After the end of the month of Ramadan, the month of Shawal begins. Shawal in Arabic means uplift or breakage. This meaning has historical importance as before the spread of Islam, Arabs were of the view that weddings that take place during the month of Shawal result in unsuccessful marriages.
The Days of Shawal
Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shawal. This day is full of festivals, joy and happiness. During this day, Allah forgives all the sins and rewards Muslims for fasting, reading the Holy Quran, and worshipping Allah during the month of Ramadan.
According to Sunnah, Muslims are suggested to fast six days during Shawal. However, Allah has forbidden Muslims to fast on the Eid day as during this day, Allah has recommended all Muslims to engage themselves in festivity and joy.
Shawal and the Fasting of Six Days
Mostly, people assume that the blessings of fasting and worshipping end as soon as the holy month of Ramadan ends. However, this is not the case. The six days that follow the end of Ramadan are also very important when it comes to blessings and rewards. The Prophet (PBUH) said,
“Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days from Shawwal it is as if they fasted the entire year.” [Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah; Ahmad transmitted it from Jabir, Muntaqa]
According to Sayyiduna Thawban (RA), the Prophet (PBUH) also said,
“Whoever fasts Ramadan, and then six days after Eid, it is an entire year. Whoever does a good deed shall have ten times its reward.” [Ibn Majah, Muntaqa]
Therefore, during this month, Muslims should increase recitation of Quran as well along with fasting.
Other Considerations that Prove the Importance of Shawal
Other important considerations that may help individuals understand the importance of the six days that follow Ramadan and Eid are given below.
1. According to most fuqaha, it is best to fast for six consecutive days of Shawal. This has been recommended by Hanafi, Shafi and the Hanbali School.
2. Muslims are permitted to fast separately or consecutively during the month of Shawal.
3. It is also suggested to fast during this month as it allows the individuals to make up for any shortfall in the mandatory fasts of the month of Ramadan. Therefore, those who have missed even one of the mandatory fast of the month of Ramadan should fast during Shawal as it holds high value.
Events During Shawal
The importance of this month can be gathered from the following historical Islamic events that took place during this month.
1. Hazrat Aisha (RA) was born during this month.
2. Hazrat Aisha was also got married to the Prophet (PBUH) during this month. This took place 10 years after Prophethood and 3 years prior to Hijrah.
3. The battle of Uhud was also during the month of Shawal.
4. Hazrat Hussain, who was the grandson of the Prophet (PBUH) was also born during this month.
5. The uncle of the Prophet (PBUH), Abu Talib died during the month of Shawal.
In lieu of the above mentioned events and the Sunnah and Hadith, one can gather the importance of Shawal.