Laylatul Baraat [15th night of Sha’baan]

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Published by: Waterval Islamic Institute, Johannesburg

Performing Iebaadah and other aspects of Allaah’s grace during this night

1. Hadhrut Aa-ishah [radhiallaahu anhu], relates that I once did not know the whereabouts of Rasoeloul-laah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. Then he was at the Jannatoel Baqie. Rasoeloul-laah then asked me: What, do you fear that Allaah and his Rasool will forsake you? Hadhrut Aa-ishah [radhiallaahu anhu] replied: `I thought you went to some other lady from amongst your wives’. Then Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said: `Indeed Allaah Ta-aalaa descends to the nether sky on the middle night of Sha-baan. Then He certainly forgives more persons than the count of fibres upon a sheep of the Kalb tribe’. (Tirr-mithy, Mieshkaat)

2. Hadhrut Aa-ishah [radhiallaahu anhu] relates that the Nabiy once inquired from her: `Are you aware of the virtue of this night, (meaning the middle night of Sha-baan)?’ She asked: `What is the significance O Rasool of Allaah?’ He then said: `It is on this night that each one of the sons of Aadam who shall be born is determined, and each one of the sons of Aadam to die that year is fixed. It is on this night that the deeds of every person is presented, and their sustenance apportioned’.

Hadhrut Aa-ishah [radhiallaahu anhu] then again inquired: `Is it not that, none would achieve entry into Jannah except by the mercy of Allaah?’ Then Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] replied: `None would attain entry into Junnah (paradise) except by the mercy of Allaah’. Rasoeloul-laah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] repeated these words thrice.

Hadhrut Aa-isha [radhiallaahu anhu] once more asked: `Not even You, O Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]?’. Then Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] placed his hand upon the crown of his head and said: `Not even I, except when Allaah does give me shelter of His mercy’. Then he repeated this phrase thrice. (Bai-huqiy, Mieshkaat)

3. It is related from Abou Moosa [radhiallaahu anhu] that Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said: `Indeed Allaah looks to His creation on the middle night of Sha-baan wherein Allaah forgives all His creation except the one who is a Moesh-riek (one who ascribes partners to Allaah), or the one who harbours hatred and malice’. (Ibn Maajah, Mieshkaat)

4. Hadhrut Aliy [radhiallaahu anhu] relates that Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said: `When it is the fifteenth night of Sha-baan then remain busy in Iebaadah during the night and fast for the day, for indeed Allaah descends to the nether sky at the setting of the sun and He proclaims: Is there anyone seeking my forgiveness so that I may pardon him; is there anyone who seeks livelihood from me, so I may sustain him; is there anyone who is in distress that I may bless him with relief and safety; is there someone in this condition; is there someone in that state? and so this continues until the break of dawn’. (Ibn Maajah, also Mieshkaat)

Relevance of the Night

Since the commencement of the month of Sha-baan signifies the approach of Ramadhaanoul Moebaarak it does hold some virtues. Similarly, because Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] increased his Iebaadah in this month in preparation for Ramadhaan, one cannot deny the importance of increased devotion and fore-thought in anticipation of Ramadhaan. In addition it is sufficient to show the virtue and notability of the fifteenth night of Sha-baan by the fact that reference is made to it in a number of Ahaadeeth. However some Ulamaa’ have explained the tafseer of the Aayah mentioned in Soeratoed Doukhaan:

We sent it down during a blessed night, for We (ever) wish to warn against evil. In that (night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom. As a command by Our presence; for We (shall ever) send (revelations) as a mercy from thy Sustainer, for He is All – Hearing, All – Knowing’. (Soeratoed Doukhaan, Aayaat 4,5,&6)

In this Aayah, the Ulumaa’ suggest that ‘Laylatoel Baraa-ah’ is the night meant therein. Hadhrut Ieqriemah has also explained this aspect in this particular way. Ibn Jareer and others have narrated this. Whereas, the mainstream majority of Ulamaa’ explain that the words `Laylatoel Moebaarakah’ and `Fiy-haa Yoefraq’ point towards Laylatoel Qadr. This is since Laylatoel Qadr is in Ramadhaan, and also that the revelation of the Qur’aan was in Ramadhaan etc., therefore this Aayah of Soeratoed Doukhaan is not in relation to a day in Sha-baan.

