The Sunnah Of Fasting Six Days Of Shawwal

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

'Abdur-Rahman ibn Fahd Al Wad'an Al Dusary

Abu Ayyub (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "He who observes fasting in the month of Ramadan, and also observes fasting for six days in the month of Shawwal, it is as if he has observed fasting for the whole year ." [Reported by Muslim in the book of fasting, chapter on the desirability to fast six days of Shawwal after Ramadan 2/822 (1164)].

There are some benefits taken from this Hadith:

The first benefit is: Of the mercy of Allah (Glory be to Him) with His Servants is that He ordained for them voluntary acts of worship along with every obligatory act of worship of the same type to make up for the shortage or negligence that has fallen therein. Of these voluntary acts of worship is the fasting of six days of Shawwal which is a Sunnah to which the Prophet (peace be upon him) exhorted and explained its virtue. Fasting six days of Shawwal is like the voluntary Salah which makes up for obligatory ones, so we should be keen to observe that fasting. Moreover, we have to encourage our wives, children, brothers, and friends to observe it to gain the reward of fasting an entire year. On the other hand, the one who keeps to it will have the reward of fasting perpetually out of Allah's Bounty and Mercy with the nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) where he expanded the scope of reward for it even if the deeds are few.

The second benefit is: The Hadith indicates that it is permissible to fast some days of Shawwal whether they are separated or continuous and whether they are in the beginning or at the end. Hastening to righteous actions is always desirable, therefore many scholars preferred to fast the first days of Shawwal and fasting them continuously to avoid any reason that may prevents man from fasting them.

The third benefit is: Of the issues related to the fasting of six days of Shawwal are the following:

1- This great reward is not granted but for those who make up for the missed days of Ramadan then fast six days of Shawwal. So, whoever has broken his fast during Ramadan due to travel, sickness, or menstruation for women should start making up for the missed days first then starts to fast six days of Shawwal. [See Lata'if Al Ma'arif, P. 397].

2- Some people think that whoever observes that voluntary fasting one year should fast every year, so they neglect to fast these days so as not to become incumbent upon them to fast thereafter. This piece of information is null and void , and none of scholars can state that because there is no proof to that, but it is just obsessions in the mind of those people in order not to apply this honorable Sunnah .

3- Whoever starts to fast the six days of Shawwal then something comes up to break his fast, there is no harm because it is permissible to interrupt the voluntary fasting unlike the case of Sawm Al Qada' (fasting which is made as a compensation for obligatory fasting or as a penance). So, if someone starts this kind of fasting, it is not permissible for him to interrupt it but for a legal excuse such as travelling or sickness .

4- It is valid to fast six days of Shawwal by recalling intention from the beginning of the day, so it is not a condition to recall intention at night because this fasting is voluntary which does not require an intention at night.

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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