Sabahat Anwar discusses the significance of 8th-10th months of the Islamic calendar
Shaban – the 8th month
‘Shaban’ means ‘to spread,’ ‘to distribute’. It is so named because in Shaban:
- Arabs used to disperse (Tashaba) in search of water;
- Arabs would set out to make raids and sudden attacks.
A Hadeeth states: “There is a month between Rajab and Ramadan called Shaban. People are very ignorant towards this month, even though the reward of each deed is greater within it, and the deeds are presented to Allah.” (Baihaqi)
Thus, the fasts of Shaban are the most meritorious after those of Ramadan. The Prophet (sa) would fast during Shaban, and make up any missed fasts from the previous Ramadan. However, fasting the whole month of Shaban or during its last few days is Makrooh (disliked), unless outstanding fasts or a vow or an act of Kaffarah (expiation) have to be fulfilled.
Ahadeeth about the 15th night of Shaban (Lailat Al-Barat – the night of forgiveness), when Allah forgives sins and showers mercy on those who repent, are weak. Specifying nights for worship is against the Sunnah.
- 2 AH – the Qiblah changed from Bait Al-Muqaddas (Jerusalem) to the Kabah (Makkah)
- 2 AH – fasting in Ramadan made compulsory
Ramadan- the 9th month
‘Ramadan’ derives from the Arabic word ‘Ramadha,’ which means ‘intense heat.’ Ramadan is named so because:
- When the months were given names, it coincided with the hot summer months.
- Fasting causes the stomach to feel ‘hot’.
The Quran was first revealed in Ramadan. Abstaining from food and drink not only teaches us compassion for the poors, but also gives the chance to reconnect with Allah and focus on increasing our Eeman and Taqwa. By constantly doing Dhikr (remembrance), we thank Allah for guiding us and giving meaning to our existence. Lastly, the nightly Taraweeh prayers establish a great unity among Muslims.
- Revelation of Quran started
- 2 AH – battle of Badr
- 3 AH – birth of Hasan (rta), the Prophet’s (sa) grandson
- 3 AH – marriage of the Prophet (sa) to Zainab (rta)
- 8 AH – conquest of Makkah
- 11 AH – death of Fatima (rta)
Shawwal – the 10th month
‘Shawwal’ derives from the following meanings:
- ‘to be light and vigorous’ – Arabs used to be active and hunt often during Shawwal;
- ‘raise’ – during Shawwal, she-camels would raise their tails, when they would become pregnant;
- ‘uplift or breakage’ – in the days of Jahiliyah, Arabs believed that any marriage held in Shawwal would be unsuccessful (these superstitious beliefs were later abolished).
Eid-ul-Fitr – the 1st of Shawwal marks the end of Ramadan and is a day of celebrations.
Ash’hurul Hajj – Shawwal is the first among the three months of Hajj. The other two are Dhul Qa’da and the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah.
Many Ahadeeth praise the virtue of fasting 6 days in Shawwal. In one, the Prophet (sa) says: “A Saim (fasting person) is regarded as if he fasted perpetually” while in another, that “The Saim is purified of sins, as if he was just born that day.” (Muslim) These fasts may be observed any day after Eid-ul-Fitr.
- 2 AH – fight between Banu Qaynaqa
- 3 AH- battle of Uhud
- 4 AH – Hussain, (rta) the Prophet’s (sa) grandson, was born
- 4 AH – the Prophet (sa) married Umme Salamah (rta)
5 AH – death of Khadija (rta) and Abu Talib