Ustaz Irwan completed his degree in Islamic law at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. During his studies, he managed to gain Ijazah in Traditional Islamic Sciences from scholars such as the former Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Dr Ali Jum'ah and Sheikh Ahmad Taha Rayyan. It’s hard not to love reading and listening to his enlightened opinions on the contemporary issues facing the Singapore Muslim community. Ustaz Irwan Hadi is a member of Asatizah Youth Network.
As we celebrate Eid and bask in the festivities, there is one special sunnah of fasting which only presents in this joyous month that we should not miss, it is the Sunnah of fasting the six days in Shawwal. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. mentioned:
“Fasting Ramadan and following it with six days from Shawwal is like continual fasting.”
1. A year of fasting? How is that so?
Scholars have explained that the reward of actions is multiplied, at least, ten-fold. Based on the statement above, fasting in Ramadan for thirty days is equivalent to fasting three hundred days, and the six days of Shawwal is akin as fasting sixty days. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. himself stated this explicitly:
“Fasting Ramadan is like fasting ten months, and fasting six days [of Shawwal] is like fasting for two months. That is like fasting a full year.”
2. Do we have to fast 6 days of Shawwal consecutively?
It is encouraged for Muslims to fast six days of Shawwal consecutively as it provides greater reward and virtue in it. Based on the hadith narrated by al-Tabarani and others reported that the Prophet s.a.w. said:
“Fasting six consecutive days after Eidulfitri is like fasting the entire year.”
However, if someone is unable to do so, it is still valid for as long as it is within the month of Shawwal.
3. Can we combine the intention of missed fast (Qada) with the Sunnah fasting of six days of Shawwal?
It is valid to combine the intention of making up missed fasts during Ramadan and the Sunnah of fasting the six days of Shawwal, though performing both separately have a greater reward. This is as mentioned by Al-Hafidz As-Suyuthi in Al-Asybah wa al-Nadhair, where he cited this to the position of al-Bariziy. However, you would need to make the intention that this fast is primarily intended to make up for the missed fast, and the fast of six days of Shawwal is only a supplementary one.
It is for this reason that Imam Ar-Ramli in his book Nihayatul Minhaj ila Syarh al-Minhaj stated that while it is permissible to combine both fasts, example, missed fasts and the fast of six days of Shawwal, the reward would not be as comparable with the one who fasts separately where they will naturally gain more rewards.
On the other hand, Scholars like Sheikh Ali Gom'ah who opines that the hadith of fasting six days of Shawwal is general and for as long as you have fasted 6 days in Shawwal whether, for the primary purpose of repaying missed fasts or another sunnah fasting, you have obtained the reward of fasting six days of Shawwal.
Regardless of any views that we opt, we should respect others of adopting a different opinion on this matter. Any opinions which are based on scholarly Ijtihad has goodness in it, Insya Allah.