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  7. Fasting for SIX Days in Shawwal – 5 Things You Need to Know

Fasting for SIX Days in Shawwal – 5 Things You Need to Know

Fasting for six days in Shawwal
And just like that, an entire month of fasting has gone by. Even though the thought of fasting for weeks on end may have felt intimidating before Ramadan began, many of us simply blinked and time was up. We have been left with a profound sense of bitter-sweetness now that the month is over. “What do I do next?” we may ask ourselves, “How can I maintain that spirit of Ramadan?” Let’s find out….!!!!!

Maximizing the Blessings of Fasting

Shawwal is the tenth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which follows the month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, we fast from dawn until sunset and engage in increased prayer, self-reflection, and acts of charity. Fasting for six days of Shawwal is a voluntary act of worship that has great rewards and benefits for us. 

Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, so it is forbidden to fast on that day. You can start fasting from the second day of Shawwal and complete the six days anytime before the end of the month. Fasting six days of Shawwal is a way of expressing gratitude to Allah for enabling Muslims to fast in Ramadan, making up for any shortcomings or sins that may have reduced the reward of Ramadan fasts, and maintaining the good habits developed during Ramadan. 

Learn more: What is Ramadan and Why is it Important?

The Sunnah of Fasting Six Days in Shawwal

Fasting in Ramadan is mandatory for Muslims while fasting for six days in Shawwal is a sunnah that we are encouraged to perform after Ramadan. This practice has a great reward and is based on several authentic hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), such as the following:

“Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.”

(Sunan Ibn Majah 1716) 

“He who observes As-Saum (the fasts) in the month of Ramadan, and also observes As-Saum for six days in the month of Shawwal, it is as if he has observed As-Saum for the whole year.”

(Riyad as-Salihin 1254) 

The reason behind this immense reward is that Allah has promised to multiply the good deeds of His servants by ten times or more, as He says in Surah Al-An’am, verse 160:

Whoever comes [on the Day of Judgement] with a good deed will have ten times the like thereof [to his credit], and whoever comes with an evil deed will not be recompensed except the like thereof; and they will not be wronged.” 

Therefore, by fasting the month of Ramadan, which is equivalent to ten months of fasting, and then following it with six days of Shawwal, which is equivalent to two months of fasting, one can attain the reward of a whole year of fasting. Furthermore, by fasting six days of Shawwal consecutively after Eid al-Fitr, along with the obligatory fast of Ramadan, we can attain the reward of a perpetual fast, as the Prophet (saw) said:

“If anyone fasts during Ramadan, then follows it with six days in Shawwal, it will be like a perpetual (infinite) fast.”

(Sunan Abi Dawud 2433) 

Hence, this sunnah is a great opportunity for Muslims to increase our rewards and expiate our sins. However, this is not an obligation, but a voluntary act of worship that depends on our ability and willingness. We can choose any six days of Shawwal to fast, whether consecutively or separately, as long as we do not fast on the day of Eid al-Fitr, which is forbidden. This way, we can enjoy the blessings of this month and benefit from this sunnah without feeling burdened or stressed.

The Rewards and Benefits of Fasting in Shawwal

Fasting in Shawwal is a recommended practice in Islam that has many benefits and rewards. Here’s a breakdown of the benefits and rewards of fasting in Shawwal:

Redemption of Shortcomings

Fasting for six days in Shawwal is recommended to make up for any shortcomings in the quality of our fasts during Ramadan. If Allah accepts these fasts, it is equivalent to one year of fasting. Fasting in Shawwal also offers a chance to repent for any sins committed during the holy month of Ramadan, and to seek forgiveness from Allah (SWT).

Multiplication of Rewards:

Voluntary acts of worship, such as fasting in Shawwal, are rewarded tenfold. Fasting for six days in Shawwal is equivalent to fasting for 60 days or two months. This shows the generosity and mercy of Allah (SWT). 

Consistent Spiritual Growth:

Engaging in voluntary acts of worship helps to maintain the heightened spiritual state achieved during Ramadan and Shawwal. It contributes to consistent and gradual spiritual development. 

Physical benefits: Immune System Boost through Fasting

Fasting also has physical benefits, such as boosting the immune system. Scientific research has confirmed that fasting one day generates enough white blood cells to protect the body for ten days. Fasting also reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, which are linked to various chronic diseases.

