Is Neglecting Shawwal’s Six Days Sin?

Question and answer details
As-salamu `alaykum. If someone fasts six days of Shawwal, then one year he gets sick or something prevents him from fasting, or he is too lazy to fast, will there be any sin on him? We have heard that if a person fasts these six days one year, he must never give up this practice thereafter.
Zienab Mostafa
Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Ifta’

Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear sister in Islam, thanks a lot for your question which is a sign of your good faith and keenness to abide by the Prophet's Sunnah. May Allah reward you and grant you Paradise!

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First of all, it should be clear that fasting the six days of Shawwal is a sunnah that is highly rewarded by Allah. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, "Whosoever fasted in Ramadan and then followed up with fasting six days of Shawwal, it is as if he fasted forever" (Muslim)

Being a sunnah means that it is not sin for a Muslim who used to observe fasting these days each year not to fast them.

With regard to your question, The Standing Committee for Islamic Research and Iftaa' in Saudi Arabia states,

Fasting six days of Shawwal after the day of `Eid is a Sunnah. It is not wajib (obligatory) on the person who does this once or more often to continue doing it. He is not guilty of a sin if he does not fast these days.

And Allah is the source of strength. May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad and grant him peace.

Excerpted with modifications from, www.islam-qa.com

Moreover, the prominent Muslim scholar and da`iyah Zeinab Mostafa adds,

I commend you for your interest and keenness on observing the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in fasting the six days of Shawwal. You should know that fasting on those days is a sunnah, which means that it is not mandatory but it is highly recommended and there is a great reward promised by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) for observing the fast.

Therefore, it is optional to repeat this practice or discontinue it, but it is preferred to continue fasting every year and to maintain a high level of iman (faith) after Ramadan.

Allah Almighty knows best.