The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for the entire year.”
The most blessed month of Ramadan has come to an end. We celebrate an entire month of fasting and intense worship by gathering with family and friends on the day of Eid Al-Fitr. However, you may find yourself asking, what is next? What should we do now that Ramadan is over? Oftentimes with the conclusion of Ramadan, we find ourselves feeling a bit empty and even lost. This is because we have become accustomed to the schedule of fasting and worship during the previous month and now that fasting is over, that schedule is interrupted. Many may even feel as though they do not want to say goodbye to the fruitful rewards and feelings that Ramadan brings. Let us remind ourselves that you do not have to say goodbye to the spiritual feelings of Ramadan. As Muslims, we need to maintain our worship and closeness to Allah (swt) on a daily basis. Although you may not be fasting every day as you would in Ramadan, our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has taught us about many days we could fast outside Ramadan to keep our connection to Allah (swt) and His Messenger strong.
It was narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has stated “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for the entire year.” Besides the large incentive awarded to us for fasting the six days of Shawwal, let us think about the logical reasoning behind it. The Prophet (PBUH) tells us to fast these days because after an entire month of fasting, many people decrease in their worship greatly, especially fasting. So, the six days of Shawwal are teaching us not to give up fasting just because Ramadan is now over. We should continue this amazing deed as we know fasting is the only worship that is entirely for Allah (swt). Fasting these days in Shawwal reminds us that as Muslims, worship never stops. We have fasted 30 days already, but those days were mandatory for us to fast. So now, we should continue that spirit of fasting by doing only six more days which are not mandatory, but highly encouraged. By fasting these days of Shawwal, we will be rewarded as if we have fasted the entire year. One can fast the six days of Shawwal, even if they have days to make up in Ramadan.
The six days of Shawwal are not the only days that we are encouraged to fast outside of Ramadan. It is recommended for us to fast three days each month, specifically the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every month in the Islamic calendar. Furthermore, it is also from the teachings of our Prophet (PBUH) to fast two days of each week. These days are Mondays and Thursdays. We should all make an effort to keep the spirit of Ramadan and fasting and our connection to Allah (swt) and His Messenger alive by fasting the six days of Shawwal and at least one or two days each month. May Allah (swt) accept our fasting and worship during the month of Ramadan and bless us to witness many more.
by Ahmad Salah