Mid-Sha'ban: Nifsu-sh-Sha'ban, The Fast of Sha'ban
Al-Hamdul-li’llah; Allaahumma sali ala sayyidina Muhammadan; Taqu’llah
Al-Hamdul-li’llah; Allaahumma sali ala sayyidina Muhammadan; Taqu’llah
“All praise be to Allah; O Allah send prayers upon our Master Muhammad; Obey Allah”
This phrase is the opening statement of every khutba/sermon every Friday in mosques all over the world for the last 1400 years.
Why? Why obey Allah? What are His orders? Do we know his orders? How are we going to obey them? It’s in the book, Qur’an. I say this for myself and for you dear brothers and sisters: I must ask myself: Am I following Allah or my ego? Do I follow the orders of Allah or the Shaytan who is constantly whispering and hoping I will follow him instead of Allah? If I listen to my ego, how will I be able to listen to Allah and follow his orders and be on the straight path? I can’t. But what if I did? What can I do? Make tawba, ask Allah for forgiveness and try harder. I must try not to make this mistake or that mistake. The mistakes that everyone everywhere is making especially in this day and age. I must follow the road less traveled. The straight path the path that Allah swt has told us about in His Glorious Qur’an or else - what will be my ending? Not good! And the Shaytan strikes and another one bites the dust! No brothers and sisters it doesn’t have to go down that way. Allah has made it simple for us and He sent us the glorious Qur’an and a Prophet that was a living example of how to walk, how to talk and follow the straight path and we have a guide, our sufi master Sidi Muhammad al-Jamal who embellishes and clarifies the teachings of the Qur’an, which warns of the dangers in this world and of ourselves. He teaches us the orders of Allah so we know what to do and how to obey Allah. We are so blessed. How do we show our gratitude for these blessings? Do we follow the orders of Allah or do we follow our egos?
Remember the story of the Night Journey, when Jabril took out the Prophet’s (saws) heart washed it, purified it and put it back in, then he put him on baraq and took him to Jerusalem to lead all 124,000 prophets in Salat and then to the seven heavens and past the lote tree to the furthest boundary where even Jabril could not go; to see the beatific vision of Allah. Allah gave direct revelation to Muhammad of surah Fatiha, and how to perform salat. Directly, not through Jabril and told us to pray 5 times daily and that we would receive the blessings of 50 prayers. Does this not tell us something about the importance Allah swt places on the Salat?
inna anzalnahu fi lalatin mubarakatin inna kunna mundhirin
fiha yufraqu kullu amrin hakim
amran min indina inna kunna mursilin
rahmatan min rabbika innahu huwa al-sami ‘u al-alim
Lo! We revealed it on a blessed night – Lo! We are ever warning –
Whereupon every wise command is made clear
As a command from Our presence – Lo! We are ever sending—
A mercy from thy Lord. Lo! He is the Hearer, the Knower.
Most commentators consider the blessed night to refer to the Night of Decree (laylat al-qadr) in Ramadan. However, many commentators also say that this blessed night may be that of mid-Sha’ban (laylat al-bara’a)
In a sound hadith the Prophet (saws) said in a close translation, “Allah looks at His creation in the night of mid-Shaban and he forgives all His creation except for a muskrik (idolater) or a mushahin (one bent on hatred).
From A’isha: She said: The Prophet stood in prayer during part of the night and made his prostration so lengthy that I thought his soul had been taken back. When I saw this I got up and went to move his big toe, whereupon he moved, so I drew back. When he raised his head from prostration and finished praying, he said: “O ‘A’isha, O fair little one! Did you think that the Prophet had broken his agreement with you?” She replied: “No, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah, but I thought that your soul had been taken back because you stayed in prostration for so long.” He said: “Do you know what night this is?” She said: “Allah and His Prophet know best.” He said: “This is the night of mid-Shaban! Verily Allah the Glorious and Majestic looks at His servants on the night of mid-Sha’ban, and He forgives those who ask forgiveness, and He bestows mercy on those who ask mercy, and he gives delay to the people of envy and spite in their state.”
Earlier she heard him praying, and he said: “Prostatrated before You are my form and my sprit; my heart is in Your safekeeping. I acknowledge Your favors, and to You I confess my sin. I have wronged myself, so forgive me. Surely no one forgives sins but You. I seek refuge with Your pardon from Your punishment, with Your mercy from Your vengeance, with Your approval from Your displeasure. I seek refuge with You from You. I do not tell Your praises, for You are as You have extolled Yourself.”
