Laylathu Nisf min Sha'ban 1443
Written by Dr. Farah Zahir | Published 2 years ago
Laylathul Nisf min Sha’ban - The blessed night of the mid of Sha’ban.
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah,
With the dawn of the holy month of Rajab a few weeks ago, we entered into the second half of the Islamic year. The second half of the year is laden with special blessings from our Lord that seem to fall almost ceaselessly, if only we would reach out our hand and grab them! There is all the blessings of Rajab, then nisf Sha’ban, then Ramadan, then the special fasts of Shawwal and after that all the blessings of the great pilgrimage. Glory be to God and our thanks, for extending to us blessing after blessing, like pearls strung on a necklace. May you be beautified, strengthened and elevated by all of them!
Now we are on the cusp of another one of the greatest nights of the year, another night when our prophet and master, the messenger of Allah ﷺ told us would be a night where Allah ﷻ would not refuse du’a except from a person with shirk in their heart, or who harboured enmity toward his brethren.
This is a night where you must pray first of all for isthighfar and tawba. If you have these two things you have everything, for then you will walk on this earth held in the loving hand, cherished and protected until the day you die, by Allah ﷻ, that is the great state of the ‘tawwabeen’. To attain tawba is to have attained one of the seven great words of the Quran. If you are unaware what these are, please ask me, or make sure you find a teacher who can teach you. I have certainly spoken of them often in my classes. The whole of the Quran is to give you the roadmap to attain one of these seven words, once you do that, you have Allah’s special love. That love is what will open your heart to all truth, all beauty, all abundance, all peace and all purpose. Tawba is one of these seven words.
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلتَّوَّٰبِينَ وَيُحِبُّ ٱلْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
Verily, Allah loves the ‘returned/returning’ and loves the pure/clean
The only place this word comes in the Quran, given in the special formula ‘innallah yuhibboona’ is with another one of the seven words, that is the word of cleanliness or purity (tahara). Hence, we understand that your tawba will cannot be complete if you are indulging in any impure practice. So you must repent from any ugliness/impurities you may have accrued (something without your awareness) in your life. Look to your food, your income, your dealings with people. They must be pure and upright, or if there has been wrongdoing or any deception, it must be examined and put to right.
Hadith pertaining to this night (these are well known)
“Allah gazes at His creation on the fifteenth night of Sha`ban and then forgives all His slaves except for two types of people: those who attribute partners to Allah and those who have rancour for their fellow Muslims.”
One night Sayyidah `A’ishah noticed that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) had left her house. She went out to see where he was and found him in the Baqi` Graveyard raising his arms to the heavens in supplication. He said to her that on that night, the fifteenth night of Sha`ban, Allah forgives more people than there are hairs on the sheep of the tribe Kalb.[this tribe was well known for having great flocks of sheep]
“There are five nights on which du`a’ is not rejected: the first night of Rajab, the fifteenth night of Sha`ban, Thursday night (i.e., laylathul jumu’ah), the night before `Eid al-Fitr and the night before `Eid al-Nahr (al-Adha).”
I know that sadly, this can be a contentious issue, so I want to explain that early Muslims greatly honored this night. In terms of practices of the salaf for this night – these are not as well recorded as ahadith, but as a general rule, a sign of accepted ibadah is that the act will last several centuries. Therefore, the fact that muslim communities had special worship on this night for centuries (prior to the great colonial catastrophe which greatly diminished state-sponsored ibadah), indicates it is a practice that originated in the earliest times and has acceptance from Allah ﷻ. Imam Shafi’i and others of the 2nd and 3rd century hijri, write about this night and worship during it extensively. Summarizing all of that scholarship in this post is ridiculous, I encourage you all to go and do your own sincere and thorough research. I give two examples below;
Imam ‘Ata ibn Yasar (rahimahullah) –the great Tabi’i of Madinah- said: “After Laylatul-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, and Sunan Sa’eed ibn Mansur; refer: Husnul Bayan)
The great scholar and leader Umar ibn Abd Aziz has been reported to encourage the people to spend the night in prayer and not sleep (Ibn Rajab al Asqalani).
