Exploring the history, significance of Shab-e-Barat: A night of forgiveness
Muslims around the world are gearing up to celebrate Shab-e-Barat, also known as the ‘night of forgiveness’, a significant festival observed on the 14th and 15th night of Sha’aban, the eighth month in the Islamic calendar. This year, the celebrations will take place from March 7 to 8.
The word ‘Shab’ has Persian origins, meaning night, while ‘Barat’ is an Arabic word that stands for salvation and forgiveness. On the night of Shab-e-Barat, Muslims worldwide ask for forgiveness for their sins from Allah. This festival is marked with great enthusiasm across South Asia, including countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan.
The history of Shab-e-Barat dates back to the time when the twelfth Imam of the Shia Muslims named Muhammad al-Mahdi was born. The night is celebrated as his birthday in the Shia community. On the other hand, the Sunni Muslim community believes that on this day, God saved the Ark of Noah from the flood, which is why people across the globe celebrate the day.
Many believe that this is a holy night when Allah is more forgiving and that sincere prayers can help wash away their sins. The night is also used to seek mercy for deceased and ill family members, and it is believed that Allah decides people’s fortune for the year ahead, their sustenance, and whether they will have the opportunity to perform Hajj (pilgrimage).
Further, Shab-e-Barat has its unique traditions, depending on cultural diversity and local traditions. During the day, Muslims prepare delicious sweets like Halwa, Zarda, and other delicacies to distribute among their neighbors, relatives, family members, and the poor. Many visit the graves of their loved ones to pray for eternal peace for their souls. Some also observe a fast on Shab-e-Barat.
Mosques are decorated, and many of them have periodic recitations and announcements throughout the day, before preparing for the main events of the night. After sundown, Muslim devotees start their prayers with ‘Isha Ki Namaz’ and continue the prayer session throughout the night till the next day before eating Sehri, a pre-dawn meal before the fast for Shab-e-Barat.
This festival has a unique energy, and people have their own distinct stories about this day. The prayer session is one of the main highlights of the night, with devotees seeking forgiveness and making sincere prayers.
Shab-e-Barat is one of the holiest nights in Islam, and due to its significance, it is celebrated with great fervor worldwide. Whether it is fasting, offering prayers, visiting graves, or sharing sweets, the celebrations are a time to reflect and seek forgiveness for sins