We are well into Shawwal now, and a lot of people are either fasting sitta Shawwal (6 days of Shawwal) or considering it. If you’re thinking these fasts aren’t like those of Ramadan because they aren’t obligatory and you just don’t have the motivation or the “feeling” for them, here are 3 reasons why you should fast 6 days in Shawwal.

  • Whoever fasts these six days will have recorded for him a reward as if he had fasted a whole year and even a lifetime!

عن أبي أيوب رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏ “‏من صام رمضان ثم أتبعه بست من شوال كان كصيام الدهر‏”‏

Abu Ayyub (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “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; Book 8, Hadith 264)

حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ نُمَيْرٍ، عَنْ سَعْدِ بْنِ سَعِيدٍ، عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ ثَابِتٍ، عَنْ أَبِي أَيُّوبَ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏ “‏ مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَهُ بِسِتٍّ مِنْ شَوَّالٍ، كَانَ كَصَوْمِ الدَّهْرِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

It was narrated from Abu Ayyub that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan then follows it with six days of Shawwal, it is as if he fasted for a lifetime (Sunan Ibn Majah 1716; Book 7, Hadith 79).

We can understand and reconcile the above ahadith when the Prophet (s.a.w) said:

حَدَّثَنَا هَنَّادٌ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ، عَنْ عَاصِمٍ الأَحْوَلِ، عَنْ أَبِي عُثْمَانَ النَّهْدِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ مَنْ صَامَ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ ثَلاَثَةَ أَيَّامٍ فَذَلِكَ صِيَامُ الدَّهْرِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ تَصْدِيقَ ذَلِكَ فِي كِتَابِهِ ‏:‏ ‏(‏مَنْ جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا ‏)‏ ‏.‏ الْيَوْمُ بِعَشَرَةِ أَيَّامٍ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ ‏.‏ وَقَدْ رَوَى شُعْبَةُ هَذَا الْحَدِيثَ عَنْ أَبِي شِمْرٍ وَأَبِي التَّيَّاحِ عَنْ أَبِي عُثْمَانَ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.‏

Abu Dharr narrated: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Whoever fasts three days in every month, then that is (similar to) fasting every day.’ Then Allah Mighty and Sublime is He, attested to that in His Book, by revealing: Whoever brings a good deed, shall have ten times the like thereof. So a day is like ten.”

  • Your voluntary (nafl) deeds will compensate for any shortcomings of your obligatory (fard) deeds. This means you can catch up any failed Ramadan fasts with voluntary ones like those of the 6 days of Shawwal. We understand this from a Hadith of the Prophet (s.a.w) whereby he said on the day of resurrection, our obligatory salah can be compensated by any voluntary salahs that we had offered.

أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو دَاوُدَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا شُعَيْبٌ، – يَعْنِي ابْنَ زِيَادِ بْنِ مَيْمُونٍ – قَالَ كَتَبَ عَلِيُّ بْنُ الْمَدِينِيِّ عَنْهُ – أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو الْعَوَّامِ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ، عَنِ الْحَسَنِ، عَنْ أَبِي رَافِعٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ صَلاَتُهُ فَإِنْ وُجِدَتْ تَامَّةً كُتِبَتْ تَامَّةً وَإِنْ كَانَ انْتَقَصَ مِنْهَا شَىْءٌ قَالَ انْظُرُوا هَلْ تَجِدُونَ لَهُ مِنْ تَطَوُّعٍ يُكَمِّلُ لَهُ مَا ضَيَّعَ مِنْ فَرِيضَةٍ مِنْ تَطَوُّعِهِ ثُمَّ سَائِرُ الأَعْمَالِ تَجْرِي عَلَى حَسَبِ ذَلِكَ ‏”‏ ‏

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The first thing for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be his Salah. If it is found to be complete then it will be recorded as complete, and if anything is lacking He will say: ‘Look and see if you can find any voluntary prayers with which to complete what he neglected of his obligatory prayers.’ Then the rest of his deeds will be reckoned in like manner.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i 466; Book 5, Hadith 19)

It is pronounced in Shariah that this hadith is not limited to Salah and that it extends to other obligatory deeds – like fasting.

  • You MAY get double reward to fast on certain days. We’ve reached the white days of Shawwal (13th, 14, 15th) so those fasting the 6 days of Shawwal on these days may also get the rewards of fasting the white days. Please beware to make your full intention to ONLY fast the 6 days of Shawwal because fasts, even voluntary ones require intention for their sakes alone – not combined. You can’t combine acts of worship but it is said that your rewards may be doubled if your fast happens to fall on another significant day (Mondays / Thursdays) or event (like fasting missed Ramadan fasts and it is coincidentally the day of Ashura).

Is there a method to fasting the 6 days

You can fast them whenever in the month of Shawwal and they don’t have to be consecutively.

Do I have to make up my missed Ramadan fasts first?

Yes. It is concluded in the Shariah that any missed obligatory Ramadan fasts must be made up first before those of the voluntary fasts of Shawwal. The above ahadith on point 1 is used to highlight the importance of making up Ramadan fasts first.

Again, make up the obligatory fasts first as a priority. If you reach the end of Shawwal when making up your Ramadan fasts, you can still start the Shawwal fasts in the last days of Shawwal and finish the rest of the days in Dhul Qadah.

Some students of knowledge have stated that if you have many missed fasts, you can begin with the six days of Shawwal and then make up the missed fasts later. But let’s put this into perspective: you will be held accountable for your missed obligatory fasts if you had a chance to make them up in time before death – and no one knows when their time is up.

When does Shawwal end?

Shawwal 1444 began on the 21st of April 2023 and ends on the 20th of May 2023