Sunnah Online and Islam Today: “Whoever fasts the whole month of Ramadan and follows it with six days of fasting in the next month of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.” Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nisa’i and Ibn Majah.
The month of Shawwâl is singled out for the observance of 6 extra fasting, since this month follows immediately after Ramadan. The six days of voluntary fasting are to the obligatory fast of Ramadan what the Sunnah prayers are to the obligatory prayers.
Related from Thawbân that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The fast of Ramadan is like observing ten months of fasting. Fasting six days in the month of Shawwâl is like observing two months of fasting. Thistogether is like fasting throughout the year.” [Sahîh Ibn Khuzaymah (2115) and Sunan al-Nasâ’î al-Kubrâ (2860) – and authenticated by al-Albânî]
How To Fast The 6 Extra Days Of Shawwal
Some scholars hold the view that it is preferable to fast the six days in consecutive order, starting from the second day of Shawwâl. This is the view of al-Shâfi`î and Ibn al-Mubârak.
Other Scholars and school of thoughts are of the opinion that it is preferable to fast the six days intermittently, spreading them out throughout the month of Shawwâl. This Is the position of Ahmad b. Hanbal and Wakî`.
There is considerable flexibility in all of this. We can choose to follow any of these approaches that we wish. Allah (SWA) knows Best.
Importance of Sitta Shawwal
Islamic Scholars Hanbali and Shafi’i fuqaha’ explained that fasting six days of Shawwal after fasting Ramadhan makes it as if one has fasted for an entire year of obligatory fasts, because the multiplication of the reward applies even to nafil fasts, because each hasanah brings the reward of ten like it.
However, another 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 nafil deeds will be taken to make up the shortcomings in his obligatory deeds, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 (nafil) 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.” Narrated by Abu Dawud? Allah (SWA) knows best.
“We shall not make the reward of anyone who does his (righteous) deeds in the most perfect manner to be lost.” Al-Qur’an 18:30
The interpretation of the above Surah. Allah (SWA) said: If a person seeks the reward from Allah and strives to obey Him, his reward will not be lost.
If someone has missed some of the days of Ramadan, he should fast them first, then fast six days of Shawwal, because he cannot follow the fast of Ramadan with six days of Shawwal unless he has completed his Ramadan fast. Allah Knows Best.