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All the praises and thanks be to Allah Alone. Prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.

The Islamic lunar calendar comprises of twelve months. Each month of the Islamic calendar has its religious as well as historical significance, however, there are a few months that hold a superior stature compared to other months and because of this they are given more value and respect by the Muslims. One of such months is the month of Sha'ban.

What was the state of the righteous predecessors – may Allah be pleased with them and have mercy upon them – in receiving Sha'ban? What was their guidance and what was their state?

One of the major acts that righteous predecessors – may Allah be pleased with them used to do in the month of Sha'ban is fasting. Although Ramadan is the Holy month in which fasting is mandatory upon every Muslim, however, the Salaf also fasted in different days of Sha'ban to fulfill the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

It is narrated from Usama bin Zayd that he asked Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him): “I have never seen you offer fast in a month as you do in Sha'ban.” To which, the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “It is a month people disregard that is between Rajab and Ramadan. In that month deeds are presented to the Lord of the Worlds, so I like my deeds to be presented while I am fasting.” (Nasai)

This hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) gives the importance of fasting in the month of Sha'ban. Although Ramadan is the month of fasting and it is compulsory for people to fast, however, Sha'ban is another month, which people must also consider for fasting. It is in this month that the deeds of a person are presented in front of Allah Almighty, therefore, it becomes more than helpful if the deeds are presented at such a time when a person is in the condition of fast.

The salaf considered Sha'ban as a Month of training for the Ramadhan fast, in case a person finds it difficult to fast when Ramadhan starts; if he fasts in Sha'ban he will have gotten used to fasting and he will feel strong and energetic when Ramadhan comes. Sha'ban is like an introduction to Ramadhan and it has some things in common with Ramadhan, such as fasting, reciting Qur'an and giving charity.

However, the recitation of the Holy Qur'an is another form of worship that the Salaf used to pay particular attention to in Sha'ban. The month of Sha'ban is the month of the Quran.

Salamah bin Suhayl used to say: "The month of Sha'ban is the month of reciters (of the Qur'an)." Habib bin Abi Thabit used to say, when Sha'ban comes, "This is the month of reciters (of the Qur'an)." When Sha'ban comes, 'Amr bin Qays al-Mala'i used to close his store and devote his time to reading the Qur'an.

Finally, our noble elders may Allah be pleased with them, used to ask Allah the Mighty and Majestic to allow them to reach Ramadan and sacrifice their rest during this month for the sake of worship so that when Ramadan comes, they will not find worship difficult. They used to ask Allah to allow them to reach Ramadan because of the knowledge they had of the good and wide spread benefit it has.

 

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