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Shaban and how to maximise it

by Musa Bukhari

Imagine you are in training for a big game. For you to do well you need to play many test games to develop your endurance and improve your stamina. Shaban is the perfect landscape to train for the big game. Ramadan is like your big game and all the test games up to this point will help you excel when you need to, because the stakes are higher, and in this case the rewards. The way to view Shaban is like that friend takes you to the airport when you have a flight to catch, and through bad weather, road works, obstacles to help you arrive at your destination, Shaban is the month that is cheering for you to excel in Ramadan. It should be your companion and should not be neglected, after all, would you neglect a companion who wanted to help you and reach your potential?

"The month of Ramadan (is the month) in which the Qur’an has been sent down as guidance for mankind containing clear signs which lead (to the straight road) and distinguishing (the truth from falsehood).." (Q 2:185)

Importance of Shaban

Shaban falls into the eight month of the Islamic Calendar. It holds a special status amongst Muslims due to its afflation with the sacred month of Ramadan. Literally, Shaban means ‘branch’. It is often expressed that shaban branches off and leads to other good things. It is narrated from Usama ibn Zayd (RA) that he asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

“I have never seen you offer fast in a month as you do in Shaban.”

To which, Prophet (PBUH) replied:

“It is a month people disregard that is between Rajab and Ramadan. In that month deeds are presented to the Lord of the Worlds, so I like my deeds to be presented while I am fasting.” (Nasai)

Virtues of fasting in Shaban

Ibn Rajab (ra) said: “Fasting in Sha’bān is better than fasting in the Sacred Months, and the best of voluntary fasts are those that are (observed in the months) closest to Ramadān, before or after. The status of these fasts is like that of al-Sunan al-Rawātib which are done before and after fard (prayers) and which make up for any shortfall in the number of obligatory prayers. The same applies to fasts observed before and after Ramadān. Just as al-Sunan al-Rawātib are better than other kinds of voluntary prayers, so fasts observed (in the months) before and after Ramadān are better than fasts at other times.

Tips to maximise Shaban through seeking forgiveness:

First it is important before you start, that supplicate Allah to prolong your life to witness Ramadan with the following dua:

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان

Allahumma barik lana fi Rajab wa Sha’ban wa ballighna Ramadan.

“O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Sha‘ban, and let us reach Ramadan.”

  1. Rectify your intention, make all your actions sincerely for Allah, the Almighty, alone.

  2. Set aside some time to brush up on your reading of the Quran.

  3. Read the Quran in a language you understand so you can have a better idea of what is being recited in Taraweah.

“This is the Book (the Quran), whereof there is no doubt, guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqoon [the pious]” (Quran, 2:2)

  1. Fast Mondays and Thursdays, not only is it a Sunnah, but it will help you when Ramadan arrives.

Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger (ﷺ) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’ban.” – Sahih al-Bukhari

  1. If you have obligatory fasts you need to make up, use the month of Shaban to do so as was the practice of Aishah (ra):

‘Aa’ishah (ra) who said: “I used to have fasts that I still owed from Ramadaan, and I could not make them up until Sha’baan, and that was because of the position of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) [as a husband].” (Bukhari).

  1. Put some money aside each week in the month of Shaban, the act of giving sadaqah is beloved to Allah and will also allow you to help your fellow brothers and sisters in faith and humanity.

  2. Cleansing our hearts

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said: “Allah Almighty looks upon all those created by Him in the middle Night of Sha’ban and forgives all those created by Him, except the one who associates partners with Him or the one who has malice in his heart (against a Muslim).” – Sunan Ibn Majah

  1. Seeking forgiveness from Allah

  2. The Messenger (ﷺ) recited this incredible dua in Ramadan, so use the month of Shaban to memorise it so you can recite it with ease in Ramadan:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي

Allahumma innaka Afuwwun TuHibbulAfwa FafuAnnii.

“’O Allah, you are the Forgiver, You love to forgive, so forgive me.”

  1. Making dua for provision and relief

Ultimately our rizq comes from Allah, use this dua to focus on your life and sustenance in all its forms.

اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَارْحَمْنِي وَاجْبُرْنِي وَاهْدِنِي وَارْزُقْنِي

Allaahumma ighfirlee, war-Hamnee, wahdinee, wa ‘Aafinee, warzuqnee

“O, Allah! Forgive me, have mercy on me, help me, guide me, and grant me sustenance.”

  1. Making up missed fasts

It was narrated that Aishah (RA) said: “One of us (women) would miss some fasts in Ramadan and she would not be able to make it up until Shaban began…” – Sunan an-Nasa’i

Use this opportunity to make up for your fasts and start Ramadan on a good note.

  1. Fasting the three white days

The Messenger (ﷺ) is reported to have said: “If you fast three days of the month, then fast the 13th, 14th and 15th.” – Tirmidhi

“Fast for three days a month, for the reward of a good deed is multiplied by ten, and so the fasting of three days a month equals the fasting of a year.” – Sahih al-Bukhari

  1. Offering voluntary prayers

Offering nawafil prayers are a great way to excel in your worship. This will also help you grow your connection with the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) as this was one of his sunnahs,

Anas ibn Malik narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever prays the dawn prayer in congregation and then continues to make dhikr until sun has fully risen and then prays two rakahs, he will gain rewards of a full Hajj and Umrah combined.” – Tirmidhi

  1. Increasing dhikr (remembrance of Allah)

Dhikr is the bedrock of governing your heart. Using the month of Shaban to brush up on your remembrance of Allah by focusing on the morning and evening adkhar. These specific duas are very powerful and can help greatly with reorienting yourself.

“those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah. Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.” 13:28

The last few years have been hard for us collectively, some of our loved ones are not with us, and we are still here. If you are reading this, then you are very blessed. Use this blessing of life to instill humility in us and allow us to excel in our worship of Allah.

May Allah allow to seek benefit from Shaban and witness the blessed month of Ramadan, ameen.

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