This is a month in which our beloved Prophet (peace be unto him) used to observe fasting. In fact, Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said “I never saw the Messenger of Allah fasting for an entire month except in Ramadan, and I never saw him fast more than he did in Shaaban.” [Bukhari & Muslim].
It was also reported that he (peace be unto him) used to fast all of Shaaban except for a day or two.
So what is the idea behind fasting this month in particular? Shaaban comes between the months of Rajab and Ramadan, both of which are months of fasting. Fasting in Ramadan - as we know - is obligatory, while Rajab is one of the four sacred months and thus fasting (part of) it is recommended. So people often tend to ignore fasting during Shaaban. However, the Prophet (peace be unto him) recommends acts of worship at times and places in which people tend to forget Allah. In the meaning of an authentic hadith, he teaches us that ‘one who remembers Allah amongst those who do not is like a steadfast fighter among those who are fleeing.’
Another notable advantage of fasting during Shaaban is that it prepares us for fasting during Ramadan. People who are not accustomed to fasting before Ramadan often find difficulty during the month, especially during the first couple of days.
A question that often arises is whether to fast during the second half of Shaaban, which is just before Ramadan. One of the scholars’ opinions on this matter is that if one has fasted the first half of the month, he/she can continue during the second half; if one has not, he/she should not start fasting in the latter half so as not to become week prior to Ramadan.
May Allah guide us to the very best of deeds during Shaaban and rest of the year.