Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Of rains and Shab-e-Baraat!


As I write, thunder rolls behind me and I can hear the rain splashing down! *tries to contain her excitement* - if only, I were in a park right now and I could RUN through it !! (As mum says ''hazaaron khwaishain aisi...")

We Karachites tend to get amazed and excited at rains that last beyond um, an hour! And this one has been on and off since yesterday!!!!!!!!! CooooL! Well, not that cool. *glumly*. Yesterday we had a class of Chip Multiprocessors. On our way to the university, we got stuck in a humungous traffic redirection effort made by a leading political party of Karachi which was celebrating its nth Yaum-e-Tasees (does anybody know what this means?). This meant that we were surrounded by cars waving flags and blaring out ominous sounding songs. Trying not to glower generally, we inched slowly towards the university from an alternate route. So reached there LATE.

Class had started. And I was clueless. As usual... **disgusted with herself**. Should read up stuff before going to class, I know but somehow, it never happens.

Anyway, when we went outside for Maghrib prayers, viola ! Rain! And lots of it! And thunder. And God, the lightening :D. It was marvelous. Btw, lightening reminded me of the Ayah in Surah Baqarah (one benefit of trying to learn a big Surah is that words jump out at you and connect beautifully in an Ayah :) and lovely if you remember the whole of it. And lovelier if you can recall their translations). So the Ayahs I was reminded of was:

19. Or like a rainstorm from the sky, wherein is darkness, thunder, and lightning. They thrust their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunderclap for fear of death. But Allah ever encompasses the disbelievers (i.e. Allah will gather them all together). 

20. The lightning almost snatches away their sight, whenever it flashes for them, they walk therein, and when darkness covers them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Certainly, Allah has power over all things.

An apt description of those (don't believe in God) who wander around in the dark, and during flashes of lightening, can go a few feet forward/find their way, but then the darkness envelops them again and they just wander around aimlessly ... through life.

So we made our way carefully through the water towards the Girls' Common Room, where we prayed Maghrib. Then, came outside and the rain had slowed. Went back to class, and then the lecture became a little understandable. Shukar. Later, when we got off (Sir let us off early - 8.30pm :P).. and happily, we skipped towards the car. The rain began again as we drove off, becoming heavier, and heavier. We took another route (because of the jalsa on our usual route). But!! We got stuck. In a huugee jam. I couldn't get it. Was it the rain? Was everybody in a hurry? Were cars driving slowly? What was the jam about? At first, we enjoyed the weather. But pretty soon, since i had been the fool who had her window opened and nearly drenched in the rain, began to shiver as the wind picked up. Sigh. Later, we got stuck in another jam. Somehow, we reached home. It was 10.30 when we did. And btw, the standard duration b/w my home and university is 30 minutes. **deeeep scowl**. It was a horror.

Anyhow, today started all dark and rainy. And it is still dark and still rainy :):):). Just that we're all stuck at home, can't go out and can't even go for a walk. There is a danger of electricity running through water that's stnading on the roads and being electrocuted :S. So much for enjoying in the rain. Yet, I hear loud fiirecrackers outside. The ''shugal'' is on. 15th Sha'baan is tonight and there will be rounds of sweets (halwas) and people will ask forgiveness from each other and try their best to stay awake tonight. As far as the Saudi Research Council goes:

Question: We see some people specifying the 15th of Sha'baan with particular supplications and reciting the Qur.aan and performing naafilah prayers. So what is the correct position concerning this, and may Allaah reward you with good?
Response: That which is correct is that fasting the 15th of Sha'baan or specifying it with reciting (the Qur.aan) or making (particular) supplications has no basis. So the day of the 15th of Sha'baan is like any other 15th day of other months. So from that which is known is that it has been legislated for a person to fast the 13th, 14th and 15th of every month, however, Sha'baan is characterised unlike the other months in that (except for Ramadhaan) the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) used to fast more in Sha'baan than any other month . So he used to either fast all of Sha'baan or just a little. Therefore, as long as it does not cause difficulty for a person, it is befitting to increase in fasting during Sha'baan in adherence to the example of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam).
al-Bid'u wal-Muhdathaat wa maa laa Asla lahu - Page 612
Fataawa Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen - Volume 1, Page 190


Question: Is standing the night of the 15th of Sha'baan in prayer and fasting during it's day legislated?

Response: Nothing firm and reliable has been established on the authority of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) that he stood in prayer in the night and fasted during the day of the 15th of Sha'baan. So the night of the 15th of Sha'baan is like any other night, and if someone is a regular worshipper during other nights, then he may stand the night in prayer on this night without assuming anything special (because of it being the night of the 15th of Sha'baan). This is because specifying a time for any act of worship requires a authentic proof, so if there is no authentic proof then the act is regarded as an innovation and all innovations are misguidance. Likewsie, regarding specifically fasting during the 15th day of Sha'baan, then no (authentic) proof has been established on the authority of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) to indicate the legislation of fasting on that particular day.

