Shawwal is the tenth month of the lunar Islamic calendar, and begins on Eid ul-Fitr. Many Muslims will fast for 6 days during Shawwal, starting after the Eid celebrations as fasting is prohibited on this special day. The word ‘Shawwal’ can be literally translated to mean ‘uplift’ or ‘carry’.
Shawwal is also known as the first of the three months of Hajj. These three months are also known as ‘Ashhur al-Hajj’. Special acts of Hajj should be performed during Ashhur al-Hajj, some of them in a specific order. For example, you cannot perform the Tawag-ul-gudum followed by the Sai’ of Hajj until Shawwal has begun.
By fasting during Shawwal, Muslims are thanking Allah for his blessings in the observance of the Ramadan fast. To return to the habit of fasting, you are showing that your fasts have been accepted by God. If Allah accepts your fast, He will enable you to engage in more acts of piety.
Did you know that fasting during Ramadan and for 6 days in Shawwal will give you spiritual rewards equal to a whole year's worth of fasting? The blessings for good deeds are multiplied tenfold so fasting for the month of Ramadan is like fasting for ten months, and fasting for 6 days in Shawwal is equivalent to fasting for two months.
"If one throughout his life keeps the fasts of Ramadan and keeps six consecutive fasts in Shawwal it will be as though he has kept a whole life time of fasts, and if one keeps the six consecutive fasts for one Shawwal month it will be as though he has observed fast all year round." (Muslim)
Yes, you can perform Shawwal if you’ve missed fasts during Ramadan for whatever reason. However, it’s essential that you fulfil your religious obligation to Allah first by completing any days of fasting that you missed before starting the 6 days of Shawwal fast.
It’s not absolutely necessary, but it is recommended that the 6 days of fasting during Shawwal are completed one after the other, with no breaks.
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