The 6-Day Fast Of Syawal
First (1) Syawal 1437H was celebrated with triumph and gratitude. Invocations of takbir, tahmid, tasbih and tahlil were asserted with full appreciation and understanding. Hopefully, with this passage of Ramadan, we can continue to nourish a higher sense of devotion and conviction.
We had undertaken a successful month of fasting during Ramadan. Ramadhan as a month of development and growth (tarbiah) has taught us the perseverance and thoroughness in worship. The fasting we experienced was not just about hunger and thirst, but also involved our senses. Our eyes, ears, hands and feet were also fasting and refrained from the urges of lust and vices. Even our spirit was regulated to always be pure in discharging all instructions and to leave all that have been prohibited.
Ramadan as a month of worship taught us a lot of practices that draws us closer to Allah SWT. During the day in Ramadhan, we fast, and at night we perform the tarawih, witir and hajat prayers, as well as the Qiamullail. Throughout the days and nights of Ramadan, we fill them with religious remembrance, prayers and reading the Al-Quran. Similarly, we also observe other practices such as donations, gifts, alms and the paying of zakat. In fact, Ramadan teaches us to await the time to perform acts of worship, using the Fajr and Maghrib prayers as a measure of the beginning and the end.
Allah SWT stated in a Hadith Qudsi, as recorded by al-Bukhari from Abu Hurairah RA: َأ َح َّّب ِإلَ ٍ ب ِإلََّيّ ل عَبْدِي يَتَقََّرّ ُ ُ ت عَلَيْهِ وَمَا يَزَا ُ وَمَا تَقََّرّ َب ِإلََّيّ عَبْدِي بِشَ ْيء َّيّ مَِّمّا افْتَرَ ْض بِهِ وَ ُ بْصِر ُ الَّّذِي ي ُ ع بِهِ وَبَصَرَه الَّّذِي يَْسمَُ ُ ت سَمْعَه كنْ ُ ُ ُ ه ُ فَِإذَا َأ ْحبَبْت ُ ِحَّبّه بِالَّنّوَافِ ِل َحَّتّى أ َي َََهُ ُّ ُ اَّلّتِي يَمْشِ عِيذََّنّه ُ ش بِهَا وَرِجْلَه أ اَّلّتِي يَبْطِ ُ وَلئَِْن ا ْستَعَاذَنِي لَُّ ُ أ ْعطِيََّنّه ْن َسَألَنِي لَُّ ِ ي بِهَا وَإ Which means: "There is no taqarrub (closeness) of a servant to Me with anything more I love of worship except with what I've made (obligatory) upon him. My servants should always get closer to me with nawafil (voluntary practices) until I love him and when I love him, I am his hearing, his eyes to look, his arms to beat and his legs to walk. If he asked from Me, I would give, and if he asked for protection from Me I will surely protect him. "
Among the acts of worship that draws us closer to Allah SWT and dedicated specially in the month of Syawal, is the six (6) days of fasting. This special practice or act of worship is required to be performed, as recorded by Imam Muslim from Abu Ayub al-Ansari RA, who narrated that Rasullullah SAW had said: ل كَانَ َك ِصيَا ِم الَّدّهْرِ ٍ ُ ِسًّتّا مِ ْن َشَّوّا َُّمَّأتْبَعَه مَ ْن َصامَ رَمَ َضانَ ث Which means: "Whoever fasts in Ramadan and then followed by fasting six days of Syawal, then he is akin to fasting the whole year."
