The sacred month of Ramadan has just passed allowing us to win rewards and increase faith and belief in Allah (SWT). It offers us an opportunity to practise the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) like Taraweeh, recitation of Quran and I’tikaaf. However, we should ask ourselves if we continue to practice these highly rewarded Sunnah after Ramadan. The end of Ramadan does not mean that we stop doing good deeds. In fact, one of the main motives of this sacred month is the continuity and imbibing of these Sunnah in our habits throughout the year.
Shawwal is the tenth month of the Islamic calendar with Eid Al-Fitr being the first day of Shawwal. Fasting on Eid-Al-Fitr is prohibited but there are six days of voluntary fasting during Shawwal which if kept together with the Ramadan fasts, are equivalent to fasting for an entire year. It is recommended to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal and we should make the most of this opportunity to acquire an enormous reward from Allah (SWT).
Also Read: Spiritual Purpose of Fasting in Ramadhan
Is it Sunnah to Fast for 6 Days in Shawwal?
Fasting for six days during Shawwal is another Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) that holds enormous virtues and rewards. Allah (SWT) promises the forgiveness of past sins for the one who fasts during the entire month of Ramadan. The Prophet says that completing six-day fasts of Shawwal is same as fasting a whole year. In the light of hadith, Abu Ayyub (R.A.) narrates that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said,
“Whoever fasts Ramadan, then follows it with six from Shawwal, then that is (equal in reward) to fasting every day.” (Tirmidhi 759)
The six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal will complement the deficiencies and shortcomings found during the fasting month of Ramadan. According to an opinion of scholars, it fills the gap of any fast that was missed in the month of Ramadan due to valid reasons. A person who has completed Ramadan fast should also fast six days after Eid-ul-Fitr. He can continue his fast immediately or fast on any day consecutively or alternately throughout the month of Shawwal.
Hadith Regarding 6 Days of Fasting in Shawwal
Fasting six days of Shawwal after the obligatory fast of Ramadan is Sunnah Mustahab which means you will be highly rewarded for it but there is no harm if omitted. Keeping in mind the virtue of fasting six days of Shawwal, it is recommended to fast six days of Shawwal to earn immense rewards. Whoever fasts these six days will be rewarded by Allah (SWT) as if he had fasted a whole year, as was reported in a Sahih hadith from the Prophet (PBUH). Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari relates that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) says:
“Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, it will be as if he had fasted the year through.” (Sahih Muslim, 1163)
The Prophet (PBUH) explained this when he said:
“Whoever fasts for six days after (‘Eid) Al-Fitr has completed the year: (whoever does a good deed (hasanah) will have ten hasanah like it).”
According to another report:
“Allah has made for each hasanah ten like it, so a month is like fasting ten months, and fasting six days completes the year.” [An-Nisa’i and Ibn Majah].
It was also narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah:
“Fasting for the month of Ramadan brings the reward of ten like it, and fasting for six days brings the reward of two months, and that is the fasting of the whole year.”
Thawban (RA) reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The fast of Ramadan is like observing 10 months of fasting. Fasting six days of Shawwal is like observing two months of fasting. This together is like fasting throughout the year.” (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, Sunan Al-Nasai Al-Kubra)
People can also make up for their missed fasts by fasting during the month of Shawwal. As far as the opinion of scholars is concerned, there is nothing wrong in making the intention of fasting the missed days of obligatory fasting in Ramadan as well as the optional six days of Shawwal. However, according to one opinion of the Muslim scholars, it is better to make up for the missed fasts separately from fasting the six days of Shawwal to earn the extra reward.
For those people who want to combine two intentions, one should principally make an intention of Qadha, i.e. making up for the missed obligatory fasts. As a secondary intention, one may keep in mind that the fasting is in the month of Shawwal. By doing this, one may hope that the missed fasts are made up as well as the rewards of fasting in Shawwal are also achieved. However, it is important that the main intention while keeping the fast is of making-up the missed obligatory fasts.
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