The Six Day Fast of Shawwal

Just before you all get too relaxed and forget about fasting till next Ramadan, there is still the six day fast of Shawwal. Fasting six days of Shawwal after the obligatory fast of Ramadaan is Sunnah. It is recommended for the Muslims to fast six days of Shawwal, and in this there is great virtue of 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 (PBUH). Abu Ayyoob (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days of Shawwal, 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 (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.” (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.” Fasting six days of Shawwal after fasting Ramadan makes it as if one has fasted for an entire year of obligatory fasts, because the multiplication of the reward applies even to non obligatory fasts, because each good deed brings the reward of ten like it. Another of 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/her fasting. On the Day of Resurrection, some of his deeds will be taken to make up the shortcomings in his obligatory deeds, as the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The first thing for which people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be their salah (prayers). Our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, will say to His angels – ‘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 (naafil) 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.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood). Anyone who missed some fasts during the Ramadan, should first complete those ones missed before commencing the Shawwal fast. There is no reward for fasting six days of Shawwal for the one who must make up some fast(s) from Ramadan, except that s/he makes up the days missed, then fasts the six days of Shawwal. And Allah knows best.

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