The Importance of the Month of Shawwal in Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)’s Life

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Shawwal (الشوّال) is the tenth month of the lunar year, after Ramadan and just before Dhul Qadah. It is also known as ‘the month of ‘feast(eid).” The word “Shawwal,” which derives from the root of Shawl, has a variety of definitions such as ‘lifting,” “water remaining at the bottom of the bucket,” “old age.” The reasons why the name Shawwal was given to the tenth month during Jahiliyyah are explained as follows: While the Arabs were changing the old names of the lunar months, this month was so named due to either the decrease of the camels’ milk or increase in temperatures during the summer.1

During  Jahiliyyah, the Arabs considered the month of Shawwal cursed and would not marry during this month.2 They believed that unrest would occur among spouses who got married this month, and therefore the marriages would not continue. Prophet Muhammad  (ﷺ) to change this belief in a curse, married Aisha and  Umm Salama (radialhuhu anhuma) within the month of Shawwal.3 Aisha (ra) would proudly narrate that she married the Prophet in Shawwal, and recommend the women around her to conduct their marriages in Shawwal.4

Following Ramadan, the month of Shawwal is a blessed month of which the first three days are celebrated as Eid al-Fitr. Prophet Muhammad  (ﷺ) referring  to  the Ramadan and Shawwal crescents,  reported: “Do not fast until you see the new moon; and do not eat until you see the (next) new moon. Should clouds interfere (with your sight), estimate the month.” 5 At the sight of a new moon, Prophet Muhammad would supplicate as follows: “Allah is the greatest. O Allah, let the crescent loom above us in safety, faith, peace, and Islam, and in agreement with all that You love and pleases You. Our Lord and your Lord is Allah.” 6

Prophet Muhammad  (ﷺ) has forbidden fasting on the first day of the month of Shawwal, the first day of Eid -ul Fitr. Fasting for six days in the month of Shawwal after the Eid is an important sunnah of Prophet Muhammad  (ﷺ). The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)  gave the good tidings  that anyone who fasted in Shawwal for six days in this following hadith: 

وَعَنْ أَبِي أَيُّوبَ اَلْأَنْصَارِيِّ ‏- رضى الله عنه ‏- أَنَّ رَسُولَ اَللَّهِ ‏- صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏-قَالَ: { مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ, ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَهُ سِتًّا مِنْ شَوَّالٍ كَانَ كَصِيَامِ اَلدَّهْرِ } رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ

Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal will be (rewarded) as if he had fasted the entire year

 Bulugh al-Maram, Fasting, 1164

Prophet Muhammad  (peace upon him) completed his (itikaf) social seclusion during the month of Shawwl whenever He (ﷺ) could not complete it within Ramadan. 

 Shawwal is also the first of the pilgrimage months. The Qur’an mentions “the season of pilgrimage”  through this  verse : لْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ Hajj is [during] well-known months.”7 Prophet Muhammad  clarified the expression “well-known months” as the first ten days of Shawwal, Dhul Qadah and Dhul Hijjah.8 These are the last three months of the Hijri( Islamic calendar) year. The pilgrimage is performed only during this time and it is an indication of how blessed and significant this time period is.

 Some of the important events that occurred in the month of Shawwal  during the life of Prophet Muhammad ( ﷺ) are as follows:

  • Return of first immigrants from Abyssinia to Mecca (5th Year of Prophecy) 9
  • Siege of Taif: (A few nights 10 or three nights before the end of Shawwal- 10th year of Prophecy )11
  • Marriage of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ ) and  Aisha (raduyallâhu anha) (1st Year of the Migration)12
  • Death of Hazrat al-Asad Ibn Zurara (1st Year of the Migration)13
  • The Construction of the Masjid Al-Nabawi and the House of Prophet (ﷺ) (1st Year of the Migration)14
  • Expedition of Ubaydah ibn al-Harith (1st Year of the Migration)15
  • First Eid ul Adha (2 years after Migration)16
  •  Al-Kharrar expedition17
  • Expedition of Ghalib ibn Abdullah al-Laithi (Mayfah) ( 10th Shawwal/ 2 years after Migration)18
  • Expelling Banu Qaynuka from Medina ( Shawwal 15- Zilkada 1/ 2 years after Migration)19
  • The Battle of Uhud  ( 7th or 11th Shawwal/ 3 years after Migration) 20
  • The Battle of  Hamraulesed ( 3 years after Migration)21
  • Marriage of Prophet (ﷺ) with Hadhrat Umme Salamah (R.A.)( 4 years after Migration)22
  • Expedition of Abdullah ibn Rawaha (6 years after Migration)23
  • Expedition of Bashir Ibn Sa’d al-Ansari (Fadak) (7 years after Migration)24
  • Marriage of Abu Bakr with  Asmâ Bint-i Umeys (8 years after Migration) 
  • Expedition of Khalid ibn al-Walid (Banu Jadhimah) to invite them to Islam (8 years after Migration)25
  • Battle of Hunayn (8 years after Migration)26
  • Siege of Ta’if  (8 years after the Migration)27
  • The Arrival of  Committee from Banu al-Harith to Mecca ( 10 years after Hijrah)  
  • The Arrival of Committee from Banu Salaman to Mecca (10 years after Hijrah)28

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Footnotes

  1. Yaşaroğlu, Kamil, DİA “Shawwal” Article 39/34
  2. It was believed that the weddings occuring in Shawwal would not be healthy, causing dispute between husband and wife, and therefore wouldn’t last long. According to them, this meant a marriage  taking place between two holidays was a cause of bad luck  itself! Their rationale was the plague which started many years ago and killed many people. According to them, the reason for this disease was the marriages in the month of Shawwâl and they were especially avoiding weddings in this month in order not to cause such a problem again! See. Ibn Sa’d, Tabakat 8/60, 61; Nevevî, Minhâc 9/209
  3. Müslim, Nikâh 73; İbn Mâce, Nikâh 53
  4. Bkz. Müslim, Nikâh 73; Tirmizî, Nikâh 9; Ahmed İbn-i Hanbel, Müsned 6/206 (25757); İbn-i Mâce, Nikâh 53
  5. Bukhari, Savm 11; Muslim, Sıyâm 17-20
  6. Tirmidhi, Deavât 51
  7. Suratul Baqara, 2/197
  8. Beyhakî, es-Sünenü’l-kübrâ, 4/548 (8791,8792)
  9. Makrizî, İmtâu’l-Esma 1/41
  10. Ibn-i Sa’d, Tabakât 1/211-212
  11. Ibn-i Hişâm, Sîre 2/60
  12. It is also stated in some narrations that this marriage took place in the second year of the migration and after Badr. See. Tirmidhi, Nikâh 9; Aynî, Umdetü’l-Kârî 1/45
  13. Author’s Name
  14. Ibnü’l-Esîr, Üsdü’l-Gâbe 1/111
  15. Author’s Name
  16. Author’s Name
  17. Author’s Name
  18. Ibn-i Sa’d, Tabakât 3/611; Belâzûrî, Ensâb 1/282; Ibn-i Abdilberr, el-Istî’âb 1/83
  19. Vâkıdî, Megâzî 1/10; Ibn-i Sa’d, Tabakât 2/7
  20. Ibn-i Sa’d, Tabakât 1/242
  21. It is narrated that this 15-day long expedition took place either during Muharram or Shawwal.
  22.  Halife Ibn-i Hayyât, et-Tarih s. 35
  23. Vâkıdî, Megâzî 2/566; Ibn-i Sa’d, Tabakât 2/92
  24. Vâkıdî, Megâzî 2/727; Ibn-i Sa’d, Tabakât 2/119
  25. Vâkıdî, Megâzî 1/6; Ibn-i Sa’d, Tabakât 2/147
  26. Ibn-i Kesîr, el-Bidâye 3/610, 615
  27. Ibn-i Kesîr, el-Bidâye 3/652; Ibn-i Hişâm, Sîre 4/121
  28. Ibn-i Sa’d, Tabakât 1/333
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