Allah the Almighty graciously granted the Muslims a whole month, namely Ramadan, every year to reap the benefits of worship and to gain nearness to Him.
Although every single day of Ramadan is rich in benefits for the believers, but for our ease, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, told us the significance of every ten-day cycle (ashra) of the month.
According to a Hadith, the highlight of the first ten days is rahmat (mercy), the second ten days open doors of maghfirat (forgiveness) and the last ten days grant nijat (deliverance) from the fire of hell – all subject to the sincerity of one’s efforts and the acceptance by Allah the Almighty.
In the blink of an eye, the first ten days have already passed. Today, Friday 17 May, sets the second ashra in motion; the ten days that open the gates of Allah’s forgiveness.
As these lines are being written, seconds and minutes are swiftly passing by; more will have passed in the time it takes for these lines to reach you. Ramadan is all about making hay while the sun shines, not only idiomatically, but quite literally also as one meaning of Ramadan is intense heat.
Tracing the origins of the above-mentioned idiom, its roots are found in Tudor-age farming in England. The Tudors had no resources to forecast the weather of the coming days (or even a day), so they had to cut the hay, stack it and leave it in the sunshine to dry and then store and transport these stacks to be used as fodder. Storing it or transporting it away was equally essential, lest the dried-up fields caught fire in the intense heat and brought the whole effort to ashes.
This is almost what a fasting believer does – they gain the Ramadan-momentum by the mercy of Allah in the first set of ten days, stack as much good deeds as possible and seek forgiveness in the second set, and then, in the last set, pray to Allah to enable them to continue the Ramadan-momentum throughout the year, lest the worldly fire of temptation torches their efforts and savings.
Hazrat Amirul Mominin, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has on many occasions drawn our attention to the blessings of the three sets of ten days of Ramadan. Huzooraa, in a Friday Sermon during Ramadan, stated:
“The first ten days of seeking mercy are gone and we are now in the second set of ten days, which Allah has declared as the one for seeking forgiveness. Allah shrouds those in His mantle of forgiveness who strive to attain His nearness in these days. Everyone should endeavour to be shrouded in Allah’s forgiveness during these days.” (29 October 2004)