The 29 or 30 debate doesn’t seem to matter when you realize Ramadan has three Ashras! The split makes all the sense in the world since it provides Muslims with a schematic opportunity to rinse themselves clean spiritually and seek forgiveness from the Almighty. In today’s discussion, we talk about the first Ashra of Ramadan with a special reference to the act of charity. The first Ashra is dubbed as the period of mercy. Muslims all over the world spend the first ten days of Ramadan seeking Allah (SWT)’s mercy. There are countless blessings on offer for those who prepare in advance for the first Ashra. Want to be a member of that exclusive club? Then stay with us till the very end, lots on offer to learn for everyone!
The First Ashra of Ramazan: An Overview
The life of a Muslim in the 21st century has become riddled with worldly cravings and desires, with no thoughts spared about the life hereafter. The holy month of Ramadan provides Muslims with an opportunity to redeem a better version of themselves. And it is divided into phases to help them achieve that goal! Take the example of the first Ashra of Ramazan, which is all about seeking Allah (SWT)’s mercy. How the almighty’s mercy sought? By fulfilling religious obligations and not forgetting about moral and social obligations at the same time. The chance that Allah (SWT) will bestow His mercy on a Muslim during this Ashra increases dramatically if the Muslim in question is merciful to fellow beings as well. One fine way of being merciful is to donate as much as one can in the name of charity. We will talk about this a bit later in this discussion, but for now, let us discuss the impact and importance of these ten days.
Importance of the first Ashra of Ramadan
The first ten days of Ramadan have a make-or-break feel about them. You see if one adapts to a routine that covers all the obligatory and additional prayers plus offers one an opportunity to repent about the past and seek Allah’s mercy and benevolence in the future, the rest of Ramadan is sorted automatically. Breaking such a lovely routine is simply not possible for any Muslim who wants to spend his or her days in remembrance of Allah (SWT). These ten days prepare a Muslim well enough for the next two Ashra, which are themed around forgiveness and refuge from hellfire.
First Ashra of Ramadan in light of Hadith
How do we know what each Ashra is reserved for? It is the knowledge from hadith that enlightens us on this matter. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:
“It (Ramadan) is the month, whose beginning is mercy, its middle, forgiveness, and its end, emancipation from the fire (of hell)”
Bihar al-Anwar, Vol.: 93, Pg.: 34
Now ensuring that you ask for Allah (SWT)’s mercy during these ten days is extremely crucial. Just wishing for it will not do the job! Some of you might already know this, but we felt it would be nice to revise the dua for the first Ashra of Ramadan. Its literal translation from Arabic to English is as follows:
“O the Living, O the Eternal, I seek help in your mercy.”
Making a habit of saying this dua before and after every prayer is a great idea. However, there is no compulsion as to how many times it should be said during the day!
Donating in the first Ashra of Ramadan
Now, praying Nawafil or reciting verses from the Holy Quran might be a good way to increase the chances of attaining Allah’s (SWT)’s mercy. But you are doing only half the job if you are not cognizant of your social and moral obligations. Allah (SWT) bestows His grace and favors on those who care about His subjects. Caring for and helping fellow beings is an act endearing to the Almighty, hence it makes all the sense in the world to donate as much as we can in the name of charity during the first ten days of Ramadan. Charity can be voluntary or obligatory, the nature doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is your intentions!
Cleared your dues yet?
Most Muslims leave zakat (زكاة) calculations pending till the holy month of Ramadan. So if you are from that club of procrastinators, it might be a good idea to pay your zakat during the first ten days of Ramadan. By paying early during the holy month of Ramadan, not only do you fulfill an Islamic obligation, you get one step closer to Allah’s (SWT)’s mercy as well. If you have paid zakat(زكاة) already, then helping others by sadaqah is not a bad idea either. The goal is to help people as much as you can, so it doesn’t matter if it is the zakat money or the sadaqah money.
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That’s a wrap. The first ten days of Ramadan are all about converting your negative energy into positive energy and then disseminating this positive energy in society to spread some smiles on the faces of those in distress. Pray and pay should be the motto of every Muslim during these opening ten days of the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. With that word of advice, we bid you farewell from this discussion!