No, please don’t become a ‘Ramadan’ Muslim!
You fasted the whole month of Ramadan. Now, it’s party time, right? Unfortunately, no. In life, it’s very important to be consistent. And living a proper, useful and productive life is the essence of Islamic living. The Eid and the two days after them are the days of festivities. Muslims visit their parents, relatives, friends. In today’s world, not all of them stay in the same place as one lives. So, one would have to travel too in order to meet our loved ones.
Fasting in the month of Shawwal
The month following Ramadan is the month of Shawwal. “Whoever fasts during Ramadan and follows it with six days from Shawwal it is as if they fasted the entire year” (Muslim). During Ramadan, it’s as if one were driving in a heavily crowded city. You would have to drive at just the first or second gear in crowded places, right? Now, what happens if you are suddenly transported to the Autobahn or any other such freeway or an expressway/highway? You drive at top gear, yes or no?
Similar to the above is the state of our Nafs (soul). It’s as if it has been released from a cage. Now, the soul is always under our control. As long as we put it in right direction, it’s OK. But many a times, we don’t listen to our conscience. Human beings were created weak. Most of the times, we succumb to temptations. And we commit sins – mostly minor and sometimes even major!
So, the fasting of six days during the month of Shawwal assume a lot of significance. One, we don’t entirely loose the rhythm of Ramadan as fasting keeps our basal desires under check. Second, these act as a roadblock to committing sins. Now, there is no need to fast these six days continuously. Some people do that and they do that right after the day of Eid. Because they are afraid they might loose the rhythm of Ramadan.
But these six fasts can be kept even intermittently spreading them throughout the month of Shawwal. This is also the opinion of Islamic scholars like Ahmad bin Hanbal and Waki. Keep the fasts intermittently or continuously, it’s up to you. But keep you should. As it will help you keep the rhythm and spirit of Ramadan alive and kicking! Happy fasting.