The 15th night of Sha'ban is a blessed night. According to the Hadith Shareef, the name of this mubarak night is 'Nisfe Sha'ban' which means 15th night (middle) of Sha'ban. The reason for this special night to attain its name of Laylat al Bara'ah, meaning the 'Night of Salvation', seeking freedom from punishment and calamity, is that in this night the barakat and acceptance of repentance may be accomplished. The Arabic Laylat al-Bara'ah, in Persian as well as in Urdu, is called Shab-e-Bara'at. It is a special night of seeking forgiveness and repenting to Almighty Allah, remembering our past sins and sincerely settling the mind that one will never commit sins in the future. All the deeds that are against Shariah must be avoided so that our du'a and istighfar, hopefully, will be accepted.
Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has stated : "Verily Almighty Allah directs His Special Grace on the world on this night. He forgives my Ummah more than the number of wool that is found on the sheep of the Bani Kalb". In those days the Bani Kalb possessed the most number of sheep than any other tribe.
How great is the Mercy of Almighty Allah on this night that He forgives millions of Muslims!
Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqa (RA) reports: "One night, which was the 15th of Shaban, I did not find Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) in the house. So I went in search of him. After a long search, I found him in Baqiah (the cemetery of Madinah) offering du'a for the deceased and praying for their forgiveness". (Baihaqi)
Visiting the cemetery during this night and praying for the deceased buried therein is a tradition as the Prophet has been reported as having visited the cemetery in this night and prayed for the deceased.
According to the Hadith Shareef which was narrated by Ibne Haban that Rasoolullah (Sm) said : "When the night of 15th Shaban arrives, spend the night awake and keep fast the next day".
Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (Ra) reports that Hazrat Muhammad (Sm) said often in his Khutba (sermon): "O people! lighten and cleanse your bodies by way of fasting during Shaban, so that it shall be easy and helpful to you for the fast during Ramadan. Whoso fasts for three days during Sha'ban, all his past sins are wiped off". (Baihaqi) Fasting is also recommended on the 13th, 14th and 15th of Shaban.
In this night, perform Nawafil, recite the Qur'an Shareef, recite abundant Durood Shareef, Istighfar and Kalima Tayyibah.
Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (SM) said : "Almighty Allah forgives all Muslims in this night, but not the fortune tellers, the magicians, the alcoholics, those who disrespect their parents and those who take part and encourage adultery".
In another narration, the following people have also been mentioned:
One who deals in usury (Riba).
One who wears his trousers below his ankle with pride and arrogance (In Arabia, people displayed their wealth and boasted in this manner).
One who creates disunity among two Muslims.
The person who unjustly takes away the right and property of another Muslim and has not yet rectified himself.
All these persons are not shown Mercy on this auspicious night.
The Bountiful Allah in His Infinite Mercy has provided us with such an auspicious night so that we may take advantage of it and repent for our sins,and thus obtain His Grace and Favour. It is for us to take full advantage of it. During this night, we should offer special prayers and repent sincerely for our past sins and ask for Allah's Forgiveness.
In this night the doors of Mercy and Forgiveness are opened wide, and those who sincerely grieve over and repent for their past sins and seek forgiveness from Allah are pardoned and forgiven by the Grace of Allah, the Merciful.
Each tasbih or du'a should begin and terminate with the recital of durood shareef and one who wishes for the acceptance of his du'as should use the wasila of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sm).
It is mentioned in 'Gunyah at Talibeen' that the month of Sha'ban according to some narrations is related to Rasoolullah (Sm). So, it is our duty, as the Ummat of Rasoolullah (Sm) to love and respect this month more than any other month (besides Ramadan). We should also offer abundantly salutations (Salat-o-Salam) upon the Prophet (Sm).
While we are praying and asking for ourselves and family, we should also remember in our du'as the Muslim Ummah facing calamities in many parts of the world, that may Allah Ta'ala grant them the strength and steadfastness in Deen. Those weak Muslims are under oppression by the aggressors. May Allah Ta'ala guide them and show them the path so that they be in touch with their glorious past and help them to get rid of the atrocities.
Ahmad Rida al-Qadiri has given an advise in this regard. He said : "On this occasion, it should be the duty of all Muslims to forgive one another and to make sure that whatever debts owed to one another is settled. The importance of huqooq al-ibad cannot be over-emphasised as this is among the pre-requisites for proper ibadat. I pray that all Muslims humbly remember this night and try as much as possible to perform ibadat and other pious deeds so that their record of deeds be presented in all dignity.
Finally, I pray that the Almighty Allah assists you and I and the Muslim Ummah wherever you may be. Muslims should be aware of sincerity and honesty in all their deeds. May Almighty Allah forgive all of us. Ameen.
-Seeker of the Sacred Knowledge