The reward of a fast that is equivalent to fasting for a year is a special gift offered to those who carry out the six (6) days of fasting during Syawal. According to scholars, the reward of fasting the six (6) days of Syawal is equivalent to a year of obligatory fasting. This is based on the promise of Allah SWT that for every one good deed performed, it will be rewarded ten (10)-fold. The calculation of reward for the obligatory Ramadhan fasting of thirty (30) days per year is a ten (10)-fold reward, equivalent to three hundred (300) days or ten (10) months of fasting. While fasting the six (6) days of Syawal with ten (10) times the reward is equal to sixty (60) days or two months. Therefore, by performing the obligatory thirty (30)-day fast of Ramadan and the six (6)-day fast of Syawal, a person has accumulated the rewards of fasting for a whole year. This is the gift by Allah SWT to His most obedient of servants
There are benefits and advantages of fasting the six (6) days of Syawal. Among them, as stated by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali and the others, are namely:
First: The six (6)-day fast of Syawal, after the fast of Ramadan, completes the reward equivalent to fasting for a year. Three hundred (300) days is a reward for the thirty (30) days of Ramadan and sixty (60) days is the reward for the six (6)-day fast of Syawal, equivalent to a total of three hundred and sixty (360) days of fasting.
Second: Fasting during the month of Sha'ban and Syawal are similar to the voluntary rawatib prayers before and after obligatory prayers. The advantages of practising voluntary worship and prayers is that it fills and completes any shortcomings of the obligatory practices.
Third: The habit of familiarizing oneself with voluntary fasting is a sign of maqbul or acceptance of the obligatory Ramadan fast. Once Allah SWT accepts one act of good deed or worship, He will simplify all the other acts of good deed or worship of His servant. This is what is meant by "the reward of good is other rewards of good".
Fourth: The six (6)-day fast of Syawal is also a sign of gratitude for Allah SWT’s act of forgiving sins, as promised to His servants who are fasting. It is a monumental gift. Indeed, Rasulullah SAW, whose sins have all been pardoned, expressed gratitude for the graces of Allah SWT, to the point that his legs became swollen due to continuous praying.
Fifth: Fasting is the practice of the pious in expressing gratitude to Allah SWT. Thankful for having the inclination to perform good deeds and then successfully performing the fast and other acts of worship during Ramadan. It was said that there were pious ones who had fast during the day as an act of gratefulness for being able to perform the Qiamullail at night.
The voluntary six (6)-day fast of Syawal can be performed continuously, from the second day until the seventh day of Syawal. It can also be performed on alternate days, or on any six (6) days starting from the second day until the thirtieth (30th) of Syawal. However, it is best performed starting from the second to the seventh day of Syawal, continuously. This six (6)-day fast may also be carried out even if a person has not replaced any missed obligatory fast of Ramadan, based on the proposition put forward that Sayyidatina Aisyah RA performed the replacement fast of Ramadhan later. In fact, according to one opinion in the Shafi'i school, obligatory fasting such as qadha’, nazar, or kafarah can be combined and performed with voluntary fast. But the Shafi’i school also noted that all of them are best performed separately.
Although we follow the view that allows the six (6)-day fast of Syawal to be performed even though replacement of the obligatory fast has not be done, as well as combining the obligatory fast as qadha’ together with the six (6)-day fast of Syawal, the rewards will not be as great, or perfect, as that for those who carry them out separately. But, the mercy and blessings of Allah SWT are wide and plentiful. Therefore, execute and perform our acts of worship and good deeds as best as we can, as long as it they performed and completed with full devotion and sincerity
The conclusions that can be gathered from the sermon today include the following:
First: The arrival of Syawal should be the beginning of a new life for a Muslim who dutifully obeys and devotes himself to Allah SWT.
Second: The six (6)-day fast of Syawal promises special rewards and blessings from Allah SWT to His servants, who perform the obligatory fast of Ramadan and then complementing it with the six (6)-day fast of Syawal.
Third: The six (6)-day fast of Syawal is the fast that fills and completes any shortcomings that occurs during the obligatory Ramadan fast.
Allah SWT declared in Surah al-Taubah, verse 105: Which means: “And say: "Work (righteousness): Soon will Allah observe your work, and His Messenger, and the Believers: Soon will you be brought back to the knower of what is hidden and what is open: then will He show you the truth of all that you did." ُ