The six days fast in Shawwal
As we live through another day of our lives today, let us recognize our existence as a sign of Allah’s Mercy upon us. Surely this day that we live, and the night that we will, inshaAllah encounter soon, are clear signs of His Greatness. And thus, let us obey all that He has commanded us to do. And let us avoid all that He has forbidden unto us. And let us fill our hearts with fear, devotion and taqwa to Him.
And the more so we should be grateful to Him. For He has allowed us to complete one full month of Ramadan. He has allowed us to experience the one blessed month. A month filled with goodness. A month that has disciplined us to be obedient Muslims. A month that has reminded us of how we should live as Muslims in the next 11 months. A month that contains a night more blessed than 1000 months combined.
Ramadan will surely have left a deep mark in some of us. For some, Ramadan may have left only the bitter taste of hunger and thirst. For others, Ramadan may have left fond memories of the nightly terawih and sunnah prayers that we have resolutely stood up to do. For some others, Ramadan may have been the time when we have truly returned to Allah and has sought His Guidance and His Mercy.
Take comfort in what our beloved Messenger has said:
“For whosoever has fasted during the month of Ramadan with full conviction, all his past sins will be forgiven.”
My dear Friday congregation
As we leave Ramadan, we must also think what our future will be: How do we intend to shape our lives from here on? Will we live as we have done in the past? Or has Ramadan truly made us better and more devoted Muslims? Muslims who will strive in the path of Islam. Muslims who will strive for justice. Muslims who will strive for the best. Remember again the signs of Allah as we move into the future.
As we had worked for the best in Ramadan, let us also strive for the best in this month of shawwal. A month of joy and celebration of the Eid. It is the month of freedom for those who have truly faced Ramadan with patience. It is a month of the many blessed months of the haj. But most importantly, my brothers, and do not forget, Shawwal is the month that tests our true sincerity as Muslims.
Do we return to our old ways of behaving? Or have we learned from Ramadan and changed ourselves? If once in Ramadan we had controlled our tongues from gossip and criticism, will we continue to do now that Ramadan is over? If once in Ramadan we had controlled our eyes from looking at things most despicable, will we continue to do so in Shawwal? If once in Ramadan we have resolutely stood in prayers, will we do so in Shawwal? If once in Ramadan we have persevered through hunger and thirst, can we do so now?
Know that the fast of 6 days in Shawwal is most prized. There is a hadith which says:
مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَهُ سِتًّا مِنْ شَوَّالٍ كَانَ كَصِيَامِ الدَّهْرِ
“He who fasts in the month of Ramadan followed by 6 days in Shawwal, it is as if he has fasted for 1 year.” It means that if you complete the fast of month of Ramadan and follow this with 6 days of fasting in Shawwal, you will be rewarded with the rewards of someone who has fasted for 1 full year.
We can find that this hadith corresponds to Allah’s commands in Surah Al An’am verse 160 .
مَن جَاء بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا وَمَن جَاء بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلاَ يُجْزَى إِلاَّ مِثْلَهَا وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ
Which means: “He that does good will have ten times as much to his credit. He that does evil shall only be recompensed according to His evil. No wrong shall be done unto any of them. “
From this ayat we can see that the 30 days of fasting that we have endured in Ramadan have yielded the likes of 10 months of fasting! And the 6 days of fasting in Shawwal will yield the likes of 2 months. And so we will complete 12 months. And so it would be as if we have truly fasted for 1 whole year!
This is explained in another hadith that says:
“Allah will reward every good act ten times over.” And so 1 month of good deeds will show the equivalent of 10 months of rewards. And 6 days after Eidl Fitri completes the 1 year.
Dear congregation of Muslims
Allah has offered us an opportunity to be close to Him and to receive His Mercy. Let us grab this opportunity. If you have missed the opportunities to do so in the past, this is your chance that you should not miss.
My dear brothers,
The 6 days of fasting in Shawwal is like a prayer that completes any incomplete prayer. And surely in the course of our fasting in Ramadan there must have been numerous mistakes that we have made. By fasting 6 days in Shawwal, it creates an opportunity for us to cover those mistakes in our fasting.
Let us increase our good deeds together. Let us strengthen our hearts and fill them with hope and sincere devotion to Allah, Our Creator. Let us increase our worship to Him in this significant month in Islam. Let us be the ones to Say:
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين. لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَبِذَلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَاْ أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ َ
“Truly my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, Are all for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds. No partner has He! This I am commanded and I am the first of those who bow to His Will.” (Al-An’am 162)
And may our good deeds be rewarded and accepted by Allah s.w.t.