My dear brothers and sisters. This weekend we enter the month of Shaban, alhamdul’illah. It is a great gift that Allah (swt) has allowed us to again come to this time of the year. And soon, insha’allah we will enter the most blessed month of Ramadan. Shaban is a great opportunity for us to think about the things we need to from the past year and to look forward to and prepare for Ramadan.
Oftentimes we have talked about the great guidance that Allah (swt) gives us in the Qur’an. Guidance for prayers, guidance for tauba, guidance for taqua. We see that every ayah in the Qur’an sharif is a sign from Allah (swt) about what direction to take in our lives. Indeed our hearts and our intention should always be towards Allah (swt) and that we should act in the way he has enjoined us to act and to avoid all those things which we are told to avoid.
Of course our other great guidance in our deen comes from the sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammad (saw) who was brought to us as a mercy to the worlds as Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ – 21:107
wa- maa arsalnaa -ka ‘illaa rah.mah li- al- ‘alameen
We sent thee for nothing but as a mercy for all the worlds
Which means “We sent thee for nothing but as a mercy for all the worlds”
And so there is no separation here, Allah (swt) says “for ALL the worlds” The worlds of men and jinn, of all creatures, of all nations and races and worlds unseen to us and beyond our imagination.
And so we follow in the traditions of our beloved prophet (saw) and a great body of knowledge has been brought to us today through the years since his (saw) revelation.
It is so important for us to follow his example (saw) that Allah (swt) enjoins this upon us:
wa- ka- dhaalika aw haynaa ‘ilay -ka ruh.(an) min ‘amr -naa maa kunta tadre maa al- kitaab wa- laa al- ’emaan wa- laakin ja’alnaa -hu nur(an) nahde bi- -hi man nashaa’ min ‘ibaad -naa wa- ‘inna -ka la- tahde ‘ilaa s.iraat. mustaqim
Thus, have We revealed to you O Muhammad, a message of spirit by Our command. While you did not know what is The Book and what is the Iman (faith)? We have made it a light whereby We guide those of Our servants whom We please; and surely you are guiding mankind to the Right Way
And in this way Allah (swt) is telling us that if we follow Muhammad (saw) we are following one who has the light of guidance from Allah (swt) bestowed upon him and the he will guide us on the right way – Siraat al mustaqeem.
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ – 3:31
qul ‘in kuntum tu-hibbon ‘allaah fa- ittabi’u -ne yuh-bib -kum ‘allaah wa- yaghfir la- -kum dhunob -kum wa- ‘allaah ghafor raheem
Say: “If ye do love Allah follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.
And so throughout the generations, people of wisdom and knowledge have collected these traditions, the sunnah. This is no news to you, but I am reminding you as I remind myself today how important it is to learn and know these for every aspect of our lives. For as we have spoken about many times, we can not know how or when we will be called back to Allah (swt). We cannot control these things, but we are given the opportunity in this life to follow Allah’s guidance, to be true muslims.
And so I want to leave you with some hadith to learn about Muhammad’s (saw) own practice during the month of Shaban.
The first comes from Aaishah (ra)
`Aaishah (ra) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah (saw) fast a complete month except for Ramadan, and I have never seen him fast more in a month than he did in Sha`baan.” [Bukhaari, Muslim]
and from Fiqh as-Sunnah
The Prophet would fast most of the month of Sha’ban. ‘Aishah said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah fast a complete month save for Ramadan, and I have never seen him fast more in a month than he did in Sha’ban.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
And in another hadith, related by Abu Dawud and others: Usamah ibn Zaid inquired:
“O Messenger of Allah, I never find you fasting in any month like you do during the month of Sha’ban.” The Prophet responded: “That is a month the people neglect. It comes between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are raised to the Lord of the Worlds. I love that my deeds be raised while I am fasting.”
and from Ali ibn Abu Talib
“Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: When it is the night of Sha’ban observe the prayer during the night and observe the fast during the day for Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, descends to the heaven of the world as the sun sets and says: Is there anyone who seeks forgiveness so that I may forgive him? Is there anyone who seeks sustenance so that I may provide for him? Is there anyone in trouble so that I may relieve him, and so on and so forth till the dawn breaks.” [Tirmidhi]
And again Aaisha (ra) narrates;
I missed Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) during the night and found him in al-Baqi’. He said: Were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger would deal unjustly with you? I said: Allah’s Messenger, I thought that you had gone to some of your other wives. He (the Prophet) said: Verily Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, comes down to the heaven of the world in the middle night of Sha’ban and forgives sins even more abundant than the hair of the goats of Kalb. [Tirmidhi]
So I leave you with these thoughts, brothers and sisters, and I remind you as I remind myself of the benefit of fasting during the month of Shaban. Our prophet (saw) considered it and did it himself, so should we not follow his example? And remember also that we are not only fasting from food, but from anger, hate, greed, avarice, and all those things which are diseases of our hearts and separate us from others, remember that the mercy of Allah is for all the worlds. So when we fast, we fast to bring ourselves closer to Allah (swt) and we cleanse our hearts of these diseases as we cleanse ourselves through these fasts.