In the same vein Hadhrut Ibn Amr [radhiallaahu anhu] mentions regarding the sacred nights. He says that there are five nights in which a persons du’aa’ is not rejected (i.e. blessed with acceptance). These nights are; the night of Joumoe-ah, the first night of Rajab, the fifteenth night of Sha-baan and the nights preceding both Ieds.

Fasting during the month of Sha-baan and the Aiyaamoel Biedh

1. Hadhrut Oesaamah bin Zaid [radhiallaahu anhu], said: `I inquired, O Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam], I haven’t seen you fast during any other month (of the year) as much as I have observed and witnessed your fasting in the month of Sha-baan’. He then responded; `this is a month in respect of which people are in `Ghuflah’ (i.e. thoughtless, heedless and unobservant). This month falls between Rajab and Ramadhaan. It is also a month in which deeds are raised (for evaluation) to the Sustainer of the universe. And indeed, I desire that my deeds of adherence be raised (to Allaah) whilst I am fasting’. (Nusaa-iy, also Turrgheeb)

2. Hadhrut Usaamah bin Zaid [radhiallaahu anhu], relates that Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said: `Sha-baan is my month (of more dedication) and Ramadhaan is the month of Allaah (i.e. His bounties and grace). (Ad-dailumiy)

3. Imaam Tirr-mithiy reports in a hadieth wherein Hadhrut Anas [radhiallaahu anhu], says: `The Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] was once asked: `which is the most significant and virtuous fast after Ramadhaan?’ The Nabiy responded; `The (fasting during the) month of Shabaan, because of the importance and magnificence of Ramadhaan’. Then it was inquired; `Which sudaqah (i.e. an act of kindness and welfare done as an Iebaadah solely for Allaah) is most rewarding and meritorious?’ The Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said: `An act of – sadaqah done during the month of Ramadhaan’. (Tirr-mithiy, also At Turr-gheeb)

4. Hadhrut Aa-ishah [radhiallaahu anhu] relates that the Nabiy fasted for the full month of Sha-baan. She also said:  `I inquired, O Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam], is the month in which you like to fast most, Sha-baan?’ He responded: `Most certainly in this month Allaah records and determines each person which shall die in that particular year. Therefore, I am desirous that my death comes to me whilst I am fasting’. (Abou Ya-laa, also At Turr-gheeb)

5. Hadhrut Aa-ishah [radhiallaahu anhu] relates: `I had not seen the Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] fasting during any other months of the year more than in the month of Sha-baan. He fasted during this month, with the exception of a small part (number of days) thereof. In fact, he had fasted for the complete month’. (Tirr-mithiy, and also At Turr-gheeb)

6. In another riwaayah it is explained that Hudhrat Aa-ishah [radhiallaahu anhu] said: `Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] did not fast in any other month for as many days as he had fasted during the month of Sha-baan. He fasted during all the days of this month (i.e. Sha-baan), or otherwise for most of the days thereof. (Nusaaiy, and also At Turr-gheeb)

7. Hadhrut Aa-isha [radhiallaahu anhu] says: `That Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] did not fast in any month for more than the number of days which he had fasted during the month of Sha-baan. Indeed he fasted for the complete month (of Sha-baan). The Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] also said: `That, steadfastly practice (in Iebaadah) whatever you are able to do, for most certainly Allaah neither becomes weary nor tires; whereas you shall be fatigued or exhausted. And in fact the most liked salaah by Nabiy is that which is done with punctuality constantly, even though it is in a lesser extent. Invariably when the Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] performed a salaah, he always did it punctually’. (Boukhaariy)

8. Hadhrut Aa-ishah [radhiallaahu anhu] said: `That the Nabiy did not fast in any month of the year for as many days as he had fasted during the month of Sha-baan. He used to fast in Sha-baan up to Ramadhaan’. (Nusaa-iy)

9. Hadhrut Aa-ishah [radhiallaahu anha] said: `That Rasoeloul-laah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] fasted for three days during every month’. (i. e. the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth). (‘Tubraaniy)

10. Abdoel Muliek bin Qataadah bin Mul-haan relates from his father that Rasoeloul-laah instructed us to fast during the Aiyaamoel Biedh, (i.e. the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth). The Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] also said: `That (in reward) it is like fasting during all the days’. (Abou Daawood)

Imaam Nusaa-iy also relates the phrase; The Nabiy called upon us to fast during these three days of the Aiyaamoel Biedh’. He also said: `(In reward from Allaah) the fasting during these three days is similar to the fasting of the full month’.

