Some of the tabi’een (followers of the prophetic companions) based in Shaam such as Khalid ibn Ma’dan, Mak’hul, and Luqman ibn ‘Amir would revere the 15th of Sha’ban by offering supererogatory prayers during the night – it is said that they were influenced by isra’eeliyyat (Judaic traditions). Gradually, this custom spread to many areas of the Muslim empire creating misunderstandings and differences of opinion amongst the people. Some accepted it, among whom were devout worshippers from Basra, but most of the scholars of the Hijaz rejected and condemned it such as ‘Ataa’ and lbn Abi Mulaika, as well as the scholars of Madinah such as Abd Al Rahman ibn Zayd and the Maliki school of law, all agreeing to it being an innovation.The scholars of Shaam differed as to how the 15th of Sha’ban should be distinguished. The first set preferred spending the night in the mosque collectively as being recommended. Amongst those who opined thus were Khalid ibn Ma’dan, Luqman ibn ‘Amir et al, all who would adorn themselves with special apparel for the occasion and hasten to the mosque where they would remain in worship throughout the night. Is’haq bin Rahaway’h endorsed such a practice and said that celebrating this night collectively in the mosque is not to be considered an innovation.The other set of scholars regarded marking the 15th of Sha’ban by collective prayer, story-telling and supplication as being disliked. However, Al Awza’i, the Imam, jurist and scholar of Syria opined that and it is not disliked for a person to pray at home individually; this is closest to the truth.
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