It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwaal.
Ayyoob (RadiyAllahu ‘anhu) relates that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said, “Whoever fasts Ramadaan and follows it with six days from Shawwaal it is as if they fasted the entire year.” [Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah; Ahmad transmitted it from Jabir, Muntaqa]
Thawban (RadiyAllahu ‘anhu) relates that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said, “Whoever fasts Ramadaan, and then six days after Eid, it is [like fasting] an entire year. Whoever does a good deed shall have ten times its reward.” [Ibn Majah, Muntaqa]
1. Based on this, the majority of the fuqahaa (jurists), including the Hanafi, Shafi’ee, and Hanbali school, have held that it is recommended or desirable (sunnah and mustahab) to fast six days of the month of Shawwaal. [Radd al-Muhtar; Mughni al-Muhtaj Shah al-Minhaj; Kashshaf al-Qina’]
2. It is permitted to fast these six days separately throughout the month, or consecutively, after Eid al-Fitr. [ibid.]
3. It is prohibitively disliked (makrooh tahrimiyy) and sinful to fast on Eid day itself. [Radd al-Muhtar]
4. The Shafi’ee and Hanbali state that it is superior to make the six fasts consecutively [Minhaj, Ghayat al-Muntaha]. Khatib al-Shirbini explains the reasoning as being, “In order to hasten to do the good, and because of the problems inevitable in delaying,” such as becoming lazy and not actually fulfilling this sunnah in the end, though he points out that the sunnah is fulfilled by both consecutive and non-consecutive fasting of six days in Shawwaal. [Mughni al-Muhtaj]
The later Hanafi scholars differed as to which is better, fasting the six days consecutively or non-consecutively, though neither is disliked and both fulfill the sunnah. [Radd al-Muhtar] However, it would be agreed that those who fear not fulfilling the recommendation due to laziness, forgetfulness or other excuses, should hasten to fast the six days consecutively immediately after Eid al-Fitr.
[ Faraz Rabbani and Qibla ]
This hadeeth recorded by Muslim, “Whoever fasts Ramadaan and follows it with six days from Shawwaal it is as if they fasted the entire year”, describes the great thawaab of six fasts of this month. The scholars have interpreted this hadeeth by saying that according to the recognised rules of Shari’ah, every good deed is rewarded ten times more thawaab of its origin, therefore, the thawaab of 30 days of Ramadaan amounts to the thawaab for 300 days. Subhaanallah!
If the fasts of Ramadaan are followed by six more fasts, they carry the thawaab of 60 days more, raising the aggregate thawaab to 360 which is the number of days in one year according to the Islamic lunar calendar.
Therefore, the Muslims should take this opportunity of acquiring such an enormous reward from Allah. It is more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwaal and keep fasting up to the 7th of Shawwaal. However, if they are kept in other days, it is hoped that the requirement of the above hadeeth may also be fulfilled.