Key dates in Shawwal:
What is Shawwal?
The month of Shawwal is the month following the holy month of Ramadan and in it, there is the opportunity for great reward for worshippers as outlined by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Muslims have the opportunity to fast the six days of Shawwal, which are voluntary fasts that can be completed at any time throughout the month, before the end of Shawwal. The six days of Shawwal are recommended as a means of redeeming any shortcomings in the quality of our fasts in the month of Ramadan and are equivalent to a year of fasting if accepted by Allah (SWT).
The first day of Shawwal is also when Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, uniting to enjoy the reward of observing the holy month of Ramadan. This is one of the two annual festivals recognised by the Shari’ah. It celebrates the completion of the month of worship: Ramadan. Muslims attend the Eid prayer on this day and pay Sadaqat ul-Fitr. It is a day of celebration.
Shawwal is the first of three months (before the month of Dhul Hijjah) in which some of the acts of Hajj can begin to be performed, such as the Tawaf of Arrival. The period of Hajj also begins in Shawwal, which is otherwise called Ash-hur Al-Hajj or the months of Hajj.
When is Shawwal?
Eid Al-Fitr and the first day of Shawwal begins on the 2nd May 2022.
What is the importance of Shawwal?
Scholars have considered a sign that a Muslim’s observation of Ramadan has been accepted, is that they intend to fast the six days of Shawwal. In fact, Ibn Rajab (ra) said that doing so would be a way of demonstrating our gratitude to Allah (SWT) for the blessings, mercy, and reward that Ramadan has to offer.
“[Allah wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful” [Qur’an 2:185]
This month can also be a very important time for reflecting on the good habits cultivated throughout the month of Ramadan, and centring the mind, body, and soul for the remainder of the year and beyond.
Fasting in Shawwal (Six Days of Shawwal)
Fasting on the first day of Shawwal is prohibited, because this is when Eid Al-Fitr takes place. However, it is recommended to fast for six days of a worshipper’s choosing, before the end of the month in order to complete the six days of Shawwal and reap the rewards of a year of fasting.
What is the significance of the Shawwal moon?
The sighting of the new moon, or the Shawwal crescent moon as it is otherwise called, signifies the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr and its festivities. Eid al-Fitr lasts for one day, however it is only prohibited to fast on the first day of Eid.
Abu Sa’eed (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade fasting on the day of al-Fitr and al-Nahr.” (Bukhari)