As a general rule, our prophet and master, Rasullullah ﷺ would fast often in Shab’an. There are authentic reports from sayyida Aisha that some years he would fast the entire month. Sayyida Aisha has also reported that some years Rasullullah ﷺ would worship so devotedly on the 14th and 15th night of Sha’ban that she would think he has died. This means, that his worship is so full of khushoo during those times that it is as if his ruh has almost left the body for good. When one enters sincere worship with Allah ﷻ one must experience ‘mi’raj’ – this means one’s ruh will travel to heaven and be in the presence of Allah ﷻ, that is why if you see a person who has reached khushoo in their prayer it is as if their soul is in another place and only their body is here.
The simple fact is, that the world is in such a dangerous situation now, and all but the last few signs of the impending new dawn prophesized by Rasullullah ﷺ have taken place. You simply cannot afford to lose the blessing of this night. Even if you doubt the scholarship or do not have the time to do your research on this matter, don’t miss the opportunity. Doing extra ibadah will only benefit you. Therefore I sincerely encourage you to put aside all your other plans (it is well worth taking leave of work if you are able to) and devote it to seeking Allah’s maghfira. If you have this, everything else will open for you. [I explained the meaning of isthighfar – wrongly translated as forgiveness – in a video class now on our YouTube channel. Please review it, if this is knowledge you don’t have].
On this night, a special event takes place. Destiny that can be modified by du’a, is written on the lawh al mafuz. In our cosmology, we understand that there are two types of destiny; one that is carved in stone and cannot be changed no matter who prays for you and for how long. This is qadr (Allah’s Divine plan), that will become qada (plan will become executed), no matter how hard you try to stop it. The other, is destiny that is changed by du’a. This is the qadr that is written, but can be erased or modified or changed or even a new writing that takes place. That depends on du’a and our Lord’s acceptance of it of course. This is why in Islam we are people of a middle path – somethings in our life we cannot control, other things we can. You should get to know about this and about what you can and cannot control as it is essential knowledge. With Allah’s grace, permission, blessing and help, I explain this more in the Book of Cosmology.
I will not write more here, as it is not an appropriate medium, but end by urging you not to miss the special opportunity to gain Allah’s closeness this night. I recommend you recite 40 times surah Yaseen. Here is the best way to do it;
- Purify your house/worship location and perfume it (the angels love perfume)
- Clean yourself (shower if possible) and wear clean clothes. Make sure your teeth are clean (angels don't like food stuck in teeth)
- If possible, it is best to gather your family, or your companions/friends/community. Make a jama’a (gathering), sit in a circle and recite together. That way, you can finish the 40 easily and everyone will share the blessing of reciting all 40 as if they recited on their own. I.e. if eight of you, each person recites five YaSeen.
- If you cannot make a jama'a, doing this alone is very good.
- Make all your du’a after this recitation. Write everything you want to say down before, so you don’t forget. It is good to make du’a in the jama’a so everyone can say ameen. Perhaps even if your ameen is not accepted, another member’s will be. If there is something you can only say in private, make it privately of course.
- Examine and purify your intention, and make your du’a with sincerity and truthfulness. Nothing can replace sincerity and truthfulness with Allah. So if you are not sure about the goodness of the du’a, do not make it. That is also something to beware of. You must be certain what you are asking for is something that will take you closer to Allah in terms of your worldly and next life.
- There is nothing wrong with making du’a pertaining to worldly matters, but examine it’s intention well. All of your life here in dunya – in one word, its purpose is worship. So as long as ibadah/worship is being served, this is good for you. Sometimes the du'a can be accepted, but it may not be good for you. So ask Allah to give you only what is good for you.
- If after the 40 YaSeen you can recite more, I recommend you make a proper and profound salawat. It is known that Allah ﷺ loves Rasullullah ﷺ so greatly that, our Lord is often inclined to accept du’a which is beautified by abundant salawat. Recite either from, Qasida Burdah or Dala’il Khairat or the Subhahan mawlood. All these can easily be found online these days, shukr lillahi ta’ala.
- If you are able, fast the following day, as it is a Friday you should also fast on Thursday or on Saturday. That is, don’t fast only on the Friday. In fact, this is a month when excessive nafl fasting is highly encouraged, but do not do so much that it will harm your energy and state for Ramadan.
Finally, we are very much aware of the specialness that nisf Sha’ban falls on a Friday this year. It will be the same all around the world as the new moon of Sha’ban was very clear, Alhamdulillah. So it is baraka multiplied – don’t miss it!
May Allah bless us all to attain much closeness to Himﷻ and his beloved messenger ﷺ while we have time left on earth, and after we leave this earth, even more!
My du’a is with you all. I will be praying for you all on nisf sha’ban inshaAllah. I ask for your du’a also.