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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

15 th of Sha’ban – Sheikhul Hadith Fazlur Rahman Aazmi

All Praise be to Allaah Ta'aala who has blessed us with a Deen wherein small actions reap tremendous rewards as expounded by His Beloved Rasul, Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam), and by the blessed Sahaabah (RadhiAllaahu-anhu) who spent everything for the upliftment of the Deen.

This leaflet is a summary of the booklet by Sheikhul Hadith Hadhrat Moulana Fazlur Rahman Aazmi of Darul Uloom, Islamia, Azaadville. May Allaah grant him a long healthy life.

Allaah Ta'aala has presented His bondsmen with some special occasions with the golden opportunity of earning the mercy and forgiveness of Allaah Ta'aala. Explicit examples of these occasions are the month of Ramadaan and Laylatul Qadr. So is the fifteenth of Shabaan. Several Ahaadith extol the tremendous merits of this occasion. Amongst them is the fact that countless people are forgiven by Allaah Ta'aala during this blessed night. It is due to this reason that it is called "The Night of Baraat" (i.e. the night wherein judgement of saviour from Jahannam and punishment is passed).

However, it should be borne in mind that a vast majority of narrations describing the benefits and virtues of this night are in fact quite weak.

The foundations of the Shari'ah are the Qur'aan, the Sunnat and the lives of the Sahaabah (RadhiAllaahu-anhu).

Non of the narrations regarding the excellences of this night of Baraat are free from criticism and comment by the scholars of Hadith. Moulana Yusuf Binouri (RadhiAllaahu-anhu) says, "I have not come across any Sahih, Marfoo or Musnad Hadith regarding the excellence of the night". [Ma'aarifus Sunnan, vol 5, pg 419].

The Muhaddith, Ibnu-Dihya, has also agreed that neither has anything authentic been narrated regarding the fifteenth night of Shabaan nor has any specific Salaat been narrated for this night via reliable narrators. [Faydhul-Qadeer - Sharhul Jaamis-Sagheer. vol 2., pg 317].

Whilst even Allama Ibnu-Taymiyyah, a scholar notorious for refuting such things, also accepts the virtue of the night of Baraat, he says,

"So many Ahaadith and reports exist regarding the excellence of the fifteenth night of Shabaan that one is compelled to accept that this night possesses some virtue".

Some of the pious predecessors used to specially devote this night for Salaat. [Faydhul-Qadeer. vol 2., pg 317].

Moulana Abdur Rahman Mubarakpuri writes in the commentary of Tirmidhi, "The sheer number of Ahaadith regarding this night serve as proof against those people who refute the excellence of this night". [Tuhfatul-Ahwazi. vol 2. pg 53].

The virtue of this night as established from these Ahaadith is that from the very beginning of the night Allaah Ta'aala 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 Allaah Ta'aala with sincere regret and shame over sins committed and make a promise never to return to sin and seek forgiveness from Allaah Ta'aala. Seek forgiveness for oneself and the rest of the Muslims, living and deceased. Have firm hope and resolution in the heart that Allaah Ta'aala will surely show mercy and forgiveness.

UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE

It is understood from Ahaadith that even on this night, some are deprived of Allaah's forgiveness.They are,

1. Idolaters

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 adultery and murders

7. Those who sever family ties.

From the above, we can gauge the severity of these sins and need to perpetually abstain from them as they are so grave that even when Allaah Ta'aala's mercy comes to the fore, they still pose an obstacle to forgiveness.

SPECIAL VIRTUES OF THE NIGHT OF BARAAT

The special virtues of the night of Baraat are,

1. Contrary to other nights wherein Allaah descends to the lowest Heaven to bestow His special blessings during the last third of the night, on the night of Baraat the special rain of mercy and forgiveness from Allaah Ta'aala begins to shower down right from the beginning of the night and continues up till dawn.

2. The Sins of countless people are pardoned. Furthermore, the number of pronouncements seeking out those who want forgiveness supersede those which occur on other nights. [Hafiz Zayud-deen Iraqi, Faydhul Qadeer, vol 2, pg 317].

It should be remembered that while the narrations regarding the night of Baraat are weak, the narrations regarding Allaah Ta'aala's descending to the nearest Heaven during the last third of every night are totally correct.

VISITING THE GRAVESIDE ON THE NIGHT OF BARAAT

Rasulullaah's (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam) awakening during any night and visiting the graveyards is recorded in some previously mentioned Ahaadith. However, visiting of the graveyard is not a special characteristic of this night in particular.It is proven from another authentic narration that Rasulullaah (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam)used to visit the graveyard during the last portion of every night.

