This year, Shab-e-Barat will be observed in the world until the next morning, but people have been advised to stay at home with their families and practice social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Islamic Foundation of Bangladesh issued a press release on Wednesday requesting the Muslims not to visit the shrines and cemeteries.
Earlier, the Ministry of Religious Affairs had instructed to refrain from attending prayers in mosques to prevent the coronavirus outbreak.
The government appealed to the Muslim community to not venture out their homes for this year’s Shab-e-Barat in light of the nationwide lockdown.
But what is Shab-e-Barat and what is its religious significance?
It’s a day of atonement
An important day for the Muslim community, Shab-e-Barat is observed on the night between days 14 and 15 of Sha’ban — the eighth month of the Islamic calendar, which signifies the month of “separation” as pagan Arabs used to disperse in search of water at this time.
The festival is observed as the night of forgiveness or the day of atonement.
On this day, Muslims visit mosques and the graves of their loved ones and light candles, and spend the night praying for Allah’s mercy.
Muslims believe that if someone prays to Allah throughout the night and seeks forgiveness for all the sins he had committed, he could be forgiven. Hence, Shab-e-Barat is a night devoted to pleading for forgiveness for the past year and good fortune for the coming year.
For ascetic Muslims, this is the day of “divine benediction”, and, therefore, they offer prayers and fast, which is said to have greater acceptance from God.