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Shab-e-Barat Celebrations: The night for worship and guidance

“When it is the fifteenth of Shaban, then stand (in worship) at night and
fast during the day. ‘Indeed Allah, descends to the lowest Heavens
during the night of the middle of Shaban, to grant forgiveness to more
than the number of hairs on the sheep of Kalb.'” (Tirmidhi: 739)

Shab e Barat or Shabe Barat is an important night in the Islamic calendar which many Muslims revere as the night of forgiveness, praying the whole night asking Allah to bestow them with His blessings. Different countries have different ways of celebrating this night. Some people even celebrate the night with fireworks although this is a result of the influence of the local traditions and does not have any religious significance. In South Asian countries, people usually distribute a local dessert known as a “Halwa” or other delicacies to neighbours, family, friends, and the poor and needy. Shabe Barat is the festival of light and beauty that enlighten the Muslims’ hearts and minds with immortal blessings and divine light that ignites them from darkness and decay of morality.

“The Prophet Muhammad did not fast in any month more than
Shaban. ” (Bukhari)

The Sunni Muslims keep fast in day and indulge in worshiping and praying the God during night. They recite the holy Quran and understand its interpretation. The Shia Muslims celebrate birthday of Imam Mehdi on the same day to dissimilate his ideology and teaching in the world. In short, Shabe Barat is the festival of love, fraternity, reunion, sharing and divine beauty that bestows forgiveness and blessings.

However, a worrying trend has been noticed amongst the youth especially in India on this auspicious night. Instead of engaging themselves in praying, fasting and asking for forgiveness, youth waste their time in high speed bike riding, roaming the streets at night, performing stunts on roads and creating noise pollution. This they do in the name of Shabe Barat. As evident from multiple Hadees, 15th of Shaban is an auspicious night in which God grants forgiveness to those who sincerely repent while performing prayers. This auspicious night must not be wasted in mindless activities. Islam specifically prohibits causing nuisance to public. Auspicious nights like that of Shabe Barat must be spent in praying rather than performing un-lslamic activities.

India is presently fighting the second wave of Corona which has resulted after steep spike in number of positive Covid cases in the last couple of weeks. This pandemic has not weaned away which necessitates that all the precautions like social distancing; use of masks etc must be followed. Muslims are expected to act as a role model for the society. Shabe Barat has provided them the opportunity to show the world that Islam directs its followers to take measures for stopping the spread of a pandemic. Let’s be the flag bearer and help the government in checking the spread of Corona. After all, Shabe Barat is the night of asking for forgiveness and prayers and not for forming large congregations and indulging in unlawful/un-lslamic activities. Lets respect the Centre’s directive regarding imposition of restrictions in view of Corona during Holi, Shabe Barat, Easter and give stiff competition to our non-Muslim counterparts in observing precautions.

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