Fasting in Shawwal brings great rewards and benefits to Muslims. It not only contributes to our spiritual growth but also has practical benefits for our health and well-being. By following this Sunnah, we can enjoy the continuous blessings of Ramadan and grow as Muslims.

Best Days to Fast in Shawwal: 

We have learned that fasting in Shawwal is of great importance, but how do we fast in Shawwal? Do we have to fast six days in a row, or can we spread them out? And which days are the best to fast? Here are some tips to help you make the most of this month:

The first thing to know is that we can fast any six days of Shawwal, as long as they are not the first day. It does not matter if we fast them consecutively or separately, as both opinions are valid according to the scholars. However, some scholars prefer to fast them consecutively, as this is closer to the wording of the hadith. Others prefer to fast them separately, as this is easier and more flexible for some people.

The second thing to consider is that we can combine the fasting of Shawwal with other sunnah fasts, such as the white days, the Mondays and Thursdays, or the days of Arafah and Ashura. The white days are the 13th, 14th, and 15th of each lunar month when the moon is full. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) used to fast these days regularly, and they are highly recommended. 

For more information on Fasting Ashura, you can visit our blog post-Ashura Significance in Islamic History.

The third and final thing to remember is that we should not feel discouraged or guilty if we cannot fast the six days of Shawwal. Fasting in Shawwal is a sunnah, not an obligation, and we will not be sinful if we do not do it. However, it is a great chance to earn Allah’s pleasure and forgiveness, so we should try our best to do it. 

Can You Make Up Fasts in Shawwal

Yes, the beauty of this sunnah is that we can combine it with making up our missed fasts from Ramadan. We do not have to complete our missed fasts first, and then fast the six days of Shawwal. We can do both at the same time, with one intention. For example, if I miss four days of fasting in Ramadan, I can fast four days in Shawwal with the intention of making up for my missed fasts and also following the sunnah of fasting six days in Shawwal. Then I only need to fast for two more days in Shawwal to complete the six days. This way, I can fulfill my obligation and also earn extra rewards from Allah (SWT).

Read more How to Make Up Missed Fasts?

How to Approach Fasting in Shawwal

Fasting in Shawwal can be difficult, especially if we face hot weather or busy schedules. Here are some helpful tips to help you approach fasting in Shawwal:

Meal and Hydration Planning:

Plan your meals and hydration in advance. Since the summer days are long and hot, you need to make sure that you drink enough water and eat healthy food during the night. Avoid spicy, salty, or fried foods that can make you thirsty or upset your stomach. Eat foods that are high in fibre, protein, and healthy fats, such as dates, oats, eggs, nuts, and yogurt. Drink water, milk, or juice, and avoid caffeinated or fizzy drinks that can dehydrate you.

Read More: Understanding Suhoor and Iftar: Health and Wellness in Ramadan

Adapt Your Schedule:

Adjust your schedule and activities according to your energy level. If you have work commitments, try to do your most important or challenging tasks in the morning when you have more energy and concentration. If possible, take a nap or rest in the afternoon when you may feel tired or drowsy. Avoid hard physical activities or exposure to direct sunlight during the day.

Maintaining Consistency and Motivation:

Fasting in Shawwal is a voluntary act of worship that brings many benefits and rewards. However, it can also be tempting to skip or postpone fasting due to various reasons. To overcome this, remind yourself of the virtues and blessings of fasting in Shawwal, such as:

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: 

“The first thing that will be judged among a person’s deeds on the Day of Resurrection is the prayer. If that is in good order, he will pass the test and prosper, and if that is defective, he will fail the test and be a loser. If there is something defective in his obligatory prayers, the Lord will say: ‘Look and see whether My slave did any voluntary (prayer) so that what is lacking in his obligatory prayers may be made up by that.’ Then all his deeds will be dealt with in a similar manner.” 

(Jami` at-Tirmidhi 413)

Conclusion: 

Fasting in Shawwal not only contributes to our spiritual growth but also has practical benefits for our health and well-being. It is a great opportunity for Muslims to increase our rewards and expiate our sins. We can choose any six days of Shawwal to fast, whether consecutively or separately, as long as we do not fast on the day of Eid al-Fitr. Let us make the most of this month and enjoy the blessings of this Sunnah without feeling burdened or stressed.

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