In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.
The month of Shaban is the 8th month of an Islamic calendar. It is one of a few months that hold a higher status as compared to other months and hence they are given more value and significance by the Muslims, as stated below.
It is reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to fast most in Shaban except the last few days of the month. Shaban is the month that comes between the two blessed and sacred months of Rajab (7th month) and Ramadan (9th month).
Usamah bin Zaid (RA) said: "I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Shaban.' He said: 'That is a month to which people do not pay much attention, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting." [Nasai Book 22, Hadith 268]
In this blessed month of Shaban actions of the people are presented to Allah Almighty. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to fast repeatedly in this month.
Narrated `Aisha (RA): Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) used to fast till one would say that he would never stop fasting, and he would abandon fasting till one would say that he would never fast. I never saw Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadan, and did not see him fasting in any month more than in the month of Shaban. [Sahih al-Bukhari Book 30, Hadith 76]
The above-mentioned Ahadith of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) give the importance of the fasting in the month of Shaban, i.e. fasting the day and worshiping by the night. Worshiping by the night includes the total submission to Allah Almighty as much as possible. The recitation of the Holy Quran is another form of beneficial worship in the night.
There is a difference of opinion amongst Hadith scholars if the 15th night of Shaban is significant or not. Here is an extract from Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafiz Makki (RA) on the virtues of the 15th night of Shaban:
 Imam Hafiz al-Mundhiri mentioned in al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib: from Mu’adh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him), from the Prophet ﷺ, he said: “Allah bestows His special attention to His entire creation on the 15th night of Sha‘ban. He then forgives His entire creation except a polytheist and one who harbours enmity.”
And he (al-Mundhiri) said: “Al-Tabarani narrated it and Ibn Hibban narrated it in his Sahih.” I say (i.e. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafiz writes regarding himself): Imam Hafiz al-Suyuti mentioned it also in Al-Durr al-Manthur from al-Bayhaqi and Hafiz al-Haythami mentioned it in Majma’ ‘l-Zawai’d (vol. 8, p. 65) and he said: ‘Al-Tabarani narrated it in [Al-Mu’jam] al-Kabir and [Al-Mu’jam] al-Awsat, and its narrators are reliable.’”
 Imam Hafiz al-Mundhiri also mentioned in Al-Targhib wa ’l-Tarhib that Imam Ahmad narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, bestows His special attention to His entire creation on the 15th night of Shaban. He then forgives His creation except two: one who harbours enmity and the murderer.” I say: Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali mentioned it in Lata’if al-Ma’arif and its marginal notes writer, Shaykh al-Sawas, said, “Musnad Ahmad (2/176) and its chain of transmission is Sahih (authentic)”.
There are other Ahadith signifying the fasting of the 13th, 14th and 15th day of each month, which includes Shaban (ie. Ayyam Al-Bid/ایّام البیض) and a couple of Ahadith (out of many others) are quoted below:
Abu Dharr (RA) narrated that The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded us to fast for three days of every month; that is on the days of the full moon; the 13th, 14th, and 15th (of the lunar month).’ [Related by An-Nasa’i and At-Tirmidhi and rendered authentic by Ibn Hibban]
Qatadah bin Milhan (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) directed us to observe Saum (fasting) on the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth of the (lunar) month. [Abu Dawud, Book 9, Hadith 273]
Therefore, it is certainly not forbidden to fast on the day of 15th Shaban or worshipping Allah in the night (Laylat al-Bara'at / ليلة البراءة) with the hope of gaining forgiveness and rewards from Allah Almighty.
Furthermore, fasting in the month of Shaban gives us a chance to start preparing for the month of Ramadan. For fasting, we will have to wake up early before dawn time, and spending the day without eating and drinking, will give us a clear idea of what it would take in order to successfully spend the blessed month of Ramadan, InshaAllah.
It is a Sunnah (tradition) of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to look for the crescent moon (Hilal) in every month, especially for Shaban to help avoid any errors with the start of Ramadan. Therefore, please check the Shaban Hilal date on the ICOUK website and report your observation results (positive or negative) via our website Observation Report Form.
May Allah give us the utmost love for such a month that meant so much to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). May He give us the ability to fast abundantly in this month and performing other good deeds as well as asking Allah Almighty for forgiveness. Ameen!
