Shab-e-Barat

Shab-e-Barat Date 2013 in India

This year Shabe-e-Barat, the Night of 15th Sha’baan 1433, will be celebrated on the night of 1 July 2013 in India, subject to the appearance of moon.

Shab-e-Barat or the Shaaban night is one of the major festivals celebrated by the Muslim community world over, India being no exception. This Islamic festival Shab-e-Baraat is celebrated on thirteenth or fourteenth night in the eighth month of the Muslim calendar- Shaban. Shabe-e-barat, thus, falls fifteen days before the beginning of Ramadan- the Muslim month of great importance.

What is Shab-e-Barat? – The Meaning

Shab-e-BaratLiterally speaking, ‘Shab’ in Persian language means night and ‘Barat’ means ‘the night of commission or assignment’. In Arabic language it is known as Lailatul Bara’at which means ‘the night of emancipation.’ If going by what the term Shab-e-Barat stands for, it can be said that Shab-e-Barat is the night of liberation and also the night of being accountable for all deeds performed by a Muslim in life. As Muslims believe that if prayed for, Allah forgives all their ill deeds on this night, this can also be called the ‘Night of Forgiveness.’

Why is Shab-e-Barat Celebrated? – The Legends

There are many legends that tell us about the reasons behind celebration of Shab-e-barat. Some of the major beliefs about why Shabe-e-Baraat is celebrated are given below.

  • Most of the Muslims believe that on this night of Shab-E-Barat, Allah writes destiny of all men for the coming year by taking into account their deeds of the past.
  • According to another legend, Shab-E-Barat is the night of good fortune and those who believe this say that the Prophet visits each house this night and relieves the pains and sufferings of his devotees. Not only this, he also grants forgiveness if sought through prayers on the night of Shabaan.
  • One of the other legends related to this night says that there is a special tree in heaven whose leaves contain the names of all human beings. If a leaf with the name of a person falls this night, it is said that he/she shall die the same year.
  • Some people believe that the spirits of the deceased visit their relatives during the night of Shab-e-Barat.
  • Some people commemorate the entry of Muhammad into the city of Mecca on this night of Shab-e-Barat.
  • While Sunnis observe Mid-Sha’ban (Shab-e-Barat) as the night of worship and salvation, Shias spend the entire eve of Mid-Sha’ban in prayers and worship. Shia Muslims believe that their last Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, was born on this night.

How is Shab-e-Barat Observed? – The Celebrations

As it is believed that Prophet and spirits of deceased family members come to the house, Muslims decorate their houses lavishly with lights and other decorative items. Mosques are also decorated with strings of colorful bulbs, papers, cellophane etc. Men go the Mosques and offer namaz and recite prayers there. Women stay back at home and recite Holy Quran (zikr) as well as perform namaz.

Shab-e-Baraat Namaz at Mosque

All the muslims stay awake all night during Shab-e-Barat. They pray to god and recite holy Quran for the whole night and ask for forgiveness for any evil deeds performed by them. Many Muslims fast during this day and perform ‘Nafal’ (optional namaz) at night. In the morning people go to graveyard and offer flowers as well as read fateha for the peace of the departed souls of their family members.

Shab-e-Barat Celebration with Sweets

Firecrackers are used to celebrate the night of Shab-e-barat as they keep the skies dazzling with colorful lights. Sweets are made and sent to neigbours, friends and relatives. Delicious ‘savaiyyan’ or vermicelli porridge is prepared and had with all family members and friends. Some people even do acts of charity like distributing clothes, food, sweets, and other goodies to the deprived in the name of their deceased ancestors whose spirits are believed to have come home on Shab-e-Barat.

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