Fasting six days in Shawwal after the end of Ramadan

Q 3: What is your legal opinion on fasting six days in Shawwal after the end of Ramadan? I read in Muwatta' Imam Malik that Imam Malik ibn Anas said, regarding the fasting of the six days of Shawwal, that he never saw one of the scholars or jurists fasting on these days. (Part No. 10; Page No. 390) He was also never informed that any of the Salaf (righteous predecessors) did this. The scholars also regarded it as Makruh (disliked) and feared that it might be an act of Bid‘ah (innovation in religion), and that these days might be wrongly considered as part of Ramadan. This was stated in the Muwatta', vol. 1, no. 228.

A: It was authentically reported on the authority of Abu Ayyub (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Anyone who fasts Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal it is as if they fasted the whole year. (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Al-Tirmidhy) This Hadith Sahih (authentic Hadith) is evidence that fasting six days of Shawwal is an act of Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the example of the Prophet), which was acted upon by Al-Shafi‘y, Ahmad, and a group of other eminent scholars. It is not correct to contradict this Hadith on the basis of the reason put forth by some scholars who regard fasting these days as Makruh, claiming they fear that ignorant people may consider these days to be part of Ramadan or that fasting them is obligatory, or because it was not reported that any of the previous scholars used to fast on these days. This is based on conjecture, which cannot contradict the authentic Sunnah. [The juristic rule states:] The one who knows the evidence has higher authority than the one ignorant of it. (Part No. 10; Page No. 391) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.