11. Abou Hoerairah [radhiallaahu anhu] relates that the Nabiy has indeed said; `When the middle (day of) Sha-baan has passed then remain in the state of Ieftaar (i.e. abstain from fasting thereafter)’. (Moe’sunnuf Abdoer Razzaaq). Also, in a hadieth in Daarumiy the phrase `Fa-umsiekoe’ (i.e. then stop fasting) after the fifteenth of Sha-baan has been mentioned.

Iebaadah upon virtuous recommendations is reward-bearing

As Shaikh Moulana Hubiebour Rah-maan Al Aa-zhamiy in his foot notes on the Moe-sunnuf Abdoer Razzaaq in respect of the middle of Sha-baan writes that Imaam Buzzaar has mentioned similar aspects in the hadieth of Abou Bakr ‘Siddique, Abou Hoerairah, Awf bin Maaliek [radhiallaahu anhum] and also Imaam Ahmad relating from Abdoellaah bin-Amr [radhiallaahu anhu] with some difference in wording. Imaam ‘Tubraaniy has also related a hadieth from Abou Tha-labah. (Al Mujma’) The author of Roehoul Maaaniy, Allaamah Aaloesiy who was also the Moeftiy of Baghdaad refers to the hadieth of Hudhrut Aliy mentioned in Bai-huqiy and Ibn Maajah, without any negative comment. Allaamah Soeyoutiy has also related this same hadieth in his book `Ad-doeroul Munthoor’. In addition, Imaam Moenthiriy in his book `At Turrgheeb’ also mentions this same hadieth.

Moulana Moe-haddieth Shah Abdoel Huq Deh-lawiy mentioned that this subject has been narrated from numerous ahaadieth. He has also said that it is moesta-hub to; individually, remain occupied on this night. In addition, it is allowed to act upon such ahaadieth in respect of Fadhaa-ieloul A’amaal for the significance thereof and also for the reward which is anticipated from virtue of dedication in proper conduct. Imaam Owzaa-iey was also of this opinion. The late Moeftiy Moehummud Shafee Oethmaaniy of Karachi has also mentioned this point. It is due to this aspect and hope of reward that a number of Sahaabah and Ta-beien followed this soennah (moesta-hub) practice of remaining occupied in Iebaadah and do-aa’ on this sacred, blessed night.

Ibnoel Haaj Al Mukkiy said numerous pious elders showed the significance of such precious moments in how they had prepared and braced themselves for Iebaadah during this night. (see Al Mudkhal). Shaikh Abdoel Qaadier Jielaaniy also, with due consideration to the relative ahaadieth, showed great importance to the aspects mentioned about this particular night (i.e. the fifteenth, also see Ghoeniatoet ‘Taaliebeen). According to Moulana Ashraf Aliy Thannawiy each individual should remain in Iebaadah, do-aa’ etc. to the best of their ability. This is most desirable.

The fasting of the Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] on the Fifteenth of Sha-baan

It is noteworthy to mention various phrases in numerous ahaadieth which indicate the allowance of fasting on the fifteenth of Sha-baan. This is without any contrary prohibition. Furthermore, in respect of fasting during Shabaan, including the fifteenth day thereof, the phrases in the relative ahaadieth are;

1. `He (Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] fasted during Sha-baan with the exception of a small part thereof (i.e. a few days)’. *(this includes fasting on the fifteenth) (Moettafaq-alaih; i.e. Boukhaariy and Moesliem).

2. `He fasted during Sha-baan until we said: `He shall not break his fast’ (i.e. interrupt his fasting during this month)’. *(this includes fasting on the fifteenth) (Moettafaq-alaih; i. e. Boukhaariy and Moesliem).

3. `I did not see him fast in any month more than his fasting during the month of Sha-baan’. *(this includes the middle of the month) (Moettafaqalaih; i.e. Boukhaariy and Moesliem).

4. `He fasted for the whole month of Sha-baan’. *(this includes fasting on the fifteenth) (Moettafaq alaih; i.e. Boukhaariy and Moesliem).

5. `He (Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]) did not fast (besides Ramadhaan in the year) for a complete month, except during Sha-baan’. *(this includes fasting on the fifteenth) (Daarumiy).

