After the immense blessings and virtues of Ramadan, the month of Shawwal brings the joys of Eid-ul-Fitr. Which is one of the two Eid of Islam (main festival) and is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal Al-Mukarram. Eid is in fact a celebration of fasting in Ramadan to gain the pleasure of Allah SWT’. Allah has declared fasting on this day as prohibited (Haraam) because people can express their happiness with great enthusiasm after a whole month of devotion and respect by keeping the intensity of hunger and thirst. And they can get their reward and honor by performing two rak’ats of Eid prayer.
The month of Shawwal, which contains the virtues and blessings of six days of fasting (Siyam). According to the Hadith, combining the six days of Shawwal with Ramadan is equivalent to fasting the whole year.
The religious and pious person observes six days of the month of Shawwal and wants to improve his world and the hereafter by pleasing Allah SWT’ by increasing his good deeds. To keep continue their good deeds after a whole month training taken in the month of Ramadan (through fasting, prayers, Taraweeh, I’tikaaf, Sadaqat, Zakat and Charity), they do fast of six days in Shawwal as well. They want to live their lives according to the commands of Allah and His Messenger and not only want but also take practical steps.
The Virtue of Fasting Shawwal:
It is Mustahab to fast six days in the month of Shawwal after the fasts of Ramadan. And everyone should make arrangements for it, because whoever fasts six days in Shawwal is rewarded for fasting the whole year.
In Sahih Muslim Sharif, it is narrated by Abu Ayyub Ansari (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said: Whoever fasts six days in Shawwal is rewarded for fasting the whole year.
According to another narration, Allah multiplies a good deed ten times. In this way, the month of Ramadan is equal to ten months and the six days of fasting are equal to two months.
Ibn Khazeema narrated that the fast of Ramadan is equal to ten months and the fast of Shawwal is equal to two months, so the whole year is fasted in this way. [Saheeh Ibn Khazeema]
It is narrated by Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever fasts six days of Shawwal after Ramadan, it is as if he has fasted for the rest of his life.” [Sanad Albraz]
It is narrated by Hzt. Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBUH) said: He who fasts the month of Ramadan and the six days of Shawwal is as if he had fasted the whole year. [Sanad Ahmad]
In addition to these virtues, the scholars have written that the shortcomings and faults that occur in the fasts of Ramadan are removed by Allah SWT’ by the fasts of Shawwal. In the same way, Allah Almighty fulfills the shortcomings of the obligatory prayers through Sunnah and Nawafil.
Characteristics of the month of Shawwal:
Eid-ul-Fitr: Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, which is the day of receiving rewards from God Almighty in return for fasting in Ramadan.
Six Fasts: Fasting of six days is equivalent to fasting the whole year.
Hajj Preparation: The months of holy worship of Hajj begin with Shawwal.
I’tikaaf: The Prophet (PBUH) did not make I’tikaaf in Ramadan for a year, but he made it up in Shawwal.
Marriage: It is mustahab according to many scholars to get married in this month. The Prophet (PBUH) married Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqah (RA) in the same month.
* It is not necessary to observe all six fasts in consecutive days of Shawwal.
* You can observe six days in the month of Shawwal, except on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, continuously or at any time, or at any time throughout the month at your convenience.
* It is permissible to observe six days of Shawwal before making up missed fasts in Ramadan.
Health benefits of Intermittent Fasting:
This is pretty much clear and backed by science that Fasting has several benefits for health. Some of the are as below:
• Weight loss
• Reduce blood pressure
• Lower Cholesterol
• Reduce Inflammation
• Boost Brain Function
• Cancer Protection
• Increased Longevity
• A Better Night’s Sleep
There is recent surge in popularity of Fasting due to its benefits. The nutritionists and dietitians advocate for Intermittent Fasting, is a way of eating that designates periods of time for eating and for fasting.
The six days of fasting is perfectly fit in Intermittent Fasting rules to get more benefits. The days of fasting can be observed intermittently like, the first week of Shawwal can be reserved for celebration of Eid and rest of three weeks can be observed for fasting. It is preferred to select 2 days of 3 weeks for fasting as per the convenience. The scholars suggested to observe fasting in Monday and Thursday in a week and it has more benefits in terms of spirituality as well.
Hassan Ahmad is a research scholar. He is pursuing his PhD as well associated with an IT company in India. He has an excellent command on language and having good thoughts on social causes.