Sha’ban our gate to Ramadan

Sha’ban our gate to Ramadan


By Samar Yahya

Sha’ban, the eighth month of the Hijri or lunar calendar, and the month that precedes the holy month of Ramadan was the most beloved month to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Sha’ban is significant for many reasons. First of all, it is the time that Muslims start getting ready for the month of Ramadan.

It was in the middle of the month of Sha’ban when Allah ordered Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to change the Qiblah, the direction towards which Muslims face when they pray, from Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem to the Holy Ka’bah in Makkah.

Masjid Al-Aqsa had been the Qiblah for thirteen years in Makkah, and for nearly eighteen months after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) migrated to Madinah.

Verses from the Qur’an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), instructing him and all Muslims to turn towards the Ka’bah in Makkah when they pray. Most interpretations date this incident to the middle of the month of Sha’ban.

Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) show that it is recommended to fast during Sha’ban.

Anas bin Malik reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked: “Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasting of Ramadan?”
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) replied, “Fasting of Sha’ban in honor of Ramadan.” (Tirmidhi)

Fasting in Sha’ban is like mental and physical training for fasting in Ramadan. We may experience difficulty when we start the fast in Ramadan, but if we started fasting a few days in Sha’ban, our bodies will get used to fasting and we will not feel so lethargic and weak when Ramadan comes.
Sha’ban is like an introduction to Ramadan and it has some things in common with Ramadan, such as fasting, reciting Qur’an, and giving in charity.

Aisha, the wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The Messenger of Allah used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha’ban.” {Al-Bukhari and Muslim}.

Usamah ibn Zaid narrated, “I said to the Prophet,’ O Messenger of Allah! I did not see you fasting in any month as you do in the month of Sha’ban.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘People neglect this month which is between Rajab and Ramadan; in this month the actions of the people are presented to Allah, so I like my deeds to be presented while I am fasting.’” {Abu Dawood and An-Nasaa’i}

Though fasting is made obligatory in Ramadan, fasting in of Sha’ban is beneficial in a number of ways. Fasting in Sha’ban gives you a chance to start preparing for Ramadan.

In Sha’ban, many Muslim scholars and others used to consistently recite and read the Holy Quran along with fasting, which also helps in getting our routines of worship in place for the coming month of Ramadan.

If we begin increasing our acts of worship in Sha’ban, we will bear the enjoy the fruits of our efforts in the holy month of Ramadan.