The following is from the draft translation of الجامع لأحكام الصيام ‘Al-Jami li Ahkam as-Siyam’ (A complete guide of the rules of fasting) by the Mujtahid, Sheikh Abu Iyas Mahmoud bin Abdul Latif al-Uweida (may Allah [swt] protect him).
It is not known about the Messenger of Allah (saw) that he fasted more in a month outside of Ramadhaan than in Sha’baan. Verily he used to fast virtually the whole of the month so it is recommended on the Muslims to make extra fasts in this month.
Here is a selection of Hadeeth that deal with this issue:
1) Umm Salamah (ra) said: "I have not seen the Messenger of Allah (saw) fast two consecutive months except that he would join Sha’baan with Ramadhaan".
An-Nasaa’i in As-Sunan Al-Kubraa (2496), Abu Daawud, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad all narrated it.
2) Abu Salamah said: "I asked ‘Aa’isha (ra) about the fasting of the Messenger of Allah (saw)? She said: He use to fast until we would say that he has fasted and would abstain until we would say he has abstained and I have never once seen him fast in a month more than in Sha’baan. He would fast the whole of Sha’baan, the whole month except a little".
Muslim (2722), Al-Bukhaari, Abu Daawud, An-Nasaa’i, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad all recorded this Hadeeth.
3) ‘Aa’isha (ra) said: "The most beloved of months to the Messenger (saw) for fasting was that of Sha’baan, he would connect it to Ramadhaan".
An-Nasaa’i (2666), Ahmad and At-Tabaraani in Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabeer.
4) Usaamah bin Zaid (ra) said:
"The Messenger of Allah (saw) use to fast the days continuously until it was said: He does not abstain. He would then abstain from fasting so that he maybe only fasted two days from a week if they were from his fasting he would fast them. He did not fast as much in the months as he did in Sha’baan so I asked: O Messenger of Allah: Verily you fast as if you will not break it and abstain until it seems like you don’t fast except for two days which if they enter upon your fast you would have fasted them. He asked: Which two days? I responded Monday and Thursday. He (saw) said: These are the two days in which the actions and deeds are displayed to the Lord of the worlds and I love that my actions are sent forth whilst I am fasting. I said: I do not see you fasting in the months as much as you do in Sha’baan? He (saw) said: This is the month that the people are neglectful (careless) of between Rajab and Ramadhaan and it is the Month in which the actions are raised up to the Lord of the worlds so I love that my actions are raised whilst I am fasting".
Recorded by Ahmad (22096) and by Abu Shaibah (514/2) with a slight variation :<...I love that my actions are raised only when I am fasting>.
The Fuqahaa have disagreed in relation to the ruling concerning fasting the second half of the month of Sha’baan. The majority of the Ulamaa have permitted the fasting in the second half of Sha’baan, even if it wasn’t prepared and it didn’t join with the first half, and this was not disliked except for the fasting of the day of Shakk (doubt). Many of the followers of the Shaafi’ Madhhab however viewed it forbidden to fast recommended fasts in the last half of the month and this prevention starts on the 16th of the month.
Those who forbade it relied on the evidence of what was reported from ‘Alaa bin Abdur Rahman bin Ya’coob from his father Abu Hurairah (ra) who said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "When it reaches the half way point of Sha’baan then do not fast (again) until Ramadhaan comes". Collected by Ibn Maajah (1651), An-Nasaa’i, Abu Daawud, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibbaan, Ahmad and Ad-Daarami. Ibn Hazm, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Abi al-Birr verified that it is Saheeh. The response to this view is the following:
- This Hadeeth has only been mentioned from ‘Alaa bin Abdur Rahman and Ibn Mo’een has said that he is weak (Da’eef) when he said that: His Hadeeth are not a proof (legal evidence) and also: He does not have strength and Abu Daawud said: Based on ‘Alaa they have negated the fasting of Sha’baan. On the other hand Ibn Hibbaan, An-Nasaa’i and Ahmad find him trustworthy so his status as a narrator is differed upon.
- This Hadeeth in itself has been viewed as Da’eef by Ahmad and Yahya bin Mo’een with their statement that the Hadeeth is Munkar (rejected) just as al-Bayhaqi, At-Tahaawi and Abd ur Rahman bin Mahdi also viewed it as weak.
- This hadeeth opposes many other saheeh Ahaadeeth which state that the Messenger of Allah (saw) use to fast most of Sha’baan and that he would join Sha’baan with Ramadhaan and we have mentioned many of these and it is not possible to reconcile and join them with the meaning of this hadeeth.
So in the case of a hadeeth like this where a narrator who has not been agreed upon in terms of his soundness and what he has come with goes against the meaning of many other Saheeh Ahaadeeth then the ruling on it is rejection and not using it as an evidence. Based on this the ruling allowing recommended fasting in the second half of Sha’baan has been affirmed with no difference between it and the first half of the month.
As for the statement of the Ulamaa that ‘it is not disliked except on the day of Shakk (doubt)’ then what is meant here is the day in which doubt exists in regard to whether it is the last day of Sha’baan or the first day of Ramadhaan. We will present a greater discussion on the issue of fasting on the day of Shakk later in the chapter ‘The forbidden fasting that is not allowed’.