this night under the heading Laylat al-Nisf min Sha'ban (Chapter on the night of the 15th of Sha'ban) 14) The custom of cooking a specific food for the 15th night of Sha'ban has no basis in the Qur’An or Sunnah. Nor does the lighting of lamps or having lighting outside the Masaajid as practised by some people. REMEMBER...... 1) Value this night. Turn to Allah in Ibadah (in your own homes). Seek forgiveness for the sins you may have committed.
2) There is no specific form of Ibadah prescribed by Sharee’ah for this night. 3) Don’t engage in any form of Bid’aah 4) Don’t restrict the visiting of the graveyard or any form of Isaale Thawaab to the 15th night. 5) Fast as much as you can in the month of Sha'ban. However, if one fears this may make him weak by the time Ramadhan comes then he should not keep in the second half of Sha'ban. 6) Don’t fast specifically on the 15th of Sha'ban as this would give the impression that you consider it Sunnah. 7) Nifil Ibadah is best performed individually at home. Avoid large gatherings. 8) Success lies in obeying the commands of Allah and adhering to the teachings of our Prophet, Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wa’sallam.
Written And Compiled by:
MUHAMMAD JUNAID RAO
LIEUTENANT PAK NAVY