Laylat al-Bara’ah: Night of Salvation

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Shabaan is the 8th month of the Islamic calendar and the month in which the holy night of Shab-e-Baraat is celebrated.

Mid-Sha’ban is the 15th day of the eighth month (shaaban) of the Islamic lunar calendar. The preceding night is known as Laylatul Bara’ah or Laylatun Nisfe min Shaban in the Arab world, and as Shab-e-barat  in Afghanistan,   Pakistan, Iran and India. These names are translated to the night of records, the night of assignment and the night of deliverance, and the observance involves a festive nightlong vigil with prayers. In some regions, this is also a night when one’s deceased ancestors are commemorated. 

In South Asia, Muslims make sweets to be given to the neighbours and the poor on the evening prior to the 15th of Sha’ban. This custom of distributing sweets is also practiced in Bosnia on the 15th night of Sha’ban, as well as on three other days of Laylatul Qadr, Laylatul Mi’raj and Laylatul Raghaib.

According to the Hadith, 15th night of Shabaan is special as the night attains its name of Laylat al-Bara’ah, meaning the Night of Salvation, Seeking Freedom from torture and calamity, is that in this night the Barkaah and acceptance of repentance may be accomplished.

All the deeds that are against Shari’ah must be totally avoided so that our Du’a and Istighfaar, hopefully, will be accepted. Muslims should check themselves and Imam Ahmad Riza has given a beautiful advise in this regard. Imam said: “Verily the auspicious night of Shab-e-Bara’a is drawing near when the deeds of the slave will be presented to the Almighty Allah. I humbly supplicate in the Darbar-e-Aqdas of the Almighty Allah that through the Wasila-e-Uzma of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (pbuh) He forgives the sins and transgressions of all Muslims. Aameen.

“On this occasion, it should be the duty of all Muslims to forgive one another and to make sure that whatever debts owed to one another is settled. The importance of Huqooq al-Ibaad cannot be over-emphasised as this is among the pre-requisites for proper Ibaadat. I pray that all Muslims humbly remember this night and try as much as possible to perform Ibaadat and other pious deeds so that their Record of Deeds be presented in all dignity.

“Finally, I pray that the Almighty Allah assists you and I and the Muslim Ummah wherever you may be. Muslims should be aware of sincerity and honesty in all their deeds. May Almighty Allah forgive all of us. Aameen.” – Ahmad Riza Qaderi 

Countless Mercies

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (pbuh) has stated: “Verily! Almighty Allah directs His Special Grace on the world on this Night. He forgives my Ummah more than the number of wool that is found on the sheep of the Bani Kalb.” We should remember that in those days the Bani Kalb possessed the most number of sheep that any other tribe.

The visitors of this Night

It is narrated that the departed souls (Arwaah) of the Muslims visit the houses of their friends and relatives on this night and proclaim: “O people of the house! You stay in our houses and enjoy the wealth that we have left behind. You use our children and take work from them, please perform our Esaale Sawaab. Verily our deeds have become complete, while your record of deeds is still spread.”

Visit to the Cemetery

Hadrat Ayesha Siddiqa (RA) reports: “One night, which was the 15th of Shabaan, I did not find the Beloved Prophet (pbuh) in the house so I went in search of him. After a long search, I found him in Baqiah (the cemetery of Madinah) offering Du’a for the deceased and praying for their forgiveness”. (Baihaqi) 

A special point must be made to visit the cemetery during this night and pray for the deceased buried therein, as the Most Beloved Prophet (pbuh) is been reported as having visited the cemetery on this night and spending a long time therein, lamenting, reading and praying for the deceased.

Do not be amongst deprived of Mercy

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah said: “Almighty Allah forgives all Muslims on this night, besides the fortune tellers, the magicians, the alcoholics, those who disrespect their parents and those who take part and encourage adultery”.

In another narration, the following people have also been mentioned:

1. One who deals in usury (Riba),

2. One who wears his trousers below his ankle with pride and arrogance (In Arabia, people displayed their wealth and boasted in this manner),

3. One who creates disunity among two Muslims,

4. The person who unjustly takes away the right and property of another Muslim and has not yet rectified himself.

All these persons are not shown Mercy on this auspicious Night.

A humble appeal to seek pardon and ask Allah’s forgiveness 

Dear Muslim brothers, the Bountiful Allah in His Infinite Mercy has provided us with such an auspicious night so that we may take advantage of it and repent for our sins, and thus obtain His Grace and Favour. It is for us to take full advantage of it. During this night, offer special prayers and repent sincerely for our past sins and ask for His forgiveness.

