The virtue of fasting six days of Shawwaal


Fasting six days of Shawwaal after the obligatory fast of Ramadaan is Sunnah Mustahabbah, not waajib. It is recommended for the Muslim to fast six days of Shawwaal, and in this there is great virtue and an immense reward. Whoever fasts these six days will have recorded for him a reward as if he had fasted a whole year, as was reported in a saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Abu Ayyoob ((may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Whoever fasts Ramadaan and follows it with six days of Shawwaal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.”(Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawood, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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:

“Allaah has made for each hasanah ten like it, so a month is like fasting ten months, and fasting six days completes the year.”(al-Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah. See also Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, 1/421).

It was also narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah with the wording:

“Fasting for the month of Ramadaan 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.”

The Hanbali and Shaafa’i fuqaha’ explained that fasting six days of Shawwaal after fasting Ramadaan makes it as if one has fasted for an entire year of obligatory fasts, because the multiplication of the reward applies even to naafil fasts, because each hasanah brings the reward of ten like it.

Another of the important benefits of fasting six days of Shawwaal is that is makes up for any shortfall in a person's obligatory Ramadaan fasts, because no one is free of shortcomings or sins that have a negative effect on his fasting. On the Day of Resurrection, some of his naafil deeds will be taken to make up the shortcomings in his obligatory deeds, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“The first thing for which people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be their salaah (prayer). Our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, will say to His angels – although He knows best – ‘Look at the salaah of My slave, whether it is complete or incomplete.’ If it is perfect, it will be recorded as perfect, and if something is lacking, He will say, ‘Look and see whether My slave did any voluntary (naafil) prayers.’ If he did some voluntary prayers, [Allaah] will say, ‘Complete the obligatory actions of My slave from his voluntary actions.’ Then all his actions will be dealt with in a similar manner.”(Narrated by Abu Dawood).



 

When should a Muslim start fasting six days of Shawwaal?

You can start fasting six days of Shawwaal from the second day of Shawwaal, because it is haraam to fast on the day of Eid. You can fast the six days at any time during Shawwaal, although the best of good deeds are those which are done soonest.

The standing committee received the following question:

Should fasting the six days be done immediately after Ramadaan, following the day of Eid or is it permissible to do it a few days after Eid in the month of Shawwaal or not?

They replied as follows:

These days do not have to be fasted immediately after Eid al-Fitr; it is permissible to start fasting them one or more days after Eid, and they may be done consecutively or separately during the month of Shawwaal, according to what is easier for a person. There is plenty of room for maneuver in this matter, and this is not obligatory, it is Sunnah.

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions and grant them peace.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/391




Do the six days of Shawwaal have to be fasted consecutively?

It is not a necessary condition that they should be fasted consecutively. If you fast them separately or consecutively, it is OK. The sooner you do them, the better, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):

so compete in good deeds[al-Maaidah 5:48]

And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord[Aal Imran 3:133]

[Moosa peace be upon him said:] and I hastened to You, O my Lord, that You might be pleased[Ta-Ha 20:84]

And (you should hasten to fast these six days) because delaying may cause problems. This is the view of the Shaafa is and some of the Hanbalis, but it is OK if you do not hasten it and you delay it until the middle or end of the month.

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Our companions said: it is mustahabb to fast six days of Shawwaal. Because of this hadeeth they said: it is mustahabb to fast these days consecutively at the beginning of Shawwaal, but if one separates them or delays them until after Shawwaal, this is permissible, because he will still be following the general guidelines of the hadeeth. We have no dispute regarding this matter, and this was also the view of Ahmad and Dawood.

Al-Majmoo Sharh al-Muhadhdhab





Should he start with the six days of Shawwaal before making up missed fasts

Fasting six days of Shawwaal is dependent upon having completed the Ramadaan fast, according to the correct view. This is indicated by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

“Whoever fasts Ramadaan then follows it with six days of Shawwaal, it will be as if he fasted a lifetime.”Narrated by Muslim, 1164.

The conjunction thumma (then) indicates that this must be done in this order. This indicates that the fast of Ramadaan must be completed first (by observing the Ramadaan fast and making up any missed fasts), then after that one may fast the six days of Shawwaal, so as to attain the reward mentioned in the hadeeth.

The one who still owes missed Ramadaan fasts is said to have fasted part of Ramadaan; we cannot say that he has fasted Ramadaan.

But if a person has an excuse that kept him from fasting the six days of Shawwaal in Shawwaal because he had to make up missed fasts – such as a woman who was bleeding followed childbirth and spent all of Shawwaal making up for Ramadaan – then she may fast six days of Shawwaal in Dhu’l-Qa’dah, because she was excused. Similarly for anyone who has an excuse it is prescribed to make up the six days of Shawwaal in Dhu’l-Qa’dah, after making up the missed Ramadaan fasts. But the one who lets the month of Shawwaal go by without fasting these days and with no excuse, will not attain this reward.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked:

What if a woman owes days from Ramadaan – is it permissible for her to give precedence to fasting the six days of Shawwaal over making up the days she owes, or should she give priority to the days she owes over fasting the six days of Shawwaal?

He replied:

If a woman still owes days from Ramadaan, then she should not fast the six days of Shawwaal until after she has made up what she owes, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadaan then follows it with six days of Shawwaal…” Whoever still has days to make up from Ramadaan has not fasted Ramadaan, so she will not attain the reward of fasting the six days of Shawwaal until after she has finished making up the days she owes. If we assume that this making up missed fasts lasts throughout Shawwaal, such as if a woman was bleeding following childbirth and did not fast at all in Ramadaan, then she started to make up her missed fasts in Shawaal and did not finish that until Dhu’l-Qa’dah began, then she may fast the six days, and she will have the reward of one who fasted them in Shawwaal, because she delayed it for a necessary reason, so she will have the reward.

