FAQs & Fatwas Fasting & Ramadan Islamic Studies Women

Can I Combine the Six Fasts of Shawwal with Make-up Fasts of Ramadan?

Question: I recently heard on Islamic radio that we can fast the six days of Shawwal with two niyyah (intentions):

  1. Making up the days we didn’t fast during the month of Ramadan (for women) and
  2. Fasting the six days of Shawwal (like a simultaneous fast).

I read on a scholar’s website that we cannot fast the six days of Shawwal before actually finishing the fasting of the month of Ramadan, i.e. – the way I understood it – the concept of two niyyah does not apply. Any suggestions?

Answer: The correct opinion is that one cannot combine intentions because each act is a separate act of worship. The contention that one must fast the days of Ramadan first, while respected, is not the strongest based on the dalil (evidence):

  1. Many of the companions would delay their Ramadan fasts until the month of Sh’aban. We can assume that before that time they observed other fasts.
  2. The obligation to make up the days of Ramadan is for the entire year (as held by most jurists) and according to many, for one’s entire lifetime. There is no explicit proof that one must make the days up in a year’s time save an implicit narration of `Ayesha radiallahu ‘anha (may Allah be pleased with her): “It happens that I have to make up days of Ramadan and I will not make up (these days) but in Sh’aban.” (Imam Muslim)

What does this mean?

  1. Do not combine intentions.
  2. Fast the six days first.

And Allah knows best.

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.


  • I heard some opinions that are liberal with combining intentions. That makes sense to me for things like the Ghusl on Jumuah (you can do the Friday Ghusl and obligatory Ghusl for impurity at once, doing two would be redundant maybe?) but other times I feel more comfortable not combining intentions (as in the opinion you stated above). But I understand we can’t base our religion on feelings; there has to be evidence. Allah knows best.

    Thanks for the clarification, Shaykh.

    • ASA Zubair,

      These will be accepted because they are from the same category like tahiyyahtul-masjid and sunnah of Fajr. The issue here is one is fard and qadaa and the other is sunnah for that day.

  • As salaam alaikum ya Imam,

    I’ve heard that you can fast the 6 fasts of shawwal any time during the month, that it’s not obligatory that these be simultaneous and right after Eid. Is this true?

  • As salaam Alaikum
    Sorry it is still not clear to me. I have missed many fasts in the past, through having had children in Ramadhan and other women’s isues. So counting the hundreds of days that I believe are still owing, I try to fast in Shawaal my qadha fasts. Is this correct?

  • If I understand it correctly – I think Nafisa if your “niyyah” is that you are making up the fast during Shawwal then that is fine. You cannot use the 6 days of Shawwal fasts (which count like you are fasting for the whole year) and say “these are my 6 days of Shawwal fasts AND my make up fasts”.

  • I think Imam Suhaib Web answered this based on the Maslak that he follows.
    I am from Hanafi Maslak. I don’t know the answer of “Can I Combine the Six Fasts of Shawwal with Make-up Fasts of Ramadan?” But I think one can not.
    But I have told by my Sheikh (A Hanafi Scholar) from the chain of Hakim-ul-Ummat Hazrat Ashraf Ali Thanwi, to pray the last to two rakat of nafil of Isha with intention of Nafil, and Salatul Hajat, and Saltul Shukrana. So I do that, this tell that we can mix our intentions in some cases, but not in all cases.
    This contradicts with Imam Suhaib Web’s statement “Do not combine intentions.”
    and Allah (swt) knows best.
    -Zubair Siddiqui – Fremont, CA (Islamic Center of Fremont).

    • What I’ve learned is that one can not combine the niyyahs of any fard and nafil together but niyyahs of more than one nafil can be combined as you have mentioned too.Hope this will clarify the matter inshaAllah.

  • 3. Combining intentions with missed fasts. It is valid to combine the intention of making up missed Ramadan fasts and the sunna of fasting the six days of Shawwal, though performing both separately is greater in reward.

    This is what Sheikh Faraz Rabbani says [link removed]

  • I believe Imam Suhaib was speaking about combining the intention of making up a Fardh (Mandatory) day that was missed in Ramadan, regardless of the reason, with fasting a sunnah day from Shawaal. There has to be a distinction there as making up the Fardh day is different than fasting a sunnah/additional day in Shawaal. That’s what Imam Suhaib referred to.

    In terms of combining intentions of other matters (Sunnah) such as sunan prayers (greeting of masjid and fajr sunnah, etc), ghusul/shower, etc. I believe that’s permissible if your intention is as such from the beginning of the act.

