Encouragement to Make Up for Missed Fasts (Hadith No. 1699)

Bismillah.
Volume 3, Book 31, Number 204:
Narrated Mutarrif from 'Imran Ibn Husain (radiallaahu `anhu):
That the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) asked him (Imran) or asked a man and Imran was listening, "O Abu so-and-so! Have you fasted the last days of this month?" (The narrator thought that he said, "the month of Ramadan"). The man replied, "No, O Allah's Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam)!" The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to him, "When you finish your fasting (of Ramadan) fast two days (in Shawwal)." Through another series of narrators 'Imran said, "The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, '(Have you fasted) the last days of Sha'ban?"
I had to wait long to understand this Hadith. Confusing really, but not anymore Alhamdulillah.
In this Hadith, Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) is asking the man why he didn't keep the two fasts in the last days of Sha`baan, and telling him to make up for them once Ramadaan is over. Going through the issue of fasting in Sha`baan, we learnt that fasting in its second half is not allowed unless a person has a habit of fasting throughout the year, or he started fasting in the first half of Sha`baan to continue in the second half as well, or he's making up missed fasts (fard).
So in the commentary of this Hadith, 3 scenarios have been given of which 2 are more stronger and more correct inshaAllah, and I'll mention them here:
  1. The man had vowed to fast the last two days of Sha`baan for whatever reason. (A vow to fast any day will make that fast obligatory, except Eid.)
    So Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) asked him to make up for them.
  2. The man had a habit of fasting, so he could have continued in the last half of Sha`baan. He was asked to make up for those two days in order to encourage him to keep his practice.
Alhamdulillah for clarity. Feels so good. <3