Thousands of Muslims across Kashmir began observing Aitikaf in Masjids Monday evening as the ongoing holy month of Ramadhan entered in its final Ashra, or last ten days.
The month of blessings in the Islamic calendar is divided into three parts of ten days each called an Ashra, a word meaning “ten” in Arabic. The third Ashra begins on 20th day of Ramadan as sun sets.
“The first Ashra reflects mercy of Allah (Rehmah), second part reflects forgiveness of Allah (Maghfirah), and third part reflects safety from the hell (Nijat),” said J&K Grand Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam.
He said these last ten days are also known as the days of seeking refuge from hell fire.
According to Islamic scholars, the greatest Sunnah of last ten days of Ramadhan is the observance of Aitikaf.
“In Aitikaf a Muslim spends all the time in worship of Allah Almighty to ensure that Allah grants forgiveness and blessings to the seeker,” the Grand Mufti said.
He added that no one knows whether they will be alive for the next Ramadhan or not, “therefore, the last ten days should be spent in the best manner to bid farewell to this holy month and earn maximum blessings and mercy from Allah.”
He reiterated his appeal to Muslims for paying Sadaqat-ul- Fitr by or before Eid prayers, the best within the last ten days of Ramadhan. The amount has been fixed by the Mufti at Rs 62 per person for this year.
He added that Muslims should pay Sadaqat-ul-Fitr as directed by the Islam.
The Grand Mufti also appealed Muslims of J&K to pay their due Zakats in this holy month to earn maximum mercy of Almighty Allah as in this holy month one good deed is rewarded by multiplying it with seventy.
However, he clarified that Zakat can be given to educational institutions engaged in giving Islamic education to children such as Darool Aloom, to orphanage, and the preference has to be given poor and needy.
“The Zakat can be utilized for marriage of the poor unmarried girls who are desperately in need of money for marriages,” he said.