Ramadan is round the corner and it is the perfect time for purification of the Mind, Body and Soul. In this post, we talk about the 3 stages of Ramadan and how we can make the most of them.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a month of fasting.
Muslims around the world abstain from food and drink between the hours of Sunruse (FAJR) and Sunset (MAGHRIB).
It is the ninth month of the Islamic Calender and it is a month full of blessings.
Fasting is more than just abstaining from food and drink. This is a month of rejuvenation, devotion, reflection, joy and elevation.
This is also a month for donating Zakat.
The 3 Stages of Ramadan
Every Ramadan starts with the reminder that there are 3 stages of the month.
The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon Him) صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ said:
It (Ramadan) is the month whose beginning is mercy, middle, forgiveness and its end emancipation from the fire” (Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol 93).
In order to benefit from the month fully, we need to have a true understanding of the 3 stages and what they mean.
Ashra (Stages) of Ramadan
The 3 stages are:
1 - (FIRST 10 DAYS) - Mercy of Allah (Rahmah).
2 - (SECOND 10 DAYS) - Forgiveness of Allah (Maghfirah).
3 - (FINAL 10 DAYS) - Safety from the Hellfire (Nijat).
Stage 1 - (Day 1 - 10) Mercy
The first ten days of Ramadan are about seeking mercy from Allah, whilst keeping in mind that Allah's mercy is boundless.
The Dua for the first stage is:
Arabic: رَبِّ اغْفِرْ وَارْحَمْ وَأَنْتَ خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
English: Rabbighfir warham wa anta khair-ur-raahimeen.
Translation: O! My Lord forgive and have Mercy and You are the Best of Merciful.
Ways we can show mercy and InshaAllah gain the mercy of Allah
- Help those around you - E.g. Ask elderly neighbours if you can do their shopping for them.
- Give Charity - Give Charity to those in need and those around you if they need it. Including friends and family.
- Be kind and courteous - E.g. Give small gifts to your nieces/nephews or small kids in the extended family and in return ask them to include you in their duas. Allah always accepts the duas of masoom/young children.
- Use your manners and make people feel special - Pay attention to people when they are speaking to you by turning your whole attention to them as our Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ would do. If someone gives you a small gift or dates, make them feel like they have given you something very precious and include them in your duas. Your gratitude for the gift will elevate both you and them inshaAllah.
وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor].'
Stage 2 - (Day 11 - 20) Forgiveness
The second 10 days of Ramadan are about seeking the forgiveness (Istigfar) of Allah, whilst keeping in mind that he is the oft forgiving.
The Quran says:
And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden the extensiveness of which is the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who guard against evil. – Quran 3:132. Will they not turn to Allah and seek His forgiveness, and Allah is oft-forgiving, Merciful? (Quran 5:74).
The Dua for the second stage is:
Arabic: اَسْتَغْفِرُ اللہَ رَبِّی مِنْ کُلِّ ذَنْبٍ وَّ اَتُوْبُ اِلَیْہِ
English: Astagfirullaha Rab - Bi Min Kulli Zambi Wa Atoobu Ilayhi.
Translation: I seek forgiveness from Allah, my Lord, from every sin I committed.
Ways we can forgive
- Forgive people who have hurt you - We often hurt people without even being aware of it. We err often too and want the forgiveness of Allah. Let this month be one where we forgive those who have hurt us and soften our hearts for the sake of Allah. In turn, those we have hurt may forgive us InshAllah and Allah will forgive our misgivings too.
- For the sake of Allah, let's keep the ties of kinship and mend any relationships that have become strained.
- Let things go if you are able to. Allah is oft forgiving and no matter how many times we make a mistake, it is forgiven through his mercy. Letting go will open the doors for Allah's mercy inshaAllah.
- Forgive yourself and have confidence that Allah will forgive you.
Stage 3 - (Day 21 - 30) Seek Refuge
The Dua for the third stage is:
Arabic: اَللَّهُمَّ أَجِرْنِي مِنَ النَّارِ
English: Allahuma Ajirni minan naar.
Translation: O Allah, save me from the fire (Jahannam).
The last 10 days includes Lailatul Qadr. The Quran describes this special night:
Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr. And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is? The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Gabriel) by Allah’s Permission with all Decrees. Peace! until the appearance of dawn. (Quran 97:1-5)
The Dua for Lailat-ul-Qadr
‘A’isha said, “I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, if I know what night the Night of Power is, what do you think I should say during it?’ He said, ‘Say: “O Allah, You are Pardoning and you love pardon, so pardon me.”‘” (Tirmidhi)
Arabic: اللْهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُعَنِّي
English: Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee
Translation: O Allah, You are Forgiving and love forgiveness, so forgive me” or “O Allah, You are Pardoning and love to pardon, so pardon me.
Other Duas - Say 4 things in Ramadan in abundance
in the following hadith:
“And in this month, four things you should endeavour to perform in great number; two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot make do. Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should in great quantity recite the Kalimah Ṭayyibah: Lā ilāha illallāh, and make much ‘Istighfār’ (beg Allāh’s Forgiveness). And as for those without which you cannot make do, you should beg Allāh for entry into Jannah and seek refuge with Him from the fire of Jahannam.” (Ibn Khuzaymah)
This stage of Ramadan is also the one where people tend to do Itikaf.
For those that cannot do Itikaf in the Masjid, my husband was told by one of his teachers that when you enter the Masjid, you should do the intention for Itikaf anyway and keep that intention till you leave so you can get the reward for it Insha Allah.
You can also do Itikaf at home and spend time in seclusion/reflection at home without devices and distractions if you are able to.
Use this final week to make a timetable for Ramadan and pace yourself.
Trying to do everything in one day will mean that you will be more likely to burn out so remember to do small deeds with consistency and increase slowly as the month goes by, picking up pace in the last 10 nights InshaAllah.
I have attached PDF Planners and a Checklist for you to download and use for the month ahead if you would like.
Please remember us in your humble duas.
May we have mercy on others so that Allah has mercy on us.
May Allah make it easy for us to forgive others so he may forgive us.
May Allah emancipate us all from the fire of Hell and grant us Al Firdous Al Aalaa.
May Allah accept our fasting and Ibadah and may it be a means of elevation for us. Aameen.