Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blessings of the Month of Sha'ban and and Remembrance on the Night of Deliverance


The 8th month in Lunar Calendar is known as the Month of Sha'ban. We are presently swimming in this month. This month precede Ramadan, the most intense and spiritually supercharged month in the entire yearly cycle. Sha'ban which connects to the Ramadan, itself have a night specially assigned in it which comes on the 15th. The night of the 15th starts at sunset on the 14th and ends at sunrise. On the rising of the full moon marks the Night of Deliverance or Lailatul Barat as its known in Arabic (Shab e Barat in Persian).

In the celestial realm, which operates in perfect order of harmony and arrangement, on this special night the divine Decree is established for every living beings on earth. Laila or Shab means night and Baraat means assignment or commissioning. On this holy night everything that is provided / decided until the next year, the provision of all sentient beings, their life and death, destiny are recorded in the Grand Akashic Record, the Mystical Tablet in which every decision and every action is recorded and preserved until the Day of Reckoning.

There is nothing that does not have its stores with the Divine Source and We only send it down in a known measure.
(Qur’an, 15:21)

There is no creature on the Earth which is not dependent upon God for its provision. He knows where it lives and where it dies. They are all clearly recorded in a Mystical Record (Kitabin Mubeen).
(Qur'an, 11:6)

And We put livelihoods in it both for you and for those you do not provide for.
(Qur'an, 15:20)

The keys of the unseen are in His possession. No one knows them but Him. He knows everything in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing it. There is no seed (sprouting) in the darkness of the earth, and nothing living or dead which is not in a Mystical Record.
(Qur'an, 6:59)

Say: “My Lord expands the provision of anyone He wills or restricts it. But the majority of humanity do not know it.”
(Qur'an, 34:36)

Because of the celestial significance of the night, prayer, contemplation and meditation is specially blessed on this night. The Messenger of God, upon him be peace and blessings, transmitted, "Happiness is (stored) for him who is immersed in worship on the 15th Night." Transmitted by the closest companion Abu Bakr, the Prophet said, "O ecstatic believers! Stay awake on the night of mid Shaban because this is such a blessed night. On this night the Divine Grace descend to the lowest heaven and announces, "Is there any among who seek forgiveness that I may forgive. Is there any asking sustenance that I may grant sustenance? Is there any under trial that I may relieve from? And this announcement goes on till the end of the night."

Muslims across the world keep vigil on this night, some pray privately, some pray in the mosque in great number.

On this night innumerable members of the community of the Prophet is forgiven upon their night long worship. If some one's sin amount like a mountain, eve then the person is forgiven on this night upon asking forgiveness (and become like a new born). The Prophet used to fast in great number in this month and specially recommended to fast on the day of 15th Shaban. In one hadith he mentions, "man sawma yaomal khamisi ashara min Shabana lam tamas-sa-s-hu naru abada." 'one who fast on the 15th Shaban, hell fire shall not touch that person.'

In another transmission the Prophet said, "Honor the Night of Deliverance (Lailatul Baraah) and that night is on the sun down of 14th Shaban. Those who are engaged in worship and contemplation of their Lord, Holy Spirit descends upon them. God forgive their lesser and greater shortcomings."

Its transmitted by the Prophet that on this night seventy million angels descend upon the earth to observe the worshipers and they engaged in the record of the blessings given to the worshipers. Whosoever keep this night alive (by keeping their heart attached to their Lord), God will keep their counts of blessings alive even after their death until the Day of Resurrection.

In a hadith the Prophet said, one who send durood (blessings to the Prophet) upon me hundred times on the night and day of Shab e Barat, hell shall be forbidden upon him and God will make him enter the paradise. Durood is essentially an invocation and blessings of love to the Messenger of God., may Allah perfect our love for the Habib Allah. It is essentially consist of the following salutation: "O my God (Allahumma), bless our Spiritual Master Muhammad, Thy Servant ('abd) and Thy Messenger (Rasul), the unlettered Prophet (an-Nabi al-ummi), and his spiritual family and his holy companions, and send salutations upon his noble soul." The durood contains many esoteric significance and the greatest secret of it that it establishes glorious nisbat (connection) with the one for which this supplication is sent in the world of unseen.

On this night all who ask forgiveness are forgiven except the two acts: First is associationism (shirk) and second is to keep malice in the heart toward others.  Associationism is to associate partner with Allah, with the Unity of Divine Being. First act is violation of adab towards the Creator (Khaliq) and the second is violation of adab towards the creation (makhluqat).

So in this night, clear the heart from any trace of ascribing any partner to God. Refresh by reciting, Laa ilaha illa Allah. God is One and there is no partner in Divine Reality. And also its a work of saintly station to sweep clean the heart of any malice towards anyone. Love for all, malice towards none is a motto of the Sufi Path as well. 

This night is the Blessed Night of Forgiveness / Atonement / Night of Emancipation and Night of Deliverance where the Forgiveness of the Divine is invoked and its worthy remembering the Boundless Merciful Attribute of the Divine Being. Its narrated in a precious Hadith Qudsi where God speaks through the tongue of His Messenger:

"O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it." (credit)


Dream Transmission Regarding Special Prayer

Abul Kashem Affar said, one night I dreamt Venerable Fatima, the most beloved daughter of the Messenger and I asked in my dream, 'O daughter of Prophet and lady of Paradise, what gift if I send upon your soul, will please you the most?'

