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Published in The Saudi Gazette on 06 - 10 - 2008

What is the ruling on fasting six days of Shawwal? Is it Wajib (obligatory)?
A - Praise be to Allah.
Fasting six days of Shawwal after the obligatory fast of Ramadan is Sunnah Mustahabbah, not Wajib. It is recommended for the Muslim to fast six days of Shawwal, and in this there is great virtue and an immense reward.
Whoever fasts these six days will have recorded for him a reward as if he had fasted a whole year, as was reported in a Saheeh Hadith from the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.” – (Sahih Muslim, Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa'i and Ibn Maajah).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained, “Whoever fasts for six days after (Eid) Al-Fitr has completed the year: (whoever does a good deed (Hasanah) will have 10 Hasanat like it).” According to another report: “Allah has made for each Hasanah ten like it, so a month is like fasting 10 months, and fasting six days completes the year.” (Al-Nisaa'i and Ibn Maajah. See also Saheeh Al-Targheeb wa'l-Tarheeb, 1/421). It was also narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah with the wording, “Fasting for the month of Ramadan brings the reward of ten like it, and fasting for six days brings the reward of two months, and that is the fasting of the whole year.”
Another important benefit of fasting six days of Shawwal is that it makes up for any shortfall in a person's obligatory Ramadan fasts, as no one is free of shortcomings or sins that have a negative effect on his fasting. On the Day of Resurrection, some of his voluntary deeds will be taken to make up the shortcomings in his obligatory deeds, as the Prophet (peace 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 (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 Dawood). And Allah knows best.
– Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Q- What if a woman owes days from Ramadan – is it permissible for her to give precedence to fasting the six days of Shawwal over making up the days she owes, or should she give priority to the days she owes over fasting the six days of Shawwal?
A - If a woman still owes days from Ramadan, then she should not fast the six days of Shawwal until after she has made up what she owes, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan then follows it with six days of Shawwal…” Whoever still has days to make up from Ramadan has not fasted Ramadan, so she will not attain the reward of fasting the six days of Shawwal until after she has finished making up the days she owes.
If we assume that this making up missed fasts lasts throughout Shawwal, such as if a woman was bleeding following childbirth and did not fast at all in Ramadan, then she started to make up her missed fasts in Shawaal and did not finish that until Dhu'l-Qa'dah began, then she may fast the six days, and she will have the reward of one who fasted them in Shawwal, because she delayed it for a necessary reason, so she will have the reward.
– Sheikh Muhammad Bin Salih Al-‘Uthaimeen, Majmoo' al-Fatawa, 20/19.Q- Is the fasting of the six days (of Shawwal) a must after the month of Ramadan immediately after the day of Eid, or is it permissible (to do so) after Eid by (a number of) days in the month of Shawwal or not?
A - It is not a must for him to fast immediately after Eid Al-Fitr. It is permissible to begin fasting one or more days after Eid. The fasts may be done consecutively or separately during the month of Shawwal, according to what is easier for a person. And the issue is quite open in this matter, and it is not obligatory, rather it is a Sunnah.
– The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatawa, Fatawa Ramadan - Volume 2, Page 693, Fatwa No.698; Fatawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-'Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa. - Fatwa No. 3475
Q- Do I have the right to prevent my wife from fasting voluntary fasts such as the six (fasts) of Shawwal? And would I be liable to sin if I did that?
A - It has been mentioned that it is not allowed for a woman to fast voluntary fasts in the presence of her husband (i.e. when her husband is at home and not away on travels) except with his permission, since he may wish to seek pleasure (with his wife by having sexual intercourse). So if she fasted without his permission, then it is permissible for him to ask her to break it if he wishes to have sexual intercourse with her.
If, however, he has no (sexual) needs, then it is disliked for him to prevent her from fasting so long as the fast is not affecting her and nor is it hindering her from tending to the children or breast feeding or the like; This is the case if she was fasting the six (fasts) of Shawwal or other than them from the voluntary fasts.
– Shaykh Ibn Jibreen, Fatawa Ramadan - Volume 2, Page 673, Fatwa No.676, Fatawa as-Siyaam - Page 96
Courtesy and Fatwa

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