There is no specific reference in the Ahaadith to the night of Baraat or any other night. Furthermore, it is understood from the Ahaadith that whenever it was the turn for Rasulullaah (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam) to spend the night with Hadhrat Aisha (RadhiAllaahu-anha), he would visit the graveyard. [Muslim Shareef, vol 1, pg 313]. Thus a wide and general application of this practice is understood. About visiting the graveyard on the night of Baraat, we should ponder how much this practice conforms to the authentic Ahaadith of Nabi (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam). Are we following the norm, or are our actions truly spurred by an intention to follow the Sunnah? The turn of Hadhrat Aisha (RadhiAllaahu-anha) occurred once every week. It can thus be concluded from the above riwaayat that Nabi (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam) would visit the graveyard for a minimum of once a week.

NO SPECIFIC PRESCRIBED SALAAT RESERVED FOR THE NIGHT OF BARAAT.

Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri (R.A.) has written regarding the matter that the significance of the night of Baraat is proven. There is however, no proof for those weak and unacceptable narrations mentioned in certain books. [Alarfus-Shazi, pg 156].

Allama Yusuf Binouri (R.A.) writes in Ma'arifus-Sunan that Abu Talib Makki recorded these narrations in his book Qutul-Quloob. Imaam Ghazali, following Abu Talib Makki, did the same and Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani has followed them in his book Ghunyat-ut-Talibeen (See N.B. below). They mention a narration of Hadhrat Ali (RadhiAllaahu-anhu) that discusses a Salaat of a hundred rakaats. However, Ibnu-Jawzi (R.A.) and others declared this narration to be a fabrication (Mowdhu'). [Maarifus Sunan, vol 5, pg 419].

Allama Dhahabi, Ibnu-Arraq, Suyuti, Mullla Ali Qari and other scholars of Hadith have vehemently refuted such Namaazes. [Those who desire further reference should consult the books of Mowdhu'aat - Fabrications].

N.B. Imam Dhahabi says regarding the book Ghunya-tut-Talibeen that although it is the work of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, many additions were made to this book after his death. [Taqreer Moulana Shabeer Ahmed Uthmani, published by Jamea Islameah Dabhel, pg 227 - This book cannot be relied upon. As far as Ahaadith is concerned, the opinion of the scholars of Ahaadith (Muhadditheen) is always considered and not that of Waa'izeen and Sufis].

Mulla Ali Qadri has discussed this matter under a special chapter regarding the prescribed Namaazes of the night of Baraat. After mentioning these Namaazes, he declares them to be unfounded and therefore in the fourth century in Baitul-Muqaddas and thereafter Ahaadith were fabricated in order to support these baseless formulae. [Mowdhu'aatte-Kabeer, pg 330, Beirut edition, also Tadhkiratul-Mowdhu'aat of Farrbi, pg 45].

FASTING ON THE FIFTEENTH OF SHABAAN IS NOT ESTABLISHED FROM HADITH

Some people believe the misconception that fasting on the fifteenth of Shabaan is Sunnat. They have been deceived by the Hadith of Hadhrat Ali (RadhiAllaahu-anhu) that appears in Ibne-Maja which has been fabricated. The Hadith states that Rasulullaah (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam) said: "When the 15th night of Shabaan comes, then spend this night in Qiyaam (Salaah) and the day in fasting. For verily, Allaah descends during this night to the nearest Heavens". [Ibnu-Maja, pg 99]. This Hadith is however very weak. Some scholars have declared it as Mowdhu (fabricated). One of the narrators of this Hadith is Abnu-Abi-Jabrah, who has been accused of fabricating Ahaadith. [Taqrib of Ibnu-Hajar, pg 396]. Imaam Bukhari and others have also proved him to be weak. [Mizanul I'tidal, vol 5, pg 503]. Thus this Hadith cannot be relied upon. Hence the fasting of this day should not be regarded as Sunnat , since a weak narration is not sufficient to prove this fast as been Sunnat.

Another interesting fact is that fasting on this day is only discussed in this weak Hadith. If it were a Sunnat act, a stronger hadith would have been available to prove it.

FASTING DURING THE MONTH OF SHABAAN IS SUNNAT AND A CLEARLY ESTABLISHED PRACTICE OF THE SHARI'AH

Fasting in the month of Shabaan, without the stipulation of any day, is proven from Rasulullaah (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam). In fact, he used to fast excessively during this month. This is substantiated by a Hadith of Hadhrat Aisha (RadhiAllaahu-anha) wherein she describes the fast of Nabi (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam). She says that aside from the month of Ramadaan, he never used to fast for an entire month. However, of the remaining months, he would fast the most in Shabaan. [Bukhari, vol 1, pg 264].

THE NIGHT OF BARAAT AND QUR'AAN

Has the night of BARAAT been mentioned in the Qur'aan? The most correct opinion is that the night of Baraat has not been mentioned in the Qur'aan. Hafiz Ibnu-Katheer writes that those like Ikramah who have explained the "blessed night' in the Qur'aan as the night of Baraat are very distant from the correct interpretation. [Ma'arisfus-Sunan, vol 5, pg 420].

IS SUSTENANCE, LIFE AND DEATH DECIDED ON THIS NIGHT?

