Shawwal is the 10th month of the Islamic Hijri Calendar following the blessed month of Ramadan. Eid-ul-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast) which falls on the first day of Shawwal is celebrated annually by Muslims across the globe on the occasion of the completion of their month-long fasting. The dates are different each year as with any other Islamic dates due to the nature of the Hijri Calendar being a lunar calendar that depends on the sightings of the moons in contrast to the solar Gregorian Calendar.
This year the month of Shawwal will likely begin on 22 April 2023 and end on 20 May 2023.
Derived from an Arabic term ‘sawaal’ which roughly translates as ‘raised’- refers to the female pregnant camels with their little ones. In addition to this, it means breakage from the superstitions that were widely believed and followed before the establishment of Islam. Ancient Arab tribes considered this month to be cursed and marriages that occurred during this time would never be successful. But, there is no true basis for this in Islam as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Aisha (RA) got married during this month. Therefore, putting an end to this misconception.
This month is extremely vital to hold on to the spirit of Ramadan and continue the noble deeds such as fasting, voluntary prayers, sincere repentance, reading and learning the Quran, Tahajjud, engaging in dhikr, charity, etc.
Fasting in the month of Shawwal has significant benefits. We are encouraged to keep on with acts of worship during this month and gain more rewards and seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah (SWT).
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for the entire year.”
This sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) can be done on any day throughout the month of Shawwal after Eid-ul-Fitr as it is forbidden to keep fast on that day.
Narrated by Anas Bin Malik, “The Messenger of Allah said to me: ‘Whoever revives my Sunnah then he has loved me. And whoever loved me, he shall be with me in Paradise.'”
It is essential that we use such opportunities to please and showcase gratitude for endless favors and mercy that Allah (SWT) has bestowed upon us.
Few major events that took place during the month of Shawwal are as follows:
The sighting of the crescent moon of the Islamic Hijri Calendar depicts the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of Shawwal. Eid-ul Fitr is celebrated after the sighting of the “Shawwal Moon” which will likely be on 21 April 2023 or on 22 April 2023.
اللَّهُمَّ أَهِلَّهُ عَلَيْنَا بِالْيُمْنِ وَالْإِيمَانِ وَالسَّلَامَةِ وَالْإِسْلَامِ وَالتَّوْفِيقِ لِمَا تُحِبُّ وَتَرْضَى رَبِّي وَرَبُّكَ اللَّهُ
Translation: “O Allah let this moon (month) pass over us with blessings, Iman, safety, and in the belief of Islam. Grant us the ability to act on the actions You love and Pleases You. (O Moon) My Lord and Your Lord is Allah.”
[At-Tirmidhi 5/504, Ad-Darimi 1/336]
Shawwal is a great time for spiritual reflection. It paves way for more opportunities to better ourselves and draw us closer to Allah (SWT). Let us strive to follow the sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) and may Almighty Allah (SWT) ease all our affairs, guide us to the right path and accept our heartfelt prayers. In Sha Allah.