FATĀWĀ FROM THE SCHOLARS REGARDING FASTING THE SIX DAYS OF SHAWWĀL
THE RULING ON FASTING THE SIX DAYS OF SHAWWĀL
Question: is there any excellence in fasting six days during the month of Shawwāl, and should these days be fasted separately or consecutively?
Answer: Yes, there is excellence in fasting six days of the month of Shawwāl, as mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet (ﷺ):
“Whoever fasts [the month of] Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwāl will be (rewarded) as if he had fasted a lifetime.” (Saheeh Muslim (8/56) )
A person should remain mindful that this excellence can only be achieved as long as he completes the fast of the whole of Ramadan. Therefore, if a person has Ramadan fasts to be made up then he should first make up those days and then fast the six days. If a person fasts these six days of
Shawwāl without making up the fasts he missed in Ramadan, he will not attain this reward because the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever fasts [the month of] Ramadan and then follows it…” It is said about the person who has days to make up from Ramadan that he has fasted some of
Ramadan but it cannot be said that he fasted Ramadan.
It is permissible for him to fast the days separately or consecutively but it is preferable to fast them consecutively because it is a part of hastening to do good and prevents falling into procrastination which may lead to not fasting them at all.
THE BENEFIT OF FASTING THE SIX DAYS OF SHAWWĀL
Question: What is the ruling on fasting the six days of Shawwāl? Are these days obligatory to fast?
Answer: Fasting the six days of Shawwāl, after fasting the mandatory fast of Ramadan, is a recommended Sunnah and not obligatory. It is prescribed for the Muslim to fast six days of Shawwāl, and in fasting these six days there is a tremendous benefit and great reward. The one
who fasts these six days will have a reward recorded for him as if he had fasted the entire year, as was authentically reported from the Prophet (ﷺ). Abu Ayyub reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,
Ibn Khuzaymah also narrated it with the wording, “Fasting for the month of Ramadan gives ten-fold in reward and fasting six days yields the
reward of two months, and that is the fasting of the whole year.”
The Fuqahā from the Hanbalis and the Shāfi’ees have made it clear that fasting the six days of Shawwāl after Ramadan is equal to fasting the obligatory fast for the whole year because the increase in reward also applies to the optional fasts since every good has the reward of ten.
Also, from the important benefits of fasting the six days of Shawwāl is that they compensate for the shortcomings in our obligatory fasts during Ramadan. And that is because no person who fasts is free of shortcomings or sins that have a detrimental effect on his fasting. Thus, on the Day of
Resurrection the optional fasts will make up for any shortcomings in the obligatory fasts, just as the Prophet (ﷺ) said,
THE WHOLE MONTH OF SHAWWĀL CAN BE USED TO FAST THE SIX DAYS
Question: Is it permissible for a person to choose any six days during Shawwāl or are these six days of fasting identified? And if he fasts them, does it become an obligation?
Answer: It has been established that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,
These six days are not specific days in the month. Rather, the believer can choose any six days during this month. And so if he likes, he can fast the beginning days, the middle or the end days – and if he wishes he can fast them separately or consecutively. The matter is broad in scope, and all
praise is for Allah. If, however, he hastens to fast these days at the beginning of the month then this is better for him because it falls under hastening to do good. It is not obligatory for him to fast these days. He can choose any year to leave them; however, remaining consistent in fasting these days is better and more perfect, due to the Prophet’s (ﷺ) statement:
IT IS NOT A CONDITION TO FAST THE SIX DAYS OF SHAWWĀL CONSECUTIVELY
Question: Is it a must to fast the six days of Shawwāl consecutively or is there no harm in fasting them separately?
Answer: Fasting the six days of Shawwāl is a verified Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), and it is permissible to fast them consecutively or separately because Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) spoke generally about fasting them and he did not specify whether they should be fasted consecutively or
separately. He said,
SHOULD A WOMAN MAKE UP HER FASTS FOR RAMADAN FIRST OR FAST THE SIX DAYS OF SHAWWĀL?
Question: With respect to fasting the six days of Shawwāl after Eid, should a woman make up the fasts she missed due to her menses and then fast the six days?
Answer: If she wants the reward mentioned in the hadith: “Whoever fasts [the month of] Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwāl will be (rewarded) as if he had fasted the entire year,” then she first must make up the fasts of Ramadan and then fast the six days of Shawwāl so that the hadith applies to her and the reward that is mentioned therein.
Speaking from the angle of permissibility, it is permissible for her to delay the days she has to make up as long as she makes them up before the next Ramadan.
IS IT PRESCRIBED FOR A PERSON TO FAST THE SIX DAYS OF SHAWWĀL IF HE STILL HAD DAYS TO MAKE UP?
Question: If a person fasts the six days of Shawwāl but he did not complete Ramadan because he never fasted for ten days based on a legitimate reason, will he have the same reward of fasting a lifetime that is given to the person who fasts the month of Ramadan and then the six days of Shawwāl?
Answer: Determining the exact reward that Allah will give to His slaves is only known to Allah. However, if a slave seeks the reward of Allah and strives in His obedience, his reward will never be lost, as stated by Allah Himself:
The one who has days to be made up from Ramadan must fast them first and then he can fast the six days of Shawwāl. This is because the reward of following up the fasts of Ramadan with six days of Shawwāl cannot be confirmed for him unless he completed the fast of Ramadan. With Allah is success, and may the salutations of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his household and his Companions.
WHEN SHOULD A MUSLIM START FASTING THE SIX DAYS OF SHAWWĀL?
Question: When can I start to fast the six days of Shawwāl since I have holiday entitlement right now?
Answer: Fasting the six days of Shawwāl can begin from the 2nd of Shawwāl because it is forbidden to fast of the day of Eid (1st of Shawwāl). You can fast any six days of Shawwāl you wish, however the best of good deeds are those that are done sooner than later.
The Permanent Committee was asked the following question: Should the fast of the six days of Shawwāl be done immediately after the day of Eid or is it permissible to fast them consecutively a few days after Eid or not?
Answer: He does not have to fast them immediately after the day of Eid. Rather, it is permissible for him to start fasting them the day after Eid or some days after Eid consecutively or separately during the month of Shawwāl, according to whatever is easier for him. The matter is broad in
scope, and it is not an obligation; it is a Sunnah. With Allah is success, and may the salutations of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his household and his Companions.
IS FASTING THE SIX DAYS OF SHAWWĀL DISLIKED, AS STATED BY SOME OF THE SCHOLARS?
Question: What is your view regarding fasting six days of Shawwal after Ramadan? Apparently, it says in the Muwatta’ of Imam Mālik that Imam Mālik ibn Anas said about fasting the six days of Shawwāl that no one from the people of knowledge or Fiqh fasted them and that no report of fasting them from the Salaf had reached him, and that the scholars disliked the practice and feared that it was an innovation, and that something has been associated with Ramadan that is actually not a part of it. The quote can be found in al-Muwatta’ (1/228).
Answer: It has been verified through Abu Ayyub that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,
So this authentic hadith proves that fasting the six days of Shawwāl is a Sunnah. Ash-Shāfi’ee, Ahmed and a contingency of scholars acted in accordance with this hadith. It is incorrect to oppose this hadith based on the reasoning used by some scholars. For example, it is feared that the ignorant person might think that these days are a part of Ramadan, or that it is obligatory to fast these days, or that he is unaware of any scholar before him fasting these six days. This is all speculation which should not be used to oppose the Sunnah. Those who have knowledge of something serve as a proof against those who know not. And with Allah is success. (al-Lajna ad-Dā’imah lil Buhooth al-Ilmiyyah wal Iftā’ (10/389))
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