  • Asalamu alaykum,

    I’m truly touched by the great adab and love shown in the discussions above. Upon entering al-Azhar’s college of Islamic law, one of the first things I heard was, “Fiqh is based on the opinions of scholars.” This, as Imam al-Haramane noted, implies that fiqh, not shari’ah, is open for debate, and finding an absolute for most issues is not that easy. It is reported that Imam Ahmed changed his opinion on one issue 18 times. What is important is that we approach these things from the point of richness and rigor that respects the broad horizon that is Islamic Law. I, in know way was trying to say that one should follow this or that opinion, but only stating the opinion in my school and the one I was taught by my teachers. That opinion is what makes the most sense to me and is the one I chose to teach and follow. There are other great scholars, who allow one to combine intentions, but it is not something I personally follow.

    Allah bless you all,

  • Salam alaikum wa rahmatAllahi wa barakatuh,

    Ya akhi, I do not want to sound disrespectful, but why don’t you quote the whole hadith?

    Abu Ayyoob (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadaan and follows it with six days of Shawwaal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.” (Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawood, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i and Ibn Maajah).

    How can I have fasted Ramadan, if I still have fasts of Ramadan open due to illness and/or menstruation?

    You quote a hadith in which Aisha, may Allah be please with her, says, that she didn’t make up fasts until in Sha’baan but are there any hadith that she, in that year or years fastet the 6 days of Shawwaal?

    No offens or criticism, I am just trying hard to understand that but I cannot. The above mentioned conclusion seems far-fetched. Also Dr. Saleh was of that oppinion on Huda TV, but also he didn’t give any explenation, except that Aisha, may Allah be please with her, delayed the making up of the Ramadan fast ….

    Please teach me.

    Salam alaikum wa rahmatAllahi wa barakatuh,


    • Asalamu alaykum,


      Thank you for this important question. The hadith above implies the month and not the fast itself. Meaning, if someone was not able to fast during the month of Ramadan, then they are free to make up those days when they can within the frame work of the next year. In other words, you have an entire year to make up those days, according to the majority, and can observe other nafil fasts as well since you are not obligated to make up those days immediately. The Prophet (sa) said, “And every person will get what they intended.” Some scholars hold that this means that one is not allowed to combine intentions for one act which is fard and the other which is sunna.

      And Allah knows best


    • Asalamu alaykum,

      The Prophet (sa) said, “Actions are by intentions.” If a person died with the intention of making up those days, his intention, inshallah, will be sufficient.


      • `A’ishah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever dies with a fast obligatory upon him, then his heir should fast on his behalf.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]. If a person passes during Ramadan and fasted up to that date, this hadith does not affect them; but if one had intention to make up fasts for days they missed fasting due to menstration or illness during Ramadan, it is better for an heir to make up their fast according to the Messenger of Allah (saw).

  • Salam alaikum,

    but it says whoever FASTS Ramadan, not who ever passes the month of Ramadan. If I want to have Ramadan considered to be fasted, then I have to fast all days. For instance I am ill and I missed 16 days this year. So I cannot say, I fasted Ramadan, I can only say, I fasted HALF of Ramadan. So I do not see, that I have fullfilled the conditions for fasting the 6 days of Shawwaal. Sorry, I do not understand that but oh well :))

  • Asalamu alaykum,

    Sr. Nuha,

    The scholars of fiqh do not base their opinions on religious texts alone. There is a process, passed down from the companions, that includes the texts, language, the usol, context and the actions of the salaf. Regarding making up the days of Ramadan, then the majority of the salaf as well as the khalaf held that one could make it up at anytime within a years time based on the verse, “(for those who broke their fasts) then the should make them up on other days.” (2/184) They contended that the verse is general and it was not restricted by another text. Secondly, the obligation of making up the days of Ramadan, by the agreement of the majority of the salaf, falls under what is known as wajib muwasi (expanded obligation). Imam Isnawi, in Nihay al-Sul, notes that this type of Wajib is one whose time is greater than the time needed to complete the act. Meaning one year is a greater time period for a person to make up 20,25,15 or so days. That is from the point of Usol.

    Sh. Firqus said about the verse mentioned above:

    يدلّ نص الآية على جواز تأخير رمضان لمن أفطر مُطلقًا من غير اشتراط المبادر هو مذهب جماهير السّلف والخلف

    “This verse is explicit regarding the permissibility for one to delay the fast of Ramadan for one who broke it without any restrictions- without the condition of rushing to finish it. This was the opinion of the salaf and the khalaf.”

    The second is the actions of the salaf. The statement of ‘Aiesha that she delayed making up her days for fasting and the statements of the salaf that it was encouraged to make them up in Sh’aban is a proof that their actions and understandings of the texts supported the contention above.
    Ibn Hajar comments on the statement of ‘Aiesha, “If it was wrong to delay the fasts, he would have certainly corrected her..” It is also, as noted by the ulema, impossible to imagine that she would have missed the six days of shawaal for her entire life after the death of the Prophet (sa) due to the great rewards promised. Hence the important legal axiom, “Actions are stronger than words (texts).” Meaning the actions of the salaf, and for us Malikis the scholars of Medina, are given precedence over some types of texts.

    Other scholars who took this opinion was the former Sheikh al-Azhar, Dr. Abdul Halim Mahmod al-Shazili (ra), al-Azhar, Dar al-Ifta al-Misriya and that held by a number of my own teachers.

    Those who did not agree with this opinion where the eminent scholar Sh. Abd al-Aziz bin Baz, Sh. al-Bani and Sh. bin Uthemin. (Allah have mercy upon them)

    Inshallah, this is an issue that is open and one which one is free to follow who he or she wills. I’m sorry that I do not have more time to address this issue for you, but hope this will help bring some understanding.

    Abu Shifaa

  • Asalamu alaykum wr wb,

    We actually asked this very question to a fakih (scholar of fiqh), Sh. Nadawi, who is one of the only Shuyukh permitted to give Fatwas here in the West, and he gave the complete opposite answer actually. He said it is completely permissible, and in fact more liked to make up all the fasts during the 6 days, during the first 10 days of dhul hijjah. Also, he said that intention cannot be limited- all that matters is that you are doing this for the sake of Allah (swt) as that should really be your only intention and that is what scholars are in consensus about. If your intention is to do two things with the same task, but you are doign BOTH for the sake of Allah (swt), there is no question of combining intentions.

    This was also mentioned by Sh. Reda Bedeir in a number of his Ramadan lectures, and he says there is no evidence to the contrary 🙂

    Just another opinion, however this is the opinion of a scholar of fiqh and a reliable one at that, so I suggest you take it into account 🙂 Jazakum Allah Khairun.

  • Thank you 4 sharing with muslim ummah some important parts of the month of Ramadan. I benefit alot. May the Almighty Creator (ALLAH) Blesses, guides and protects you and ur entire family, ameen!

  • i just wanna ask, abt the six days consecutive? how about if it is falls on friday? it is permessible to continue the six days or no? may ALLAH BLESS US ALL.

  • Asalaamu alaikum,

    I was reminded that with the intention to fast several consecutive days, if you fast on Thursday as part of those consecutive days then it is permissible to fast on Friday as well. Imam Suhaib please correct me if this is wrong.

  • Can i combine the intention for shawaal and the farz fasts i missed and make up these fasts during any time of the year before the next Ramadan? Brother Suhaib could you please shed some light on this?

  • I want to know if I am making up a fard fast and I break it. Is my kaffara still fasting for 60 days even though it was not in he month of ramadan?

  • As salaam walaikum wr wb Imam Webb,

    Thank you posting this answer to a BIG question I have had for quite some time. I had a question regarding niyaah.

    If I made an intention for (combined fast) before, but then wish to have not combined the fast….can I change my intention after it was already made? (Either during fast/after fast was completed?)

    Sorry to sound wishy-washy but as a sister, I have been dealing with missed fasts every year! I would really appreciate if you could direct me.

    JazakAllah Khair

  • As,

    This is an old post, but Amane’s statement “One of the few scholars able to give fatwa in the West” is strange. I know more than 100 scholars who live in the west who can give qualified fatwa. The fatwa is not the problem. It is understanding how to engage them when they differ.


  • Since fasting in ramadan is obligatory therefore you have to make-up first your missing fast in ramadan before going to any sunnah fasting. Fardu comes first before any other sunnah ibadah.

  • Asalamalakum, I have seven missed fasts I am in the process of making up . And I made intention to keep the six extra fasts but found out I am pregnant. Is it a sin if I don’t keep the six extra ones now as I am finding it difficult to keep my missed ones.

  • i stated compensating my fasting which miss but d problem i have is dat am iam to finish a day before another ramadan should i fast or not

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