QUESTION: If one missed some fast in the month Ramadan and wants to benefit from the voluntary fast in the month of Shawwal (sitta Shawwal), which one are we to do first? Is it the one we missed in the month of Ramadan or the voluntary fast? All praise is due to Allaah the Lord of the worlds. We seek His blessings on Muhammad, his household and Companions and those who follow his footsteps until the day of Judgement (Aamin).
The answer to this question is to be found in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) where he said, "Whoever fasted Ramadan, then followed it with six days from Shawwal, it would be as if he had fasted perpetually." (Muslim)
If a person had some fasting to make up for, and he wants to fast the six days of Shawwal, should he fast them before the days of Ramadan (which he has to make up for) or after them? For example, somebody fasted twenty four days of Ramadan and there remained six days incumbent upon him; so if he fasted the six days of Shawwal before fasting the six days which he had to make up for, then it would not be said that he had fasted Ramadan then followed it by six days of Shawwal.
It could not be said that he had fasted Ramadan unless he had fasted all of it. So based upon this, the reward for fasting six days from Shawwal would not be confirmed for the one who fasted them while he still had days to make up for from Ramadan. This question is not the same as the question of whether it is permissible for one to perform voluntary fasts, for someone who has days of Ramadan to make up for in which there is difference of opinion among scholars, because this difference of opinion is not regarding the six days. As for the six days, they follow on from Ramadan and it is not possible for the reward to be confirmed except for one who has completed Ramadan.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited