Should a Woman Start with Making up Missed Fasts from Ramadaan or with the 6 days of Shawwaal?
If she wants to earn the reward mentioned in the hadeeth of the Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam: “Whoever fasts Ramadaan then follows it with six days of Shawwaal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime” (1), then she should complete her Ramadaan fasts first, then follow it with six days of Shawwaal, so that the hadeeth with be applicable to her too, and she will gain the reward mentioned in it. (2)
Shaykh Ibn 3Uthaymeen was asked: What if a woman owes days from Ramadaan – is it permissible for her to give precedence to fasting the six days of Shawwaal over making up the days she owes, or should she give priority to the days she owes over fasting the six days of Shawwaal?
He replied: If a woman still owes days from Ramadaan, then she should not fast the six days of Shawwaal until after she has made up what she owes, because the Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever fasts Ramadaan then follows it with six days of Shawwaal…”
Whoever still has days to make up from Ramadaan has not fasted Ramadaan, so she will not attain the reward of fasting the six days of Shawwaal until after she has finished making up the days she owes.
If we assume that this making up missed fasts lasts throughout Shawwaal, such as if a woman was bleeding following childbirth and did not fast at all in Ramadaan, then she started to make up her missed fasts in Shawwaal and did not finish that until Dhu’l-Qa3dah began, then she may fast the six days, and she will have the reward of one who fasted them in Shawwaal, because she delayed it for a necessary reason, so she will have the reward. (3)
Fasting Six Days of Shawwaal Before Making up Missed Fasts, if there are not enough days left?
Fasting six days of Shawwaal is dependent upon having completed the Ramadaan fast, according to the correct view. This is indicated by the words of the Prophet sallAllaahu 3Alayhi wa sallam: “Whoever fasts Ramadaan then follows it with six days of Shawwaal, it will be as if he fasted a lifetime.”
The conjunction thumma (ثُمَّ) (then) indicates that this must be done in this order. This indicates that the fast of Ramadaan must be completed first (by observing the Ramadaan fast and making up any missed fasts), then after that one may fast the six days of Shawwaal, so as to attain the reward mentioned in the hadeeth. (4)
The one who still has some days to make up is not regarded as having fasted Ramadaan until he makes up those days. Some people think that if they fear Shawwaal is going to end soon and they fast the six days even though they still owe some days from Ramadaan, that this is acceptable. This is a mistake, because these six days cannot be fasted until a person has made up the days that he owes from Ramadaan. (5)
Delaying Making up Missed Fasts
Anyone who has days to make up from the (previous) Ramadaan then he/she has to make them up before (the arrival of) the next Ramadaan. It is permissible for him/her to delay his/her fast until Sha3baan.
However, if the following Ramadhaan arrives and he/she still has not made up the (missed) days without (a valid) reason, then he has committed a sin. So now he/she has to make up those days along with feeding a poor person for every day (he has to make up). (6)
And Allaah is the source of strength.