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Al-Itikaaf — Meaning, significance and correct code of performance
"...And do not associate with your wives while you are retreat (observing I'takaaf) in the mosques; those are limits set by Allah, approach not nigh there to; Thus cloth Allah make clear His signs to men that they may learn self-restraint". Q2:187
At-i'tikaf is an Arabic word which means "consistent devotion to something" or rendering oneself to the service of a particular object (in worship). But according to Islamic jurisprudence, it refers to seclusion or retreat in the worship of Allah during a specific number of days. Al-I'tikaf is one of the sunnah of the Holy Prophet and an approach to draw closer to Allah our creator and cherisher.
The book of Allah, Sunnah of our noble Prophet and the consensus opinion of the scholars both the sal'at (predecessor) and the Khalaf (those who succeeded them) confirmed its authenticity. It is a practice which every Muslim is expected to perform before leaving this world. It is evident that the Holy Prophet(may Allah's peace and blessings of Allah be unto him) used to perform At-I'tkaf until he left this world.
Ibn Qoyyum Al-Jawziyah said; The soul or the heart is in constant need of purification a way of closeness to Allah. This purification cannot be achieved with plenty food, drinks, excessive discussion and unguided interaction with the mundane world except through sincere severance from this unholy world. He further explained that this can be achieved by devoting certain part of ones life to the service of Allah through seclusion in the Mosque (the house of Allah). By so doing, one is completely cut off from this ephemeral world and totally engaged in those actions that draw him closer to Allah.
Al-I'tikaf is the practice established by Holy Prophet Muhammad as part of his Sunnah especially during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Mother of the faithfuls, Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) related that the Holy Prophet (SAW) used to perform Al-I'tikaf in the last 10 days of Ramadan till he left this world and his wives also performed Al-I'tikaf after his demise. (Bukhari and Muslim).
This act of concept retreat in the Mu'takif (person performing I'tikaf) the opportunity to devote his time and life to complete worship of Allah by observing all his daily solat (five daily prayers) in Jama'ah, performing unlimited number of (raka'aat) Nawafil, maintaining constant state of spiritual purity (free from ritual dirt), reciting the Holy Quran, engaging in constant remembrance of Allah (Al-Dhikr), meditation over the creations of Allah and the nature around him. Majority of the scholars are of the opinion that Al-Masjidu-Jamii (Jumu'ah Mosque) so that the Mu'takif would not miss the one or two Fridays that may fall into the period of his I'tikaaf.
To summarize what is expected of a Mu’takif during the period of his stay in the Mosque; Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) was reported to have said; “It is Sunnah that the Mu’takif should no visit the sick, nor witness the burial of a dead Muslim; neither should he touch a woman let alone associate with his wife/wives. She further said such a person should not go out of the Mosque except to answer the call of nature as occasion demands and there is no I’tikaf for a non-fasting Muslim and no I’tikaf except in a Jumat mosque. (Abu Daud).
A person in I’tikaf is expected to sieze the golden opportunity is meeting the pleasure of Allah till he is awake throughout the night of Qadr (which a person at home may food elusive).
Unlike what we find among the youths of today, our predecessors were not used to wasting their precious time during Ramadan and especially while in I’tikaf. It is antithetical to sunnah to spend much time listening to radio set, watching games on our handset, engaging in unwarranted discussion, queuing for meal for hours and fighting while in I’tikaf.Share