Administrator on August 17th, 2011
I`tikaf is the seclusion and staying in the mosque of men with the intention of gaining closeness to Allah. This was the practise of the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, in particular during the last ten days of Ramadan.
This Year 2011, I`tikaf shall start before Maghrib prayer on Saturday 20th August and end at Maghrib prayer on Tuesday 30th August.
Ahadith about I`tikaf
‘Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan” [Bukhari]
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (R.A) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) observed i’tikaaf during the first ten days of Ramadan, then he observed i’tikaaf during the middle ten days in a small tent at the door of which was a reed mat. He took the mat in his hand and lifted it. Then he put his head out and spoke to the people, and they came close to him. He said: “I observed i’tikaaf during the first ten days seeking this night, then I observed i’tikaaf during the middle ten days. Then someone came and said to me that it is in the last ten days, so whoever among you wishes to observe i’tikaaf let him do so.” So the people observed i’tikaaf with him. [Muslim]
`Aishah radhiya Allahu `anha also reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, “Used to perform i’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan until Allah the Mighty and Majestic, took him. [Bukhari and Muslim]
‘Aisha reported that the Prophet,salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practice I`tikaf after him. [Bukhari]
Benefits of I`tikaf
I`tikaf, spiritual retreat, is a means of great reward and closeness to Allah as the person performing I`tikaf submits his/her entire person to the worship of Allah Most High in order to;
- seeks closeness;
- - renew himself by submitting totally towards Allah.
- - distances himself/herself from the worldly distractions that prevent one from such closeness;
- devotes his entire time in actual or effective worship; and
- makes the one in retreat resemble the angels who do not disobey the command of Allah and do what they are commanded, while glorifying Allah by night and day without tiring.
I`tikaf is a communal sunna and therefore at least some people in each community must make i`tikaf for the entire last 10 days of Ramadan. It is blameworthy upon the community as a whole not to arrange and implement this.
I`tikaf for Women at Home
It is recommended for women to do i`tikaf (spiritual retreat) in a specific place in their house, a quiet room, for example, whenever they have the time and are able to do so without neglecting their family duties and other responsibilities.
Things permitted during I`tikaf
Everything normally permissible, besides sexual relations, is permitted during i`tikaf, such as eating, drinking, and talk.
A person performing I`tikaf should busy oneself with the beneficial things as much as one meaningfully can, such as:
1. Voluntary prayer,
2. Reciting the Book of Allah,
3. Remembrance of Allah, in all its forms,
4. Gaining beneficial knowledge, reading and listening to inspiring religious discourses,
5. Reflecting upon the creation and his/her own circumstances
One should avoid simply wasting time in talking and indulging things bereft of benefit, let alone committing sinful/ haram activities.