Benefits of Sitta Shawwal Fast, by Sheikh Sani Yahaya
After the Eid el-Fitr, observed on the 1st of Shawwal (Sallah day), the ummah are expected to embark on the Sitta Shawwal fast, a Sunnah Mustahabbah, that has great virtue and carries immense reward.
Sheikh Muhammad Sani Yahaya Jingir, National Chairman of the Ulama Council of the Izala (JIBWIS Jos) said: “The Sitta Shawwal fasting starts from the second day and should be completed before the month ends. This voluntary fasting is, to the obligatory fast of the blessed month of Ramadan, what the Sunnah prayer is to the obligatory prayer.
He explained that, “Among the very important benefits of fasting the six days of Shawwal is that it makes up for shortcomings in a person’s obligatory Ramadan fast,” noting that no one was free of shortcomings or sins that could effect on his fasting.
“On the Day of Resurrection,” the Izala leader further explained, “Our nafil (supererogatory or optional) deeds will be used to make up the shortcomings in our obligatory deeds,” saying the ummah should redouble effort in that regard.
He said it was narrated from the Prophet (PBUH) that, “The first thing for which people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be their Sallah (prayer). Our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, will say to His angels - although He knows best - ‘Look at the Sallah of My slave, whether it is complete or incomplete.’ If it is perfect, it will be recorded as perfect, and if something is lacking, He will say, ‘Look and see whether My slave did any voluntary (nafil) prayers.’ If he did some voluntary prayers, [Allah] will say, Complete the obligatory actions of My slave from his voluntary actions.’ Then all his actions will be dealt with in a similar manner.”
Sheikh Sani Yahaya said: “Fasting the six days of Shawwal should start from the second day of the month because it is haram to fast on ‘Eid day, but one can fast the six days at any time during Shawwal”, adding that “the best of good deeds are those which are consistent and done without delay.”
He further stated that for those who regularly observed the Sitta Shawwal fast, it gives them the reward of fasting a life-time. He recited, among others, the narration by Abu Ayyub (RA) from Muslim, who reported that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “If anyone who has kept the fasts in Ramadan, follows them up with the six (optional) fasts of Shawwal then (he will get the reward for the fast of a year but if he does that always) it is as if he fasted all his life.”
On the mode of observance of the fasting, he said it must all be within Shawwal preferrably but not necessarily in consecutive order based on a hadith by a companion, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari’s (RA).
Sheikh Sani Yahaya stated that for someone who has missed some days of the Ramadan fasting, he should fast them first, then follow up with the six days of Shawwal. He said this is because a person can only fast the six days of Shawwal after he must have completed the obligatory Ramadan fast.
Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir