There are many great benefits of reviving times of heedlessness with acts of worship: Amongst them are:

It is more concealing of one's good works, and hiding and concealing supererogatory acts of worship is better, especially fasting, because it is a secret between a slave and his Lord. Hence, it was said that there is no element of showing off in fasting. One of the Salaf (i.e. our righteous predecessors) used to fast for forty years without anybody knowing about it; he would go from his home to the marketplace carrying two loaves of bread, which he would give away in charity, and he would fast. His family thought that he ate the bread, whilst the people in the marketplace thought that he had eaten at home. The Salaf (i.e. our righteous predecessors) thought it was highly recommended for a person who was fasting to do things that would conceal the fact that he was fasting. It was reported that Ibn Mas‘ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: "When you get up in the morning and you are fasting, then apply perfume." Qatadah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "It is recommended for the [man] who is fasting to apply perfume so that there will be no sign that he is fasting." Moreover, Abu At-Tayaah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “I have met my father and old people of our town whenever anyone of them becomes fasting used to apply perfume and wear the best of his garments.” Some of the righteous people became famous with observing much deal of fasting, he used to do his best in pretending that he is not fasting to the extent that he used to take, on Friday while people are in great gathering in the mosque, a water pot and put its ajutage in his mouth and suck it and remain in this state for a while so that people may see him and believe that he is drinking water while no water went into his mouth. In the same way, righteous worshipers conceal their conditions while they are adorned with truthfulness and sincerity. No one conceals his acts of worship unless he will be known with it one day. In spite of this fast, the acts of such righteous man implies difficulty and something is not enjoined by Islam nor did the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, or the companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, do it.  

By the same token, doing righteous deeds at times when people are distracted and negligent is more difficult. One of the indications of how virtuous a deed is, is how difficult it is. That is because souls imitate with what they are seeing from other people i.e. if everyone is doing actions of worship and obedience, it is easy for one to do acts of worship and thus number of the people who do acts of worship will be increased because they see many people do that. But if most people are negligent, common people will follow them and thus this makes it more difficult for those who do remember Allaah and do acts of worship for their few numbers and the few numbers of those who follow them. This point was mentioned by the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, when he said: “The righteous among them will have the reward of fifty of you…” [Reported by Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi]

It was also narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “Islam began as something strange and will revert to being something strange, so glad tidings to the strangers.” [Reported by Muslim]

According to a narration reported by At-Tabaraani, it was said: “…when the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, was asked about them (strangers), he, peace and blessing be upon him, described them as those who are righteous when people become corrupt…”

It was also narrated on the authority of Ma‘qal ibn Yasaar, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “Worship at times of turmoil is like Hijrah (i.e. migrating) to me.” [Reported by Imam Muslim]

Imam Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy upon him, also reported it with the following wording: “Worship at times of tribulation is like Hijrah to me.”

Reason behind that is that people during the times of upheavals and trials follow their own desires and do not adhere to religion and thus their condition becomes like that of the people during Pre-Islamic era. Hence, if some of them opted to adhere to teachings of Islam, worship his Lord, do what pleases Him and avoid what displeases Him will be like the one who emigrated from among the people existed during the Pre-Islamic era to the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, believing in him, following his orders and avoiding his prohibitions.

Also, the one obeying Allaah The Almighty among the people of disobedience and heedlessness may be a reason for the protection of all the people from trials. He is like the one who protects and defends them. One of the Salaf said: “The one who remembers Allaah The Almighty in the time of heedlessness protects those who does not remember Allaah The Almighty. Had not there been those who remember Allaah The Almighty in the time of distraction, people would have been destroyed.” Some of the early Muslims saw in a dream that the angels were sent down to many places while some of them were saying to others: “Destroy this land.” Some others replied, how can we do so while so-and-so is standing in prayer?

It was said regarding the interpretation of the saying of Allaah The Almighty: {…And if it were not for Allaah checking [some] people by means of others, the earth would have been corrupted,…} [Quran 2: 251] it includes checking the disobedient people by the obedient. Here is a report reads: “Allaah protects the family, children, descendants and surroundings of a righteous man.”

Makhool, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “As long as there are fifteen individuals among people and everyone of them seeks the forgiveness of Allaah The Almighty every twenty-five days, they will not be destroyed with a general punishment.” There are many other reports in this regard.