6. `The most beloved month during which you (i.e. the Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]) fasts is Sha-baan’. (Nusaa-iy, bi sunadien la ba’-sa behiy).

7. `Fasted during the (middle) three days of every month’. *(this includes fasting on the fifteenth) (`Tubraaniy).

8. `Which fast is most virtuous? He said: `During the month of Sha-baan; for the sacredness and hallowed status of Ramadhaan’. (Tirr-mithiy).

9. `I desire that my deeds be raised and presented (before Allaah) whilst I am fasting’. *(this is specific to the fifteenth day) (Nusaa-iy).

10. `When the middle of Sha-baan passed, then do not fast’. *(this includes the fifteenth day for fasting) (Abou Daawood, Tirr-mithiy and Daarumiy).

The month of Sha-baan

Iebaadah and fasting

Some Ulamaa’ mention that Sha-baan is a month of preparation for a preliminary reckoning and accounting of deeds of the previous year. Therefore, an earnest effort and some measure of Iebaadah shall be prudent and is needed when deeds are raised (for blessings or otherwise). In Imaam Bai-huqiy’s hadieth of Abou Yalaa and also At Turr-gheeb. The Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said: `Therefore, I am desirous that my death comes to me whilst I am fasting’. Thus, the Rasoel showed his desire of fasting, which is also mentioned from Oesaamah bin Zaid [radhiallaahu anhu] in another hadieth. (refer Nusaa-iy and At Turr-gheeb)

The issue in question was the act of Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] fasting in Sha-baan. His response then was also explaining an important factor; the deed of fasting on the fifteenth day of Sha-baan, since the night preceding the fifteenth is when deeds are raised. Hence, the theme dealt with is the Iebaadah during the night, fasting for the day of the fifteenth and also the overall fasting of the Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] during the major portion of Sha-baan.

In spite of the abundant available Shar-iy Ielm, some uninformed person in South Africa had prohibited Moesliems from fasting on the fifteenth day of Sha-baan. This they did under the pretext of a misunderstanding of the relevant issues regarding the fifteenth of Sha-baan.

Hadieth of fifteenth of Sha-baan

Neither Mow-dhoe nor fabricated

Now, coming to his hadieth about the fast of the fifteenth Sha-baan it is held by some of the scholars to be weak; but I have not come across an authentic scholar who has treated it as a fabricated (Mow-dhoe) hadieth. There are a number of books indicating the fabricated ahaadieth, but this hadieth is not included in these books as fabricated.

It is a known factor that Ibn Maajah does have about twenty ahaadieth which are regarded to be fabricated. The list of these fabricated ahaadieth is available, but the tradition in question is not included therein. Therefore, the correct position is that this hadieth is not fabricated. However, being reported by a weak narrator, it cannot be relied upon in the matter of the injunctions of Shari-ah.

Nevertheless, it would be moesta-hub to fast on the fifteenth of Sha-baan for several reasons:

Firstly, it is fully established through a large number of ahaadieth that the Holy Prophet has emphasized the merits of fasting in Sha-baan, and particularly in the first half of the month. The fifteenth day of Sha-baan being the last day of the first half, is included in the preferable days for fasting.

Secondly, the merits of the fifteenth night of Sha-baan is established by more than a dozen ahaadieth. It means that this night should be spent in Iebaadah and other forms of worship. On the other hand, all the blessed nights which the Moesliems are advised to spend in worship are generally followed by fasting on the coming day *(i.e. the nights of two Ieds are an exception, because those days which follow, are the ones in which fasting is totally prohibited. Otherwise such blessed nights are followed by a number of fasts, either obligatory, like in Ramadhaan, or optional like in Zul Hijjah). This is also as in the case of in the Laylatoel Qadr, where fasting on the following day is obligatory, or like the first night (or the ninth night) of Zul Hijjah where fasting on the following days is moesta-hub, hence optional, and also rather advisable. On this analogy, too, the fifteenth night of Sha-baan may be followed by an optional fast, hence, a moesta-hub fasting on the following day.

The month of Sha-baan

Three different sections

There are three spans of time during the month of Shabaan. One is the fifteenth day. The second is the days before the fifteenth day, and the third is those after the fifteenth. The rule regarding those days prior to the fifteenth is that; fasting in this duration is generally allowed. This fasting is moebaah, hence, neither being specifically moesta-hub, nor makrooh (i.e. to be avoided and sinful).