Also on this night the Doors of Mercy and Forgiveness are opened wide, and those who sincerely grieve over and repent for their past sins and seek forgiveness from Allah are pardoned and forgiven by the Grace of Allah the Merciful.

Hadrat Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (RA) has mentioned in his famous “Gunyat-ut Talibeen” that the month of Shaban according to some narrations is related to Rasoolullah (pbuh). So, it is our duty, as the Ummah of Rasoolullah  to love and respect this month more than any other month (besides Ramazan). We should also offer abundantly salutations upon the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta’ala alayhi wa Sallam).

While we are praying and asking for ourselves and family, we should also remember in our Du’as the Muslim Ummah facing calamities in many parts of the world, that may Allah  grant them the strength and Istiqaamat (steadfastness) in Deen. 

ANOTHER SIGNIFICANCE

Day Of Imam Mahdi

Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Mahdi  (ca. July 29, 869 (15 Shaaban 255 AH) – 874) is believed by Shia Muslims to be the Mahdi an ultimate savior of humankind and the final Imam. Shia of Jafari school believe that al-Mahdi was born on 15th of Shab’an in 869 and did not die (like Prophets Jesus and Khizr) but rather went into occultation in 941 and will later emerge with Jesus Christ in order to fulfill their mission of bringing peace and justice to the world.

Sunni View

The Sunnis view Imam Mahdi as the successor of Prophet Mohammad. The Mahdi is expected to arrive to rule the world and to reestablish righteousness. The appearance of the Prophet was also proposed unto the Mahdi. “An enormously influential tradition attributed to AbduAllah ibni Masud has Mohammad predict the coming of a Mahdi coined in his own image: “His name will be my name, and his father’s name my father’s name.”

Prophet (pbuh) said:

The world will not come to an end until the Arabs are ruled by a man from my family whose name is the same as mine and whose father’s name is the same as my father’s. Sunan Abu Dawud,

Said Umul Momineen Umm Salama: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “The Mahdi is of my lineage and family […]”. Sunan Abu Dawud, 11/373; Sunan Ibn Maajah, 2/1368.

A typical modernist in his views on the Mahdi, Abul Ala Maududi (1903–1979), the Pakistani Islamic revivalist, stated that the Mahdi will be a modern Islamic reformer/statesman, who will unite the Ummah and revolutionise the world according to the ideology of Islam, but will never claim to be the Mahdi, instead receiving posthumous recognition as such.

-Syed Maududi, Tajdeed-o-Ahyaa-e-Deen, Islamic Publications Limited, Lahore, Pakistan, Chapter: Imam Mehdi

Abu Dawud also reported a hadith about the Mahdi that Prophet said:

The Mahdi will be of my stock, and will have a broad forehead, a prominent nose and a mark on his right cheek. He will fill the earth with equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, and he will rule for seven years.

At-Tirmidhi reported that Prophet said:

The face of the Mahdi shall shine upon the surface of the Moon.

Shia View

In Shia Islam “the Mahdi symbol has developed into a powerful and central religious idea.”  Twelver Shia Muslims believe that the Mahdi is Muhammad al-Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam, who was born in 869 and was hidden by God at the age of five (874). He is still alive (like Jesus & Khizr) but has been in occultation, “awaiting the time that God has decreed for his return,” When it comes he promised that no one who wanted happiness would be denied and no one who had believed will be left behind.

Shia traditions state that the Mahdi be “a young man of medium stature with a handsome face” and black hair and beard. “He will not come in an odd year […] will appear in Makkah between the corner of the Kaaba and the station of Abraham and people will witness him there.

The Twelfth Imam will return as the Mahdi with “a company of his chosen ones,” and his enemies will be led by the one-eyed Antichrist and the Sufyani. The two armies will fight “one final apocalyptic battle” where the Mahdi and his forces will prevail over evil. After the Mahdi has ruled Earth for a number of years, Isa will return.

Prophet Muhammad said:

The Mahdi is the protector of the knowledge, the heir to the knowledge of all the prophets, and is aware of all things.

Ja’far al-Sadiq, the Sixth Imam, made the following prophecies:

Abu Bashir says: When I asked Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq, “O son of the Messenger of God! Who is the Mahdi (qa’im) of your clan (ahl al-bayt)?”, he replied: “The Mahdi will conquer the world; at that time the world will be illuminated by the light of God, and everywere in which those other than God are worshipped will become places where God is worshiped; and even if the polytheists do not wish it, the only faith on that day will be the religion of God.– Bihar al-Anwar

Imam Jafar ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq said: ” … During that time (the period of the occultation), await the advent (of the Imam) every morning and evening … ” Usul al-Kafi, Volume 1, Page 323

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