Alhamdulillah, the month of Sha‘ban has dawned over us, and this marks the final stretch to Ramadan.
About Fasting in Sha‘ban
It was reported in the two sahih hadith compilations that Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) did not fast any entire month apart from Ramadan.” [Bukhari; Muslim]
Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, regarded it as makruh (disliked) to fast any entire month apart from Ramadan. Ibn Hajar, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “He (peace and blessings be upon him) observed more voluntary fasts in Sha‘ban than in any other month, and he used to fast most of Sha‘ban.”
Usama ibn Zayd, may Allah be pleased with them both, narrates: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha‘ban.’ He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied: ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted to the Lord of the worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted when I am fasting.’” [Nasai]
Practical Tips for Sha‘ban
Here are a few tips for Sha‘ban, toward achieving excellence in Ramadan:
1. Remove the obstacles – Before increasing in good deeds, we must seal the holes from which the goodness will seep through. In other words, stop committing the major sins that keep you away from Allah. List three significant sins (kaba’ir) that pose obstacles between you and your Rabb, then sincerely repent to Him while actively eradicating them for good.
Removing the obstacles includes mending broken family ties, paying our outstanding debts to Allah (missed prayers and fasts), and stopping the “small” sins, which we usually call our bad habits.
2. If possible, increase (or start) voluntary fasting. This must begin before the middle of the month as voluntary fasts after the middle of the month are prohibited except for those who already have established fasting habits)
3. Search your heart for any ill-feeling harbored against fellow believers. Those who harbor ill feelings for other believers will be excluded from Allah’s general forgiveness on the night of the middle of Shaʿbān. Be brutally honest about any traces of such feelings. If found, eradicate them by visiting, sincerely and regularly offering the salām greetings, and try giving gifts to those you have any ill-feelings. These are means that the Prophet ﷺ taught that would, if Allah wills, remove the rancor and sprout the love.
4. The miraculous Isra’ and Mi‘raj culminated in one ultimate objective – to give this Umma the gift of Prayer. By actively improving your prayer’s spiritual and physical quality, you would necessarily enhance your relationship with Allah. Prayer is the backbone of this Din – the better your prayer, the better your Din, and an excellent state of Din means a spiritually-vibrant Ramadan.
5. Renew your relationship with the Quran – Ramadan is the month of the Quran. The revelation of the Speech of Allah commenced in Ramadan, The Prophet ﷺ and Jibrīl revised whatever was revealed of the Quran, and every year, millions of khatms (complete recitals) of the Quran are completed by this Umma in the month of Ramadan. Before one can enjoy days of reciting and nights of tarawih, one must learn to love and enjoy spending time with the Quran, and Sha‘ban presents one with the perfect opportunity to spend more time with Allah’s Speech. Spend at least 20 minutes every day with reciting, reflecting on, and studying the Quran every day in Sha‘ban.
I pray that these tips are beneficial. May Allāh inspire us with the ability, sincerity, and acceptance of following through.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.