If we were to review the Prophet’s observation on the the nature of the month that precedes Ramadan; It is certain that the way persons like the Prophet (pbuh)’s thought would stand out due to His level of wisdom, knowledge and faith. This distinction is added to His personality. He plans all his actions in a best way and finds a proper balance and middle course between the needs of the soul and the body.
On the authority of Aisha, may God be pleased with her, she said: “The Messenger of God used to fast until we say he does not break his fast and breaks the fast until we say he does not fast, and I never saw the Messenger of God complete the fasting of a month except Ramadan, and I never saw him more fasting in any month than it in Sha’ban.” Narrated by Al-Bukhari, and in a narration by Muslim: “He used to fast The whole of Shaban, he used to fast Shaban except for a little. ”A group of scholars, including Ibn al-Mubarak and others, suggested that the Prophet, may God’s blessings and peace be upon him, did not complete the fast of Shaban , rather he used to fast most of it.
On the authority of Usama bin Zaid, may God be pleased with them, he said: I said, O Messenger of God, I have not seen you fast in one of the months that you fast from Shaban, so he said: “That is a month in which people neglect it, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are raised to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my work is raised while I am fasting. ”
The intelligence of the Prophet (pbuh), indicates that Sha’ban comes between two great months – the sacred month of Rajab and the month of fasting, Ramadan – and that people are often preoccupied with them and neglect Sha’aban. This is what distinguishes the smart people, that they think the way people think, but they do not lose sight or neglect the way other people neglect things.
And in his words, may God bless him and grant him peace, an indication that some of the highly virtuous acts that are specific with certain times, places, or people, may not get the same recommendation every time.
It is also understood from his saying, the desirability of utilizing the times people neglect most in the acts of worship. This can be traced back to the behaviors of the predecessors, they would engage themselves with voluntary prayers during the interval between two evening prayers, and would say it is an hour of negligence. Similarly, the Salaf see that it is desirable to occupy oneself with the remembrance of Allah in the marketplace. Because it is remembrance in the place of negligence among the people of negligence.
Why did the Messenger, may God’s blessings and peace be upon him, prefer utilizing the negligence time during Sha’ban with works of worship?
1. The worship during the period is more concealed, and the voluntary acts that are concealed are better especially fasting, because it is a secret between the servant and his Lord. That is why it was said that there is no eye service in it . It was narrated on the authority of Ibn Masoud, may God be pleased with him, that he said: “Whenever you fast then cream yourself” in a way to conceal it.
2. Good deeds in times of negligence are more difficult for souls, and one of the reasons some acts of Ibadah are given preference is its toughness for souls. It is known that the act which many people participate in becomes easy, and the act that people neglect most, is harder for the group of people who strive to observe it. That’s why the Prophet may God bless him and grant him peace, said: “The reward of worship performed at a time of trials is equal in reward to an emigration to me.”
The secret of Prophet’s fasting in Sha’ban
Some scholars infer from his frequent fasting, may God bless him and grant him peace in Sha’ban, some rulings and objectives, including:
1 – The Prophet (pbuh) is always engaged with other activities, be it travel or other things, and could not observe the three days fast of every month. He would use the month of Sha’ban to make them up.
2 – It was said that his women used to make up their fasts during Ramadan in Sha’ban, so he used to fast for that. And if he entered Sha’ban and had the rest of his voluntary fasting to pay, he would fast it in Sha’ban until he completed his voluntary fasts before the start of Ramadan – the same he would make up the missed voluntary prayers or the night prayers-. It is reported that Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) at the time would be paying back her missed obligatory days from Ramadan, for her inability to fast during her menstruation.
3 – The Prophet (pbuh) also said as part of the wisdom behind the practice: “ it is a month that people neglect,” and this is more likely because of the hadith of Usama previously mentioned, in which: “This is a month people neglect between Rajab and Ramadan,” narrated by Al-Nasa’i.
4 – Fasting in Sha’ban is like practicing for Ramadan fasting; avoiding the stress that comes Ramadan days of fasting without proper preparation. He would practice fasting and make it his habit, so that he’ll enter Ramadan with strength and vigor. And since Sha’ban is like the introduction to Ramadan, then there is something in it that takes place in Ramadan, such as fasting, reading the Qur’an and charity, Salamah bin Suhail mentioned that: It is known that the month of Sha’ban is the month of the reciters. Habib bin Abi Thabit when Sha’ban entered, he would say: This is the month of the reciters. According to Amr bin Qais al-Mula’i, if Sha`ban entered he would close his business and devoted himself to reading the Qur’an, and used to say: Blessed is he who reformed himself before Ramadan !!
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, may God have mercy on him, says: Fasting Shaban is better than fasting the sacred months, and the best volunteering is that which is close to Ramadan before and after it, and its status in fasting is like the voluntary prayers that are associated with the obligatory prayers before and after it. They complement the lapses of obligatory duties, as well as fasting before and after Ramadan. As these associated Sunnah are better than absolute voluntary prayers, so fasting before and after Ramadan is better than fasting other than that.