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 20/19. See also questions no. 4082 and 7863.

In addition to that, it is obligatory to make up missed fasts for the one who had an excuse, indeed that is part of this pillar of Islam. Based on this, hastening to do it and to discharge this duty takes priority over doing actions that are mustahabb. See question no. 23429.

Remaining Steadfast After Ramadaan

Shaykh Saleh al-Fouzan


Sufyaan ibn `Abdillaah radhiallahu `anhu said: "O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islaam, which I cannot ask anyone else besides you." He (Sallallahu Alayhi wasallam) said: "Say: 'I believe in Allah' and then be steadfast (upon that)." [Saheeh Muslim (38)]

The hadeeth is proof that the servant is obligated, after having emaan in Allah, to persevere and be steadfast upon obeying Him by performing the obligatory acts and avoiding the prohibited ones. This is achieved by following the Straight Path, which is the firm Religion without drifting away from it, to the right or to the left.

If the Muslim lives through Ramadhaan and spent his days in fasting and his nights in prayer and he accustomed himself to doing acts of good, then he must continue to remain upon this obedience to Allah at all times.

This is the true state of the slave, for indeed, the Lord of the months is One and He is ever watchful and witnessing over his servants at all times.

Indeed, steadfastness after Ramadhaan and the rectification of one's statements and actions are the greatest signs that one has gained benefit from the month of Ramadhaan and striven in obedience. They are tokens of reception and signs of success.

Furthermore, the deeds of a servant do not come to an end with the end of a month and the beginning of another, rather they continue and extend until he reaches death.

Allah says:  "And worship your Lord until the certainty (death) comes to you." [al-Hijr: 99]


If the fasting of Ramadhaan comes to an end, then indeed the voluntary fasting is still prescribed throughout the entire year. If standing in prayer at night during Ramadhaan comes to an end, then indeed, the entire year is a time for performing the night prayer. And if the Zakaat-ul-Fitr comes to an end, then there is still the Zakaah that is obligatory as well as the voluntary charity that lasts the whole year. This goes the same for reciting the Qur'aan and pondering over its meaning as well as every other righteous deed that is sought, for they can be done at all times.

From the many bounties that Allah has bestowed upon his servants is that He has placed for them many different types of righteous acts and provided many means for doing good deeds. Therefore, the ardor and zeal of the Muslim must be constant and he must continue to remain in the service of his Lord.

It is unfortunate to find that some people perform worship by doing different types of righteous deeds during Ramadhaan.

They guard strictly upon their five daily prayers in the masjid, they recite the Qur'aan a lot and they give in charity from their wealth. But when Ramadhaan comes to an end, they grow lazy in their worship. Rather, sometimes they even abandon the obligations, both generally, such as praying in congregation, and specifically, such as praying the fajr prayer.

And they commit forbidden acts such as sleeping over the time of prayers, indulging in places of foolishness and entertainment, and mingling in parks, especially on the day of `Eid.

Obtaining help from these evils is only through the grace of Allah.

Thus, they demolish what they have constructed and destroy what they have established. This is an indication of deprivation and a sign of perdition.

We ask Allah for His safeguarding and protection. (Aameen)

Indeed, this type of people take the example of turning in repentance and ceasing from committing evil deeds as something specific and restricted to the month of Ramadhaan.

And they stop doing these (good) acts when the month stops.

Thus, it is as if they have abandoned sinning for the sake of Ramadhaan, and not out of fear of Allah. How evil are these people who do not know Allah, except in Ramadhaan!

Truly, the success that Allah grants His servant lies in the fasting of Ramadhaan. His assisting him to do that is a great favor, thus the calls for the servant to be grateful to his Lord.

This understanding can be found in the statement of Allah after completing the favor of the month of fasting:

"(He wants that you) must complete the same number of days, and that you must magnify Allah (by saying Allahu Akbar) for having guided you, so that you may be grateful to Him." [2:185]

The one who is grateful for having fasted, will remain upon that condition and continue to perform righteous deeds.

Verily, the true way of the Muslim is that of one who praises and thanks his Lord for giving him the ability to fast and make qiyaam. His condition after Ramadhaan is better than it was before Ramadhaan. He is more receptive to obey, desiring to do good deeds and quick to enforce the obligatory acts. This is because he has gained benefit from this prominent institute of learning. It is that of one who fears for having his fast not accepted, for indeed Allah only accepts from those who fear Him.

The righteous predecessors would struggle to complete and perfect their deeds, hoping afterwards, that it would be accepted and fearing that it would be rejected.

From the reports of `Ali (radhiallahu `anhu), "Be more concerned with having your deeds accepted than the deed itself. Did you not hear Allah say: 'Verily Allah, only accepts those from those who fear Him. (i.e. possess taqwaa).' [5:27]" [Lataa'if ul Ma`aarif, p. 246]

`Aa'ishah (radhiallahu `anhu) said: "I asked the Messenger of Allah concerning the ayah: 'And the one who are given what they are given and their hearts tremble with fear.' Are they the ones who drink alcohol and steal?" He (Sallallahu Alayhi wasallam) said: "No, o daughter of as-Siddeeq. Rather, they are the ones who fast and pray and give in charity yet fear that it won't be accepted from them. They are the ones who rush to do good deeds and they are the first to do them." [Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhee 3/79-80]

So be warned and again be warned of turning backward after having attained guidance of going astray after persevering. And ask Allah to provide you with duration in doing righteous deeds and continuity in performing good acts. And ask Allah that He grant you a good end, so that He may accept our Ramadhaan from us.

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