IN SHA’BAN, THERE IS A NOBLE, GREAT AND BLESSED NIGHT.
It is its middle night, in which Allah manifests the entirety of His forgiveness and His all-encompassing mercy. Thus, He forgives those who seek forgiveness and has mercy on those who seek mercy. He also answers the pleas of the supplicants, grants relief to the afflicted, and frees a great number from the Fire. In addition, sustenance and actions are recorded in it.
The excellence of this night has been mentioned in a great number of Hadiths. We will mention the most famous Hadiths that are mentioned regarding this night.
Hadith About The Middle Night Of Sha’ban
Mu’adh b. Jabal رضي الله عنه said that the Prophet ﷺ said,
“Allah looks at all His creation on the middle night of Sha’ban. He forgives all people, except the polytheist or the mushahin (bickerer).”
A mushahin is an evil hypocrite who causes division and stokes the flames of enmity between two people who love each other.
Ibn al-Athir said in his Nihayah,
“Al-Mushahin is an antagonistic person. Shana’ is enmity.”
Al-Bayhaqi narrated a Hadith from Sayyidah ‘A’ishah رضي الله عنها that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
Jibril عليه السلام came to me and said, ‘This is the middle night of Sha’ban. In it, Allah frees as many people as the livestock of Banu Kalb have hairs. However, in it, Allah will not look at the polytheist, the bickerer, the cutter of family ties, the one who lets his garment hang down below his ankles (out of arrogance), the one who mistreats his parents, nor the one addicted to wine…’”
Al-Bayhaqi mentioned this as part of a longer Hadith, which he narrated completely.
Imam Ahmad narrated from Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with father and son) that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
“Allah (Mighty and Majestic is He) looks at all His creation on the middle night of Sha’ban. He forgives them all, except two: the bickerer and the murderer.”
Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah narrated that Sayyidah ‘A’ishah رضي الله عنها said,
“I missed the Prophet ﷺ. So, I went out looking for him. He was in Baqi’, raising his head to the sky.
“He said, ‘Did you believe that Allah and His Messenger would be unjust to you?’
“I replied, ‘I thought that you had visited one of your wives.’
“He said, ‘Indeed, Allah (Blessed and Exalted is He) descends, on the middle night of Sha’ban, to the lowest heaven. He forgives more people than there are hairs on the livestock of Banu Kalb.’”
Al-Tirmidhi said, “We only know this Hadith of ‘A’ishah by way of this chain of transmission. I heard Muhammad [meaning al-Bukhari] declaring this Hadith to be weak because it is interrupted in two places.”
Ibn Majah narrated that Abu Musa al-Ash’ari said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
“Indeed, Allah looks [at His creation] on the middle night of Sha’ban. He forgives all His creation, except a polytheist or a bickerer.”
This is a narration from Ibn Lahi’ah, who had been weakened by some people. He (Ibn Lahi’ah) narrates from al-Dahhak from Ayman al-Kalbi. Al-Dhahabi said about the latter, “No one knows who he is.”
Al-Tabarani and al-Bayhaqi narrated by way of Makhul, from Abu Tah’labah al-Khushani رضي الله عنه that the Prophet ﷺ said,
“Allah looks at His servants on the middle night of Sha’ban. He forgives the believers, is lenient with the disbelievers, but leaves people who are bitter to their bitterness until they abandon it.”
This means that He does not forgive them or grant them respite until they leave their bitterness. Al-Bayhaqi said, “There is a disconnect between Makhul and Abu Tha’labah, but it is a satisfactory mursal Hadith.”
Al-Bazzar and al-Bayhaqi both narrated from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq رضي الله عنه that the Prophet ﷺ said,
“Allah descends to the lowest heaven on the middle night of Sha’ban. He forgives everyone except a polytheist or a man who holds rancor in his heart.”
There is no problem with its isnad, just as al-Hafiz al-Mundhiri has mentioned.
Al-Bayhaqi narrated, with a weak chain of transmission, from ‘Uthman b. Abi al-‘As رضي الله عنه, that the Prophet ﷺ said,
“When the middle night of Sha’ban occurs, a caller calls out, ‘Is there anyone who is seeking forgiveness that I may forgive him? Is there anyone making a request, that I may grant it to him?’ Thus, no one will ask him for anything on that night, except that he will be given it, except a fornicator or a polytheist.”
That is how it was narrated in the narration of al-Bayhaqi. In another narration, this has been narrated regarding every night of the year, and it was not specifically tied to the middle night.
In al-Musnad [of Imam Ahmad], al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allah be pleased with him) is narrated to have said,
“’Uthman b. Abi al-‘As رضي الله عنه passed by Kilab b. Umayyah, while the latter was sitting in the gathering of tax collectors. He replied to him, ‘Why are you sitting here?’
“He said, ‘Such and such ruler [meaning Ziyad] has placed me in charge of this.’
“He [‘Uthman] رضي الله عنه asked him, ‘Would you like me to narrate to you something I heard from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ?’
“He [Kilab] said, ‘Certainly.’
“He [‘Uthman] رضي الله عنه said, ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say, “The Prophet of Allah, Dawud عليه السلام, had an appointed hour of the night in which he would wake his people and say, ‘O, family of Dawud! Stand and pray. For this is the hour in which Allah will answer all supplications, except that of a sorcerer or a tax collector.’”’ So, Kilab b. Umayyah embarked on his ship and went straight to Ziyad. He requested to be relieved, so he relieved him.”
Al-Tabarani narrated a similar Hadith in “al-Kabir” and “al-Awsat” with the wording,
“The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘The gates of heaven are opened in the middle of the night. A caller says, “Is there anyone supplicating that I may answer him? Is there anyone requesting something that I may grant it to him. Is there anyone in distress that I may grant him relief?” So, no Muslim supplicates for anything, except that Allah will grant it to him, except a fornicator that persists in his fornication or a tax collector.’”
As should be evident, there is no contradiction between these narrations, because the middle night is included in the general meaning of the narration of Ahmad and al-Tabarani.
Al-Bayhaqi narrated from Makhul from Kathir b. Murrah- a Tabi’I- that the Prophet ﷺ said,
“On the middle night of Sha’ban, Allah forgives all the people of the Earth, except a polytheist and a bickerer.”
Al-Bayhaqi said, “This is an acceptable mursal Hadith.”
Al-Bayhaqi also narrated from ‘Ala b. al-Harith that Sayyidah ‘A’ishah رضي الله عنها said,
“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ stood at night in prayer. He lengthened his prostration until I believed that he had passed away. When I thought that, I got up and moved his index finger. He in turn moved it. So, I returned. When he raised his head from prostration and finished his prayer, he said, ‘O, ‘A’ishah! O, white one! Did you believe that I had broken my promise to you?’
“I replied, ‘No, by Allah, o, Messenger of Allah! Rather, I believed that you had passed away due to the lengthiness of your prostration.’
“He ﷺ asked, ‘Do you know which night this is?’
“I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’
“He ﷺ said, ‘This is the middle night of Sha’ban. Allah (Mighty and Majestic is He) looks at his servants on the middle night in Sha’ban. He forgives everyone who asks forgiveness, shows mercy to those who ask for mercy, but leaves the bitter people alone in their state.’”
Al-Bayhaqi said, “This is a satisfactory mursal Hadith. However, it is possible that al-‘Ala heard this Hadith from Makhul.”