The three ashras (set of ten days) of the 30 days of Ramadan are dedicated to mercy, forgiveness, and the emancipation from hellfire.
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“If any Muslim comes out of Ramadan without gaining forgiveness and goodness, he is a real loser.” [Ibn Hibban and At-Tabarani]
The month of Ramadan is an opportunity for every believer to ask Allah SWT for His mercy, forgiveness, blessings, and most importantly, to seek refuge from the hellfire. The last ten days of Ramadan are even more special. Within them is the hidden night of Qadar, the night the revelation of Quran was completed. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also routinely observed Itikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadan – a sunnah that many still follow today.
As Muslims we believe that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was promised Jannah (Paradise). Even so, he used to exert himself even more in worship during the last ten days of Ramadan, hoping to get closer to Allah SWT. Ayesha RA the beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet SAW used to tighten his waist belt and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.” [Sahih Bukhari]
The last ten days of Ramadan should be spent on perfecting one’s fast and avoiding anything that may break it. This is also a great opportunity to search one’s soul, evaluating good and bad deeds, supplicating, repenting, and seeking forgiveness.
In the last ten days of Ramadan, believers try to utilize the remaining days while doing good deeds and repenting to Allah SWT. Therefore, you must try to make your deeds at the end of this month as beneficial as you can.
There are many excellent ways to seek emancipation from the hellfire in the last 10 days of Ramadan. Take advantage of these special actions and activities:
Recite Special Dua’a
Allah SWT says in Surah Baqarah,
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [Quran, Surah Baqarah, 2:186].
There is also a very important dua’a to be recited often. Especially so during the last ten days of Ramadan when all the believers are seeking refuge from the hellfire:
Oh Allah, save me from the fire.
Pray in the Night of Power
Nobody knows which exact night is Lailatul Qadar (Night of Power); therefore, it needs to be searched for in the odd nights during the last ten days of Ramadan.
Narrated ‘Aisha: Allah’s Apostle said,
“Search for the night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” [Sahih Bukhari, Book 32, Hadith 234]
No Muslim should waste the hours and nights of the third Ashra. Instead, we must strive hard in worshipping Allah SWT. One of the best ways is to practice the sunnah of itikaaf in which one stays in the Masjid and seeks pardon from Allah for his sins.
If you continue in good deeds, fasting, prayer, you will be sure to catch the night of power which is better than a thousand months:
“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’an) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree). And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is? The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allah SWT in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, (i.e. 83 years and 4 months). Therein descend the angels and the Ruh [Jibril (Gabril)] by Allah SWT’s Permission with all Decrees, (All that night), there is Peace (and Goodness from Allah SWT to HIS believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn” [Quran, Surah Qadar, 97:1-5].
Give More in Time and Charity
The last ashra of Ramadan is the base from which we improve our connection with Allah SWT, improve our level of Taqwa, and emancipate ourselves from the hellfire. One way to boost out faith and practice of Islam is to get involved with local and international charity efforts by giving time, expertise, and money towards alleviating the hardships of others. This can include food drives, clothing drives, medical drives, water well building, and many other projects. Get active and involved in humanitarian projects that make the world a safer and healthier place for all.
The last ten days of Ramadan are the best time to help others. This can include acting as a mediator in settling disputes, or encouraging people to have mercy on their friends, family, and community. Setting disputes and reconciling others is a noble action that brings multiplied rewards in the month of Ramadan.
The last 10 days of Ramadan are the perfect time to plan any make up fasts and prepare for how you’ll spend your time the rest of the year. Consider making resolutions to memorize, learn, recite, and understand Quran, cease bad habits, reconnect with family, or pray in the Masjid as much as possible.
Vow to get involved with your local community by volunteering with children, masjid groups, homeless, or other activities that you feel passionate about. Rededicate yourself to community service in the coming year. Also, pledge that you’ll fast for at least six days in Shawwaal. This is the equivalent of fasting the entire year.
Using Ramadan as a springboard towards new better habits and acts of worship and good deeds is achieved by taking full advantage of the 10 days of Mercy, 10 days of Forgiveness, and 10 days of Refuge from Hellfire. When completed, the month of Ramadan leaves us revived, refreshed, and ready to face the coming year of challenges.