The month of Shawwal is the tenth month in the Hijri lunar calendar and has great significance for Muslims. During pre-Islamic times the lunar month of Shawwal was regarded as a cursed month and a month of ill-omen. Some people of that time even avoided getting married during the month of Shawwal believing that marriages during this month would not be blessed.
As with most of the negative and pessimistic aspects of pre-Islamic society, the Divine message of Islam came to change these wrongheaded beliefs and negative perceptions of human existence, including that of the month of Shawwal. Islam transformed these superstitious ideas and beliefs into positive life-affirming philosophies. This life-affirming message of Islam is eloquently illustrated in the following verse of the Glorious Qur’an in Surah al-Anfal, Chapter 8 verse 24, where Allah the Sublime, exhorts Muslims in the following manner:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا
اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ
إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ
O Believers, Respond to the call of Allah, and the Messenger, Whenever He calls you unto that which will give you LIFE (Q8:24)
As a result of this transformation the month of Shawwal, which had a negative image in pre-Islamic society, began to take on a positive image, which Muslims have since embraced and celebrated.
Four Ways in which Shawwal is Significant
In this khutbah, I would like to reflect on this positive significance of the lunar month of Shawwal. I shall provide at least four ways in which the month of Shawwal is significant for Muslims.
First, in order to signify the incorrectness of the pre-Islamic belief that marriages contracted in the month of Shawwal was cursed the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s everlasting peace and blessings be upon him) chose to marry Sayyidatina `Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) during the month of Shawwal. The wrong belief of the pre-Islamic people that Shawwal was a cursed month of ill – omen was clearly disproved by this marriage since the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) marriage to Lady `Aisha became a great beacon of love and affection for all married couples to emulate.
Second, one of the most meritorious aspects of the month of Shawwal, is that `Id-al-Fitr, is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal. This joyous and festive day, celebrated by the Muslim ummah is a day on which we give thanks to Allah, and celebrate our accomplishments of the blessed month of Ramadan. As Allah, the Sublime exhorts us in the Glorious Qur’an, in Surah al-Baqara, Chapter 2, verse 185:
وَ لِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ
وَ لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللّٰهَ عَلٰى مَا هَدٰ كُمْ
وَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُوْنَ
He (Allah) desires that you complete the prescribed number of fasting days And that you extol and glorify Allah for having guided you, That perhaps you may render thanks and gratitude unto Him (Q2:185)
Third, the month of Shawwal is also significant because it marks the onset of the hajj season. Allah, the Sublime, declares in the Glorious Qur’an in Surah-al-Baqarah, Chapter 2, verse 197:
الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ
The Hajj/Pilgrimage shall take place during the well-known months (Q2:197)
In a prophet tradition (hadith) recorded in the authentic collection of Imam al-Bukhari the companion, `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) informs us that the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s everlasting peace and blessings be upon him) declared that the well-known months referred to in this Qur’anic verse (ayah) are the lunar months of Shawwal, Dhul Qa’idah and the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
Fourth, the month of Shawwal is the only other month in the Muslim lunar calendar in which fasting is recommended. According to a well-known prophetic tradition (hadith) recorded in the collection of Imam Muslim, related by the companion, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (may Allah be please with him) the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s everlasting peace and blessings be upon him) advises us as follows:
عن أبي أيوب – رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنهُ
– أن رَسُول اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّمَ – قال:
(( من صام رمضان ثم أتبعه ستًا من شوال كان كصيام الدهر ))
“Whosoever fasts during the month of Ramadan and then follows it up with six days of fasting of Shawwal will be rewarded as if he or she had fasted the entire year” (Narrated by Imam Muslim)
Let us embrace and celebrate this season of hajj (muminul hajj), as a season of love, peace, unity and piety for all Muslims and indeed all of humanity. Source: vocfm.co.za