What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding the night of mid-Sha’ban? Can people gather in the masjid to worship on this night?
The night of mid-Sha’ban is one of great virtues and blessings. Many ahadith have been recorded which encourage a person to spend extra time in the remembrance of Allah ﷻ. From them is a narration from Sayyiduna Ali that the Prophet ﷺ said, “When it is the night of mid-Sha’ban, stand for prayers in the night and fast during the day, indeed Allah ﷻ (His mercy) descends to the nearest sky and says, “Is there any person seeking forgiveness so that I may forgive him? Is there anyone seeking sustenance that I may give him sustenance? Is there anyone afflicted that I may cure and relieve him? Is there so and so, is there so and so?” This continues until dawn”. (Ibn Majah)
In another narration the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever worships during these five nights, then paradise will be necessary for him.” From them he ﷺ mentioned, “The night of mid-Sha’ban.” (Al-Targhib)
It was the practice of the salaf to stay awake and spend this night in the remembrance of Allah ﷻ. The majority of the fuqaha have also acted by this. It has also been the practice of the Muslims from the earlier and later generations to spend the night of mid-Sha’ban in worship and seeking forgiveness from Allah ﷻ.
Imam Shafi’i mentions that “…We have heard that a person’s dua’ is accepted on five nights, from them is the night of mid-Sha’ban.” (Kitab Al-Umm: 1/264) Ibn Nujaym writes in his commentary of Kanz al-Daqaiq, “The ten nights of Ramadan, the nights of the two ‘Ids, the first ten nights of Dhul-Hijjah, and the night of mid-Sha’ban, are all nights when it is mustahab to remain awake and engage in worshipping Allah ﷻ. (Al-Bahr Al-Raiq: 2/56) Ibn Taymiyyah also writes, “Regarding the night of mid-Sha’ban, there are blessings in it. Some of the salaf would spend this night standing in prayer. (Al-Fatawa Al-Kubra: 5/344)
The order which has been given by the Prophet ﷺ in the blessed hadith to worship Allah ﷻ is a generic one. When any such command within shari’ah has several possible ways for it to be carried out then they are all permissible. The command cannot be restricted to any one way for it to be carried out unless there is supporting evidence to do so. Otherwise, one will be restricting an action which Allah ﷻ has left open. Based on this, a person can spend the night of mid-Sha’ban worshipping alone, or in a group with other people, a person can remember Allah ﷻ aloud or in silent, in the masjid or at home. If there is no hindrance, it is better for people to come together and worship Allah ﷻ, there is also an increased chance in acceptance*. The Beloved Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah has angels who travel the earth, searching for those who remember Allah. When they find people who are remembering Allah, they call to one another and say, “Come to what you have been searching for,” and they surround them with their wings till the space between them and the sky is covered.” (Bukhari)
*It is of utmost importance that we all continue to abide by the social distancing measures that are currently in place. The mercy and favour of Allah ﷻ has no bounds, if there is no gathering at the masjid or one is unable to attend due to covid safety regulations, this does not deprive one of the blessings of this night.
Allah ﷻ knows the best
This Fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari