I have to question concerning the month of Rajab and Sha'ban. Some people say that the 27th Rajab and 14th of Sha'ban nights of worship. Please explain in detail, so I can help my Pakistani community to understand this, because in our country they said that it is a special night and I don't see any evidence in the Hadeeth why they said that also. Is there is a difference in belief?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
There are several kinds of fasting. Among these kinds are:
1) Obligatory: observing the fast during the whole month of Ramadan is an obligation for all Muslims.
2) Supererogatory: this category embraces fasts on particular occasions such as the 9th and 10th days of Muharram, the day of Arafah, fasting three days each month, fasting of Monday and Thursday each week. It is Sunnah to observing fasting on those days.
As for fasting on the day of al-Israa and al-Mi'raaj, it is not proved in the Sunnah of the Prophet . If it was recommendable, the Prophet would have stated so as we have seen concerning supererogatory fasting.
Thus, it is not correct to observe fasting on this specific day. Then, there is difference among scholars concerning specifying the day of al-Israa. Ibn Hajar in al-Fat’h mentioned that there are more than ten opinions in this concern. This disagreement indicates that this day has no special significance for fasting or spending its night in performing prayers. If so, the Prophet and his companions would not have missed it.
Basing on the above-mentioned, we state that it is Bid'ah (innovation) to fast this day as an observance since there is no correct Prophetic narration in this concern. But, if fasting on this day coincides with any supererogatory fasting or one's regular fasts (Monday or day after day) then it is legal to fast this day (the 27th Rajab).
As for spending the night of 15th of Sha'baan in prayers and other forms of worship, there are several Ahadeeth (Prophetic narrations) in this concern, but there is disagreement among scholars concerning the authenticity of these Ahadeeth. Some scholars consider those Ahadeeth weak; other scholars consider them sound. Thus, according to some Fuqahaa (jurists), it is desirable to spend this night in optional forms of worship such as prayer …
According to Ibn Taymiyyah some of as-Salaf (our righteous predecessors) were used to spending this night (15th of Sha'baan) in prayers and other forms of worship. But, some of as-Salaf disliked gathering people at Mosque for this night and considered that as Bid'ah (innovation). Nowadays, many Muslims perform a special prayer with special recital on this night. This form certainly is Bid'ah.
Imaam al-Nawawi said: 'A prayer that is known as Salaat ar-Raghaa'ib, which is of 12 Raka'hs, performed between al-Maghrib and al-Ishaa at the 1st Friday night of Rajab and a prayer of the 15th of Sha'baan (100 Raka'hs) are two forms of Bid'ah and are abominable actions. We should not observe them... Then, their Hadeeth is false.'
The Hadeeth that indicated to by al-Nawawi in the above paragraph is as follows: 'Whoever prays a 100 Raka'hs at the night of 15th of Sha'baan, Allaah will send a hundred angels for him. Thirty ones give him glad tidings concerning Paradise; thirty others give him more confidence that he will be safe from entering the Hell; thirty keep him safe from the evils of this present life; the last ten ward the wiles of the devil off.' This Hadeeth is invalid, al-Nawawi said.
Finally, a Muslim is required to adhere to obedience at this night (15th of Sha'baan) and all other nights, to avoid all forms of polytheism and to pardon his brothers so that he may gain the best excellence and favor. Then, he is required to avoid all forms of Bid'ah, since good lies in following the Sunnah and evil lies in innovations.
Allaah knows best.
Fatwa answered by: The Fatwa Center at Islamweb