The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Fasting Ramadan and following it with six days from Shawwal is like continual fasting.” [Muslim, on the authority of Abu Ayyub (Allah be pleased with him)]
This is because the reward of actions is multiplied (at least) ten-fold. So Ramadan is like fasting 300 days, and the six days of Shawwal like fasting 60 days. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself stated this explictly: “Fasting Ramadan is like fasting ten months, and fasting six days [of Shawwal] is like fasting two months. That is like fasting a full year.” [Ahmad & Nasa’i]
1. Religiously recommended. The majority of the scholars–including Imam Shafi`i, Imam Ahmad, and Imam Abu Hanifa (May Allah be pleased with them all) consider it a recommended sunna to fast six days in Shawwal. There are narrations from Abu Hanifa indicating its dislikedness, but these are understood to relate to considering it a duty to fast these days. [Nawawi, Majmu`; Ibn Qudama, Mughni; Ibn al-Humam/Marghinani, Fath al-Qadir `ala al-Hidaya; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
However, Imam Malik’s (May Allah be pleased with him) stance was different on this issue. He disliked the laymen fasting these days in fear that they would regard it to be at par with the fasts of Ramadhan. (Mawaahib al-Jaleel 3/329)
2. Consecutive or not? The Shafi’i school recommend one to fast the six days consecutively. They based this on a hadith related by Tabarani and others in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported to have said, “Fasting six consecutive days after Eid al-Fitr is like fasting the entire year.” Whereas scholars of the Hanafi and Hanbali schools have left the sequence of fasting at the discretion of the individual; it will be permissible to fast consecutively as well as inconsecutively. The Hanafi and Hanbali scholars categorised the hadith mention by Tabrani as weak. In addition to this, they mention that the hadith reported in Sahih Muslim is absolute (mutlaq); it is free of any restrictive words. Hence, it can be deduced from here that any six days of shawwaal will suffice for one to acquire this reward. (mughni al-muhtaaj 1/654) (Radd al-muhtaar 3/422) (al-mughni 4/438)
3. Combining intentions with missed fasts. If somebody fasts six fasts in Shawwal as make-up (qadha) or vow (nazr), it is hoped from the mercy of Allah that one will still attain the reward of fasting six days in Shawwal. It would be better to perform both separately which will be greater in reward. (mughni al-muhtaaj 1/654)
|-Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed (db)|
Let us set a goal of fasting 6 days in the month of shawwal. In sha Allah, these 6 days along with the fasting in Ramadan will reward us with benefits equal to the benefit of fasting for the whole year.
Also encourage your family and friends.