I‘tikaaf

Ramadhaan is a wonderful season for those who seek salvation and endeavor to free themselves from Hell. The month is distinguished by verification of the acts of worship, multiplication of rewards and the descent of mercies. From the other distinguishing characteristics of this month is the last ten days thereof. It was narrated on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her that she said, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) , would exert his best (in worship) during the last ten days (of Ramadhaan) more than at other times.” [Muslim]

It was also narrated on her authority that she  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said, “With the start of the last ten days (of Ramadhaan), the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to tighten up his loincloth (i.e., refrain from sexual intercourse), stay up at night and keep his family awake.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]

It was also narrated that she said, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would pray and also sleep during the nights of the first twenty days of Ramadhaan. But when it was the last ten nights, he would be more diligent and tighten up his loincloth.” [Ahmad]

I‘tikaaf is one of the special acts of the last ten days of Ramadhaan. It is to stay at the Masjid (mosque) with the sole intention of worshipping and obeying Allaah there. It is based on evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah. In the Quran, Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques.} [Quran 2: 187] In the Sunnah it was narrated on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) ceaselessly observed I‘tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadhaan until he died. Then his wives did the same after him. [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]

I‘tikaaf is one of the deserted recommended acts of worship, which is only observed by a few while many are heedless of it. Az-Zuhri  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him commented, “How strange are the Muslims! Why do they neglect I‘tikaaf when the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) did not leave it from his arrival at Madeenah until his death?

My dear Muslim, you should hasten to revive this great Sunnah, urge people and encourage them to perform it, starting with yourself. This worldly life is nothing but a few stages and a few days, so get rid of all the worldly obstacles and beauties and be keen to attain this great reward. Allocate these few days to free yourself of all distractions and tasks and move to Allaah with your heart and whole being in humbleness, submissiveness, and tears in order to join the procession of the successful.

Dear Muslim, I‘tikaaf is to be performed at any mosque where the congregational prayer is performed. When one observes I‘tikaaf for a period that includes a Friday, it is recommended that he observes it in a mosque where the Friday prayer is performed. Otherwise, he is allowed to go to a mosque where the Friday prayer is performed and then go back to his place of I‘tikaaf.