Thousands of Muslims across Kashmir began observing Aitikaf in Masjids and shrines Sunday evening as the ongoing holy month of Ramadan 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 sunsets.
“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.
“These last ten days of Ramadan are very significant as they are when Laylat-ul-Qadr takes place. The holy night of Laylat-ul-Qadr commemorates the night when the Qur’an was first revealed. This holy night has to be sought in the last ten days of the odd nights,” the Grand Mufti said.
According to Islamic scholars, the greatest Sunnah of last ten days of Ramadan is the observance of Aitikaf.
“The Aitikaf begins on 20th day of Ramdhan with the sunset. In Aitikaf all the time that a Muslim spends is 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 Ramadan 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.”
“It is the best opportunity for all the Muslims to collect more blessings of Allah and pray for their forgiveness and to be saved from the hell fire during this final Ashra of ongoing Ramadan.”
He reiterated his appeal to Muslims for paying Sadaqat-ul- Fitr, also known as Zakat-ul-Fitr, by or before Eid prayers, the best within the last ten days of Ramadan. The amount has been fixed by the Mufti at Rs 50 per person for this year.