Fasting 6 days of Shawwaal
Shawwal is the tenth month of the Islamic Calander. The name of
Shawwaal comes from a word referring to camels raising their tails for
the purpose of copulation. The plural form is Shawaawil or Shawaaweel or
The first day of Shawwal is Eid ul Fitr and it is not allowed to fast on Eid. However. It is recommended (not obligatory) for Muslims to fast 6 days during the other days of Shawwal due to the great reward for fasting these six days.
Abu Ayyoob (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
Whoever fasts Ramadaan and follows it with six days of Shawwaal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime. (Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawood, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaai and Ibn Maajah).
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-Nisaai and Ibn Maajah. See also Saheeh al-Targheeb wal-Tarheeb, 1/421).
It was also narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah with the wording:
Fasting for the month of Ramadan brings the reward of ten like it, and fasting for six days brings the reward of two months, and that is the fasting of the whole year."
Thus if we calculate fasting in the Ramadan being as if one fasted 10 months and the 6 days of shawaal being as if one fasted two months then 10 +2=12 months. A complete year. So the reward will be equivalent to fasting a whole year.
Another important benefit of fasting six days of Shawwaal is that is makes up for any shortfall in a person's obligatory Ramadaan fasts. No one is free of shortcomings or sins that have a negative effect on his or her fasting. On the Day of Resurrection, some of his optional deeds will be taken to make up the shortcomings in a persons obligatory deeds, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
The first thing for which people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be their salaah (prayer). Our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, will say to His angels although He knows best Look at the salaah of My slave, whether it is complete or incomplete. If it is perfect, it will be recorded as perfect, and if something is lacking, He will say, Look and see whether My slave did any voluntary (naafil) prayers. If he did some voluntary prayers, [Allaah] will say, Complete the obligatory actions of My slave from his voluntary actions. Then all his actions will be dealt with in a similar manner. (Narrated by Abu Dawood).
How to fast the 6 days of Shawwal
Firstly a person cannot fast on the first day of Shawwal because the first day is Eid. Muslims cannot fast on Eid.
A person does not have to fast the six days consequatelly. You can fast which ever days you wish as long as the total number of days is at least six. it is sunnah to fast on a monday and a thursday so you could do that if you wished. The choice is yours as to how you wish to fast the six days. However fasting on a Friday or a Saturday has special rules.
It is makrooh to single out Saturday for fasting, because of the report narrated by al-Tirmidhi (744), Abu Dawood (2421) and Ibn Maajah (1726) from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Busr, from his sister, that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not fast on Saturdays apart from days when you are obliged to fast. If any one of you cannot find anything other than grape stalks or the twigs of a tree, let him chew it (to make sure that he is not fasting).”Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Irwa’ (960). Abu ‘Eesa al-Tirmidhi said: This is a hasan hadeeth. What is makrooh in this case is for a man to single out Saturday for fasting, because the Jews venerate Saturday.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he said: “I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, ‘None of you should fast on a Friday unless he fasts the day before or the day after.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1849, Muslim, 1929).
Muslim narrated in his Saheeh that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Do not single out the night of Jumu’ah [i.e., Thursday night] from among other nights for praying qiyaam al-layl, and do not single out Friday from among other days for fasting, unless it is a fast that one of you regularly observes.” (al-Siyaam, 1930)
it was narrated from Juwayriyah bint al-Haarith (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon her on a Friday when she was fasting. He asked her, “Did you fast yesterday?” She said, “No.” He asked, “Are you going to fast tomorrow?” She said, “No.” He said, “Then break your fast.” Hammaad ibn al-Ja’d said, “I heard Qutaadah say, Abu Ayyoob told me that Juwayriyah spoke to him and he told her to stop her fast and she did so.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, al-Sawm, 1850).
This hadeeth clearly indicates that it is permissible to fast on a Saturday at times other than Ramadan, for the one who fasts the Friday before.
In addition to this there may be instances in which a person will be except from this prohibition.
For instance a person may be fasting like how Prophet Dawood fasted. Prophet Dawood used to fast one day on and one day off throught the year. So in such a fast a person will at times be fasting on a friday or a saturday on its own,
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The most beloved of fasting to Allaah is the fast of Dawood; he used to fast one day and not the next.”
Also excluded from this prohibition is one who fasts the day before or after, or if it coincides with days that he habitually fasts, such as one who fasts al-Ayyaam al-Beed (the 13th, 14th and 15th of each hijri month), or who has the habit of fasting a specific day such as the Day of ‘Arafat, and it coincides with a Friday. From this it may be understood that it is permissible for a person who has vowed to fast on the day when So and so returns, for example, or the day when So and so recovers from sickness, to observe that fast if that day happens to be a Friday. (See Fath al-Baari by Ibn Hajar).
The same applies to one who has fasts to make up from Ramadaan. “It is permissible for a Muslim to fast on a Friday to make up a day from Ramadaan, even if he fasts the Friday on its own.” (Fatwa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, vol. 10, p. 347)
Similarly, if ‘Ashoora’ or Arafaat coincides with a Friday, he may fast, because his intention is to fast ‘Ashoora’ or ‘Arafaat, not to fast on a Friday. And Allaah is the Source of strength.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
It should be noted that different scenarios may apply with regard to fasting on a Saturday.
1 – It may be obligatory, such as observing a Ramadaan fast during Ramadaan or making it up later on, or observing a fast as expiation (kafaarah), or instead of offering a sacrifice when performing Hajj tamattu’, and so on. There is nothing wrong with that so long as he does not single it out deliberately thinking that there is some virtue in that.
2 – If he fasts on the Friday before, there is nothing wrong with it, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to one of the Mothers of the Believers who was fasting on a Friday: “Did you fast yesterday?” She said: “No.” He said: “Are you going to fast tomorrow?” She said, “No.” He said: “Then break your fast.” The words, “Are you going to fast tomorrow?” indicate that it is permissible to fast Saturday along with Friday.
3 – If it happens to be one of the days when it is prescribed to fast, such as Ayyaam al-Beed (the 13th, 14th and 15th of each hijri month), ‘Arafah, ‘Ashoora’, six days of Shawwaal for one who has fasted Ramadaan, and the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. There is nothing wrong with that, because he is not fasting because it is Saturday, rather it is because it is one of the days when it is prescribed to fast.
4 – When it happens to be a day when he habitually fasts, such as a person whose habit is to fast alternate days, and the day that he fasts happens to be a Saturday, then there is nothing wrong with it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said when he forbade fasting one or two days before Ramadaan begins: “except a man who (habitually) observes a fast, in which case let him fast.” This is similar.
5 – If he singles it out to observe a voluntary fast for one day only. This is what is forbidden, if the hadeeth forbidding it is proven to be saheeh.
End quote from Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (20/57)