Ofaira Ateeq Hussain
Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “This day, I have perfected your Deen for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:3)
“Or have they partners with Allah (false gods) who have instituted for them a Deen which Allah has not ordained?” (Al-Shoora 42:21)
In As-Saheehayn (Bukhari and Muslim), it is reported from Aisha (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it, will have it rejected.”
In Saheeh Muslim, it is narrated from Jabir (rta) that the Prophet (sa) used to say in his Friday Khutbahs: “The best of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The most evil of things are those, which are newly-invented, and every innovation (Bidah) is going-astray.”
This clearly indicates that Allah (swt) has perfected the Deen of this Ummah. He did not take the soul of His Prophet (sa), until he had conveyed the Message clearly and instructed the Ummah about everything that Allah (swt) had prescribed for it in words and deeds. He (saw) explained that all the words and deeds that people would attribute to Islam after he would be gone, all of that would be thrown back on the one, who invented it, even if his intention was good. The companions of the Messenger of Allah (sa) knew this, as did the scholars of Islam after them. They denounced Bidah and warned against it, as has been stated by all those, who wrote books praising the Sunnah and denouncing Bidah, such as Ibn Waddah, Al-Tartooshir, Ibn Shamah and others.
The Daeef (weak) Ahadeeth concerning the acts of worship can only be acted upon in the case of acts of worship, which are proven by Saheeh evidence. This important principle was mentioned by Imam Abul-Abbas Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah.
Among the Bidahs that have been invented by some people is celebrating the middle of Shaban (Laylat Al-Nusf min Shaban) and singling out this day for fasting. There is no reliable evidence (Daleel) for it. Some Daeef Ahadeeth have been narrated concerning its virtues, but we cannot regard them as reliable. The reposts, which have been narrated concerning the virtues of prayer on this occasion, are all Mawdoo (fabricated).
In his book “Lataif Al-Marif,” Al-Hafiz Ibn Rajab said: “Laylat Al-Nusf min Shaban (the middle of Shaban) was venerated by the Tabieen among the people of Al-Sham, such as Khalid Ibn Midan, Makhool, Luqman Ibn Aamir and others, who used to strive in worship on this night. The people took the idea of the virtue of this night and of venerating it from them. It was said that they heard of Israeli reports (reposts from the Jewish sources) concerning that most of the scholars of the Hijaz denounced that, including Ata and Ibn Abi Maleekah. Abdur-Rahman Ibn Zayd Ibn Aslam narrated that view from the Fuqaha of Madinah, and this was the view of the companions of Malik and others. They said: ‘This is all Bidah. No comment from Imam Ahmad concerning Laylat Al-Nusf min Shaban is known of. Concerning spending the night of the middle of Shaban in prayer, there is no sound report from the Prophet (sa) or from his companions.’”
The scholars are agreed that it is obligatory to refer disputed matters to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sa). Whatever ruling both or one of them give is the Shariah, which must be followed, and whatever goes against them must be rejected. Therefore, any acts of worship, which are not mentioned in them, are Bidah, and it is not permissible to do them, let alone call others to do them or approve of them.
Allah (swt) says: “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad (sa)), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (sa), if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” (Al-Nisa 4:59)
In every case, where there is no sound Shariah evidence that something is prescribed in Islam, it is not permissible for a Muslim to innovate things in the Deen of Allah, whether these are individual acts or communal acts, whether he does them in secret or openly.
‘Allamah Al-Shawkani has ruled against Laylat Al-Nusf and has said that the rewards regarding the prayers in this night are all fabricated, and their narrators are all Majhool (unknown) and Daeef.
Other scholars, who have ruled against singling out the night of the middle of Shaban, are Al-Hafiz Al-Iraqi, Al-Hafiz Ibn Rajab in his book “Lata’if Al-Ma’arif,” Iman Al-Nawawi in his book “Al-Majmoo” and Shaykh Al-Imam Abu Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Ismaeel Al-Maqdisi wrote a very valuable book providing that these (reports) are false.
From the Ayahs, Ahadeeth and scholarly opinions quoted above, it is clear that celebrating the middle of Shaban by praying on that night or in any other way, or by singling out that day for fasting, is Bidah denounced by most of the scholars. It has no basis in the pure Shariah; rather, it is one of the things that was innovated in Islam after the time of the Sahabahs.
In Saheeh Muslim, it is narrated that Abu Hurairah (rta) said: “The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: ‘Do not single out the night of Jumuah (Friday) for praying Qiyam and do not single out the day of Jumuah for fasting, unless it is part of the ongoing regular fast of any one of you.’” (Muslim)
If it were permissible to single out any night for special acts of worship, the night of Jumuah would be the most appropriate, because the day of Jumuah is the best day, upon which the sun rises, as stated in the Saheeh Hadeeth narrated by the Messenger of Allah (sa). The fact that the Prophet (sa) warned against singling out that night for praying Qiyam indicates that it is even more prohibited to single out any other night for acts of worship, except where there is Saheeh evidence of a particular night being singled out (for example, Laylat Al-Qadr and other nights of Ramadan). Similarly fasting on the day of Jumuah is also prohibited.
If it really were prescribed to single out the night of the middle of Shaban or the night of the first Friday in Rajab, or the night to the Isra and Miraj for celebration or for any special acts of worship, then the Prophet (sa) would have taught his Ummah to do that, and he would have done it himself. If anything of the sort had happened, his companions would have transmitted it to the Ummah, for they were the best and most sincere of people after the prophets.
We ask Allah (swt) to help us and all the Muslims adhere firmly to the Sunnah and to beware of everything that goes against it, for He (swt) is the Most Generous, the Most Kind, Ameen.
(Adapted from “Majmoo Fatawa Samahat Al-Shaykh Abd Al-Azaz Ibn Baz,” 2/882.)