Shawwal means ‘lift or carry’. Shawwal is the tenth month on the Lunar Islamic calendar. The first day ofShawwal is Eid ul-Fitr. There are also six days of fasting during Shawwal which, together with theRamadan fasts, are equivalent to fasting “perpetually”.

 The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

 “He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal. It would be as if he fasted perpetually.”

Muslim

 

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Shawwalmigrates throughout the seasons.

 

BEGINNING OF THE ASHUR-UL-HAJJ:

Shawwal is the first of the three months named as “Ashhur al-Hajj” (i.e. the months of Hajj). Although the major acts of Hajj are normally performed in the first ten days of Dhul-Hajj, yet the whole period starting from the first of Shawwal up to the 10th of Dhul-Hajj is held to be the period of Hajj because some acts ofHajj can be performed any time during this period. For example, the Tawaf-Ul-Qudum, followed by theSai’ of Hajj cannot be performed before Shawwal, while it can be performed any day after the beginning ofShawwal. Similarly, an ‘Umrah performed before Shawwal cannot be treated as the ‘Umrah of Tamattu: while the ‘Umrah performed in Shawwal can be affiliated to the Hajj, making it a Hajj of Tamattu. Ihram ofHajj should not be started before Shawwal, because it makruh. For these reasons these three months have been named as the ‘months of Hajj‘ and the month of Shawwal has the distinction of being the first of these.

 

EXCELLENCE OF FAST FOR SIX DAYS IN SHAWWAL:

It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. Muslims should take this opportunity of acquiring such an enormous reward from Allah. It is more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th of it. However, if, they are kept in other days, the requirement also be fulfilled. The sooner you do them, the better.

 

Allah, the Exalted says:

And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord 

Al-‘Imran 3:133

&

I hastened to You, O my Lord, that You might be pleased  

Ta-Ha 20:84

 

Muslim should hasten to fast these six days of Shawwal because delaying may cause problems, but it is ok if you do not hasten it and you delay it until the middle or end of the month.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“He who fasts Ramadan, and six of Shawwal, it will be (in terms of rewards) as if the fasted a whole year.”

Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Muslim & Tirmidhi

In commenting on the above mentioned hadith, As-San`aanee said in Subul us-Salaam: “If the thirty days of Ramadan fasting are assimilated with the six days of fasting in Shawwal, it altogether makes 36 days. According to Shari’ah, each virtue is rewarded ten times. Therefore, if we multiply 36 with 10, it makes 360 which slightly longer than a lunar year and next Ramadan he will fast again so it is as if he fasted his whole life.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“If one throughout his life keeps the fasts of Ramadan and keeps six consecutive fasts in Shawwal it will be as though he has kept a whole life time of fasts, and if one fast for six consecutive days in Shawwal it will be as though he has fasted all year round.”

Muslim

Women should first making up her missed fasts from Ramadan due to her monthly period and if she wants to earn the reward mentioned in the above hadith, then she should follow it with six days ofShawwal, and she will gain the reward mentioned in it. It is also permissible for women to delay making up her Ramadan fasts, as long she makes them up before the next Ramadan comes.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“The one, who fast the month of Ramadan and then six days of Shawwal, is as purified of sins as he was just born just today.”

Abu Dawud & Muslim

 

Fasting six days of Shawwal after the obligatory fast of Ramadan is Sunnah Mustahab, not wajib.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) 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 report: “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-Nisaa’i, Ibn Majah & Targheeb Wal Tarheeb

 

BENEFIT OF FASTING SIX DAYS OF SHAWWAL:

 

The important benefits of fasting six days of Shawwal is that is makes up for any shortfall in a person’s obligatory Ramadan 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.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“The first thing for which people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be their salah (prayer). Our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, will say to His angels – although He knows best – ‘Look at the salah 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.”

Abu Dawud

 

EVENTS IN THE MONTH OF SHAWWAL:

Hadhrat Aa’ishah Siddiqah (R.A) was born in Shawwal, 4 years after Prophet Hood and 9 years before Hijrah.

Hadhrat Aa’ishah Siddiqah (R.A.) was married to the Prophet Muhammad  in Shawwal, 10 years after Prophet Hood which is 3 years before Hijrah.

The fight between Banu Qaynaqaa took place between the battle of Badr and Uhud, Shawwal 2 A.H. after Hijrah.

The battle of Uhud also took place in Shawwal, three years after Hijrah.

Hadhrat Husain (R.A), the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad  (son of Hadhrat Fatima R.A.) was born in the month of Shawwal 4 years after Hijrah.

The Prophet Muhammad  married Hadhrat Umme Salamah (R.A.) in Shawwal in the 4 year after Hijrah.

Hadhrat Aa’ishah Siddiqah’s (R.A) mother passed away in year 5 A.H.

The Prophet Muhammad  uncle Abu Talib departed from this world in the middle of Shawwal in the year 5 A.H.

Imam Bukhari (R.A.) was born on a Friday of Shawwal in the year 194 A.H.

 

BENEFIT OF FASTING ON MONDAY & THURSDAY

The Prophet Muhammad  asked about fasting on Mondays. He said, “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I received Revelation.”

Muslim

Above Hadith points out the excellence of fasting on Mondays. The reason behind this, as is stated in the Hadith, is that the Prophet Muhammad  was born on it and that it was the day on which he received the first Revelation.

 

‘Aisha (Radia-Allahu ‘Anha) narrated:

“The Messenger of Allah  used to observe fast on Mondays and Thursdays.”

An-Nasa’i & Tirmidhi

 

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“The deeds of the worshippers are presented before Allah on Monday and Thursday, I like my deeds to be presented while I am fasting.”

Nasa’i & Tirmidhi

 

Observe fast on Monday and Thursday is Mustahab (desirable), and the reason for its being so has been mentioned in the Hadith.

As for fast on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of each month, Abu Dharr Al-Ghafari reported:

“The Messenger of Allah ordered us to fast for three days of every month – that is, on the days of the full moon (the 13th, 14th, and 15th of the lunar month). And he said: ‘It is like fasting the whole year.’”

An-Nasa’i