On celebrating the night of the middle of Sha‘baan

Posted on June 14, 2014

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Many believe that Almighty Allah descends down to the lowest of the heavens to make a special listening of people’s prayers and answer them on the night of 15 Shaban; Right or Wrong?

People who hold this view use following ahadith to support their view:

Aishah (RA) narrated:
“I could not find Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) one night. So I left & found him at Al-Baqi (the graveyard near Prophet’s masjid in Al-Madinah).
He said, “Did you fear you had been wronged by Allah and His Messenger (PBUH)?”
I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (PBUH)! I thought that you had gone to one of your wives.”
So he said, “Indeed Allah, Mighty & Sublime is He, descends to the lowest Heavens during the night of middle of Shaban to grant forgiveness to more than the number of hair on the sheep of (Banu) Kalb.”
[Hadith No. 739, Chapters on Fasting, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2;
Hadith No. 1389, Chapters of Establishing the Prayers & the Sunnah regarding them, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 2]

and,

It was narrated that Ali bin Abu Talib (RA) said: Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said,
“When it is the night of the middle of Shaban, spend its night in prayer and observe fast on that day, for Allah descends at sunset on that night to the lowest heaven and says:
Is there no one who will ask Me for provision, that I may provide for him? Is there no one who is afflicted by trouble, that I may relieve him?, and so on, until dawn comes.”
[Hadith No. 1388, Chapters of Establishing the Prayers & the Sunnah regarding them, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 2]

If these ahadith are taken at their face values, we get the impression that this belief is correct that Allah descends down to lowest of the heavens on this night to listen to people’s prayers.

However, when these narrations are studied in depth, the conclusion is otherwise.

The first of the ahadith above is reported by Imam Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, and both these Imams have categorized this narration as ‘Daeef’ i.e. weak.
Hence, it cannot be relied upon.

The status of second narration mentioned above is even more serious. Imam Ibn Majah has classified it as ‘Mawdu’ i.e. a fabricated hadith.
Therefore, this cannot be talked about at all.

On the contrary, there are several other authentic narrations which tell us the correct ruling about this matter.

Refer to one of those narrations reported by Bukhari as well as Muslim:

Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said,
“Our Rubb (Allah), the Blessed, the Superior, comes down every night on the nearest heaven (sky) to us during the last third of the night and He says: Is there anyone who invokes Me, so that I may respond to his / her invocation?
Is there anyone who asks Me, so that I may grant his / her request?
Is there anyone who seeks My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him / her?”
[Hadith No. 1145, Book of Salat-ul-Tahajjud, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2;
Hadith No. 1772 (758), Book of Traveller’s Prayer & Shortening Thereof, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2]

It is clear that Almighty Allah descends down to the lowest of heavens every night during a certain period (described in the narration above) to listen and answer the prayers of His worshippers.
Every night is blessed with this opportunity for human beings.

Therefore, the belief that Allah descends to the lowest of heavens only on the night of 15 Shaban is wrong and all the beliefs and rituals associated with this view are Bida’a (i.e. an innovation).

There is no saheeh hadeeth concerning the virtue of the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan. 

It was narrated from Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Allaah looks down on the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan and forgives all his creation except a mushrik or one who harbours hatred against the Muslims.” [Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 1390]

The “one who harbours hatred against the Muslims” means one who has enmity towards a Muslim brother. 

In al-Zawaa’id it says:
Its isnaad is da’eef, because ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Lahee’ah is da’eef (weak) and al-Waleed ibn Muslim is mudallis. 

There is also some idtiraab (weakness) in the hadeeth, as stated by al-Daaraqutni in al-‘Ilal, 6/50, 51.
He said: This hadeeth is not proven. 

It was narrated from Mu’aadh ibn Jabal, ‘Aa’ishah, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Tha’labah al-Khushani and others, but the isnaads are not free of some weakness, and some of them are very weak. 

Allaah’s descending to the first heaven does not only happen on the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan, rather it is proven in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere that Allaah descends to the first heaven every night, in the last third of the night.
The night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan is included in this general meaning. 

Hence, when ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Mubaarak was asked about the descent of Allaah on the night of the fifteenth of Sha’baan, he said to the one who asked him:
“O weak one! The night of the fifteenth?!
He descends every night!” 
[Narrated by Abu ‘Uthmaan al-Saabooni in I’tiqaad Ahl al-Sunnah, no. 92]

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

“What the majority of scholars are agreed upon is that celebrating it is an innovation, and that the hadeeths that speak of its virtues are all da‘eef, and some of them are fabricated.
Among those who pointed this out is al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab in his book Lataa’if al-Ma‘aarif.”
[End quote. Hukm al-Ihtifaal bi Laylat an-Nusf min Sha‘baan (Ruling on celebrating the night of the middle of Sha‘baan)]

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Posted in: Innovation, Shabaan