Ramadan is a month of fasting, reflection, devotion, generosity and sacrifice observed by Muslims around the world. Over the centuries Ramadan has retained its passionate spiritual meaning.
The word “Ramadan” comes from the Arabic word for “Parched Thirst” and “Sun-Baked Ground.” It is meaningful of the hunger and thirst felt by those who spend the month in fasting and get benefits of fasting. Ramadan is by nature a time of sacrifice.
Each year Muslims spend the ninth month of the Islamic calendar observing a community wide fast. The fast of the month of Ramadan is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims who are physically able are required to fast each day of the entire month from dawn to sunset. The month of Ramadan lasts 29 to 30 days depending on moon sighting and according to narration; Allah Almighty divides the Holy month of Ramadan into three Stages that’s known as Ashra of Ramadan.
Ashra of Ramadan
First part reflects Mercy of Allah (Rehmah)
Second part reflects Forgiveness of Allah (Maghfirah)
Third part reflects Safety from the Hell (Nijat)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: It (Ramadan) is the month, whose beginning is mercy, its middle, forgiveness and its end, emancipation from the fire (of hell).
No doubt, the month of Ramadan is full of blessings, mercy and forgiveness. It’s the best opportunity for all the Muslims to collect more blessings of Allah and pray for their forgiveness and to be saved from the Hellfire.
First Ashra of Ramadan - Mercy
First ten days of Ramadan are the days of Mercy and blessing and every Muslim must seek the Mercy and Blessings of Almighty Allah.
Dua for first Ashra is:
وَقُل رَّبِّ اغْفِرْ وَارْحَمْ وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
Translation: “O! My Lord forgives and have Mercy and You are the Best of Merciful” [Quran 23:118]
Second Ashra of Ramadan - Forgiveness
Second ten days of Ramadan day 11th to day 20th consists of the Ashra of forgiveness. Muslims must seek for forgiveness of Allah Almighty and regret for all their sins.
Dua for second Ashra is:
أسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ رَبي مِنْ كُلِ ذَنبٍ وَأتُوبُ إلَيهِ
Translation: “I ask forgiveness of my sins from Allah who is my Lord and I turn towards Him.”
Third Ashra of Ramadan - Safety
Third Ashra starts from 21st Ramadan and ends 29th or 30th Ramadan according to the moon. Third Ashra is known as Safety from the Hell (Nijat). Every Muslim must pray to be safe from Hellfire. The Last Ashra is very important and superior. In this Ashra the Night of Power (Lailatul Qadar) also falls and many Muslims also practice Aitkaf (seclusion for prayers) in this Ashra and try to maximize their prayers.
Stated in Quran:
“We sent it (Quran) down on a blessed Night. Verily,We are ever warning. Therein (in that Night) is decreed every matter of ordainment. Amran (i.e. a command or this Quran or His Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messenger) (As) a Mercy from your Lord.” [Quran 44: 3-6]
Dua of third Ashra is:
ﺍﻟﻠﻬﻢ ﺃﺟﺮﻧﺎ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﻨﺎﺭ
Translation: "O Allah, save me from the fire of Hell"
( Adapted from Be Islamic )