Before the advent of Islam, Arabs believed that any marriage held in Shawwal would always turn out to be unsuccessful. They believed that marriages conducted in the month would hit the rock. As a result, they avoided making any covenant or contract around that period for fear of being broken.
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) came and he did not only dismantle their fictitious and superstitious beliefs, he taught them that only Allah determine the fate of every human being. He fed them with the words of Allah and guided them away from the path of perdition onto the glorious path of Islam. As part of the evidence to show the puerility of their belief, Aisha (r.t.a) married the Prophet in this month and their relationship never waned.
The month of Shawwal is another month that we more reward for fasting for only six days; we can enjoy the reward of being fasted for a whole year. Incredible, isn’t it? That is another of the mercies of Allah on Muslims. Although it is voluntary in nature, its importance cannot be over-emphasised. To a Muslim, the first day of the month of Shawwal is of very great significance. The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Whosoever fasted the full month of Ramadan and then follows it with six fasts of Shawwal, is like a person who has fasted the full year.” It must be stated that it is not a hard and fast rule to fast consecutively in the days of Shawwal. A person can distribute them over the month of Shawwal by fasting on Mondays and Thursdays.
Although the Shafi‘is and Hanbalis hold the view that it is superior to fast the six days consecutively, the reasons they adduce for it is that to hasten to do the ibadah, adding that there could be problem in delaying the fast as some unforeseen circumstances could set in such illness, lazyness, fatigue which can hinder the sunnah.
Apart from the fact that fasting six days in Shawwâl after observing the Ramadan fast gives the person the reward of fasting throughout the year, these extra fasts cover up for the deficiencies in our performance of our obligatory worship.
On the Day of Judgment, our voluntary acts of worship will compensate for the shortcomings in how we carried out our duties. Most of us have deficiencies in the observance of last Ramadan especially in our conducts which detract and perhaps reduce the value of our ibadah. Obviously, we need something to cover up for those deficiencies; this is what the six days of Shawwal can do for us.
Again, our return to the habit of fasting right after Ramadan is a sign of our steadfastness, submissiveness, and total obedience to Allah and His Messenger.
This can further lead to the acceptance of our prayers by Allah. When Allah accepts our worship, He blesses us to engage in further acts of piety. As the saying goes; ‘The reward of virtue is further virtue’. Therefore, following one good deed with another is a good virtue. It is also a means of showing gratitude to Allah by embarking on the habit of fasting immediately after Ramadan. There is no blessing greater than forgiveness for one’s sins, and we know that fasting Ramadan is a recompense for our sins.
So, we can embark on six days fasting in Shawwal to show gratitude for forgiveness of sins. Besides, you can’t imagine the blessings of Allah on you and as such you cannot thank Him enough. Every minute of our life in the year is blessing.
If we show gratitude continuously, we tend to have a basket full of blessings as Allah indicated in the Quran. When we recognize that our thanks are never enough, it gives the highest expression of gratitude to the Creator. Abu Hurayra related that the Prophet (s.a.w) said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, though there is good in both. Be steadfast, rely on Allah and do not deem yourself incapable.