Shitta Shawwal and other post-Ramadan duties
In about nine to 10 days, Shawwal, the 10th month of Islamic lunar calendar will be over. So, Muslims who are yet to fulfill the optional six days of fasting (Shitta Shawwal) during this month can still observe them. The voluntary fasting exercise drives its significance from the prophetic saying that, “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, it will be as if he had fasted the year through.” (Sahîh Muslim).
The month of Shawwal is singled out for the observance of six extra days of fasting, since the month follows immediately after Ramadan. The six days of voluntary fasting are to the obligatory fast of Ramadan what the Sunnah prayers are to the obligatory prayers.
Also, it was related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The fast of Ramadan is like observing ten months of fasting. Fasting six days of Shawwal is like observing two months of fasting. This together is like fasting throughout the year.”
Post Ramadan, here are some practical advices that can help sustain the gains of Ramadan.
Be Consistent: Be a Rabbani (belonging to Allah always) and not Ramadani (worshipping Allah only in Ramadan). Allah says in the Qur’an: “O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and do not make your deeds of no effect”(47:33).
Voluntary Fasts: Though the obligatory fasts end with Ramadan, it is recommended for every Muslim to fast for six days of Shawwal (Islamic month after Ramadan). The great virtue and immense rewards for fasting in Shawwal have been recorded in many narrations. Scholars say that fasting in Shawwal makes up for any shortcomings in person’s obligatory fasts. The Prophet used to also fast on Mondays and Thursdays.
Pray in Congregation
In Ramadan, we have seen beautiful pictures of people praying in congregation in jam-packed mosques. Suddenly, after Ramadan, we see a sharp decrease in the number of people in Masjid. Let us be reminded that praying in Masjid in congregation is obligatory for men. Allah and His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) praised such people.
Ponder the Holy Qur’an
Let us not restrict the recitation of Holy Qur’an to only the month of Ramadan. We have to take at least a few minutes daily out of our schedule to recite, understand and ponder over the verses of Qur’an.
Most of us pay our obligatory Zakat during the month of Ramadan. But this should not stop us from spending in the path of Allah for the rest of the year. As good deeds are always rewarded, we should make it a habit to give Sadaqa (voluntary charity).
The chance to worship Allah in Ramadan was a blessing. Let us thank Allah by continuing to obey Allah after Ramadan too. May Allah help us to make better Muslim after this Ramadan.