in category Fiqh (Jurisprudence)

Is fasting 6 days of shawwal important?

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Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (ra) reported Allah's Messenger (saw) said:

"For one who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six days of fasting during the month of Shawwal, it is as if he had fasted continually [i.e., the whole year]." (Muslim, kitab al-Siyam, bab istihbab sawm sittati ayyam min shawwal).

On the basis of that hadith some scholars like al-Shafi`i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, others considered fasting six days in Shawwal as commendable.

However, most early scholars did not hold this position.

Hasan Basri used to say:

"Allah is pleased with the people fasting the month of Ramadan, and there is no need [i.e., no obligation] for any other fast."

Abu Hanifah and Malik disliked fasting of these days. They argued no narrations have been found stating companions or their successors fasted six days of Shawwal.

These people competed for good deeds. If fasting had been important they would have fasted and taught others to do the same.

Imam Malik said:

"I have not known anyone of the people of fiqh fasting them [i.e., six days of Shawwal], and [doing] that has not come to my knowledge from anyone among the salaf. And the people of knowledge dislike it; they fear that it could be bid`ah, and they also fear that it will lead to adding to Ramadan what is not from it." (al-Muwatta, kitab al-Sawm).

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