Fasting six days of Shawwal
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
What is the ruling on fasting six days of Shawwal? Is it wajib (obligatory)?
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful ;
All the praise and thanks are due to Allah; May Peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger.
Fasting six days of Shawwal after the obligatory fast of Ramadhan 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,(Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam).
Abu Ayyub (radiallāhu`anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah, (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam), said:
“Whoever fasts Ramdhan and follows it with six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.”
[Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidzi, al-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah].
The Prophet,(Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam), 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 hadith: “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-Nisa’i and Ibn Majah. See also Sahih al-Targhib wa’l-Tarheb, 1/421]
It was also narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah with the wording:
“Fasting for the month of Ramadhan 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.”
The Hanbali and Shafi’es fuqaha’ explained that fasting six days of Shawal 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 naafil 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 Ramadhan 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 naafil deeds will be taken to make up the shortcomings in his obligatory deeds, as the Prophet, (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam ) , said:
“The first thing for which people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be their salaah (prayer). Our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, will say to His angels – although He knows best – ‘Look at the salaah 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 Dawud].
And Allah knows best.
[ Excerpted from Fatwa No: 7859 Islam QA]