Shab-e-Baraat is the holy night of fortune and forgiveness and occurs between the 14th and 15th day of Sha’ban, the eighth month of the Laylatul-Bara’ah. This year it is being observed on Saturday, April 20 by the Muslims in India. It is also known as Laylat-ul-Baraa or Mid Shabaan.
It holds significance for Sunni Muslims followed by the Barelvi and the Deobandi school of thoughts. Urdu word Shab means night while Barat is an Arabic noun which is translated in English as innocence or salvation.
This night comes 15 days before the holy month of Ramadan or Ramazan and it is believed according to Hadeeth (recorded traditions or sayings of Prophet Muhammad) that on this night god decides the fortunes of men and women for the coming year and shower forgiveness.
According to a Hadith in Baihaqi, Prophet Mohammed told his wife Hazrat Aisha: “…record is made of every human being who will be born, and of every human being who will pass away this year. In it their deeds are taken up to heaven and in it, their provisions are sent down.” The festival is also known as the night of forgiveness.
Though there is no direct mention of the night in the Holy Qur’an, the following verse is ascribed to ‘Laylatul-bara’ah’ or ‘Shab-e-Baraat’:
“Indeed, we sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, we were to warn [mankind]. On that night is made distinct every precise matter.”
How is the Shab-e-Baraat celebrated?
On this night, Muslims observe special prayers and worship the entire night to seek forgiveness for their sins. The festival is considered to be the Eid of those who have dies. Several Muslims also visit the nearest graveyards to seek forgiveness for the deceased relatives. The following day, fast is also observed by many of them. Vendors also set up their stalls of prayer caps, mats and Islamic books.