Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Night of Baraat

Assalaamu Alaikumwa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

The merits of 15th of Sha'baan are argued among scholars, and some of my friends objected to my previous post on this night.

I however did a lot of reading around, and also checked out the Fatwa on Islam Q & A, but am not 100 % satisfied.
I have therefore turned to the governing Muslim body in my part of the world (South Africa), as they are the ones I prefer to follow.

I agree that the Ahadith about this night are weak, but I personally do not feel that they should be discarded, and neither does the Muslim body here.

All I would like to say is that everyone is responsible for his/her own Akhirah, so if you want you can do Ibaadah on this night, there is no harm in it, as long as you do not connect it to any biddah (innovations) such as distributing sweets on this night, celebrating it using fireworks or any such innovation.
IF you prefer not to do any Ibaadah on this night then that is up to you.

Here are extracts from their site.
To read the full article click here

The Night of Baraat

Allah Ta' ala has, afforded His bondsmen certain selected opportunities whereby they may reap his infinite mercy and forgiveness. Some explicit examples of these occasions are the month of Ramadan and Laylatul Qadr.The night of the fifteenth of Shábaan is one such opportunity. Several Ahadith expound the tremendous merit of this occasion. Amongst them is the fact that countless people are forgiven by Allah Ta' ala during this blessed night. It is due to this reason that it is called "The Night of Bara'at" (i.e. the night wherein judgment of salvation from Jahannam (hell) is passed).

Certain Ahadith prove that it is a meritorious night in which the people of the earth are attended by special divine mercy. However, it should be borne in mind that a vast majority of narrations declaring the benefit and virtue of this night are weak but reliable for purposes of virtue.

Some of these Ahadith are :

1. Ummul-Mu'mineen Aishah (radiyallahu anha) is reported to have said, "Once Rasulullah, (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) performed the Salaah of the night (Tahajjud) and made a very long Sajdah until I feared that he had passed away. When I saw this, I rose (from my bed) and moved his thumb (to ascertain whether he is alive). The thumb moved, and I returned (to my place). Then I heard him saying in Sajdah: 'I seek refuge in Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your annoyance, and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. I cannot praise You in the manner that You deserve. You are exactly as You have defined Yourself.' Thereafter, when he raised his head from Sajdah and finished his salaah, he said to me: 'Aishah, did you think that the Prophet has betrayed you?' I said, 'No, O Prophet of Allah, but I was afraid that your soul has been taken away because your Sajdah was very long.' He asked me, 'Do you know what night it is ?' I said, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, 'This is the night of the half of Shábaan. Allah Ta’ala looks upon His slaves in this night and forgives those who seek forgiveness and bestows His mercy upon those who pray for mercy but leaves those who have malice (against a Muslim) as they were before, (and does not forgive them unless they free themselves from malice).'"
Targheeb wat tarheeb(vol 2 pg.119) on the authority of Imam Bayhaqi (rah)

2. In another Tradition, she has reported Rasulullah, Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, to have said, "This is the middle Night of Sha'ban. Allah emancipates in it a large number of the people from the Fire, more than the number of the hair growing on the sheep of the tribe, Kalb. But He does not cast a glance at a person who associates partners with Him, or at a person who harbours malice in his heart (against someone), or at a person who severs family ties, or at a man who leaves his clothes extending below his ankles, or at a person who disobeys his parents, or at a person who has a habit of drinking wine."
Targeeb wat Tarheeb, vol. 2, pg. 118 authority of Imam Bayhaqi (rah)

Kalb was a big tribe the members of which had a very large number of sheep. Therefore, the last sentence of the Hadith indicates the large number of people forgiven on this night by Allah Ta’ala.

3. Sayyiduna Muaz ibn Jabal, Radiyallahu anhu, reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Allah Ta’ala looks upon all those he created in the middle Night of Shábaan and forgives them all, except the one who associates partners with Him or the one who has malice in his heart (against a Muslim)".
Targeeb wat Tarheeb, vol. 2, pg. 118 from Imam Tabrani and Saheeh ibn Hibban

4. Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Amr radiyallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, Allah Ta’ala looks upon his creation on the middle night of Shábaan and forgives them, except one who harbours malice in his heart and a murderer.
Targeeb wat Tarheeb, vol 2 pg. 119 from Imam Ahmad (rah)

Although the chain of narrators of some of these traditions have minor technical defects, when all these traditions are combined and brought together, it becomes clear that this night has some well founded merits, and observing this night as a sacred night is not a baseless as envisaged by some modern scholars who, on the basis of these minor defects, have declined to give any special importance to this night. Certain scholars of Hadith have granted these Ahadith authenticity and consider their defects very minor, which are amended by the variety and manner of narration. It is for this reason that Ulama and pious personalities of the past always observed this night as one of special merits and tremendous benefits.

Below are a few comments and criticism about the ahadith regarding the virtue of this night:

Hazrat Moulana Yusuf Binnori (rah) says:
“ I have not come across any Sahih, Marfoo or, Musnad Hadith regarding the excellence of the night."
Ma'aarifus Sunan, vol. 5, pg. 419.

The Muhaddith, Ibnu-Dihya (rah) has also agreed that neither has anything authentic been narrated regarding the fifteenth night of Shábaan nor has any specific Salaah been prescribed for this night via reliable narrator
Faydhul-Qadeer -Sharhul Jaamis Sagheer, vol. 2, pg. 317

****Whilst even Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah (rah), a scholar notorious for refuting such observances, also accepts the virtue of the night of Bara'at. He says:
" So many Ahadith and reports exist regarding the excellence of the Fifteenth night of Shábaan that one is compelled to accept that this possesses some virtue.”

Some of the pious predecessors used to specially devote this night for Salaah.
Faydhul Qadeer, vol. 2, pg.317*****

Moulana Abdur Rahman Mubarakpuri writes in his commentary of Tirmizi:
" The sheer number of Ahadith regarding this night serves as proof against those people who refute the excellence of this night."
Tuhfatul-Ahwazi, vol. 2, pg. 53

Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri (rah) has written that the significance of the night of Bara'at is proven. There is however, no proof for those weak and unacceptable narrations mentioned in certain books.
Al-Arfus-Shazi, pg. 156

The virtue of this night established from these Ahadith is that from the very beginning of the night Allah Ta' ala turns with special mercy and attention towards the creation and forgives those who repent and seeks forgiveness. Every Muslim should therefore value this night. Turn towards Allah Ta' ala with sincere regret and shame over sins committed and make a promise never to re- turn to sin again and seek forgiveness from Allah Ta'ala. Seek forgiveness for oneself and all Muslims, living and deceased. Have firm hope and resolution in the heart that Allah Ta' ala will surely show mercy and forgiveness.


And Allah knows Best...

Wa'Salaam