Here we are, the last 10 days of Ramadan – the stage, or ashra, of salvation.
We have evaluated the mercy we have in our lives and the mercy we need to show in the first 10 days. We have begged for forgiveness and learned to forgive during the middle 10 days of Ramadan. Our whole journey has finally brought us here, to the days of salvation.
Ideally, after having purged ourselves of negativity and after putting our best foot forward in attaining mercy and forgiveness, attaining salvation ought to be a cake-walk-of-a-prize at the end.
Yet what I have found year after year is that the last 10 days are the most emotionally charged of the entire month. That is partially due to Layl-Atul-Qadar (post to come!), but I feel it is also due to two other major factors:
- The days of salvation are when we face ourselves in terms of the afterlife
- The striking re-realization of how fast time flies
Allow me to explain.
First we ought to discuss what salvation means, especially when we pray for it during Ramadan.
Praying for salvation is like praying to be rescued or saved from the hell fire… and from so much more – ourselves, temptations of the world, harsh treatment from others – the list can go on and on.
My point is that regardless of the particular situation, praying for salvation is heavy work.
Praying for salvation from our deeds - we can’t even begin to weigh that.
This is when we need to look back at all the mistakes we’ve made - knowingly and unknowingly.
This is when we figure out if we actually are better than the person we were last year.
This is when we freak out because we realize that as great a person as we may be, we still have a long way to go.
This is when we realize there are a lot of areas of improvement and this is when we get scared because we’re just now re-realizing from last Ramadan that we might not be at the level we need to be to attain the salvation we want.
That was a mouthful. Does your head hurt after reading that?
Mine was hurting as I wrote and the actuality of it hit me again.
As if that wasn’t heavy enough, now when we sit and pray to take advantage of this holy month to attain the salvation we need it hits us again – it’s the last 10 days. That’s it! We started with 30 and they were going so slowly. What happened?? I can’t wait for another Ramadan to fix myself, this was supposed to be the Ramadan of ‘New ME!’ and I squandered it. What salvation can I pray for at this point? Did I even achieve my goals for this month? Hole, I need a hole that stops time where I can hide for forever – find the hole!
Okay. Now breathe.
Thankfully, we still have 10 days and I will say this again and again - it’s not too late to start.
In these 10 days we can up our mercy and forgiveness game; we’re familiar with how that goes so that one should be easy.
We can give more in charity, whether monetary, material, or in terms of time and effort. There are food drives and community events that take place every weekend. If we can’t find one, we can always start one. There’s always a need that can be fulfilled with charity.
We can carry a pocket Quran with us so that we’re reading and reciting more often.
If our schedule permits, we can take part in the nightly qiyam prayers that most masjids host during the last 10 days.
We can challenge ourselves to smile more because it’s a sunnah and sometimes we may forget that even simple positive interactions affect our overall resolutions.
It’s the last 10 days of Ramadan, the days of salvation.
We have 10 beautiful days to make the most of it.
Internal struggle of the day: Houston traffic. We need flying cars.
Internal affirmation: Father’s day is so much easier than mother’s day! My dad just wanted fish.
The 30 Days of Ramadan blog is written by Sobia Siddiqui, CAIR-Houston’s Operations Coordinator.