From Ali ibn Abi Talib: the Prophet (saws) said: “The night of mid-Sha’ban let all of you spend in prayer (partly) and its day in fasting, for Allah descends to the nearest heaven during that night beginning with sunset and says: Is there no one asking forgiveness that I may forgive them? Is there no one asking for sustenance that I may grant them sustenance? Is there no one under trial that I may relieve them? Is there not such-and-such, and so forth until dawn rises.
Muhammad Ibn Idris Al-Shafi’I said: “there are 5 nights when prayer is answered, one of them being the of the 15th of Sha’ban t
Naqshabundi Shaykh Nizim says, holding his hands out in supplication say “Bismilah ar-Rahma nar-Rahim” and each time wipe your hands upwards over your face and head putting on another veil of Mercy.
Our Mother, Aisha said, “O Messenger of Allah, Will no one enter Paradise except by the mercy of Allah?” “No one will enter Paradise except by the mercy of Allah, said the Messenger. “Not even you? Asked Aisha, “Not even I”, said the Messenger, “unless Allah envelops me with His mercy.” Then he rubbed his hand over his face and head”.
The Prophet, saws, is saying, if you feel envious or spiteful that night, Allah, swt, will keep you in that state longer! So it would be good to prepare for it. “We ask Allah to keep us forever grateful and forgiving. Amin”
What are the benefits of the extra prayers, special nights, fasting or remembrance of Allah one might ask?
Fa-dkhuli fi ibadi; wa dkhuli jannati
Enter among My worshipers; Enter My Garden (al-Fajr 89:29-30)
One may assume Allah is talking about The Paradise, Jennah, that which only a martyr can enter now and the rest of us have a chance on judgment day. But note that this is a command in the present tense and implies that we can reach A Garden in this time, here and now. This of course is why we are here, why we are with a Sufi master guide and follow what our guide says to the best of our ability.
Fa-duriba baynahum bi-suril-lahu babum
Batinuhu fihi-r-rahmatu wa dhahiruhu min quibalihi-l-adhaba
And a wall shall be set up between them in which is a gate on the inside of it mercy – and on the outside of it – suffering. (Suratu-l-Hadid 57:13)
Is this not our situations every day?
On this night of mid-Shaban Allah, swt, writes the destinies of all people for the coming year by taking into account the deeds committed by them in the past;
In another hadith the Prophet, saws, says: “When the blessed month of Sha’ban reaches you, it cleanses your spirit to receive the blessed month of Ramadan. Purify your intentions, surely the greatness of Sha’ban is my month and anyone who keeps fast in it, my intercession will be obligatory for him.” One should fast on the 13th, 14th and 15th of Sha’ban; if not on all three, make at least one of them the 15th.
It is narrated by Shayhk Nooruddeen that it is recorded from the Friends of Allah (awliy-llah karam) that The Prayer of Nisfu-Sha’ban is to pray 6 cycles of ritual prayer after the Maghrib prayer. In the first two rak’ah, add to the intention that, with its blessing to extend your life with harmony. In the next two, for your protection from misfortunes and evil, and in the third, that Allah, swt, make you dependent on Him and no one else. After every two cycles recite Suratu-Iklas 21 times or Surah Ya Siin once. If possible read both for greater rewards. Afterwards recite the dua of Nisfu Sha’ban also known as shabay barat ki dua:
Oh Allah, Tireless Owner of Bounty. Oh Owner of Sublimity, Honor, Power, and blessings; And Neighbor of those who seek nearness, Guardian of the fearful. Oh Allah, if you have written in the Mother of the Book that I be abject, deprived, banished and tight fisted, then erase Oh Allah, through Your bounty, my misery, deprivation, banishment, and stinginess, and establish me with You as happy and provided with blessings, for surely You have said – and Your word is true – in Your revealed book on the tongue of your Messenger, “Allah effaces or establishes what He wills, and with Him is the Mother of Books” (13:9). Oh Allah, by the Great Manifestation of the Night of the middle of the Noble Month of Sha’ban “in which every affair of wisdom is make distinct” (44:4) remove from us calamities – those we know and those we do not know – and You know best – for surely You are the Most Mighty, the Most Generous. May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and Companions. Amin
The intentions for each of the 2 rakats followed by 21 of Iklas or Yasin or both are
1. The intention of long life in Islam and faith (iman)
2. The intention to ward off affliction from one’s self, family and the ummah.
3. The intention of receiving ones sustenance (rizaq) without reliance on people.