Qazi Abubakr bin Arabi writes that there is no reliable Hadith regarding the fifteenth of Shabaan from which it may be understood that sustenance, life and death are decided on that night. He has even gone so far as to say that there is no reliable narration concerning this night being the blessed one. [Ma'ariful Qur'aan, vol 7, pg 757]. Since the significance of the night of Baraat has been mentioned in a number of narrations, and the narrations are not in conflict with any verse in the Qur'aan or any authentic narration, we do accept its significance. However, the opinion that sustenance, death, etc. are determined on this night is in conflict with the Qur'aan and is therefore unacceptable. It has been established from the Qur'aan that these decisions are passed to the Angels on Laylatul Qadr and not on the night of Baraat. It is on this account that the scholars of research have always rejected this opinion.

The opinion of the lecturers would not be considered in this discussion, instead the opinion of the scholars of Tafseer and Hadith will be relied upon.

There is a Hadith of Hadhrat Aisha (RadhiAllaahu-anha) mentioned in Mishkaat [pg 115] on the authority of Baihaqi's Da'waatul-Kabeer. This Hadith discusses that the decisions are passed on this night regarding those who will be born ; those who will die ; the actions of men are placed in front of Allaah and sustenance is revealed. The Condition of this Hadith is unknown and the scholars of Tafseer and Hadith do not consider it reliable.

SOME STRANGE AND INNOVATIVE PRACTICES ASSOCIATED WITH SHABE-BARAAT

The occasion of Shabe-Baraat has become synonymous with some baseless beliefs and practices.

1. Burning lights and candles. :Nothing has or can be found in any Hadith, whether strong or fabricated, nor in any Islaamic books. The Muslims of India,being in close contact with the Hindus, probably began imitating them in their practices, thus resulting in the introduction of this and various other bid'ats [Ma-Thabata-bis-Sunnah, pg 215].

2. Preparing of Sweetmeats: Some consider this being compulsory. Without it there can be no Shabe-Baraat. This is absolutely baseless. Some say that this act gains significance from the fact that on the occasion of Uhud when the blessed tooth of Rasulullaah (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam) became Shaheed, he had some Halwa. Others say that Hadhrat Hamza (RadhiAllaahu-anhu) was martyred on this day and the sweetmeats are taken as his "Faatiha" (In commemoration of him). These are fabricated and concocted theories. How can it ever be possible when it is a known fact that the battle of Uhud in which Hadhrat Hamza(RA) was martyred took place in Shawwal and not Shabaan.

3. Souls Visit Families: Some people firmly believe that the souls of the deceased visit their families homes and see whether any food has been prepared for their honour or not. Some people feel that if a person dies before Shabe-Baraat than until his "Faatiha" is not made on Shabe-Baraat, he is not counted amongst the dead. These are baseless ideologies that clearly contradict the Ahaadith.

4. Distribution of Food: Some feel that it is compulsory to distribute food on this night with the intention of Isale-Sawab. There is no association between this practice and the significance of the night. No special acts of charity etc. have been prescribed for this night. [Fatawa Imdadiyyah, vol 4, pg 27].

5. Hadith on Rajab, Shabaan and Ramadaan: Some people quote the following narration in their lectures:

Rasulullaah (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam) said: "Rajab is Allaah's month, Shabaan is my month and Ramadaan if the month of my Ummah". It should be noted that this "Hadith" is a fabrication. [Akhbaare-Modhoo', pg 329].

OTHER ACTIONS WHICH ARE THE RESULT OF MISINFORMATION

On these nights, in many Masaajids,

1. Congregational Yaseen Khathams are held:

2. Congregational Zikr sessions are held;

3. Congregational recitation of Salaat wa Salaam are held;

4. One person recites the 40 Durood etc. whilst others listen;

5. Individual Quraan recitations takes place.

All the above are NOT proven in the Shariat of Islaam.

Some opine that before this we were performing hundreds of Rakaats but now this 'benefit' is lost.

To this we say,

The author of Majma ul bahrayn has related in his commentary that a man thought of saying two rakahs of nafl salaat in the Idgah before the Id Salaat. Hadhrat Ali (RA) forbade him. The man said,"O Commander of the Faithful, I well know that Allaah The Most High will not punish me for saying Salaat;(why am I then being prevented from Salaat? ) Hadhrat Ali(RA) said:"I also well know that Allaah The Most High does not recompense an act which the Rasul did not perform or for which he did not persuade (his Ummah).Hence your Salaat is in vain and a vain work (in devotions) is unlawful. Probably Allaah might punish you that you did a work which the Rasul did not do". (Majalis ul Abrar-majlis 18. pp 129).-Fatawa Rahimyah Vol.1 pp 60 -English .

Can anyone object and question why Hadhrat Ali (RA) stopped the person from performing Salaat, from reciting the Noble Quraan, from remembering Allaah?

"Oh Allaah! Show us that which is Haqq (truth) and guide us to follow it and show us that which is Batil (false) and guide us to refrain from it. May Allaah shower His choicest blessings upon the best of His creation, Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaahu alayhi wasallam) and upon his descendants and his entire Ummat".


 

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