As the sun set on Tuesday evening, Asim Khan planned to make a trip to Nerul. It is a place where his mother is buried and where Khan goes to pray on the night of Shab-e-Baraat. The night is considered the 'night of freedom' where people offer prayers throughout the night seeking forgiveness.
Mufti Ashfaq Kazi from Jama Masjid at Crawford Market said “Shab means night in Persian and Baraat is freedom from or being rid of jahannum (hell).
What is Shab-e-Baraat?
People pray on this night so that they can seek forgiveness for their sins, it comes on 15th Shabaan. Shabaan is the eighth month in the Islamic Calendar and comes before Ramzan. In a way, it is preparation for Ramzan. It is the night of Ibadat. To seek forgiveness for self and others.”
Since the Islamic calendar follows the moon, the day started after today’s sunset and will end on Wednesday. "Once at the graveyard, we do Ibadat (prayers). I pray for her. First, there is Namaaz and then reading of the Quranic verses and more Ibadat," said Khan.
Visit to graveyards a must on Shab-e-Baraat
Many like Khan make it a point to visit graves all night and prominent graveyards make special arrangements for people. At Bada Qabrastan at Marine Lines, one of the biggest graveyards in the city, more CCTV and security personnel are deployed.
Chairman of Juma Masjid of Bombay Trust Shuaib Khateeb, which looks after the Bada Qabrastan said “Lakhs turn up through the night. There is a six Rakaat (iteration) Namaz with Jamaat. We try to make the best of the arrangements here. The number of CCTV cameras was increased from 32 to 52, and security from 30 to 100. This is besides the police personnel already deployed there.”
Ashfaq informed “The Prophet- PBUH goes to the grave one night. He went silently and came silently. It is not only for praying for the souls of the departed as is understood and practiced widely. It is mainly for Ibadat to do away with your own sins and those of others. One is not supposed to stay awake all night and certainly not drive or speed around on bikes that people do which is unethical and not as per Shariah.”
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