It was reported regarding the fasting of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, in Sha‘baan another reason which is that deaths are written down in it. It was reported with a weak Isnaad (i.e. chain of transmission) from ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, who said: “The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, used to fast a lot in Sha‘baan (more than any other month). So I said: "O Messenger of Allaah, I always see you fasting in  Sha‘baan?" He, peace and blessing be upon him, said: “It is the month in which those who are destined to die are recorded for the Angel of Death, and I do not want my name to be written down except when I am fasting.” [It was narrated as a Mursal (i.e. incompletely transmitted) Hadeeth and it was said that it is more authentic]

It was narrated that there is another benefit in this regard which is that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, used to fast three days out of every month and he may delay this until making up for it with fasting in Sha‘baan [Reported by At-Tabaraani from ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her]. Some others reported it with an addition: ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “I may intend to fast but not able to do until he fasts I fast with him.”

This may seemingly contradict with what is reported in Saheeh Muslim that ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, used to fast three days out of every month and He was not particular about the days of the month on which to observe fast.”  And that she, may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “I do not know of any month in which he, (i.e. the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, fasted throughout except Ramadhaan and (the month) in which he did not fast at all till he ran the course of his life.”

They can be reconciled that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, used to fast three days every month. Perhaps he was busy and could not fast in some months, so he gathered all these in Sha’baan to fast them before the obligatory fast. Also, he, peace and blessing be upon him, used to fast three days along with Mondays and Thursdays and thus postpone such three days specially to make up for them in Sha‘baan along with fasting Mondays and Thursdays.

When the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, began to do some voluntary action, he would persist in it, and if he missed it, he would make it up later. Similarly, if he, peace and blessing be upon him,  had missed some Sunnah prayers or he had missed Qiyaam Al-Layl (the optional night prayer), he would make it up. When Sha’baan began, if the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, still had some voluntary fasts outstanding that he had not fasted, he would make them up during Sha’baan so that his voluntary fasts would be complete before Ramadhaan came. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, used to make the most of this opportunity to make up any obligatory Ramadhaan fasts that she had missed because of menstruation; during other months she was too busy with the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, to fast. That is because it is not permissible for a woman to fast when her husband is present except with his permission. If Sha‘baan comes and there is someone missed supererogatory fasts, then it is recommended for him to make up for it so that he may complete his supererogatory fasts before the next month of Ramadhaan comes. We should also note here that anyone who has any missed fasts to make up has to make them up before the next Ramadhan comes. It is not permissible to delay it until after the following Ramadhan except in cases of necessity (such as a valid excuse that continues between each Ramadhan). Whoever is able to make them up before the (second) Ramadhan and does not do so, has to make them up after the (second) Ramadhan and in addition to that, and to feed one poor person for each day that he missed. This is the view of Maalik, Ash-Shaafi‘i and Ahmad acting upon some narrations stated so. It was also said, one has to make up for the missed days but without feeding. This is the opinion of Abu Haneefah and it was said one has to feed without making up for the missed days but this is a weak opinion.

Another benefit of fasting in Sha‘baan is that it is a kind of training for the Ramadhaan fast, in case a person finds it difficult to fast when Ramadhaan starts; if he fasts in Sha’baan he will have gotten used to fasting and he will feel strong and energetic when Ramadhaan comes. Sha’baan is like an introduction to Ramadhaan and it has some things in common with Ramadhaan, such as fasting, reciting Quran and giving in charity, so that one can get prepared for Ramadhaan and souls get used to obeying Allaah The Almighty. It was narrated with a weak chain of transmission that Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “When the month of Sha‘baan comes, Muslims used to recite the Noble Quran a lot and the rich ones used to pay Zakaat (obligatory charity) to help the weak and the poor to manage their financial affairs in Ramadhaan.” Salamah ibn Suhayl, may Allaah have mercy upon him, used to say: “The month of Sha‘baan is the month of reciters (of the Quran).” Habeeb Ibn Abu Thaabit, may Allaah have mercy upon him, used to say, when Sha‘baan came: “This is the month of reciters (of the Quran).” When Sha‘ban came, ‘Amr ibn Qays Al-Malaa’i, may Allaah have mercy upon him, used to close his store and devote his time to reading the Quran.

 

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