Sha'ban is the 8th month of the Hijri calendar, and is known as the month of The Prophet ﷺ:
He ﷺ said, ‘Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah’. [Suyuti]
Many significant events occurred in this month: the splitting of the moon, the changing of the qiblah and the revelation of the ayah commanding salawat. It is also the month in which our deeds are taken up to Allah.
During this month we should make an effort to draw closer to The Prophet ﷺ. We can do this by reciting lots of salawat, learning more about his seerah, and increasing our knowledge of his habits (in order to take them on). One of the habits of The Prophet ﷺ was fasting during the month of Sha'ban: it is reported that The Prophet ﷺ used to fast most of the month in Sha'ban except the last few days of the month. These fasts are supererogatory (nafl).
The Prophet ﷺ was once asked why he fasted so much in the month of Sha'ban, he replied: "It is a month that people neglect, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which actions are raised to the Lord of the Worlds and I love for my actions to be raised while I am fasting." [Ahmad & Nisai]
In this month, Allah revealed the ayah commanding salawat.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O you who believe! Call down blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. (33:56)
The ayah shows us the elevated status of The Prophet ﷺ: even Allah and the Angels send their blessings on The Prophet ﷺ. In Arabic, the term salat has many meanings. The scholars hold various interpretations for what it means in this verse, many say that when salat is attributed to Allah Most High, it refers to His mercy. When it is attributed to the angels, it means du’a. When it is attributed to the believers, it refers to making supplication for Allah’s blessings and mercy.
The Dala'il Al Khayrat is a compilation of salawat, so reading the book allows us to fulfill this Divine command and attain closeness to His Messenger ﷺ, according to the hadith:
He ﷺ said, ‘The person closest to me on the Day of Judgement is the one who sent the most blessings (salawat) upon me’. (Tirmidhi)
In addition to fulfilling the Divine command, there are many virtues of salawat, including: blessings from Allah, helping acceptance of du'a, forgiveness of sins, blessings in the hereafter and many more. Insha'Allah we'll explore these further in a later issue.
Source: Muslim Hands, MuslimMatters, Muslimacoaching