Sha’ban is a month in the Islamic calendar, noteworthy as the one sandwiched between Rajab and Ramadan. The noble Prophet (SAW) narrated in a hadith:
“That (Sha’ban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting.” [Nasai]
Here we can see, that in this month a reverence is given to fasting. We know that fasting is one of the ultimate forms of worship, as it is one that cannot necessarily be seen by others. It is more likely to be a sincere act, as it is one that is concealed only between slave and Master. It is commonly narrated that the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) fasted more in Sha’ban than in any other month outside of Ramadan. In one hadith narrated by Our Mother Aisha (RA), she asked:
“Messenger of Allah, is Sha’ban your most favourite month for fasting?” He said, “In this month Allah prescribes the list of the persons dying this year. Therefore, I like that my death comes when I am in a state of fasting.”
From this hadith and the previous one, we can see that many notable occurrences happen in Sha’ban. Part of our destinies are written and as a result the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) advised that we are in a good state before Allah (SWT) when this occurs.
These reports highlight that fasting in the month of Shaban, although not obligatory, is very deserving and that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did not like to miss it. While replicating these acts help to keep this Sunnah alive, it is also the perfect month for us to prepare for the approaching one-the blessed Ramadan. It is noted that Our Mother Aisha (RA) would utilise Sha’ban to make up for her previous years’ fardh fasts:
“I would not make up what was due upon me from Ramadan except in Sha’ban, until the Messenger of Allah died.” [Tirmidhi]
The notoriety of this month as one renowned for fasting, gives us the perfect opportunity to mentally and physically prepare ourselves for Ramadan; so that we enter into it in a clear state and ready to obtain all of its blessings. This is of particular significance to women who have perhaps accumulated many fasts as a result of menstruation, pregnancy or breastfeeding.