Of the entire Islamic calendar, the month of Ramadan enjoys superiority over the other eleven months. This is because the Holy Quran was revealed during this beloved month.
The month of Ramadan can be divided into three parts (ashra) and just as Ramadan is superior to other months, the last ashra i.e. of Emancipation from Hellfire is superior and more blessed than the two ashra before it. The prayer for emancipation from Hellfire is:
ALLAHUMMA AJIRNI MINAN NAAR
“O Allah! Save me from the fire.”
In the last ten days, one should try and recite this little prayer as many times as possible to reap the maximum benefit.
But is this the only reason why the last ashra is so special? Actually, no. The last ashra is so special because it has hidden within itself the Night of Power i.e. Layla tul Qadr. This was the night that the Quran was revealed to the Muslim Ummah and it began the journey of the Prophet (PBUH) as a guide to us all. It says in the Quran:
“We sent it (Quran) down on a blessed Night. Verily, We are ever warning. Therein ( in that Night) is decreed every matter of ordainment. Amran (i.e. a command or this Quran or His Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messenger) (As) a Mercy from your Lord.” (Quran 44: 3-6).
It is for this reason that the last ashra is so full of blessings and rewards. One must look for the night of Power that is hidden in the odd nights of this month, it is usually hoped that it is on the 27th of Ramadan but there is no surety. Hence one must look hard and with utmost faith for this wondrous Night of Power. Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said:
“Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadan on the night when nine or seven or five nights remain out of the last ten nights of the Ramadan.” (Bukhari 975)
With regards to the last ten days of Ramadan, Aisha (RA) reported that:
“When the last ten nights began Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) kept awake at night (for prayer and devotion), wakened his family, and prepared himself to observe prayer (with more vigor)” (Muslim 6: 2643)
She also reported that:
“Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time”. (Muslim 6:2644)
Following in the footsteps of the beloved Holy Prophet (PBUH), one must devote oneself fully to the cause of the Almighty and pray with zeal and fervor each night in the last ten days of the holy month. The rewards of Ibadah in these ten nights, seeking the night of power, are manifold. In the Quran, in Surah Qadr, Allah says:
“We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the night of power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn” (Quran 97:1-5).
Likewise, another hadith says:
“Whoever establishes the prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not to show off) then all his past sins will be forgiven” (Bukhari 1: 2:34).
This hadith very clearly states the importance and rewards of praying in the Night of Power. What better reward is there for a Muslim than to start over with a clean slate and to have no sins previously recorded? It is indeed the best reward there is for a man a faith.