Tonight the holy month of Shaban will start. The three most sacred months of the Islamic year are Rajab, Shaban and Ramadan. Rajab is the month of Allah, Shaban is the month of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, Ramadan is the month of the jamaad, the community, and we try as much as possible to stay together, break the fast together and pray tarawih, the evening prayer of Ramadan together.
The Night of Bara`ah (nisf Sha`ban)
Another significant feature of the month of Sha`ban is that it consists of a night which is termed as “Laylatul-bara`ah” (The night of freedom from Fire). This is the night occurring between 14th and 15th day of Sha`ban. Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (saws), prove that it is a meritorious night in which the people of the Earth are attended by special Divine Mercy.
It is the date the New Year in Paradise starts they say, and also the time the two angels writing the account of our good and bad deeds between Maghrib and Isha prayers will change their books.
What should be done in this night?
On the Holy Night of 15th Shaban, after Maghrib or Isha prayer it is traditional practice to read Surah Yasin three times, and after each time, read a special du`a with the following intentions between Maghrib and Isha prayer:
1st reading the niyyat (intention) should be for Long Life.
2nd reading the niyyat (intention) should be for Protection from Calamities.
3rd Reading the niyyat (intention) should be for not being needy to anyone except Allah.
It is very important to observe this night. To make an invitation to feed people on that night, to remember Allah and to remember His Prophet (saws), and to fast and pray, will be rewarded for that night and for whoever observes it.
In order to observe the Night of Bara`ah, one should remain awake on this night as much as possible. If someone has the opportunity, he or she should spend the whole night in worship and prayer. However, if one cannot do so for one reason or another, he can select a considerable portion of the night, preferably of the second half of it for this purpose, and should perform the following acts of worship: praying Salat ul-Khair, which consists of 100 raka`ts, in each raka`t reciting Sura al-Fatiha and 10 Surat al-Ikhlas. To complete the prayer one recites 1000 Sura al-Ikhlas. (if 100 is not possible at least 2 raka’ts are advisable)
The Night of Bara`ah is a night in which special blessings are coming. It is advisable before maghrib to perform the complete ablution (ghusul) and to pray two raka’t sunnah.
Fast of the 15th Sha`ban
On the day immediately following the Night of Bara`ah, i.e. the 15th of Sha`ban, it is mustahabb (advisable) to keep fast. And also the day before inshaAllah. Prophet Muhammad (saws) is reported to have recommended this fast emphatically.
* See the article: “The Sermon Given by the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) on the Last Friday of Sha’ban”