THE VIRTUES OF FASTING THE SIX FASTS OF SHAWWAL
The Six fasts of Shawwal are observed during the month of Shawwal which is the month immediately after Ramadan. One can begin fasting these 6 fasts one day after Eid Ul Fitr as Eid ul Fitr is only for one day and fasting on Eid day is forbidden.
It is mustahabb (Preferrable) to keep these fasts wherein GREAT rewards can be earned!
By adding the six days of fasting during Shawwal to the 30 days of the fasting of Ramadan, will earn a reward of a FULL YEAR'S FASTING , Insha Allah.
It is not required to fast six days continuously without any interruption. One can fast according to convenience any time during the month.
These fasts may be kept consecutively or at intervals during the month of Shawwal, i.e. spread out over the month.
Aboo Ayyoob al-Ansaaree narrated: Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: "He who fasts Ramadhaan, and six of Shawwaal, it will be (in terms of rewards) as if the fasted a whole year." [Reported by Muslim, at-Tirmidhee, Aboo Daawood, Ahmad, Ibn Maajah]
The meaning is that the reward is like the reward of a person who is always in fast every day of his/her life.
So this is an established sunnah, which carries a great reward. How can we miss out on such immense reward?
We don't know how much time we have left so we should be trying to do as many good deeds as possible!!!
This is an authentic hadith, which indicates that fasting six days of Shawwal is a Prophetic sunnah. Imam Ash-Shafi`i, Ahmad, and a number of leading scholars and jurists followed this.
It is not correct to oppose this hadith with the reasons that some scholars cite for this fast being makruh, such as the fear that an ignorant person might think that this is part of Ramadan, or the fear that people may think this is obligatory, or that he did not hear that one of the earlier scholars used to fast these days, because this is all speculation, which cannot be used to oppose the authentic hadith mentioned above. If something is known, this is evidence against those who do not know.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained this when he said: “Whoever fasts for six days after (Eid) al-Fitr has completed the year: (whoever does a good deed (hasanah) will have ten hasanah like it).” According to another report:
“Allaah has made for each hasanah ten like it, so a month is like fasting ten months, and fasting six days completes the year.” (al-Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah. See also Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, 1/421).
In commenting on the above mentioned hadeeth, As-San`aanee said in Subul us-Salaam: "If the thirty days of Ramadhaan fasting are assimilated with the six days of fasting in Shawwaal, it altogether makes 36 days. According to Sharee`ah, each virtue is rewarded ten times. Therefore, if we multiply 36 with 10, it makes 360, a number which equals the days of a year. Some scholars are of the opinion that these six days of fasting in Shawwaal must be completed in a continuous order right after the end of Ramadhaan. Some believe that is enough to merely complete six days of fasting in Shawwaal (in any order, either successive or with intervals), an opinion which is deemed to be correct."
Perhaps it is proper for us to pray these days on Mondays and Thursdays, as in that case we would be following another Sunnah: `Aa’isha, radhiallaahu `anhaa, narrated: "The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, used to fast Mondays and Thursdays". [an-Nasaa'ee, Saheeh]
If it is easier for one to fast on weekends, then in that case one would still be following another sunnah at the same time: Umm Salama, radhiallaahu `anhaa, narrated: Allaah’s Messenger used to fast mostly on Saturday and Sunday, and he used to say: "They are the festival days for the mushrikeen, and I like to act contrary to them." [an-Nasaa’ee, Ibn Khuzaymah, who graded it saheeh, and Ibn Hajar agreed]
Females must first keep their missed/qadhaa fast before they can keep any optional fasts.
But, again, this fast is not obligatory, rather only recommended. There is GREAT reward for whoever does it, and no blame upon anyone who leaves it.
BUT How can we miss out on such immense reward? Are we not in need of filling up our good deed accounts? Should our aim not be to please Allah as much as we can? Then lets keep these 6 fasts with FULL sincerety and inshallah we will be rewarded VERY GREATLY!!!