New Islamic Directions

By Imam Zaid Shakir

Fasting Six Days of Shawwal

Posted in notes by Imam Zaid Shakir on 2020-05-28 Thumb

When one has enjoyed a delicious and nurturing meal, one does not jump up from the table and race off to another endeavor. One takes time to savor the lovely tastes and to reflect on the great blessing one has been privileged to enjoy. So too our worship. One of the etiquettes of worship is to not run away from our devotional acts as soon as we have finished. Consider, for example, the Qur’an. Many of the early Muslims, based on transmitted evidence, used to recite the Fatiha and a portion of Baqara before making Du’a upon the completion of the Qur’an. They would not just finish Sura al-Naas and leave. They would immediately start the next Khatm. Al-Hamdulillah, this practice endures until today among most Muslims.

This is also true of our fast. Some of the scholars say that the exhortation to complete the designated period (wa li tukmilul ‘Idda) is a reference to completing the the fast of Ramadan. Extolling the greatness of Allah (wa li tukabbirullaha ‘alaa maa hadaakum) is a reference to the Eid day celebration, and to give thanks (wa La’allakum Tashkurun) is a reference to fasting the six days of Shawwal.

This is consistent with the concept that gratitude is categorical with the blessing. One given great wealth shows his or her appreciation for that wealth by being charitable. One blessed with knowledge expresses gratitude for that gift by teaching and guiding people. One who has been blessed to complete the Qur’an shows gratitude by starting another Khatm. Likewise, one who has been blessed to fast the month of Ramadan shows gratitude, among other ways, by fasting six days from Shawwal. Hence, it is not fitting, if we are truly grateful, to neglect the great prophetic sunna of fasting six days of Shawwal, preferably in succession at the beginning of the month. Our Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, urges us: “Whosoever fasts Ramadan and then follows that with six days from Shawwal, it is as if he fasts perpetually.” May we be inspired to accept this great gift offered us by our Lord on the tongue of His Prophet, peace and blessings upon him.


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