As for that which is mentioned from the ahaadeeth regarding this subject, then all of it is weak as the people of knowledge have indicated. However, whoever has the habit of fasting the 13th, 14th and 15th (of every month), then he can continue and fast during Sha'baan as he fasts during the other months, without assuming anything special about the 15th of Sha'baan. Also, the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) used to increase in fasting during this month (Sha'baan), however, he did not particularise the 15th day, rather proceeded as per norm.


And Allah (SWT) Knows Best!

Another good article says:

Misconception # 4: This is the night when our fate, lifespan, and provisions are decreed.

Clarification: Some people think that the “blessed night” (laylatim-mubarakah ) mentioned in Surah ad-Dukhaan (44): 3, refers to the night of 15th Shabaan, when Allah decrees our lifespan, provisions and fate. In fact, they even pray 6 rakahs, 2 for each of these things. However, all that is fabricated and far, far away from the Sunnah. And, in reality, the “blessed night” mentioned in Surah ad-Dukhaan, actually is referring to Laylatul Qadr that comes in Ramadhaan. (Tafseer Ibn Kathir of Surah al-Qadr)

Misconception # 6: This is the night when the souls of departed ones return to their families.

Clarification: Here again, some people misunderstand the ayaat in Surah al-Qadr and think that the ’sending down of the Ruh’ as mentioned in this Surah refers to the souls of dead people returning to see their families, even though it refers to Jibreel (Tafseer Ibn Kathir). And that is why we see women preparing the sweets, the Halwas and other ‘goodies’ for the souls of their loved ones.

Not only is that in itself an erroneous, deviant belief and bid’ah, but to believe that the souls of the dead can return back to the world and meet with their relatives is also totally incorrect and false. The teachings of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah clearly state that the souls of the dead do not return back to the world. Besides, they don’t even eat the Halwas. It is actually you who eats it! 


I plan on making chanay kee daal ka halwa .. but any other day besides today :).. IA.

And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers. And from the palm trees - of its emerging fruit are clusters hanging low. And [We produce] gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar yet varied. Look at [each of] its fruit when it yields and [at] its ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe.
(Surah Al-Anaam 6:99)


Adnan Siddiqi said...

Taqi Usmani explains it much better


Umer Toor said...

I need you help. Can you please give your logical criticism on this letter of Salman Rushdie which I've to discuss somewhere.

Dear little six billionth living person,

As one of the newest members of a notoriously inquisitive species, it probably won't be too long before you start asking the two $64,000 questions with which the other 5,999,999,999 of us have been wrestling for some time.
How did we get here? And, now that we are here, how shall we live?

Oddly - as if six billion of us weren't enough to be going on with - it will almost certainly be suggested to you that the answer to the question of origins requires you to believe in the existence of a further, invisible, innefable Being "somewhere up there", an omnipotent creature whom we poor limited creatures are unable even to perceive, much less to understand. That is, you will be strongly encouraged to imagine a heaven, with at least one god in residence.

This sky god, it's said, made the universe by churning its matter in a giant pot. Or, he danced. Or, he vomited creation out of himself. Or, he simply called it into being, and lo, it Was. In some of the more interesting creation stories, the singly mighty sky god is subdivided into many lesser forces - junior dieties, avatars, gigantic metamorphic "ancestors" whose adventures create the landscape, or the whimsical, wanton, meddling, cruel pantheons of the great polytheisms, whose wild doings will convince you that the real engine of creation was lust; for infinite power, for too easily broken human bodies, for clouds of glory. But it's only fair to add that there are also stories which offer the message that the primary creative impulse was, and is, love.

Many of these stories will strike you extremely beautiful, and therefore seductive. Unfortunately, however, you will not be required to make a purely literary response to them. Only the stories of dead religions can be appreciated for their beauty. Living religions require much more of you. So you will be told that belief in "your" stories, and adherence to the rituals of worship that have grown up around them, must become a vital part of your life in the crowded world. They will be called the heart of your culture, even of your individual identity.

[I can't post complete article here - hence I'm giving link to it: http://dailyrumination.blogspot.com/2008/08/salman-rushdie-letter-to-6-billionth.html]

Anonymous said...

oh...thanks for sharing uni..i myself had misconception that its the night when fates are decided..its really strange, i have heard from many about this thing..but its a misconception:S..thanks and allah bless u..

Ahmar said...

hmm....nice post..Jazaka'Allah...

Uni said...

@Adnan Siddiqi

Yes, I checked it out. It's a very good article! JazakAllah for sharing.

@Umer Toor
Hmmm, I'll give it my best shot IA :). These kind of things make my blood boil. Not rational, yet supremely confident to the point of mocking blatantly. That's why I never completed The God Delusion -

But I'll try IA.

That's the thing. SO many people think the SAME thing. And you know, this thing is prevalent here in India Pakistan (Bangladesh and um, Afghanistan maybe). But NOT anywhere else. It's a complete biddah (to make halwa etc) a/c to Saudia Arabian scholars.

May Allah Guide us all to the right path Ameen.


JazakAllah to all for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

I understand your dilemma that there are questions regarding the authenticity of the importance of 15th shaban and i believe the below references no matter how credible will probably not convince you of its authenticity, but i am quoting to show that the weakness that you have mentioned is not really that weak and to top it off it is not breaking any rules of Islam or going against Quran.

Sahih Muslim Reference:
Book 006, Number 2607:
'Imran b. Husain (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace he upon him) having said to him or to someone else: Did you fast in the middle of Sha'ban? He said: No. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: If you did not observe fast, then you should observe fast for two days.

Book 006, Number 2582:
'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) did not observe fast in any month of the year more than in the month of Sha'ban, and used to say: Do as many deeds as you are capable of doing, for Allah will not become weary (of giving you reward), but you would be tired (of doing good deeds) ; and he also said: The deed liked most by Allah is one to which the doer adheres constantly even if it is small.

Misconception #4 is an opinion of Ibn Kathir who was a Mufasir e Quran. There are many Authentic Mufasir e Quran who would disagree with him on this issue. So this argument doesn't really hold value.

Misconception # 6 : This might be a cultural thing that is misconstrued over time. However, I believe that due to the night being a mubarrak night people make halwa. As far as the souls returning to the families I think you are misunderstanding people in general, what they might be saying is, that praying for the deceassed might result in forgiveness from Allah (SWT).

And last but not the least, 100% of the shia world believes this to be the night of the birth of the 12th Imam al Mahdi (AS). Both shia, sunni and ANY MUSLIM all believe in Imam Al Mahdi (AS) whether he is born or not. It is believed by the shias that he is born on the 15th of Shaban a blessed night when the savior of Mankind was born and is a good enough reason to celebrate 15th Shaban. Don't be too cocky, and make that chana ki daal ka halwa and share it with muslims around you with good spirit :)

Uni said...

(I should really remove this option).

The first Hadith you mentioned, that's from Imam Muslim and he's one of the Sahaa Satta (6 most authentic books of Hadith). However, there are zaeef hadith as well in Imam Muslim's collection (which he has singled out). So every hadith can't be taken blindly without proof that its Sahih (which can be done with a lil research). Now, note that I'm not calling this particular hadith zaeef.. i'm merely pointing out that every hadith from sahaa satta cannot be blindly quoted (just to make a point).

The fasting isn't disagreed with. Sure, anybody who wants to fast on that day may fast. So again, the first Hadith isn't really anything contradictory.

Second hadith, also is fine... nothing against what I said in my post. Shabaan kay rozay are a well known phenomenon.

Ibn-e-Kathir's tafseer aside, the belief in Laylat-ul-Mubarabatun (in Surah Dukhan) as 15th Shabaan is of few .. not many. Why? Because their argument is contradictory to the Holy Quran - one example:

1. Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree)
2. And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is?

(Surah Qadr, 97: 1-2)

As far as the souls returning to the families I think you are misunderstanding people in general, what they might be saying is, that praying for the deceassed might result in forgiveness from Allah (SWT).

Praying for the deceased is no problem indeed, it is in fact, recommended. But one should remember the deceased always in prayer. Not on one specific day (because again, we then diverge from Sunnah).

Halwa and returning roohs isn't conjured up by my mind. I have actually heard it from people (and read about it). SO it happens. I'm certainly not misunderstanding anybody here. One e.g I can give you again from a live dars which I attended. The lady who was giving it described Thursdays as the day when the rooh of the dead returns to this earth, sits in the form of a... er, crow and um, calls out to the people of the house some stuff - I was amazed by this. Why? Because as I said, things which go against the Holy Quran are all murky, to be wary of. The Holy Quran gives the places of Illiyin and Sijjiyin where the good and bad spirits(roohs) are kept before being presented to Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgement. (Check Surah Mutaffifin : verses 7,8,9,18,19,20,21 especially).

100% of the shia world believes this to be the night of the birth of the 12th Imam al Mahdi (AS).

A matter of opinion. And I wouldn't try to argue/assert this, because it's totally based on a different school of thought. And yes, everybody believes in Imam Mahdi, agreed with you there. But you see, in my post, I wasn't talking about celebrating 15th Shabaan for THIS reason. I was talking about common reasons why it's thought to be a big night. So you misunderstood me there.

It's not about being cocky. It's about being afraid of introducing innovations in the Sunnah, life that was led by the Holy Prophet (SAW) and his companions. Whatever books we consult, we wouldn't find them making halwa, making any kind of sweet and distributing it on this particular day.. etc. That was the point of this post, and I hope it is now clarified.

Thanks for dropping by pal.