- Status : EXTREMELY WEAK
The following hadith is often quoted to back the fast of the 15th of Sha’ban :
Narrated by Sayyiduna ‘Ali (RA), the Prophet [saws] said : When the Middle Night of Shabaan arrives, you should stand (Praying) in the night and should fast in the day following it
This Hadith is recorded by Ibn Majah in his Sunan, one of the famous six books of Hadith, and also by Baihaqi in his famous book Shu’ab-al-‘iman’. In its chain there is Abu Bakr ibn Abi Saburah who is considered as a weak narrator, so this hadith cannot be relied upon in the matter of the injunctions of Shariah. Thus, the fast of the 15th of Shabaan cannot be termed as Sunnah or Mustahab in the strict sense of the term.
(((As for the virtues of the 15th night, its authenticity is well-known and not the subject here. Proofs can be found here for example.)))
The following muhaddithun have severely criticised Abu Bakr ibn Abi Saburah :
Ali ibnul Madini
Abu Bakr Al Bazzar
The two sons of Imam Ahmad
Consequently the following ‘Ulama have criticised the aforementioned hadith :
Imam Badruddin Al-‘Ayni
Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali
May Allah have mercy upon them all.
- Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmani, hafidhahullah (revised opinion)
- Mufti Husain Kadodia fatwa 1 & fatwa 2
- Mawlana Patel, hafidhahullah
- Concerning the critics of the narrator refer to : Mizan ul I’tidal, Ad-Du’afa wal Matrukin lin Nassa’i, Tahdhib ut tahdhib, Adh-Du’afa ul kabir, Al-Kash ul hadith, Al-Majruhin, Al-Kamil fid du’afa, Tafsir ibnu Kathir, Al-Muhalla, Majma’ uz Zawa’id, Nasb ul Raya, Ad-Diraya ;
- Concerning the critics of the narration refer to : ‘Umdat ul Qariy, Takhrij of Ihya ul ‘Uloom of Al-Ghazali by Al-‘Iraqi, Lata’if ul Ma’arif, Al-‘Ilal ul Mutanahiyah, Al-Fawa’id ul Majmu’ah.
To sum up : To fast the 15th day of Sha’ban exclusively is not sunnah nor mustahhab, but you can perfectly fast the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 14th and 15th days (Ayyam al-bîd) or even the first half of the month of Sha’ban, if you do care about Sunnah.
Jazakumullahu Kheyran, and requests for du’a.