Why can’t we fast after the middle of Shaban, you ask? Because there exists a hadeeth that seems to prohibit it.
We should do two things when we find any hadeeth:
1) Find out its authenticity.
2) Find its explanation.
So, what is the status and explanation of this hadeeth?
Here are three fatwas that explain this issue:
Short Answer: No.
I first heard of this day about 7 years ago when a sister asked about “Shabbey Baaraat” during a lecture. My Urdu being what it is (i.e. not good at all), I couldn’t figure out why she was asking about bridal processions in the middle of a lecture.
[Full Disclosure: I learnt my Urdu vocabulary the same place the entire Arabia, Malaysia, Africa, North America, etc learnt their Urdu vocabulary: Hindi movies. Alhamdulillah, I gave up that garbage years ago.]
[By the way, it’s apparently Shab-e-Baraat. Shab=Night. The little “e” thingy is the Urdu way of Mudhaaf/Mudhaaf Ilaihi (that alone took me years to figure out) and Baraat means something else (I still have no idea).]
This night is the 15th of Shaban. Apparently, many people “celebrate” this night due to its virtues.
Before we start, let’s all agree on something: if any day has “virtues”, it’s only because Allah has given it those virtues, so we need to refer back to the Quran and the authentic Sunnah of the Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) to see whether this night really does have virtues.
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” [Surah An-Nisaa (4) :59]
So, if one truly believes in Allah and the Last Day, one will let the Quran and the authentic hadeeth dictate what is right and what is wrong.
What about a person who does not believe in Allah and the Last Day? Well, we only need to read the Quran to find out how the disbelievers of the previous nations would reply to their Prophets (alaihimissalaam) when they were advised with the truth:
“When it is said to them: “Follow what Allah has sent down.” They say: “Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.” (Would they do that!) Even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided?” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) :170]
And no, I’m not accusing any of your family members of being misguided. All I’m trying to say is that we should follow the evidence, even if it means contradicting what our parents, spouses, children, teachers, etc did.
So, let me be clear here: I do not believe that the 15th night is a special day because I have found no authentic evidence to convince me that it is. There are some ahadeeth about the virtues of this night but 1) all the chains of narrations have some weakness in them and 2) none of them state that one needs to do more ibaadah (worship) on this night.
So, here’s some of the stuff that I could find about this issue. If you disagree with them, that’s fine (because it’s your choice and I’ve done my duty) but 1) I would appreciate it if you could provide me with some solid evidence and 2) I hope that you disagree because of the evidence and not because of cultural reasons.