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Fasting / Why did the Prophet (peace be upon him) fast many days in Sha’ban?

Why did the Prophet (peace be upon him) fast many days in Sha’ban?

publish date : 2014-07-02 | Views : 2271
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Dear respected Shaykh, assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Why did the Prophet (peace be upon him) fast many days in Sha’ban?

لماذا كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يكثر من صيام شعبان؟

Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.   Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.   As to what follows:   In response to your question, we say:       Knowing the reasons and secrets for religious rulings and actions, whether that is in the verses of the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), is the highest degree of knowledge, and the greatest thing that benefits a person after he knows Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of the Prophet, because this makes him feel at ease and know the wisdom of All-Wiser and All-Knowing in his rulings and what He has legislated, which urges him to do good deeds. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast for many days in Sha’ban as has been established, such that ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him) –as has been reported in the Sahihayn said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) never fasted in any month more than in the month of Sha’ban. He used to fast for the whole month” [al-Bukhari (1970) and Muslim [176]. In some narrations it is stated: “He used to fast for most of Sha’ban and leave out a few days.” (Muslim 1156) This shows  the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) regard for this honorable month; fasting many days in seeking closeness to Allah. The scholars sought the secret and reason for the fasting of many days by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this month. Many views were expressed on the issue. Some of the views are based on narrations from hadith, whole some are based on reflections, ideas and contemplation on the secrets of actions. As for the views that are based on hadiths; it has been narrated that actions are presented to Allah  the Exalted in Sha’ban, and that is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast for many days, because he wanted his actions to be presented while he was fasting, like has been transmitted concerning fasting on Monday and Thursday. However, the hadith concerning this is not authentic, even though some scholars hold that it is authentic, because a deep scrutiny of the isnad of the hadith reveals that it is not established. Apparently, it is a hadith which cannot be used for evidence. However, some scholars have accepted the hadith. Therefore the first reason is that Sha’ban is a month in which actions are presented to Allah the Exalted, and that is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast many days in it because he wanted his actions to be presented while he was fasting. The second reason which was mentioned by a group of scholars is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was preoccupied with his travels, jihad and his work for the benefit of the people thus he could not fast the recommended fasts in each month, thus a month would finish without him fasting a single day in it, even though he recommended that some days of the month should be fasted. ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her)  narrated, “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to observe fast (so continuously) that we (were inclined) to say that he would not stop fasting, and he did not observe fast (continuously) that we (were inclined to say) that he would not observe fast.” [al-Bukhari (1969 ) and Muslim ( 1157 )] These scholars said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) made up the voluntary fasts  for the days and months that he had missed in Sha’ban.   The third reason which was mentioned some scholars as a reason for the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) fasting in Sha’ban is that it is a Sunnah that comes before a compulsory action. Thus the fasting of Sha’ban readies the self, trains it and strengthens the body so that when the compulsory fast comes, the self would have been prepared and trained to fast from dawn to sunset. Thus this fasting was preparation and training for the soul before the coming of the compulsory fasting. This is established for prayer, for indeed the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There is a prayer between the every two Adhans (Adhan and Iqamah).” [al-Bukhari (627) and Muslim (838) The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to ensure that he prayed the voluntary prayers before Fajr and Zuhr. Thus it has been established that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pray before the compulsory prayer to get the self ready for prayer. That is why the scholars, based on this extended the ruling and said, “Sha’ban is also a month for interest in the Qur’an, because the Qur’an is the thing to be engaged in during Ramadan”. The month of the Qur’an is the month of Ramadan, and the pious predecessors used to recite the Qur’an in Sha’ban more than they used to recite in other months, as was mentioned by Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy on him) in Lataaif al-Ma’rif.  These opinions are a summary of what the scholars (may Allah have mercy on them)  said concerning the reason for fasting in Ramadan. The closest of these opinions to the truth is the last opinion and that is: fasting in the month of Ramadan is preparation  for the self and making it accustomed to fasting such that when the compulsory fast comes the self will be ready and prepared for this compulsory duty. And Allah knows best. 

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