Bismillah-hir Rahman-nir Raheem (in the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful)

Fasting during the month of Shawwal is a great benefit to Muslims and Muslims are encouraged to do the Six Days of Fasting. These six days of fasting are voluntary fasts and so there is no harm if you do not do it but you would miss out on some major Rewards and Blessings from Allah.

Abu Ayyub (ra) reported that the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) said: Whoever fasts Ramadan and then follows it up with six (days of fasting) from Shawwal, then it is as if he fasted the entire time (ie. year)” [Muslim]

You can fast the six days of Shawwal consecutively (ie. one day after each other, until you have completed six days) or separately. This is because the Prophet (pbuh) didn’t make any mention of doing the fasts in any particular way during Shawwal – the normal rules of voluntary fasting applies. When doing separately you can fast any six days, as long as they are within the month of Shawwal. But remember, if you are fasting on a Friday, you should also fast either on the day before (Thursday) OR the day after (Saturday).

The Rules for Voluntary Fasts

  • You do not have to make intention the night before but can intend to fast when you wake up. You must make intention before Dhuhr
  • If you are a married woman, you must take permission from your husband before doing a voluntary fast
  • You cannot fast on the first day of Shawwal, which is actually Eid-ul-Fitr
  • You cannot single out Friday for fasting nor Saturday for fasting. Rather it is better to fast Thursday AND Friday. Or you can fast Friday AND Saturday.
  • It is not sinful to break a voluntary fast, although it is better to complete the fast
  • If you have Ramadan fasts that you need to make up, due to not being able to do them in Ramadan, you must do these first before fasting a voluntary fast (like the six days of Shawwal)

{Books used as reference for this blog post:
Ramadan Fataawa Volume One – Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and others, including Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawa
Fatawa regarding Fasting and Zakat – Shaykhs Bin Baz, Al-Uthaimin, Al-Jibreen, Darussalam publishers}

Benefits of Fasting

Allah Commanded us to fast. It’s the one deed that is purely for Allah alone. And the benefits of fasting are many:

The Prophet (pbuh) said that Allah said: ‘The Fast is for Me and I will give the reward for it, as he (the one who observes the fast) leaves his sexual desire, food and drink for My Sake. Fasting is a screen (from hell), and there are two moments of pleasure (moments of happiness or joys) for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord. And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allah’s Sight than the smell of musk.’ [Bukhari]

Allah declared: ‘O you have believed! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious).’ Surat Al-Baqarah v183

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Whoever fasts Ramadaan, a month is like ten months, and fasting six days after al-Fitr will complete the year.” [Ahmad]

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