Shab-e-Barat 2020: History, date, importance and relevance of the 'Night of Forgiveness' among Muslims
Shab-e-Barat, the Night of Fortune and Forgiveness or Day of Atonement is celebrated on the 14th day of the month of Sha'ban (8th month as per Islamic calendar). It is considered to be the night when God forgives the sinners. This year Shab-e-Barat began on the evening of April 8 and will end on the evening of April 9.
Why Shab-e-Barat is celebrated?
Shia community celebrates Shab-e-Barat as on this day twelfth Imam of Shia Muslims Muhammad al-Mahdi was born and thus this day is celebrated as his birthday. While Sunni Community is of the view that on this day God saved the Ark of Noah from the flood. It is also believed that on this day when the Prophet Mohammad arrived in Mecca, he pardoned his preachers and blessed them. It is also believed that on this night God forgives the sinners.
As the festival is recognized by both the communities, the festival is celebrated across the globe by the preachers of Islam.
How the festival of Shab-e-Barat is celebrated?
On the night of Shab-e-Barat, men visit the mosque to offer namaz and recite Quran, followed by visiting cemetery where the prayers are sent for the loved ones. While women stay indoors and offer Namaz and recite the Quran. Muslims stay awake in the night on Shab-e-Barat offering namaz, reciting Quran and seeking mercy for the sins they have committed so far and observe a day-long fast on the next day.
What is the importance of Shab-e-Barat in the Muslim community?
Arabs refer Shab-e-Barat as Laylat al-Bara'at or Laylat al-Nisf min Sha'ban. Shab-e-Barat comprises of two words where Shab means night and Barat means the quality of being guileless.
Muslims believe that Shab-e-Barat is the 'night of records' or 'night of mercy' as God writes their destinies for the coming year based on their past deeds. Therefore, the night is spent offering namaz, sending prayers for the deceased and mercy for the sins committed.