Thu 17 Jm2 1435 - 17 April 2014
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Is it mustahabb to fast the whole of Sha’baan?

Is it Sunnah to fast the entire month of Sha’baan?.

Praise be to Allaah.  

It is mustahabb to fast a great deal in the month of Sha’baan. 

It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast the whole of Sha’baan. 

Ahmad (26022), Abu Dawood (2336), al-Nasaa’i (2175) and Ibn Maajah (1648) narrated that Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fast two consecutive months apart from the fact that he used to join Sha’baan and Ramadaan.” 

According to a version narrated by Abu Dawood: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never used to fast any complete month in the year, apart from Sha’baan, which he used to join to Ramadaan.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2048. 

The apparent meaning of this hadeeth is that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast the entire month of Sha’baan. 

But it was also narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast all of Sha’baan apart from a few days. 

Muslim (1156) narrated that Abu Salamah said: “I asked ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) about the fasting of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and she said: ‘He used to fast until we thought that he would always fast, then he would not fast until we thought that he would always not fast, but I never saw him fast in any month more than he fasted in Sha’baan. He used to fast all of Sha’baan, and he used to fast all of Sha’baan apart from a few days.’”

 The scholars differed as to the way of reconciling between these hadeeths. 

Some of them said that this had to do with differences of time – in some years the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fasted all of Sha’baan, and in other years he fasted all of that month apart from a few days. This was the view favoured by Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him). See Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 15/416. 

Others said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never fasted any month in full apart from Ramadaan, and they interpreted the hadeeth of Umm Salamah as meaning that he fasted all of Sha’baan apart from a few days. They said that this is possible from a linguistic point of view, that if a man fasts for most of a month it may be said that he fasted the whole month. 

Al-Haafiz said: 

The hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah explains what was said in the hadeeth of Umm Salamah, which says that he did fast any month of the year in full apart from Sha’baan which he used to join to Ramadaan; this means that he used to fast most of it. Al-Tirmidhi narrated that Ibn al-Mubaarak said: It is possible in the language of the Arabs, if a person fasts most of a month, to say that he fasted the whole month… 

Al-Teebi said: It may be interpreted as meaning that he used to fast all of Sha’baan sometimes and most of Sha’baan at other times, lest people think that it is obligatory to fast the entire month, like Ramadaan. 

Then al-Haafiz said: The former is the correct view – in other words, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast all of Sha’baan. He quoted as evidence for that the report narrated by Muslim (746) from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: “I do not know that the Prophet of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited the entire Qur’aan in one night, or spent an entire night in prayer until dawn, or fasted an entire month apart from Ramadaan.” 

And he quoted the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (1971) and Muslim (1157) from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never fasted any month in full apart from Ramadaan.” 

Al-Sindi said in his commentary on the hadeeth of Umm Salamah: 

“He joined Sha’baan to Ramadaan” means that he fasted them both together. The apparent meaning is that he fasted all of Sha’baan… but there are reports which indicate something different. Hence it is to be understood as meaning that he used to fast most of it, so it was as if he fasted all of it and joined it to Ramadaan. 

If it is asked, what is the reason for fasting a great deal during Sha’baan? The answer is: 

Al-Haafiz said: 

The reason in explained in the report narrated by al-Nasaa’i and Abu Dawood, and classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah, according to which Usaamah ibn Zayd said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I do not see you fasting in any month more than in Sha’baan.’ He said, ‘That is a month concerning which many people are heedless, between Rajab and Ramadaan. It is the month is which people’s deeds are taken up to the Lord of the Worlds, and I would like my deeds to be taken up whilst I am fasting.’” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 2221. 

And Allaah knows best.

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