Welcome to another edition of English Corner, my name is Rifki Kusmana. This is an article about the Syawal Fast. An Indonesian version of this article is available here.
On the first day of Eid al-Fitr, Muslims are prohibited from observing any fast. However, after entering the month of Shawwal, Muslims are encouraged to observe the Sunnah fast of Shawwal for six days. The Prophet Muhammad said,
مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَهُ سِتًّا مِنْ شَوَّالٍ كَانَ كَصِيَامِ الدَّهْرِ
“Whoever fasts Ramadan and then fasts six days in Shawwal, he has fasted like a whole year.” (HR. Muslim).
In addition to getting the reward of fasting a full year, Shawwal fasting also has other virtues such as:
Being kept away from Hellfire for 70 years
“I once heard the Messenger of Allah say: Whoever fasts one day in the way of Allah, Allah will keep him away from Hellfire for 70 years” (HR Al Bukhari).
Umi Umarah bint Ka’ab reported that the Prophet once came to her and she asked for food to be served to him, so the Prophet said to her: You may also eat. Umi Umarah replied: “I am fasting”. Then the Prophet said: “Verily, when a fasting person has a meal served to him, the angels will bless him until they finish eating.” (HR. at-Tirmidzi)
In addition to the religious virtues, according to the Mayo Clinic, the Shawwal fast could also reduce inflammation and improve conditions associated with inflammation. Such as: Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.
For Shawwal Fasting Procedures, the time of Shawwal fast should be carried out six consecutive days immediately after Eid al-Fitr, namely 2-7 Shawwal. The shawwal fast can also be done separately, either at the beginning, middle, or end of Shawwal.
Meanwhile, former Egyptian Mufti Dr Ali Gomaa Muhammad said, fiqh scholars allow combining fasting debts with sunnah fasts. However, the intention to replace the fast (obligatory) must take precedence over the Shawwal fast (sunnah). Thus, women who want to replace the fast of Ramadan are allowed to combine it with fasting six days of Shawwal.
For those who want to fast during Shawwal, here is the fasting ricital:
نَوَيْتُ صَوْمَ غَدٍ عَنْ سِتَّةٍ مِنْ شَوَّالٍ سُنَّةً لِلَّهِ تَعَالَى
“I intend to fast tomorrow of the six days of Shawwal, sunnah for the sake of Allah Ta’ala.”
The rule on fasting during Shawwal is sunnah mustahab. This means something that the Prophet Muhammad did a few times. Mustahab is essentially an action that if done gets rewarded, and if not done does not get sin or punishment. Although the law is not mandatory, fasting during Shawwal has many virtues.