Month of Ramadan has been ended, and most of us grief its being apart. But Ramadan has left us with another blessed month of shawwal. Well the descendent month of shawwal cannot be compared with Ramadan in its glory but still it has its own importance and dignity. One of the meritorious aspects of Shawwal is that it has been chosen by Allah Almighty for the celebration of “Eid-ul-Fitr”.
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 fasting 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]
There are often found various confusions about fasting in shawwal, for example : is fasting six days of shawwal obligatory ? Can one combine 6 fasts of shawwal with make ups fasts of ramdan ? should fasts in shawwal be consecutive ?
First of all ! these fasts are not obligatory ( Fard) , they are sunnah ! it is good to fast in shawwal , as it would increase your reward and bring pleasure of ALLAH subhana hu wa tala. But it is not compulsory to fast. Secondly, The Shafi`is and Hanbalis state that it is superior to make the six fasts consecutive it means it is more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th of Shawwal. Which means to fast consecutively .However, if they are kept in other days, it is hoped that the requirement of the above Hadith may also be fulfilled.
Now comes the matter of combining fasts of shawwal with make-up fasts of Ramadan. making-up missed Ramadhan fasts (qadha) and the six fasts of Shawwal, one should principally make an intention of Qadha. Thereafter, as a ‘secondary’ intention, one may also keep in mind that it is the month of Shawwal. By doing so, it is hoped from the mercy of Allah that along with the missed fasts being made-up, one will receive the reward of fasting in Shawwal. But, it is important that the main and predominant intention is of making-up the missed fasts.
However, it is better that one makes up for the missed fasts separately from fasting the six days of Shawwal, since some scholars are of the view that one does not receive the reward of optional (nafl) fasting when combined with make-up (qadha) fasts.