The Islamic lunar calendar consists 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 Shaban.
Shaban is the eighth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and appears between the months of Rajab and Ramadan. The month of Shaban acts as a connection between the two blessed and sacred months of Rajab and Ramadan. Shaban is one of the virtuous months for which we find some particular instructions in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is reported in the authentic hadiths that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to fast most in the month of Shaban.
Hazrat Aishah (RA) said: “The Messenger of Allah Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to fast until we thought He (PBUH) would never break His fast, and not fast until we thought He (SAW) would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw Him fast more than He (PBUH) did in Shaban.” (Muslim)
One of the major acts that Muslims across the world do in the month of Shaban is fasting. Although Ramadan is the Holy month in which fasting is mandatory upon every Muslim, however, Muslims also fast in different days of Shaban to fulfill the Sunnah of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
It is narrated from Hazrat Usama ibn Zayd (RA) that he asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):
“I have never seen you offer fast in a month as you do in Shaban.”
To which, Prophet (PBUH) 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)
Shaban is the month of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), just like Rajab is the month of Allah and Ramadan is the month for the believers or Muslim Ummah. Fasting in the month of Shaban gives you a chance to start preparing for the month of Ramadan. For fasting, you will have to wake up early on Fajr time, and spending day without eating and drinking, will give you a clear idea of what it would take in order to successfully spend the blessed month of Ramadan. In the month of Shaban, many Muslim scholars and others used to consistently recite the Holy Quran along with fasting, which also helps in getting ready for fasting in the coming month of Ramadan. The famous religious scholar Imam Abu Bakr al-Warraq said: “In Rajab you sow the seeds, in Sha`ban you irrigate them and in Ramadan you reap the harvest.”
May Almighty Allah give us strength to do good deeds and observe fasting in this holy month. Ameen!