I am aware that the Hadith says if one fasts in Ramadan and 6 more in Shawwal, one receives the reward of fasting the entire year as 36 fasts will be multiplied by Allah Ta’ala 10 fold which then equals 360.
My question is: that Allah Ta’ala has promised (in Surah: Al-An’am, Ayah: 160) to multiply the rewards of all deeds by at least ten.
This is general and so it applies throughout the year. Hence if someone observes six more fasts in any other month besides Shawwal, he should be attaining the reward of those additional sixty days too. So why does the Hadith specify the month of Shawwal for these additional fasts?
Indeed Allah Ta’ala will multiply the reward of fasting in any month by at least 10. However, with regards to the specific fast of Shawwal, Imam ‘Abdullah ibnul Mubarak (rahimahullah) has said that one who observes the Shawwal fast will receive the reward of observing the Fard fast for the whole year!
(Lataiful Ma’arif, pg.314-315)
So those who fast the additional six fasts in Shawwal specifically, will actually receive the reward of observing the Fard fast for the entire year!
Through this Allah Ta’ala has blessed the ummah by ordaining the fast of 30 days only, but they can achieve the reward of 360 days of obligatory fast!
The difference in reward for Fard and Nafl deeds
‘Allamah Nawawi (rahimahullah) has cited the grand scholar of the Shafi’i madhab; Imamul Haramayn Al-Juwayni (rahimahullah) to have quoted from certain ‘Ulama that the reward of a fard act is actually equal to 70 nafl (voluntary) deeds!!
(Sharh Sahih Muslim, vol.1 pg.324)
Consolation for those who miss the fast in Shawwal
If one missed the six fasts of Shawwal, the reward of fasting the entire year can still be achieved if one fasts the six additional fasts in any other month after Shawwal. Since every act is rewarded tenfold. However, in this case, the six extra fasts will yield the reward of sixty nafl (voluntary) fasts and not the reward of the mandatory fast.
This explanation has been cited by the commentator of Sahih Muslim, ‘Allamah Al-Qurtubi (rahimahullah). (Al-Mufhim, vol.3 pg.238)
Mulla ‘Ali Qari (rahimahullah) and others, also concur with this explanation.
(Mirqat, vol.4 pg.477, and Fathul Mulhim, vol.5 pg.328-Dar al-Qalam)
If one misses out the 6 fasts of Shawwal, one may offer these fasts during any other time of the year, although the reward will differ as explained above.
See more details on this here.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,
Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar