Did you know that the holy and blessed month of Ramadan – the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar – is divided into different stages? Well, if you did not know that even then the odds are that you would have heard the word “Ashra”. It’s an Arabic word that means ten.
Does it make any sense now?
If not, then let us lay it all out for you.
There are three Ashras, or in other words, stages of Ramadan divided equally into a period of ten days.
The first Ashra referred to as the Ashra of Rahmat – Mercy of Allah – is from the 1st of Ramadan to the 10th. The second Ashra also called the Ashra of Maghfirat – Forgiveness of Allah – is from the 11th to the 20th of Ramadan. The third and final Ashra, known as the Ashra of Nijaat – Salvation – is from the 21st of Ramadan to the 29th or 30th of Ramadan. Note that there is uncertainty regarding the ending date of the final Ashra since it depends on the sighting of the moon that varies regionally.
The Prophet (PBUH) has himself elaborated upon his as he said: “It (Ramadhan) is the month, whose beginning is mercy, it’s middle, forgiveness, and its end, emancipation from the fire (of hell).”
Now, let’s take a detailed look at the three stages of Ramadan.
The First Stage
The first ten days of the Ramadan are the days of mercy. Hence, each Muslim should aim to seek the blessings of the Almighty. Be merciful towards others so that Allah, in turn, will be merciful towards you. Simple acts of kindness such as giving Ramadan donation, answering Zakat Appeal, helping those out in need in different ways, and treating fellow Muslims particularly well can help make sure that Allah will be merciful towards you.
The translation of the dua for the first Ashra is: “Oh! My Lord, forgive me and have mercy, and You are the best of the merciful.”
The Second Stage
A time for forgiveness, the second stage is a time for absolving yourself from your sins. So, repent and remember that you must not repeat your sins once you are done asking for forgiveness.
The translation of the dua for the second Ashra is: “I ask forgiveness of my sins from Allah who is my Lord and I turn towards Him.”
The Third Stage
The most essential stage is the third one as this is very the stage in which lies Lailatul-Qadr. This Ashra is all about seeking safety from hellfire. Allah is most generous during this period, and so everyone should try your best to benefit from His generosity by observing Itekaf, praying, and worshipping as much as possible.
The translation of the dua for the third Ashra is: “O Allah! Save me from the fire.”
In a nutshell, Ramadan is a month where you can collect blessings, ask for forgiveness as well as mercy from Allah and in turn save yourself from hellfire. So, make the most of this month by doing good deeds in each of the three Ashras.