Fasting in Sha'ban
Sha'ban is the name of the (eighth) month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and it is so called because in this month the Arabs used to disperse (tasha'aba) in search of water, or it was said that it is so called because it sha'aba (branches out or emerges) i.e., it appears between the months of Rajab and Ramadan.
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: "The Messenger (p.b.u.h.) used to fast until we thought he would never break his fast, and not fast until we thought he would never fast. I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Sha'ban." (Bukhari and Muslim). According to a report narrated by Muslim, "He used to fast all of Sha'ban, he used to fast all but a little of Sha'ban."
A group of scholars, including Ibn al-Mubarak and others thought that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) did not fast all of Sha'ban, but he fasted most of it. This is supported by a report in Saheeh Muslim narrated from Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), who said: "I never knew of him - meaning the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) - fasting for any entire month apart from Ramadan." According to another report also narrated by Muslim, Aisha said: "I never saw him fast for any entire month from the time he came to Madeenah, apart from Ramadan."
It was reported in Bukhari and Muslim that Ibn 'Abbas said: "The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) did not fast any entire month apart from Ramadan." Ibn 'Abbas regarded it as Makrooh to fast any entire month apart from Ramadan. Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "He observed more voluntary fasts in Sha'ban than in any other month, and he used to fast most of Sha'ban."
Usamah Ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha'ban.' He said, 'That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.'" (Nasa'i). According to a report narrated by Abu Dawood, he said: "The most beloved of months for the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) to fast in was Sha'ban, and his fasting in Sha'ban was continuous with his fasting in Ramadan." (Classed as Saheeh by al-Albani)
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