Ramadan is the blessed month of fasting, self- reflection, devotion, generosity, and sacrifice. Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan which is a source of true guidance for all of mankind. It is obligatory for Muslims to fast during Ramadan except those who are sick or travelling. The rewards are manifold and the chance to commit a sin gets decreased as no barrier exists between a man and Allah (SWT). The month lasts 29-30 days depending on the moon sightings and it is divided into three stages, known as the three Ashras of Ramadhan.
The Arabic word “Ashra” means ten. Each Ashra comes with its own sanctions and recompense. The first ten days of Ramadan entails the mercy of Allah, the next ten days represent the forgiveness of Allah and, the last ten days of Ramadan mean salvation from the hellfire. Ramadhan is undoubtedly the month of mercy and forgiveness and offers a chance to all the believers to seek salvation.
Hadith regarding the month of Ramadan:
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “It (Ramadan) is the month, whose beginning is mercy, its middle, forgiveness, and its end, emancipation from the fire (of hell).”
First Ashra of Ramadhan – Days of Mercy
The first ten days are the days of mercy and signifies the bestowment of Allah’s mercy and reward that He has in store for believers who seek it. His mercy is boundless and it is unto us to ask Him to shower His mercy upon us.
Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: Allah, Blessed and Exalted, says:
“O son of Adam! However much you call upon Me and place your hopes in Me, I will forgive you without any reservation. O son of Adam! If you have sins piling up to the clouds and then ask My forgiveness, I will forgive you without any reservation. O son of Adam! If you come to me with enough mistakes to fill the Earth, and meet Me without associating anything as a partner with Me, I will come to you with enough forgiveness to fill the Earth.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Book 45, Number 3540, graded as Hasan)
The best way to invoke Allah (SWT) and asking for his mercy and blessings is by supplicating to Him for He is the one who can fulfil your heart’s desire and the only one worthy of worship. Dua to recite in the first Ashra of Ramadan to get the maximum reward is:
وَقُل رَّبِّ اغْفِرْ وَارْحَمْ وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
“O My Lord, forgive me and have mercy upon me for You are the best of the merciful.” (23:118)
While you seek mercy from Allah, be merciful to your fellow beings for Allah (SWT) loves those who are good to others. In fact, the objective of first Ashra is to practice being merciful to others by
- Giving charity, an act Allah loves the most.
- Controlling anger and treating fellow Muslims well.
- Helping people whenever and wherever you can
[Also Read: Why to Perform Umrah in the Month of Ramadan]
Second Ashra of Ramadhan – Days of Forgiveness
Allah (SWT) is aware of the fact it is quite natural for humans to commit mistakes but it does not mean that Islam gives a free pass when it comes to committing mistakes or sins. In fact, Islam encourages the followers to repent over the sins, seek forgiveness from Allah (SWT) and remain hopeful that He will forgive them. Believers, in turn, must resolve not to repeat the mistake or sin again in future. In the Quran, Allah says:
وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“And seek forgiveness of Allah. Indeed Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (73:20)
The second Ashra of Ramadan include the days of forgiveness which involves doing Astaghfaar for all sins committed and repenting unto Allah by saying Ramadan Azkar and Duas. It is all about apologizing to the Lord for the mistakes, altering your deeds and seeking forgiveness.
Some of the Dua’s for the Istigfaar/ forgiveness are:
أسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ وَ أتُوبُ إلَيْهِ
“I seek the Forgiveness of Allah and repent to Him.”
رَبَّنََآ إنَّنَآ ءَاَمنَّا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَ قِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
“Our Lord! we have indeed believed: forgive us, then, our sins, and save us from the agony of the Fire”
While you ask Allah’s forgiveness in this Ashra, make sure that you follow it in real life by forgiving your fellow beings for all their mistakes and shortcomings.
[Also Read: How to perform Umrah – Complete Umrah Guide]
Third Ashra of Ramadhan– Days of Seeking Refuge
The last Ashra of Ramadan holds a special place for Muslims and most important in terms of seeking rewards from Allah. In addition to this, the most important night of the Islamic year, Laylat-ul-Qadr falls in the last ten days of Ramadan. Laylat-ul-Qadr (the Night of Power) is described in the Quran as:
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ
“(The) Night (of) Power (is) better than a thousand month(s).” (97:3)
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time.” (Muslim)
Aisha (RA) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Look for Laylatul Qadr on an odd-numbered night during the last ten nights of Ramadan “(Bukhari)
Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever prays during the night of Qadr with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” (Bukhari)
Besides Zikir and recitation of the Quran, some of the Muslims do Itikaf and pray special Nawafils, Salatu Tasbeeh in third Ashra of Ramadan for seeking emancipation from hell. Certainly, the last ten days of Ramadan are precious and one must spend this time in remembering Allah, praying and going an extra mile to praise and worship Allah (SWT).
Dua for the last Ashra of Ramadan:
اَللَّهُمَّ أَجِرْنِي مِنَ النَّارِ
“O Allah! Save me from the Hell – Fire.”