The night of the Nisfu Sha’aban is a household acquaintance to Muslims- We celebrate its arrival everywhere by extensively increasing the amount of our religious practices like performing sunat (okay to not do, but is encouraged to do so) prayers and sunat fasting and of course, to attempt at cleansing our thoughts and hearts for us to become the best versions of ourselves we can be. To the curious, and to the ones who have always wanted to know what the Nisfu Sha’aban really is, keep on reading.
Nisfu Sha’aban falls on the middle of every Sha’aban, the eight month on the Islamic calendar. Nisfu directly translates to ‘middle’, which is why Nisfu Sha’aban is called as it is. Sha’aban means blessings and goodness. It is said that in this month, Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala opens the door to forgiveness and mercy, which is why it is encouraged for Muslims to make more prayers, repent and do good deeds.
The three practices that are encouraged on Nisfu Sha’aban
1. Make lots of du’a.
The prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) himself stated that Allah SWT himself will descend upon the Earth and grace us with forgiveness, for none of us are free from even the smallest of sins. His forgiveness encompasses everyone, except those who possess hatred in their hearts. Let’s take that as a lesson to learn: Clear your hearts of any negative emotions that may lead to hatred, and you will feel lighter and clearer.
2. Recite the Shahadah over and over.
The Shahadah is basically what every Muslim is made compulsory to keep in the minds and hearts. It is so important, that for one to convert and become a Muslim, those are the words that are told to recite in order to become one of the Islamic faith. To keep reciting it as much as you can is already beneficial to your spiritual well-being; imagine the Shadahah being constantly repeated on your lips through Nisfu Sha’aban. Your sense of well-being will be immensely multiplied.
3. Make lots of Istighfar
Istighfar is a practice that should be done abundantly by every Muslim, for it is what cleanses Muslims from the sins that they have committed. To know that the Nisfu Sha’aban brings itself to us every year with benefits should encourage Muslims to Istighfar more in this period of time. Your sins and that heavy feeling in the heart will slowly go away, for Allah SWT‘s mercy is ever-present and it will increase in the night of the Nisfu Sha’aban.
With that said, it should not be forgotten that Islam does encourage these actions all year round, but look at it this way: Allah SWT made Sha’aban a month of mercy and forgiveness because He knows that we, mere imperfect people, can be led astray sometimes, and what better way to place a day of maximum blessings and forgiveness just half a month before Ramadhan arrives- Ample time to prepare oneself mentally and physically for the religious challenges in Ramadhan, that is of course given that one takes full advantage of Sha’aban‘s phenomenal benefits.