Virtues of Fasting During Shawwal
Shawwal means ‘lift or carry.' Shawwal is the tenth month on the Lunar Islamic
calendar. The first day of Shawwal is Eid Al-Fitr. There are also six days of
fasting during Shawwal which, together with the Ramadan fasts, are equivalent
to fasting ''perpetually.''
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ''He who observed the fast of
Ramadan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal. It would be as if he
fasted perpetually.'' (Muslim)
The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first
crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11
to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Shawwal migrates throughout the
Beginning of the Ashur-Al-Haj
Shawwal is the first of the three months named as ''Ashur Al-Haj'' (i.e. the
months of Haj). Although the major acts of Haj are normally performed in the
first ten days of Dhul Haj, yet the whole period starting from the first of
Shawwal up to the 10th of Dhul-Haj is held to be the period of Haj because
some acts of Haj can be performed any time during this period. For example,
the Tawaf Al-Qudum, followed by the Sai' of Haj cannot be performed before
Shawwal, while it can be performed any day after the beginning of Shawwal.
Similarly, an Umrah performed before Shawwal cannot be treated as the Umrah of
Tamattu: While the Umrah performed in Shawwal can be affiliated to the Haj,
making it a Haj of Tamattu. Ihram of Haj should not be started before Shawwal,
because it makrooh. For these reasons these three months have been named as
the ‘months of Haj' and the month of Shawwal has the distinction of being the
first of these.
Virtues of fast for six days in Shawwal
It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. Muslims should
take this opportunity of acquiring such an enormous reward from Allah. It is
more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting
up to the 7th of it.
However, if, they are kept in other days, the requirement also be fulfilled.
The sooner you do them, the better.
Allah, the Exalted says: ''And march forth in the way (which leads to)
forgiveness from your Lord." (Qur'an, 3:133)
''I hastened to you, O my Lord, that you might be pleased.'' (Qur'an, 20:84)
Muslim should hasten to fast these six days of Shawwal because delaying may
cause problems, but there is no problem if you do not hasten it and you delay
it until the middle or end of the month.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ''He who fasts Ramadan, and six
of Shawwal, it will be (in terms of rewards) as if the fasted a whole year.''
(Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Muslim and Tirmidhi)
In commenting on the above-mentioned Hadith, As-Sananee said in Subul
us-Salaam: ''If the thirty days of Ramadan fasting are assimilated with the
six days of fasting in Shawwal, it altogether makes 36 days. According to
Shari'ah, each virtue is rewarded ten times. Therefore, if we multiply 36 with
10, it makes 360 which slightly longer than a lunar year and next Ramadan he
will fast again so it is as if he fasted his whole life.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ''If one keeps the fasts of
Ramadan throughout his life and keeps six consecutive fasts in Shawwal it will
be as though he has kept a whole life time of fasts, and if one fasts for six
consecutive days in Shawwal it will be as though he has fasted all year
Women should first make up her missed fasts from Ramadan due to her monthly
period and if she wants to earn the reward mentioned in the above Hadith, then
she should follow it with six days of Shawwal, and she will gain the reward
mentioned in it. It is also permissible for women to delay making up her
Ramadan fasts, as long as she makes them up before the next Ramadan comes.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ''The one, who fast in the
month of Ramadan and then during six days of Shawwal, is as purified of sins
as he was born just today.'' (Abu Dawud and Muslim)
Fasting six days of Shawwal after the obligatory fast of Ramadan is Sunnah
Mustahab, not wajib.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 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.'' (Al-Nisaa'i, Ibn Majah and Targheeb Wal
Benefits of fasting in Shawwal
The important benefits of fasting six days of Shawwal is that is makes up for
any shortfall in a person's obligatory Ramadan 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 nafil deeds will be taken to make up the
shortcomings in his obligatory deeds.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ''The first thing for which
people will be brought to account on the day of resurrection will be their
Our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, will say to his angels — although
He knows best – ‘look at the salah 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 (nafil) prayers.' if he did some voluntary prayers, [Allah] 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.'' (Abu Dawud).