The second period of time is the fifteenth day in particular. Fasting on this day shall be moesta-hub from the indications and explanations in numerous ahaadieth. The third duration is those days which fall after the fifteenth of Sha-baan. The foeqa-haa’ mention that this prohibition of fasting during this passage of time is a suggested recommendation. (i.e. an instruction which is `Irr-shaadiy’; i.e. an optional suggested practice; not `Tuh-riemiy’). Hadhrat Moulana Thaanawiy has clearly explained this. Therefore, with all these ahaadieth before us, there could be no doubt in the desirability and advantage of fasting on the fifteenth of Sha-baan.

Nevertheless, the virtue of the fifteenth night of Sha-baan is explained in a number of ahaadieth, and it is a blessed night, apart from Ramadhaanoul Moebaarak with its sacred hallowed moments. Further, it must be understood that though some Moehuddiethien have mentioned `Dhoe-uf (a taint in the chain of narrators), of the said ahaadieth (not the actual text), the mere fact that such ahaadieth have been reported through a number of other chains of narrators and various other sources does not deny the situation some validity and authenticity.

This is the reason that numerous Mushaa-iekh have acknowledged the esteemed blessedness of the fifteenth night of Sha-baan. It is noteworthy to mention that the great scholar of fiq-h Moeftiy Moe-hummad Shafi of Pakistan has confirmed the fasting of the fifteenth of Sha-baan. It is common knowledge that Shaikhoel Hadieth Maulana Moe-hummad Zakariya Kandhalwiy without failure fasted on the fifteenth of Sha-baan. Also there is a consensus among the Ulamaa’ that in the matter where expert recognised Moehaddiethien discuss the matter of `Dhoe-uf of some Sunad (chain of narrators) of hadieth, (not the actual text), there is no harm in practicing the teaching of such ahaadieth of Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] for attaining the promised virtue and eternal reward. This rule is only applicable where there are no other ahaadieth from Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] substantiating another teaching or a contrary aspect.

Do-aa’ for this night

It is reported that Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said to Hadhrut Aa-ishah [radhiallaahu anha] on this night read this do-aa’ and teach it to others too, for Jibra-iyl (alayhimus salaam) has taught this do-aa’ to me:

`I seek protection in your forgiveness from Your wrath, and I seek shelter in Your pleasure form Your displeasure, and I seek safety with You from You. I cannot fully praise You, as You have praised Yourself.

This fifteenth night of Sha-baan is known as; LAYLATOEL MUBAARAKAH (The blessed night which is full of unseen benefits).

LAYLATOEL BARAA-AH (The night in which people are observed and pronounced clear of sin).

LAYLATOER RAH-MAH (The night of mercy and grace).

LAYLATOES SAKK (The night on which matters are determined for the year).

From relevant ahaadieth it is also understood that;

l. Due to the blessings of this night `Saghaa-ier sins, which are of lesser reproach are forgiven by Al-laah.

2. Allaah forgives in abundance on this night. (This forgiveness is even for numerous persons who had deserved the reproach and punishment of the fire).

3. On this night Allaah fixes and concludes all those who are to be born that year, and those who are to die that year.

4. On this night each persons sustenance for that year is determined. It must be understood that though all these aspects of Taqdeer are in the `ALLOW HOEL MAH-FOOTHZ’ preserved tablet by Al-laah, on this night the responsibility of these tasks are finally given to the Malaa-ikah (Angels).

5. On this night each persons actions and doings (of the past year) are raised before Allaah.

6. Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] taught a special do-aa’ for this night in which Al-laah’s safety and security is sought.

7. It is Moesta-hub to spend as much time as possible in Iebaadah of Allaah during this night, e.g. Nafl – salaah, recital of the Qur’aan, the various different musnoon Thik-r of Allaah etc. (Note: Care must be taken that no special gatherings are called up for such purpose on this occasion).

8. One should make Towbah and Istighfaar (sincere repentance) on this night. Though grave and heinous sins are forgiven by deep regret and sincere Towbah after reformation, the sins of lesser reproach are the ones that are waived on this night by Allaah’s mercy and grace. It is this barakah, virtue and sacredness which is referred to.

