This is the second post about fasting the six days of Shawwal, the first one’s here. I’m nearly finished fasting my six days this year, and as encouragement I thought I’d post this list of benefits/virtues of fasting these six days. Most of this is actually copied verbatim from this article by Salman Al-Awdah, but I’ve rewritten some of it to make a bit more sense and show a bit of my personality. 😉

1. Fasting six days in Shawwâl after observing the Ramadan fast gives the person the reward of fasting throughout the year. Really this list could stop right here, I think. Imagine the reward of having fasted an entire year. Alhamdulillah – Allah’s mercy is limitless.

2. The fasts of Sha`bân and Shawwâl are like the Sunnah prayers that accompany the five obligatory prayers. Like the Sunnah prayers, these extra fasts cover up for the deficiencies in our performance of our obligatory worship. On the Day of Judgment, our voluntary acts of worship will compensate for the shortcomings in how we carried out our duties. Most of us have deficiencies in our observance of our Ramadan fasts and we need something to cover up for those deficiencies. [Note: The deficiencies being discussed here are not missing days of fasting. Rather, they are the deficiencies in our conduct that detract from the value of our worship. Like losing one’s temper, talking about things that one should avoid, etc.]

3. Our return to the habit of fasting right after Ramadan is a sign that our Ramadan fasts were accepted. When Allah accepts our worship, He blesses us to engage in further acts of piety. The saying goes: The reward of virtue is further virtue. Therefore, following one good deed with others like it is a sign that the first deed had been accepted by Allah. By contrast, if a person’s good deed is followed by a sinful one, it is an indication that the first good deed might not have been accepted. (This is a good point, especially for someone who’s counting down the days to when I’m finished fasting and has no intention whatsoever of keeping this up throughout the year. I’ll have to really focus on the other good habits I picked up during the month.)

4. After fasting Ramadan, we are given the blessing of Eid Al-Fitr. Getting into the habit of fasting again after that is a way of giving thanks to Allah for the blessings that we have recieved. There is no blessing greater than forgiveness for one’s sins, and we know that fast of Ramadan is recompensed with forgiveness of one’s previous sins.

Fasting these days in Shawwâl is one way for us to express our thanks for Allah blessing us in our observance of the Ramadan fast.

It is known that some of the Pious Predecessors would try to get up at night to pray the Tahajjud prayer. When Allah blessed them to wake up and do so, they would fast the next day in thanks to Allah for blessing them to observe that prayer.

Once Wuhayb b. al-Ward was asked about the blessings of various acts of devotion and he replied: “Do not ask about the blessings that can be earned by performing these acts of worship. Rather, ask how you can show your thanks to Allah if He blesses you to perform them, for he is the one who assists us in doing so.”

Every blessing that Allah gives us is something that we have to be thankful about. Moreover, when Allah blesses us to show thanks, this is a further blessing from Allah that deserves further thanks from us. If we show further thanks, this in turn is another blessing deserving our gratitude. There is no end to this and we can never be thankful enough. When we recognize that our thanks is never enough, this is the highest expression of gratitude we can give.

Can you think of any more benefits/virtues of fasting these six days? I really hope that remembering these things will give us the necessary boost to finish these days in strong Iman.