Fatima replied, 'O Abul Kashem! I love supererogatory prayer (nawafil) on the Month of Shaban. Pray eight cycle of extra prayer. Intend for eight cycle together, after two cycle read only tashahud without durood and on the last sitting with tashahu and durood say salaam. In each cycle with Surah Fatiha read Surah Ikhlas 11 times. Whosoever worship thus and send the blessings upon my soul, I shall not enter paradise on the Day of Resurrection until I intercede for that person."

Recommended Prayer and Zikr

And the end of this post, there are further references of the prayer and supplication of the Prophet. For those who have not learned Salaat (Islamic way of worship) yet, specially for western friends, here are few recommended invocation / zikr / remembrance prayer that you may act upon.

Send Durood to the Messenger by praying: "O my God (Allahumma), bless our Spiritual Master Muhammad, Thy Servant ('abd) and Thy Messenger (Rasul), the unlettered Prophet (an-Nabi al-ummi), and his spiritual family and his holy companions, and send upon his soul salutations."

You may also send blessing prayer to Jesus, Moses and Abraham, upon them all be peace, who all were God sent Messengers and invoking blessing upon their spirit on this holy night does not go unrewarded, Inshallah.

Also recite "la ilaha illa-Allah", there is no divine reality but Allah. Uneven times, for example, 3 or 7 or 11 or 33 or 99 times, followed by this supplication, "Ya Rabbi! Anta maqsudi taraktud dunya wa akhirata daka wa atmeem alayya ni'matika war zukni wa mudakattam."

'O My Lord! You are my Goal. I am turning away from this passing world and the world to come, for Your sake. Complete your ni'mat (gift) to me. Grant me complete union of You.'

If you are seeking relief from sickness, invoke the Divine Name, "Ya Allah Ya Shaafi" (O God, the Sole Healer). If you are praying for increase of your provision, invoke, "Ya Allah Ya Razzak" (O God, the Sole Provider). If you are praying for trial and tribulation to be removed, invoke, "Ya Allah, Ya Samad" (O God, the Satisfier of all Needs, the Eternal).

Prayer of Glorification or Salatul Tasbih is recommended for those who can pray it. Those who are unable, recite the Tasbih itself by focusing upon its meanings:

The Tasbih (repeatable divine remembrance and glorification):

"Subhaan Allahi 
Wa al-Hamdulillahi 
Wa Laa ilaha illal Laahu 
Wa Allahu Akbar"

There are four levels in it.

Subhaan Allahi - refers to the Absolute Glory and Perfection of the Divine. While saying, the seeker contemplate in his or her inner heart the Divine Perfection for which all true Glory is reserved. When we say Subhaan Allahi - we give that glory to the Most Deserving of all Glory, Glorious is Hu.

"wa" means 'and'.

al-Hamdulillahi - means all praise is for Allah. While saying this the seeker invoke genuine gratitude for everything in the universe and also about himself or herself, for the sheer joy of existence, the bliss of existence of now and for all moments of existence.

Laa ilaha illal Laahu - is the essence of Divine Unity that encapsulate all that can be said and that can not be said about the Reality. The gnostic formula. On literal level it says, "There is no other god but One God", go deeper, it says, "None exist but God". While reciting this, the seeker's mind discard all other thoughts, all other object of attention and stay focused only on God, the Source, the Singularity, the Reason of Existence upon which all Subsist including this same-self of the seeker.

Allahu Akbar - It says, God is Greatest, also inner meaning is "God is Beyond the idea of beyond".  Ever Transcending in Greatness. After rising with glorification (Subhaan Allahi), praise (al-Hamdulillahi) and witnessing divine reality (Laa ilaha illal Laahu) - the seeker now descends and while descending it acknowledges that the Divine, the Beyond Being is worthier  than any glorification that comes from the seeker, is worthier than any praise that comes from the seeker, and our witnessing falls short of His true witnessing of Himself.

That is the also the significant of the Messenger's ma'arefatic (gnostic) supplication of Mid-Shaban which he made in a long sujud (prostration) before his Lord, saying: 

'I seek refuge of Your forgiveness from Your punishment, 
and I seek refuge of Your pleasure from Your displeasure, 
and I seek Your refuge from Yourself. 

I cannot praise You as fully as You deserve. 
You are exactly as You have known Yourself.'


May Allah forgive us all, make us drink from the cup of unbound grace and forgiveness on this special night which is by God's Will, on the sundown of 26th (Night of Monday) or 27th of July (Night of Tuesday), 2010. wa Allahu Akbar.


# Reference:
Some of the content in this post are partially translated from the Book The Blessings of Twelve Moons and Acts of Worship by Mawlana M. Enamul Haque Nizami

# Further:
. Special Night of Turning Inward | Shab e Baraat
. Laylatul Baraah (Shab-e-Barat) | The Blessed Night of Deliverance
. The Month of Shaban via ISRA
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