“Say: ‘If you love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Holy Qur’an, 3:31]
This is a beautiful verse, named by some of the salaf as “the verse of the test”, as it tests how true one’s love of Allah is. They explained that if one loves Allah, then he must show that in his/her following of the Prophet Muhammad, salla-Allah `alayhi wa sallam. The verse tells us that those who follow the Prophet, salla-Allah `alayhi wa sallam, if sincere, can in shaa’ Allah expect the love of Allah and his forgiveness.
One of the ways to manifest our loving of Allah, by following the Prophet, (pbuh), is to do those acts that he, (pbuh), advised his Companions, and the Ummah in general, to do. A sunnah which is certainly relevant to us in these days is his, (pbuh), practice to fast six days in the month of Shawwaal.
Abu Ayyoob al-Ansaree narrated: Allah’s Messenger, (pbuh), said: “He who fasts Ramadhaan, and six of Shawwaal, it will be (in terms of rewards) as if the fasted a whole year.” [Reported by Muslim, at-Tirmidhee, Aboo Daawood, Ahmad, Ibn Maajah]
So this is an established sunnah, which carries a great reward, even though we find a great Imaam differing in this issue. Ibn Rushd al-Qurtubee said that Maalik, raHimahumAllah considered this fast to be disapproved, “either because people might associate with Ramadhaan what is not a part of it, or either because the tradition had not reached him or it did not prove to be authentic for him, which is more likely.” [Bidaayat ul-Mujtahid] However, we know that Imaam Maalik said: “Truly I am only a mortal: I make mistakes (sometimes) and I am correct (sometimes). Therefore, look into my opinions: all that agrees with the Book and the Sunnah, accept it; and all that does not agree with the Book and the Sunnah, ignore it.” [Reported by Ibn `Abdul Barr, Ibn Hazm and al-Fulaanee]
In commenting on the above mentioned hadeeth, As-San`aanee said in Subul us-Salaam: “If the thirty days of Ramadhaan fasting are assimilated with the six days of fasting in Shawwaal, it altogether makes 36 days. According to Sharee`ah, each virtue is rewarded ten times. Therefore, if we multiply 36 with 10, it makes 360, a number which equals the days of a year. Some scholars are of the opinion that these six days of fasting in Shawwaal must be completed in a continuous order right after the end of Ramadhaan. Some believe that is enough to merely complete six days of fasting in Shawwaal (in any order, either successive or with intervals), an opinion which is deemed to be correct.”
Perhaps it is proper for us to pray these days on Mondays and Thursdays, as in that case we would be following another Sunnah: `Aa’isha, radhiAllah `anhaa, narrated: “The Messenger of Allah, (pbuh), used to fast Mondays and Thursdays”. [an-Nasaa’ee, Saheeh]
If it is easier for one to fast on weekends, then in that case one would still be following another sunnah at the same time: Umm Salama, radhiAllah `anhaa, narrated: Allah’s Messenger used to fast mostly on Saturday and Sunday, and he used to say: “They are the festival days for the mushrikeen, and I like to act contrary to them.” [an-Nasaa’ee, Ibn Khuzaymah, who graded it saheeh, and Ibn Hajar agreed]
But, again, this fast is not obligatory, rather only recommended. There is reward for whoever does it, and no blame upon anyone who leaves it.
Remember: Whosoever fasted in Ramadan and then followed up with six fasting days of Shawwal, it is like fasting every day …(Muslim)