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Rewards of Fasting 6 Days in Shawwal

As the crescent moon heralds the end of Ramadan, Muslims around the globe celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a day of joy and feasting. However, the spiritual journey does not end there. The Islamic tradition encourages the continuation of good deeds beyond Ramadan, particularly through the fasting of 6 days in the month of Shawwal. This practice, while not obligatory, is highly recommended and comes with immense rewards.

The Hadith and Its Implications

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever fasts Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, it will be as if they have fasted the year through”. This hadith, found in Sahih Muslim, lays the foundation for the practice and highlights the immense reward attached to it. The logic behind this reward is based on the Islamic principle that good deeds are rewarded tenfold. Therefore, fasting for 30 days in Ramadan is akin to fasting for 300 days, and adding 6 days of Shawwal equates to an additional 60 days, totaling a full lunar year.

The Practice of Fasting in Shawwal

Flexibility in Observance

Muslims can choose any 6 days within Shawwal to fast, except the first day of Eid al-Fitr, when fasting is prohibited. The days do not need to be consecutive, providing flexibility and ease for those who undertake this practice.

Intention and Consistency

The intention behind fasting these 6 days should be to seek the pleasure of Allah and to thank Him for the ability to fast during Ramadan. Consistency in good deeds is highly valued in Islam, and fasting in Shawwal is a means to maintain the spiritual discipline developed during Ramadan.

Combining Intentions

For those who missed some fasts during Ramadan, it is permissible to combine the intention of making up missed fasts with the Sunnah fasts of Shawwal. However, performing both separately is considered greater in reward.

Physical and Spiritual Benefits

Health Benefits

Fasting is known to have various health benefits, including improved brain function, weight management, and better digestion. The 6 days of fasting in Shawwal can contribute to these benefits while also helping to moderate the feasting that often occurs during Eid celebrations.

Spiritual Growth

Fasting in Shawwal is a means to continue the spiritual growth that began in Ramadan. It helps to keep the soul nourished with piety and remembrance of Allah, fostering a continued sense of mindfulness and devotion.

A Sign of Acceptance

Continuing to perform acts of worship after Ramadan is seen as a sign that one’s deeds during the holy month have been accepted. It is a hopeful indication that the fasts and prayers of Ramadan were sincere and pleasing to Allah.

Conclusion

Fasting 6 days in Shawwal is a practice that offers a multitude of rewards, both in this world and the hereafter. It is an opportunity for Muslims to show gratitude for the blessings of Ramadan, to seek further closeness to Allah, and to maintain the spiritual momentum gained during the holy month. As we navigate through Shawwal, let us embrace this Sunnah with the hope of reaping its promised rewards and carrying forward the spirit of Ramadan throughout the year.

FAQs

Is it obligatory to fast the 6 days of Shawwal?
No, fasting for six days in Shawwal is not obligatory. It is a recommended Sunnah, which means it is a voluntary practice that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) performed and encouraged Muslims to perform due to its great virtue and the rewards associated with it.

What is the reward for fasting 6 days in Shawwal?
The reward for fasting 6 days in Shawwal, along with fasting in Ramadan, is likened to fasting for an entire year. This is based on the hadith where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days from Shawwal, then that is (equal in reward) to fasting every day”.

When should we start fasting for 6 days in Shawwal?
Fasting on the day of Eid (1st Shawwal) is prohibited. Therefore, one can start fasting the 6 days anytime during the month of Shawwal after Eid al-Fitr.

Can the 6 days be fasted non-consecutively?
Yes, the 6 days of Shawwal can be fasted consecutively or separately throughout the month, as per the individual’s convenience. However, it is prohibited to single out Fridays for fasting unless one fasts the day before or after as well.

Can we combine our missed fasts with the 6 days of fasting in Shawwal?
No, the intentions for the missed obligatory fasts of Ramadan and the voluntary fasts of Shawwal cannot be combined. This is because the obligatory fasts and the voluntary Shawwal fasts are distinct.

Can we fast on Fridays in Shawwal?
Fasting solely on Fridays is discouraged unless one also fasts the day before or the day after. This is based on the hadith where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised against fasting only on Fridays.

What if one spends the entire month of Shawwal making up for missed Fard fasts?
If one takes the whole month of Shawwal to make up for missed obligatory fasts, one cannot observe the voluntary Shawwal fasts in the following month (Dhu al-Qi’dah). The 6 voluntary Shawwal fasts must be observed within the month of Shawwal itself.

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