Lailat al-Baraa- The Night of Forgiveness

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Lailat al-Baraa  means the night of redemption, salvation or the night of freedom from Hell and the abyss of it. Lailat al-Baraa happens in the Mid of Shaban – between the 14th and 15th day of 8th month of the Islamic Lunar Calender. This occurs almost fifteen days before the beginning of Holy Month of Ramadan. The holy night starts at sunset on the 14th of the month and ends at dawn on the 15th.

This night has different names in different languages and countries:

• Lailat al-Baraa (Arabic: ليلة البراءة‎, Night of Innocence)

• Lailat al-Du’a (Arabic: ليلة الدعاء‎, Night of Prostration)

• Nim Sha’ban in Afghanistan and Iran.

•Nisf Sha’ban (Arabic: نصف شعبان‎, Mid-Sha’ban) in Arabic speaking countries.

• Nisfu Sya’ban in Malay speaking countries.

• Shab e Baraat in Pakistan meaning the ‘Night of Innocence’.

• Berat Kandili in Turkish.

According to the belief of the Muslims it is a night in which ALLAH regulates the affairs of the coming year. Allah Almighty considers the acts of all humans and decides their fates.

For the evidence of the importance of Shab-e-Barat, the following verses of the Holy Qur’an are cited:

“Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind]. On that night is made distinct every precise matter – [Every] matter [proceeding] from Us. Indeed, We were to send [a messenger] (Sura ad-Dukhan, 44:3-5)

Imam Qurtubi and Imam Jalal-ud-Din Suyuti emphasize that the verses refer to Laylatun Nisf min Shaban or Shab-e-Barat.

Narrated by ‘Hazrat Aisha (R.A): Allah’s Apostle used to fast till one would say that he would never stop fasting, and he would abandon fasting till one would say that he would never fast. I never saw Allah’s Apostle fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadan, and did not see him fasting in any month more than in the month of Sha’ban. (Bukhari : Book 3 : Volume 31 : Hadith 190)

Though fasts were not compulsory on him, the Prophet (Peace and Blessing be upon Him), yet he practiced them most of the month. Narrated by Aisha (r.a), I missed Allah’s Messenger during the night and found him in al-Baqui’. He said: Were you afraid that Allah and His Messenger would deal unjustly with you? I said: Allah’s Messenger, I thought that you had gone to some of your other wives. He (the Prophet) said: Verily Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, comes down to the heaven of the world in “the middle night of Sha’ban” and forgives sins even more abundant than the hair of the goats of Kalb. [Sunan Tirmidhi Volume 001, Hadith Number 670, Ibn Maja Volume 002, Hadith Number1379]

The devout predecessors of the Muslims have always observed and celebrated this night as a night of Allah Almighty’s special blessings and have spent it praying to him for forgiveness and blessings. Imam Shafi’i writes (a scholar of Islam) : “Verily, Dua is accepted on five nights: the night of Juma’, the night of Eid Al-Adha, the night of Eid Al-Fitr, the first night of Rajab, and the 15th night of Shabaan”. [Al-Umm, Volume 001, Page No. 231]


Narrated by Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, Allah’s Messenger said, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious looks down on “the middle night of Sha’ban” and forgives all His creation, except a polytheist or one who is mushahin(one bent on hatred). [Sunan Ibn Maja Volume 002, Hadith Number 1380]


This night should be spent in worshiping Allah Almighty from the depth of heart asking for forgiveness for sins that were committed voluntarily or involuntarily. This night brings with it the time to focus his/her attention to Him only. Ask for his mercy, beg for his forgiveness, and ask for faith, hope and life beyond this world. This is the time to rejoice the uninterrupted contact with Allah Almighty, who is the Most Compassionate and the Ever-Merciful. Most of all, it is the time to reform your life and start a life on the very path of Allah Almighty.

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