Fussing Over the 15th of Sha‘ban

23 Jun

The Humble "I"

01097_rockface_1680x1050Question: Is marking out the 15th night of Sha‘ban (laylat al-nisf min sha‘ban) for extra prayers and devotion sanctioned by Islam, or is doing so judged to be a reprehensible innovation (bid‘ah)?

Answer: Each year a fair amount of fussing and fighting takes place over the issue. Yet the truth of the matter is that scholars have long held this issue to be one over which there is a valid difference of opinion. The first group considered the night to have no specific virtues over and above any other night of the year, and believed that singling the night out for extra acts of worship is unsanctioned. Another group differed and held that the middle night of Sha‘ban does have special merits and can be earmarked for extra prayers and devotion.

What follows is a discussion about why such a difference has arisen and how each of the two stances has…

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