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Fasting in Shawwal and Keeping the Spirit Alive Post-Ramadan

Ramadan is hard work. This is why it is followed by a gift – Eid – a day (or three) we all love! 

Eid mornings have this inexplicable joy laced into the air. 

That feeling of relief when you can have a cool, crisp glass of water after Eid namaz (prayer). The table is full of our favorite Nashta (breakfast), fun meetups, that afternoon Eid nap—everything hits differently on Eid day. 

But as fun as Eid is, plunging head-first into Dunya after being so close to Allah (SWT) during Ramadan is bound to take a toll on our souls. 

This materialistic Dunya can lead us to mess up our record books, even if we came out of Ramadan with a clean slate. 

Fasting in Shawwal is one prescribed way of avoiding that. But do these fasts have any real significance, and is there anything else or more that you can do?

Fasting in Shawwal and How You Can Carry the Ramadan-Spiritual High Forward

Carrying forward the spirit of Ramadan during Shawwal and maintaining it throughout the year is easier than you may think. 

No, you won’t have to do anything beyond your capacity and give up on life entirely to do it. 

Here are a few tips to try for keeping your scales teeming with khair even after the blessed month bids adieu: 

Fasting in Shawwal: Benefitting from the Sunnah

Fasting six days during Shawwal is prescribed in the Sunnah. We learn from a Hadith that the Prophet (SAW) said:

“Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal will be (rewarded) as if he had fasted the entire year.” [Muslim – Book 5, Hadith 701]

Fasting in Shawwal, though not obligatory, is highly recommended. And you earn the reward for fasting an entire year simply by pushing through six more days! Isn’t that amazing? 

Besides earning those rewards and helping you maintain your khayr momentum, fasting in Shawwal enables you to make up for any shortcomings in your obligatory Ramadan fasts. 

Before you start feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly mighty task of fasting again right after you are done with Ramadan, know that it’s only six days, and you don’t have to do them one after the other! 

You can fast any six days during Shawwal. An easy way to do this is to fast on Mondays and Thursdays and during what we know as Ayyam Al-bid  (The White Days) – the 13th, 14th, and 15th of the Islamic year. 

Okay, that’s one way to do it. How else can we keep that Ramadan spirit before the Dunya takes over?

Keep Up with Some of Your Ramadan Habits

You may have set some Ramadan goals and formed new habits. These are the things that were not a part of your day-to-day before Ramadan. It may have been something simple, like reading a page of the Quran, understanding one Ayah from the Blessed Book, staying regular with your morning and evening adhkar, or simply ensuring you pray your five prayers on time. 

Take a moment to think. What was one thing you decided you would stick to throughout Ramadan and eventually fell into a habit of doing it? Pick that newly formed habit and continue doing it throughout Shawwal. 

Remember, starting small and staying consistent is the key to building lifelong habits. Allah (SWT) also loves consistent good deeds, even if they are small. So, try to avoid picking something you may not be able to commit to and do regularly or anything that may eventually overwhelm you. 

Pick a small, simple good deed that had been a habit during Ramadan and stick to it. 

InshaAllah, you may end the year with good deeds that tip the scales in your favor on Youm Al-qiyamah (The Day of Judgement)

Abstain from Sins

Can’t find a good deed? Or is sticking to one just too tough for you to keep doing day after day? Think of a sin you avoided during Ramadan or while fasting during the day. 

Is it listening to music? Watching movies? Backbiting people you dislike? Being rude to your mom? 

Pick a sin you really want to quit and repent from it. Ask for Allah (SWT)’s forgiveness and while you’re at it, also put in a request to seek Allah (SWT)’s help in staying away from that particular sin forever. 

Of course, you may slip. But remember, falling back into sin is not a loss. You only lose this game if you slip and never get up. So, in case you end up going back to the sin, turn to Allah (SWT) again, seek forgiveness again, repent again, and start over! 

Be Mindful of What You Eat

Ramadan teaches us that our lower self, our nafs, is actually not that hard to control. We need to practice self-discipline. All our favorite dishes are there, ready to be devoured, right in front of us on the iftar table. And yet, we restrain ourselves from putting even a morsel in our mouths until the Maghrib Adhaan is called. That’s some show of self-discipline right there. 

Try to be mindful of what you eat after Ramadan ends. Tell yourself that if you can control yourself from eating your favorite food for a good 12 hours during Ramadan, you can keep on doing it for the rest of the year. 

Leave with Gratitude

Regardless of how you are fasting in Shawwal, Ramadan has its own feeling. A unique, blissful vibe that’s almost infectious. It gets you into that high-imaan mode where you are finding more depth and meaning in every moment. 

It is one of these moments of reflection when we often find our hearts overflowing with gratitude as well. 

When this moment of gratitude hits, your perspective changes, and you start looking at life from a new lens. It can help you be more appreciative and grateful for the little and big things you have been taking for granted. 

These moments of gratitude may not be as ubiquitous after Ramadan. So, you will have to put in some work. Try to actively reflect and be grateful for the blessings you have. This will keep your heart brimming with gratitude and life with positivity, even when Ramadan is gone.

Read our latest posts: Can We Carry it Forward?, Ramadan Reflections: Allah (SWT) Holds All the PowerRamadan Reflections: Masajid for EveryoneRamadan Reflections: Minimalism

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