What is Shabb-e-Baraat?
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
one of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
What is Shabe-Baraat? What does it mean? What is the correct way to celebrate this festival? What about all the rituals that the Bohras do on this night? Are any of them proven from the actions of the Prophet and his family? Please advise me giving proof from the Holy Quran and the Life of the Prophet.
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
What is Shabb-e-Baraat?
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
The literal meaning of the word Shabe-Baraat means the Night of Destiny. Shabb is a Iranian (Farsi) word meaning night, and Baraat has two meanings depending on the context. One meaning is that of boycott, and the other is Destiny.
There is a false notion in the muslim world, that this night of Shaabaan is the Night of Destiny, where the prime decisions are made by Allah in the Heavens. Thus some mis-guided muslims celebrate this night with vigour, special prayers, special rituals, special food, etc.
The truth of the matter is that this night of Shaabaan is like any other night of the year (except the Laylutul Qadr of Ramadan). The Messenger of Allah (saws), his noble ahle-bayt and his noble companions never celebrated this night with any special deeds. He did not celebrate this night with any special or specific prayers, or any special ritual or food.
We are commanded by Allah to follow the example of Prophet Mohamed (saws), if we indeed believe in Allah and the Last Day. What he (saws) did and allowed, we are to do it without hesitation; and whatever he abstained from and did not allow, we must avoid and reject it immediately.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzab verse 21:There is indeed the best model for you to follow, in the Messenger of Allah, for every such person looks forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.
Thus, celebrating the of Shaabaan in any way, or giving it importance and preference over any other day or night in Islam, is against the teachings of the Prophet Mohamed (saws). It is an innovation in the Way of the Prophet (saws), and as with all innovations, it must be avoided.
It has been reported by Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (r.a.) that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said: If anyone introduces an innovation (in religion), he will be responsible for it. If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (in religion), he is cursed by Allah, by His angels, and by all the people.
It has been reported by Jabir ibn Abdullah (r.a.) in another authentic narration that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said in a sermon: The best speech is that which is embodied in the Book of Allah, the Al Quran; and the best guidance is the guidance given by me, Mohamed (saws). The most evil affairs are the innovations, and every innovation is an error.
There is absolutely no mention of this Shabe-Baraat in either the Holy Quran or the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws); nor was it ever celebrated by the noble ahle-bayt or the noble companions of the Prophet (saws) after him. As such, we must avoid celebrating it in any specific way. It is a night like any other night of the year (except the holy nights of Ramadan and other specified nights in Islam).
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,