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Islamic Calendar: The Month of Shawwaal

Islamic Calendar: The Month of Shawwaal

As we approach the end of the blessed month of Ramaḍān, we start thinking about the celebration that will officially close this special time of year insha’Allah: Eid ul-Fitr. Did you know that Eid ul-Fitr is not part of the month of Ramadan in the Hijri calendar? Rather, it marks the very first day of the following month, the month of Shawwāl. Read on to learn more about this month!


Meaning of Shawwāl

“Shawwāl” (in Arabic: شَوَّال) means to ‘carry’ or ‘lift.’ This name was given because it is the time when female camels would carry a fetus.


Chronological order in the Hijri calendar

Shawwāl is the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. This month comes after Ramaḍān and before Dhū-l-Qaʿdah.


When will Shawwal take place this year?

This year (2021), Shawwāl is expected to begin on May 13th, 2021, insha’Allah.


Eid ul-Fitr

Eid-al-Fitr means “Holiday of Breaking the Fast.”

The first day of Shawwāl is marked by the Islamic celebration of Eid al-Fitr. This festival marks the end of the blessed month of Ramaḍān and is celebrated by Muslims all over the world. Read more about Eid al-Fitr here!


Significance of Shawwal and Eid al-Fitr in Hadith

Abu Ayub رضي الله عنه narrated that: the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever fasts Ramadan, then follows it with six from Shawwal, then that is (equal in reward) to fasting every day.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 759)

Aishah رضي الله عنها narrated: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “(‘Eid) al-Fitr is the day on which the people break the fast, and (‘Eid) al-Adha is the day the people offer sacrifices.” (Reported by at-Tirmidhi, Book 2, Hadith 410)

Abu ‘Ubaid رضي الله عنه said: “‘I was present at Eid with ‘Umar, and he started with the prayer before the khutbah.’ He said: ‘The Messenger of Allah ﷺ forbade fasting on these two days. The day of al-Fitr is the day when you break your fast, and on the day of al-Adha, eat the meat of your sacrifices.'” (Al Bukhari 1990, Muslim 1137)

Ibn ‘Abbas رضي الله عنه narrated, ‘The Messenger of Allah ﷺ enjoined Zakat-ul-Fitr on the one who fasts (i.e., fasted during the month of Ramadan) to purify him from any indecent act or speech and for the purpose of providing food for the needy. It is accepted as Zakah for the person who pays it before the Eid prayer, and it is Sadaqah (i.e., voluntary charity) for the person who pays it after the Eid prayer.’ Related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah and Al-Hakim graded it as Sahih. (Book 4, Hadith 651)

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Significance in Islamic History

Aishah رضي الله عنها narrated: “The Messenger of Allah married me in Shawwal, and he took up residence with me in Shawwal.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1093)

‘A’isha رضي الله عنها reported: “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ contracted marriage with me in Shawwal and took me to his house as a bride during Shawwal. And who among the wives of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ was dearer to him than I?” and’ A’isha liked that the women (of her family) should enter the houses as brides during the month of Shawwal.” (Sahih Muslim 1423a)

Battle of Uhud (3 AH):

The defeat at Badr was a humiliation which the Qurayshites pride could not leave unavenged. In the wake of the Badr event, Quraysh was in common consent and started fresh preparations to launch an overall war against the Muslims in order to restore their wounded prestige and pride. After the preparations were complete, the Makkan army began its way toward Madinah.

Meanwhile, Al-Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib رضي الله عنه was closely watching the military movements and preparations for war, and these were all included in an urgent message sent by him to Prophet ﷺ who received it while he was in Quba’ Mosque. Ubai bin Ka’b read the letter to the Prophet ﷺ who asked him to be secretive about its serious contents. He hurried back to Madinah, convened a meeting with the Ansar and Muhajirun, and consulted with them over the measures that should be taken.

The whole of Madinah was put on alert, and all men were heavily armed even during prayer. The Makkan army, on the other hand, continued the march along the usual western road. The army then followed Wadi-ul-Aqeeq and turned right to encamp themselves at a place called Ainain near Uhud Mountain. That was on Friday, 6th Shawwal, 3AH.

The Prophet ﷺ divided his army into three battalions; the army of the Prophet ﷺ was thus fully mobilized on the morning of Saturday, Shawwal 7th, 3AH.

The battle went on fiercely in full command and the idolaters finally scattered and retreated. The majority of archers on the mountainside committed a fatal mistake that turned the whole situation upside-down and constituted a source of heavy losses among the Muslims. It almost brought about the murder of the Prophet (ﷺ). In spite of strict orders to the archers to hold their positions, forty archers deserted their posts. Nearly 70 Muslims were killed in the battle of Uhud.

Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى reveals in the Quran:

وَلَقَدْ صَدَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ وَعْدَهُ إِذْ تَحُسُّونَهُم بِإِذْنِهِ ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا فَشِلْتُمْ وَتَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ وَعَصَيْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا أَرَاكُم مَّا تُحِبُّونَ ۚ مِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ الدُّنْيَا وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ الْآخِرَةَ ۚ ثُمَّ صَرَفَكُمْ عَنْهُمْ لِيَبْتَلِيَكُمْ ۖ وَلَقَدْ عَفَا عَنكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ‎﴿١٥٢﴾‏

“And Allah had certainly fulfilled His promise to you when you were killing the enemy by His permission until [the time] when you lost courage and fell to disputing about the order [given by the Prophet] and disobeyed after He had shown you that which you love. Among you are some who desire this world, and among you are some who desire the Hereafter. Then he turned you back from them [defeated] that He might test you. And He has already forgiven you, and Allah is the possessor of bounty for the believers.” (Quran, 3:152)

(Reference: The Sealed Nectar, الرّحيق المختوم)

The Battle of Hunain (8 AH):

The conquest of Makkah, which came forth as a consequence of a swift blow, astonished both the Arabs and other tribes who realized that they were destined to submit to the new situation as an unalterable fact. Some of the fierce, powerful, proud tribes did not submit and favored resistance. They made up their minds to fight the Muslims.

News about the enemy’s march was conveyed to Allah’s Messenger ﷺ on Saturday, the 19th of Shawwal, nineteen days after Allah’s Messenger ﷺ entered Makkah, he left accompanied by twelve thousand Muslims. On Wednesday night, the tenth of Shawwal, The Muslim army arrived at Hunain. At early dawn, Allah’s Messenger ﷺ started mobilizing his army and distributing posts and flags to people. Muslims were successful, and enemies were defeated. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى mentions in the Quran:

لَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ فِي مَوَاطِنَ كَثِيرَةٍ ۙ وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ ۙ إِذْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ كَثْرَتُكُمْ فَلَمْ تُغْنِ عَنكُمْ شَيْئًا وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ ثُمَّ وَلَّيْتُم مُّدْبِرِينَ ‎﴿٢٥﴾ ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَنزَلَ جُنُودًا لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَعَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ ‎﴿٢٦﴾‏

“Allah has already given you victory in many regions and [even] on the day of Hunayn, when your great number pleased you, but it did not avail you at all, and the earth was confining for you with its vastness; then you turned back, fleeing. Then Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and sent down soldiers angels whom you did not see and punished those who disbelieved. And that is the recompense of the disbelievers.” (Quran, 9:25-26)

(Reference: The Sealed Nectar, الرّحيق المختوم)


Learn more about other Hijri months here!

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