9. One should visit the Qabrastaan on this night and beseech for Allaah’s mercy for those deceased buried there.

10. It is Moesta-hub (desirable) to fast on the fifteenth day of Sha-baan.

There are a number of malpractices which deprive a person of Allaah’s compassion, mercy, grace and forgiveness on this night. These are;

SHI-RK (To ascribe partners to Allaah).

SHAH-NAA’ (To harbour malice and hatred).

QATLOEN NAFS (To commit suicide or shed another’s blood without the Shar-iy right to do so).

QAT-OER – RAHIM (To sever relationship without a Shar-iy cause).

ISBALOEL IZAAR (To wear ones trouser hanging below the ankles).

UQOOQOEL WAALIDAIYN (To be disobedient to ones parents (or guardians). (Note: Care must be taken and one shall be prudent in conduct and behaviour. This is because by the principles and teachings of Shari-ah in Islaam there is no commitment to parents for such adherence which is contrary to the teachings of our beloved Nabiy [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] harmful to the upliftment of Islaam or even detrimental to Moesliem welfare).

MOEDMINOEL KHAMR (To be an alcoholic, habitual drunkard, or one who takes other things which despair the human mental state).

(N.B. By sincere, unreserved repentance one could be saved from such misfortune and degeneration).

Lastly, it should be understood that some groups have introduced customs into their lives relating to LAYLATOEL BARAA-AH. Such additional habitual practices have neither been sanctioned nor authenticated by Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam], his illumine Khulafaa’oer Raashidyn, the Asharah Moebash-sharah’, (ten elite who were blessed with the information of entrance into Jannah) or even other companions of Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. Having extra decor and lighting in homes and Musjieds for this night, having displays of fireworks on this night, cladding graves with new sheets for this night, prostrating to graves on this night, (e.g. Cooking of special milk and rice for this night believing that the souls of the deceased shall not visit ones home if certain special foods or deserts are not prepared, and then to take offence if someone does not partake therefrom, etc.) These all are unfounded, un-Islaamic, merely customary practices.

May Allaah save us and all coming generations from this type of estrangement from the teachings of Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam].

Relevant information of the Raawiy

Ibn Abiy Suboerah

Unclear comment

One should bear in mind that there is an accepted rule among the Moehuddietheen that `Jurr-h Moeb-hum’ (i.e. ambiguous, unclear comment) is not worthy of consideration. This is when one cannot produce authoritative authentication and concrete proof substantiating a claim. Such opinion has to be with full detail.

Whereas many a reader depends upon the version of Aliy bin Al-Mudieniy and Imaam Nusaa-iy, who both came some centuries later. They said that Ibn Abiy Suboerah was `Mutroekoul Hadieth’ (i.e. one whose hadieth should not be narrated, because he does not qualify for such status). The sons of Imaam Ah-mad bin Humbal, Abdoellaah and Saalieh, relate from their father in respect of Ibn Abiy Suboerah indulging in `wudh-a’ (i.e. fabrication of hadieth). Ibn Adiy also said regarding Ibn Abiy Suboerah; `mien joumlat mun yadha-oel hadieth’ that is from among those who fabricate, hadieth. However, this is a statement which is not from the great learned contemporaries of Ibn Abiy Suboerah, but is an opinion from persons who came generations later. Also that this comment is not without some sort of undue exaggeration.

Also, Imaam Boukhaariy, by his stringent cautious standards in the expertise of the sciences of Oeloumoel Hadieth has stopped short, without elucidation. He mentions that Ibn Abiy Suboerah is `Dha-eef. This leaves room for further explanation. It seems probable that Ibn Abiy Suboerah had a somewhat weaker memory, which was not up to the required qualification of Imaam Boukhaariy. Therefore, his view is not on the status and integrity of the `raawiy’ (i.e. the narrator) but merely by the Imaam’s requirement which is due to an aspect that does not fulfil Imaam Boukhaariy’s own stringent standards.

Imaam Tha-hubiy has also discussed this factor and dimension. However, it must be clearly understood that according to the rules of the sciences of hadieth a `fabricator’ can never be categorized as `dha-eef. For Imaam Buzzaar to categorize, and suffice by mentioning that this is a `leen hadieth’ is also not exactly correct.

