Celebration of Eid Al-Fitr (Ramadan Festival) on the 1st of Shawwal Al-Mukarram:
Eid Al-Fitr (Ramadan Festival) marks the end of the month of Holy Ramadan. We say farewell to the blessed month, its beautiful days and its fragrant nights. We leave the month of seeking nearness to Ar Rahmaan, the school of Imaan and an opportunity to recharge our spiritual batteries.
In the previous nights, we prayed, offered charity and attended lectures. What will happen now? Have we fulfilled the requirements of Taqwa and graduated from this school with the diploma of the God Fearing?
The night of Eid Al-Fitr is a majestic night. It is beneficial to keep awake for Ibadah (worship) as this night is of equal importance as the night of Qadr (Lailatul Qadr). Eid Al-Fitr must not just mark the 'end' of Ramadan Al-Mubarak. Rather, it should be a new beginning, where we emulate our character and Islamic values, which we have focused upon for the past 30 days. We are like a child out of the womb, pure and innocent. Eid Al-Fitr is the day of victory as we have succeeded in subduing our desires and purified ourselves. Let's not wash away our good deeds and revert to our merry old ways. Let the Masjid still overflow with worshippers; let the Glorious Qur'an be the most essential part of our lives instead of letting it gather dust on our shelves. Our condition should be better than before Ramadan Al-Mubarak.
Eid Al-Fitr (Ramzan Festival) is not just a ritual that provides us with an excuse to enjoy ourselves. It represents important values and participating in them, we seek to please the Almighty Allah and attain nearness to Him.
Eid Al-Fitr is a great day of festival for Muslims. It is a day of rejoicing and being happy, but for whom? Is it the day of rejoicing for those who simply put on new clothes and wear perfume? Or is it the day of being happy for those who were eagerly waiting for the release of the greatest enemy of mankind, Satan, from his captivity so that they all revert to committing sins? Unfortunately, many Muslims abstain from sins during the month of Holy Ramadhan, but come Ramzan Eid, they go back to what they were before! Cassettes/CDs of prayers, which were in their cars during the month of Holy Ramadhan, are thrown back into their cases and replaced with those, which are unlawful, by Shariah (Islamic Law). The forbidden places from which they had abstained for month long, are infact the same places they go to celebrate Ramzan Eid.
Just as, when a person goes to a college, or a university and at the completion of his course, he receives his award marking his achievement, we must understand that, the month of Holy Ramadhan is a spiritual university where we are being trained to achieve Taqwa i.e. piety. The day of Eid Al-Fitr is when Allah (SWT) is awarding us for our achievements.
On the day of Eid Al-Fitr, Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) delivered a sermon in which he said: "O people! Verily this day of yours is the day when the righteous are awarded and the wretched are losers. It is a day which is similar to the one on which you shall be standing (before your Lord). Therefore, when you come out of your homes to go to places of your prayer, remind yourselves about the day when you (your souls) shall come out of your bodies to go to your Lord. When you stand on places of your prayer, remind yourselves of your standing in presence of your Lord (on the day of Judgement). And when you return to your homes (after prayer), remind yourselves about your returning to your homes in Paradise. O Servants of Allah (SWT)! Verily the minimum reward for those men and women who fasted (during Holy Ramadhan), is an Angel, who calls out to them on the last day of the month of Holy Ramadan (saying): O Servants of Allah! Rejoice the glad tiding that all your previous sins have been forgiven. Therefore, watch out in those things which serve as your re-creation (on this day and days to follow)." (Nahjul Balagha)
Fasting Six Days in the Islamic Month of Shawwal Al-Mukarram:
Fasting six days in the Islamic Month of Shawwal Al-Mukarram is mentioned in a Prophetic hadith. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: "Whosoever fasted in Ramadan and then followed up with six fasting days of Shawwal, it is like fasting every day." (Reported by Muslim)
Abu Ayyub (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Whosoever observes fast in Ramadan and then follows up with six fasts in Shawwal, will be regarded as though he had been fasting every day." (Reported by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)
The meaning of above hadith is that the reward is like the reward of a person who is always in fast every day of his/her life.
It is highly recommended to fast six days of the month of Shawwal Al-Mukarram, but it is not obligatory. Those who want to fast can fast after Eid Al-Fitr any six days during Shawwal Al-Mukarram.
It is not required to fast six days continuously without any interruption. One can fast according to convenience any time during the month of Shawwal Al-Mukarram.