The Merit of Fasting Six Days in Shawwal

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from “The Merit of Fasting Six Days of Shawwal” by Shaykh ‘Ali Juma’ah.  From among the recommended virtuous acts connected to the month of Ramadhan, is fasting six days of the month of Shawwal because of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) words, “Whoever fasts Ramadhan and follows it with six days of the month of Shawwal, is as if he has fasted an entire year.”  The basis for this is that a reward for an action is multiplied ten times.  Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

He that doeth good shall have ten times as much to his credit ... (Surah al-An’am:160)

Based on this, the Reward of fasting one month is equivalent to the Reward for fasting ten months and the reward for fasting six days of the month of Shawwal is equivalent to the reward of fasting two months or sixty days, the sum of the Reward equaling an entire year.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Allah rewards an action ten-fold.  Therefore, the Reward of one month is equivalent to ten months and fasting six days after breaking the fast of Ramadhan is equivalent to two months.  This is like an entire year.”

It is recommended to fast the six consecutive days of Shawwal immediately following the day of ‘Iyd since this entails hastening to do good even though the Reward is obtained by fasting any day during the month of Shawwal.  However, it is impermissible to fast on the day of ‘Iyd.

It is desirable for one who has refrained from fasting a day of Ramadhan due to an excuse to make it up before fasting the six days of Shawwal.  The majority of scholars dislike for a one to perform a voluntary fast before making up his unperformed fast days.  A person who refrained from fasting without an excuse is obliged to make up his unperformed fast days immediately after the day of ‘Iyd.

Whoever refrains from fasting the entire month of Ramadhan, is to make up the month in Shawwal and follow it up with six days of the month of Dzu al-Qa’idah.  This is because it is recommendable to make up voluntary fast associated with the prescribed fast or due to the opinion of those who hold that a person who fasts the six days beyond Shawwal, fulfills the sunnah and attains its reward, thereby attaining the reward of fasting for an entire year.

A person who makes up his unperformed fast days in Shawwal without fasting additional days, fulfills the sunnah of fasting the six voluntary days and attains their Reward if his unperformed fast days complete six.

However, he must make the intention to make up what he has missed of Ramadhan and not that of fasting the voluntary days of Shawwal.  And since he has made up his unperformed fast days in Shawwal, he will attain the Reward of the six voluntary days.  This is the opinion of some scholars and the official opinion of the Shafi’i school.

Imam ar-Ramli (r.a.), issued a verdict in response to a question from a man who had some unperformed fast days of Ramadhan and the permissibility of making them up in Shawwal.  He asked, “Is it possible to make up unperformed fast days of Ramadhan in Shawwal and at the same time attain the Reward of fasting the six days of Shawwal and is there any textual proof for this?”

Imam ar-Ramli (r.a.) replied, “Fasting in Shawwal fulfills the obligation of making up the unperformed fast days of Ramadhan, even if by these days, one intended to observe another fast and one attains the reward of fasting the six days of Shawwal.  Some latter scholars have mentioned this.”  The ruling for this is further based on an analogy to entering the mosque and praying two raka’at before sitting down by which he intended an obligatory prayer or a voluntary prayer associated with the prescribed prayer.  He will therefore attain the reward for praying the two raka’at of greeting the mosque.


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