The ICOUK “Spot the Moon Photo Competition” was started in 2018 and the Hilal images shown below are some of the winning photos of the first day's crescent moon on the UK horizon. It is a testimony of the great achievements made by our members and a living proof that the crescent moon can be sighted on the UK horizon, even under adverse weather conditions, Alhamdulillah (if an earnest effort is made).
|Photo by: Mohammad Arshad Baig; Location: Slough, Berkshire (UK); Date: 18/01/2018 16:56 GMT (for Jumada-I 1439)
||Photo by: Suleman Aboo; Location: London, Greater London (UK); Date: 17/02/2018 17:45 GMT (for Jumada-II 1439)
|Photo by: Suleman Aboo; Location: London, Greater London (UK); Date: 17/04/2018 20:18 BST (for Shaban 1439)
||Photo by: Mohammad Arshad Baig; Location: Slough, Berkshire (UK); Date: 16/05/2018 21:24 BST (for Ramadan 1439)
|Photo by: Younes Foster; Location: Ashbourne, Derbyshire (UK); Date: 15/06/2018 22:51 BST (for Shawwal 1439)
||Photo by: Feras Tuma; Location: Cardiff, Wales (UK); Date: 10/10/2018 19:03 BST (for Safar 1440)|
|Photo by: Qamar Uddinl; Location: York, North Yorkshire (UK); Date: 6/2/2019 18:02 GMT (for Jumada-II 1440)
||Photo by: Juned Patel; Location: Bolton, Lancashire (UK); Date: 6/5/2019 21:12 BST (for Ramadan 1440)
Photo by: Abubaker Sayed; Location: Stoke Newington, London (UK); Date: 4/6/2019 21:53 BST (for Shawwal 1440)
|Photo by: Suleman Aboo; Location: London, Greater London (UK); Date: 4/7/2019 21:59 BST (for Dhul Qaidah 1440)|
Crescent Moon Visibility of Dhul Hijjah 1440 AH
The crescent visibility map below for Dhul Hijjah 1440 shows that moon will be born on 1 August 2019 at 03:12 GMT/UT, but it will not be visible to the naked-eye anywhere in the UK/Morocco region on that date. However, on 2 August 2019 it will be easily visible in the UK and in most countries of the world. Hence, the month of Dhul Hijjah is most likely to start from 3 August 2019 (so Eid-ul Adha is likely to be on Monday 12 August 2019), InShaAllah. See also: Significance and Virtues of Dhul Hijjah (first 10 days) | Is Eid-ul Adha Connected with Hajj?
When to Observe the Crescent Moon of Dhul Hijjah 1440 AH
Please look for the Hilal of Dhul Hijjah 1440 AH on 1 - 2 August 2019 (29th Dhul Qaidah & next day) after sunset from the western horizon and report your results (positive or negative) via our website Observation Report Form.
Results of Crescent Moon Observations for Dhul Hijjah 1440 AH
Announcement for start of Dhul Hijjah 1440 AH
No Announcements available
Significance of Dhul Hijjah (first 10 days) 1. Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: "There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah)." He was asked: "O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah?" He (ﷺ) replied, "Not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah, except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it." (Bukhari, Book 9, Hadith 259) 2. Abu Qatadah (رضي الله عنه) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) was asked about the observance of Saum (fasting) on the day of Arafah (9th of Dhul Hijjah). He said, "It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year and the current year." (Muslim, Book 9, Hadith 260)
Note that Saudi Arabia normally make official Hilal Sighting announcement for Dhul Hijjah on www.spa.gov.sa website
Crescent Moon Visibility of Shawwal 1440 AH
The crescent visibility map below for Shawwal 1440 shows that moon will be born on 3 June 2019 at 10:02 GMT/UT, but it will not be visible by the naked-eye anywhere in the UK/Morocco region on that date. However, on 4 June 2019 the moon will be easily visible in the UK and many countries of the world. Hence, the month of Shawwal is most likely to start from 5 June 2019, InShaAllah. [When is Eid-ul Fitr 1440?]
When to Observe the Crescent Moon of Shawwal 1440 AH
Please look for the Hilal of Shawwal 1440 AH on 4 June 2019 (29th Ramadan) after sunset from the western horizon as per Sunnah and report your results (positive or negative) via our website Observation Report Form. [Photo Competition]
Results of Crescent Moon Observations for Shawwal 1440 AH
Announcement for start of Shawwal 1440 AH
On Tuesday 4th June 2019 (29th Ramadan 1440 AH) the Hilal of Shawwal 1440 was sighted in the UK/Morocco region. We have also received a positive sighting report from Morocco Awqaf Ministry by fax.
Therefore, the month of Ramadan 1440 AH will have 29-days and the month of Shawwal 1440 AH will start from Wednesday 5th June 2019, InShaAllah. Eid Mubarak to all Muslims (and don't forget to share your Hilal photo on ICOUK website)!
Note that Saudi Arabia normally make their Shawwal announcement on their SPA (www.spa.gov.sa) website.