Fasting 6 Days of Shawal

The Prophetﷺ  used to fast frequently before and after the highly blessed period of Ramadan, especially after Eid ul-Fitr.

“مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَهُ سِتًّا مِنْ شَوَّالٍ كَانَ كَصِيَامِ الدَّهْرِ “

“Whoever fasts Ramadan, then follows it with six days (of fasting) of Shawwal, it is as if he fasted the entire year”

This hadith illustrates that the Prophetﷺ  has encouraged us to observe six nafl (non obligatory) sawm (fasts) of Shawwal after the obligatory ones in Ramadan. He ﷺ  also informed us that fasting for Ramadan and then following it with six days of fasting in Shawwal after Eid-ul-Fitr is equavalent to fasting for the entire year. On another account, the Messenger ﷺ  is reported by Thawban (RA) to have said:

“The fast of Ramadan is like observing ten 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]

This hadith illustrates the importance of fasting in the month of Shawwal. Most importantly, by fasting only six days of Shawwal after fasting the whole month of Ramadan, one can gain the massive reward of fasting for an entire year by just these six fasts.

Virtues of Fasting in Shawwal:

  • Every effort made in the way of Allah brings one closer to Him, which ultimately results in purification of heart and soul.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ وَجَاهِدُوا فِي سَبِيلِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

“O you who have believed, fear Allah and seek the means [of nearness] to Him and strive in His cause that you may succeed.”
[Al-Ma’ida: 35]

  • It shows humblness and gratefulness to Allah (SWT) for all the blessings.

يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

“… Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.”
[Al-Baqara: 185]

  • It is a reflection of the positive effects that fasting in Ramadan has had on an individual. After a month-long struggle of bearing hunger and thirst for the sake of the Most Beneficent, returning to the same routine albeit for a much shorter period after Eid highlights the fact that this individual has succeeded in making his efforts during Ramadan acceptable to Allah (SWT) and is on the right path.

Question and Answers to some relevant queries reagrding the Shawwal fasting:

Qs: Is it preferable to observe the six fasts of shawwal together in succession or separately?

Ans: We have the whole month of Shawwal available to us for oberving these six fasts, hence we can observe them together or separately as well.

Qs: Those individuals who have missed out on obligatory fasts in Ramadan (due to an illness or some other Shariah-permitted excuse), can they also observe these nafl (non- obligatory) fasts in Shawwal?

Ans: Such individuals must first make up for their obligatory fasts missed during the month of Ramadan, and only then can they observe these six non-obligatory fasts of Shawwal.

Qs: When is the intention for these fasts made?

Ans: Regarding the niyyat (intention) for these nafl fasts. Because this is a nafl fast, the  intention for it can also be made after fajr till the time of zawal.