The significance of Shab-e-Baraat
Is there actually any such night as the Shab-e-Barat? Does this concept hold any significance in Islam?
Very briefly, there are three reasons why I feel that the case of those people is weak who consider that Shab-e-baraat has some significance in Islam.
One reason for this observation is that the hadith on which the entire understanding about the night is based is a weak one according to many experts of hadith.
The second reason is that the Quranic passage which is normally referred to for the purpose (the first few verses of surah Dukhan) is referring to Lailatul Qadr and no other night, because the night when the Quran was revealed was, according to surah Qadr, Lailatul Qadr. How could it then be possible to claim that Lailatul Mubarakah (the night mentioned in surah Dukhan which people claim to be Shab-e-Baraat) is a different night? To believe that would tantamount to believing that the two Quranic passages contradict each other.
A third reason for this understanding is based on the fact that Shab-e-baraat seems to be a regular, annual religious occasion in the sub-continent only. I came across at least one religious person from Dubai – in his thirties – who didn’t know what this night was all about. The significance of this information is this that had the religious status of the night been beyond dispute, it would have been equally well known in all parts of the Muslim world, like Eids etc.
I hope you understand why I don’t feel comfortable with the idea. However, I would not be as firm in contradicting the status of the night as I would do in some other cases which I consider as bid’at, because people do have at least some religious argument in the form of a hadith — even if it is weak — to plead their case.