REFERENCE: Fasting six days of Shawwal
We have received many questions about fasting in Shawwal. So here are some guidelines that will cover your questions insha'Allah
Shawwal is the Islamic month that is immediately after Ramadan, the first day being ‘Eid al-Fitr.
What is the ruling on fasting six days of Shawwal? Is it wajib (obligatory)?
Fasting six days of Shawwal after the obligatory fast of Ramadan is Sunnah Mustahabbah, not wajib. It is recommended for the Muslim to fast six days of Shawwal, and in this there is great virtue and an 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 sahih hadith from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Abu Ayyub (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Whoever fasts Ramadhan and follows it with six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.”(Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nisa'i and Ibn Majah)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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.” [An-Nisa'i and Ibn Majah.]
The Hanbali and Shafi'i fuqaha’ explained that 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 nafil fasts, because each hasanah 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 fasting. On the Day of Resurrection, some of his nafil deeds will be taken to make up the shortcomings in his obligatory deeds, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“The first thing for which people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be their salah (prayer). 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.”
Narrated by Abu Dawud
When should a Muslim start fasting six days of Shawwal? When can I start fasting six days of Shawwal, since we have annual leave right now?
You can start fasting six days of Shawwal from the second day of Shawwal, because it is haram to fast on the day of 'Eid. You can fast the six days at any time during Shawwal, although the best of good deeds are those which are done soonest.
Should fasting the six days be done immediately after Ramadan, following the day of 'Eid or is it permissible to do it a few days after 'Eid in the month of Shawwal or not?
These days do not have to be fasted immediately after 'Eid al-Fitr; it is permissible to start fasting them one or more days after 'Eid, and they may be done consecutively or separately during the month of Shawwal, according to what is easier for a person. There is plenty of room for maneuver in this matter, and this is not obligatory, it is Sunnah.
Do the six days of Shawwal have to be fasted consecutively?
With regard to the six days of Shawwal after Ramadan, is it a condition that they should be fasted consecutively, or can I separate them?
It is not a necessary condition that they should be fasted consecutively. If you fast them separately or consecutively, it is OK. The sooner you do them, the better, because Allah says (interpretation of the meanings):
“So compete in good deeds.”(Al-Qur'an 5:48)
“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord.”(Al-Qur'an 3:133)
“[Musa - peace be upon him - said:] … and I hastened to You, O my Lord, that You might be pleased.” )Al-Qur'an 20:84)
Can a person start fasting six days of Shawwal when he still has days to make up from Ramadan?
The precise rewards for the deeds which people do for the sake of Allah is something which is known only to Allah. If a person seeks the reward from Allah and strives to obey Him, his reward will not be lost, as Allah says:
“We shall not make the reward of anyone who does his (righteous) deeds in the most perfect manner to be lost.” (Al-Qur'an 18:30)
There are different opinions about this matter.
Majority of the scholars say that If someone has missed some of the days of Ramadan, he should fast them FIRST, then fast six days of Shawwal.
However, some scholars say that many of the companions would delay their Ramadan fasts until the month of Sh’aban. The proof for this is :
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her): “It happens that I have to make up days of Ramadan and I will not make up (these days) but in Sh’aban.” (Imam Muslim)
We recommend to fast the missed days of Ramadan first and fast the 6 days of Shawwal
And Allah knows best