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Published On: Thu, Jul 31st, 2014

The Fasting, Sitta Shawwal

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Ramadan KareemBy Husain Zakariyya Yawale

The second article intends to encourage obliging to the call of Allah on priority basis and minimizing spiritual abuses and lapses due to confusions.

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari narrated that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: “He who fasts Ramadan, and six of Shawwal,and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal it will be as if he the fasted a whole year.” [Muslim, at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ahmad andIbnMajah]

The six day fast of Shawwal has remained a controversial issue with many Muslims; men and women alike. I have also realized that many young scholars have contributed to this dilemma of a sort. Many questions keep on retelling themselves because of the ambiguities in the answers many hasty young scholars tender to their followership. If only they would take little time and refer to the earlier well-grounded scholars’ responses on the matter, they could have save the confusions. Similarly, a little time to contemplate on the import of the hadith would have solved half of the complications.

The Hadith categorically said, “He who fasts Ramadan…” which means the month of Ramadan as a whole, and not part of it. In fact, there is no any inference that can represent incompleteness in both content and context of the hadith. In both the Qur’an and the Sunnah wherever Ramadan is mentioned it is always refereeing to the complete month of either 29 or 30 days. There is no month in Islam that is shorter than 29 days, or longer than 30days. So, if that is the case, then anybody who fasted less than a month, in whatever counting, did not fast complete Ramadan. He or she fasted only part of the month of Ramadan!

Therefore, whoever did not complete his or her Ramadan, must first and foremost comply with the meaning and the message of the Hadith before embarking to fast the sitta of Shawwal! That is to say, people whose fasting was interrupted by menstrual circle, pregnancy,breastfeeding, sickness or travelling, must as a matter of compliance repay their accumulates which are fundamental and fard, before embarking on sunaticfasting which are not compulsory.

Late Sheikh Bin Baz, Sheikh Uthaimeen and Sheikh Albany, may Allah have mercy on them, have given fatwas on different occasions on the need to pay the punishable debts, before embarking on rewardable acts. Sheikh Bin Baz in his series of “NurunalaDarb” no. 918,Sheikh Albany in his “Silsilatul Huda wan Nur” no. 753 and Sheikh Al-Uthaimeen in his “Fatawal Haram al-Makky’ series no. 7 of the 1410 Hijra, have consensually retorted that it is not allowed or permissible for anyone with pending days of Ramadan to fast the six of Shawwal. In fact, Albany cited the ruling ofSayyidanaAbubakarSiddeeq [Rd] that Allah does not accept anafila (recommendable) of anyone without fulfilling hisfard(compulsory) act of worship.

These fatwas should put to final rest the hullabaloos between the fasting ofsitta of Shawwal first and repayment of missed days of Ramadan. Sheikh Albany went further to give a frightening fatwa that whoever did not complete his missed days of Ramadan, and resorted to fast the sitta of Shawwal, and as Allah wills, and it happened that that passed on, he or she died as anoffender!

Thus, my sincere advice to brothers and sisters is for anyone interested in fasting the sitta of Shawwal, to firstly make sure he or she does not owe any of the missed day in Ramadan. The law says first thing, first!

May Allah accept our ibadats in all their forms, and forgive our shortcomings in all their ugly sizes!


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