In the sciences of recording hadieth there is a vast difference between classification and grouping of `leen hadieth’ and `yadha-oel hadieth’. (see Kashfoel Astaar an Zawaaiediel Bazzaar). In any case to claim that Ibn Abiy Suboerah fabricated ahaadieth is not correct. Whereas, if it was so, then for Ibn Abiy Suboerah to be privileged with the seat of Iftaa’ or be a Qaadhiy of Mudienah Moenawwarah; in the presence of Imaam Maaliek and other great foeqa-haa’ (jurists), of the time would never have been possible. Similarly, it would not have been possible for Imaam Maaliek to mention and propose Ibn Abiy Suboerah’s name as one of three pious and recognized persons of the sacred city at the time. This was in response to the query from Man’soor the Khaliefah of the time at Mudienah Moenawwarah. (see Sieyar A’_a laamoen Noebalaa and Tah-thieboet Tuh-thieb, Also see Moeftiy Moe-hummad Tuqiy Oethmaaniy’s book on Laylatoel Baraa-ah).

In addition, besides Ah-mad bin Hum-bal and Ibn Adiy, no other Moehuddieth before them has commented upon the status of the truth and integrity of Ibn Abiy Suboerah. So much so that Imaam Boukhaariy by his high and stringent standards has merely stopped short and said that Ibn Abiy Suboerah is `Dha-eef. . (Not saying anything of the (matn) text of the hadieth). Imaam Abou Daawood says: `He, Ibn Abiy Suboerah was the accepted Moeftiy of the Ah-loel Mudienah (i.e. the people of Mudienah)’.

Hudhrut Ma-an mentions that the Ameeroel Moe-mieneen Abou Ja-far Al Mun’soor inquired from Imaam Maaliek; `Who of the great, recognised Mushaa-iekh are left now? He (the `Saa-hieboel Muth-hub) responded by enumerating them, saying: `Ibn Abiy Thie’-b, Ibn Abiy Suboerah and Ibn Abiy Sulamah Al Maajieshoon have remained now’.

It is an apparent and undisputable fact that Mudienah Moenawwarah was the great centre of Islaam and the Moesliems during the era of the `Khairoel Qoeroun’ (i.e. the initial and the best era of Islaam and the beginning generation of the Moesliems). Ibn Abiy Suboerah was first a Moeftiy and Qaadhiy in Iraq. This was before the appointment of Imaam Abou Yousoef. Thereafter, Ibn Abiy Suboerah was privileged with position of Moeftiy and Qaadhiy at Mudienah Moenawwarah. Could such a recognised prominent accepted person ever not be `Saadiq and Aadiel (i.e. true and of a reliable integrity?) Would he have been one to fabricate hadieth and attribute the untruth to Rasoeloullaah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]? Could such an appointment ever have materialized in the presence of a personality like that of Imaam Maaliek? And in addition can such a position be held by a fabricator when it is a fundamental principle that a Moeftiy has to necessarily be an `Aadiel, `Saadieq’ person? Such a Moeftiy shall also be one who is experienced and well-learned in the Qur’aan and Soennah. At the same time such a Moeftiy shall adequately and correctly understand the Dien and prevailing circumstances. These are preceding requisites of Iftaa’. Furthermore, the Ahloel Mudienah (i.e. the initial generation of Moesliems during the best Islaamic era at Mudienah) were not so unlearned, unintelligible, inconsiderate, insensitive, rough and indiscreet that in the presence of an Imaamoel Muthhub, and a great extra-ordinarily pious Aaliem of Dien like Imaam Maaliek; they would choose to appoint as their Qaadhiy and Moeftiy someone who is a fabricator of hadieth or even untrue in his pronouncements. Would they ever choose a fabricator of hadieth for the referral of their religious queries and matters which need Dieniy guidance?

Whereas, generally, being an accepted rule, it is permissible to practice upon a `Dha-eef’ hadieth. Hence, a number of great prominent Imaams among the Moehuddietheen have specifically and with clarity explained the aspect of `Amul’ viz. practicing upon a hadieth in which one of the narrators has been said to be `Dha-eef. This principle is as long as such practice does neither effect, nor jeopardize the fundamental beliefs of Dien or even those major chalked out injunctions in fiqh (i.e. Aqaa-ied and Ah-kaam).

Some of these Ulamaa’ and Imaams are:

1. Imaam An Nawawiy (see At Turr-gheeb and foot notes).

2. Imaam Al Ieraaqiy (see Sharr-h of Alfieyah)

3. Imaam Ibn Hajarr Asqalaaniy (see Sharr-h An Noekhbah)

4. Imaam Zakariya Al An’saariy (see Sharr-h of Alfieyah of Al Ieraaqiy)

5. Imaam Al Haafiezh As Soeyoutiy (see At Tudreeb)

6. Imaam Ibn Hajar Mukkiy (see his Sharr-h on the Arr-ba-iyn)

7. Alaamah Al Lucknowiy (see Al Ujwiebatoel Faadhilah)

8. Ash Shaikh As Sayied Alawiy Maaliekiy of Mukkah Moekarrumah.

Ibn Abiy Suboerah is merely one of the narrators mentioned in the chain of relators of Hudhrat Aliy’s hadieth. Whereas, the comment is not on the matn (actual text) of the hadieth from Aliy. The `Dhoe-uf which is discussed is specifically in respect of Ibn Abiy Suboerah. Ibn Abiy Suboerah was tutored by prominent, pious personalities of integrity like Hudhrat A’taa Ibn Abiy Rubaah, Imaam A’aruj and Hieshaam Ibn Abiy Oerr-wah. In addition Ibn Abiy Suboerah was the Oestaath of the great Moehuddieth and tutor of hadieth Imaam Abdoer Razzaaq Ibnoel Hoemaam. Imaam Abdoer Razzaaq was in turn the Oestaath of Imaam Boukhaariy, Imaam Ibn Joeraij and Imaam Abou Aa’siem un Nabiel etc. (also see Tuh-thieboel Kamaal).

However, from among those who have noted the `Dhoe-uff, non have given any detailed explanations, or produced clear, unambiguous supporting proof. In our meagre knowledge they have not even mentioned any hadieth related to Ibn Abiy Suboerah which is categorized as `Mow-dhoe’ (fabricated). Where Ibn Adiy has discussed certain aspects of ahaadieth from Abiy Suboerah, not one hadieth is categorized to be fabricated or mentioned in those books which enumerate the `Mow-dh_oe’ narrations. In fact each hadieth which Ibn Adiy discusses is at the same time related from other reliable chain of narrators also. And indeed, these are from well known and reliable relaters of hadieth.

Moeftiy Moe-hummad Tuqiy Oethmaaniy of Karachi, Pakistan explains that; In fact, the fast of the fifteenth of Sha-baan is based on a hadieth reported by Sayiddna Aliy. Its text runs as follows: ‘When the middle night of Sha-baan arrives you should stand praying in the night and should fast in the day following it.’

This hadieth is recorded by Ibn Maajah in his Soenan, one of the famous six books of hadieth, and also by Baihuqiy in his famous book Shoe-abooul Iymaan. Both of them have reported it without any comment about its authenticity. But after a critical analysis of its chain of narrators it is found that this tradition is mainly based on the report of Abou Bakr Ibn Abiy Suboerah. That is why the scholars of hadieth have declared it as a weak (`Dha-eef ) hadieth.

However, the allegation that the narrator of this hadieth (i.e. Abou Bakr Ibn Abiy Suboerah, is a fabricator who used to coin forged traditions does not seem correct. In fact, he was Moeftiy of Mudienah, a well known jurist and he was appointed as a Qaadhiy (judge) of Iraq in the days of Mun’soor and was succeeded in this office by Imaam Abou Yousoef. He was a colleague of Imaam Maaliek. Once Mun’soor the Abbaasiy Khuliefah asked Imaam Maaliek about the scholars of hadieth in Mudienah. Imaam Maaliek referred to three names, and one of them was that of Ibn Abiy Suboerah. Had he been a fabricator Imaam Maaliek would have never referred to his name in this context.

But despite his high position among the jurists, his memory was not of the standard required for the authenticity of a hadieth. That is why most of the leading experts of hadieth like Imaam Boukhaariy etc. have held him as weak, but did not declare him a fabricator. Only Imaam Ah-mad is reported to have remarked about him that he fabricates hadieth. But this remark alone is not sufficient to hold him as a fabricator, for two reasons: Firstly Imaam Ah-mad was born long after him, whereas contemporary scholars never held him as such, secondly the Arabic words used by Imaam Ah-mad are sometimes used to describe the confusing of one hadieth with another, and not for deliberate fabrication.

This is the reason why the majority of the scholars of hadieth have held Abou Bakr Ibn Abiy Suboerah as a weak reporter of hadieth, but they did not declare him as a forger or a fabricator.