Itikaf – a Divine Blessing

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims go into isolation at Masjid (mosque) for the last 10 days to seek the forgiveness and blessings of Allah Almighty.

What is Itikaf?

Considering the importance of Itikaf, the prophet Muhammad SAW asked the Muslims to stay in isolation at the mosque and worship Allah Almighty during this period to find the Laylat al Qadr. This isolated worship of Allah while maintaining certain conditions, is called Itikaf. Itikaf is an Arabic word that means “to isolate oneself and to stick or adhere to something”. Mutakif is a person who performs the Itikaf.

Importance of Itikaf

The reward of the Laylat al Qadr is better than the reward of worship of 1000 months. The Muslims spend their days and nights at the designated in the mosque in order to ensure that they are there praying Allah Almighty in blessed night Laylat al-Qadr.

In order to understand the virtues and importance of Itikaf, one needs to understand its purpose and why it is recommended to do so in Ramadan. The main purpose of Itikaf is to keep oneself away from distractions and to focus only on the worship of Allah.

The purpose and intention of this isolation are to find and enjoy the blessings of Allah on the holy night of Laylat al Qadr (Shabe Qadr). As the prophet Muhammad SAW said, find the Laylat al Qadr in the last 10 days of the holy month Ramadan.

Laylat al Qadr (Shabe Qadr) dua

اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي

Renew Your Relationship with Allah

Realize the importance of Itikaaf that is a time when you renew your relationship with Allah. It is like a spiritual retreat to renew and strengthen your soul. In other words, it helps strengthen your trust in Allah and helps you to improve your worship. The holy month of Ramadan is divided into three stages/parts called Ashra. There is a specific name and dua/prayer for each Ashra. The following are the three Ashra and their associated duas:

Types of Itikaf

There are three types of Itikaf:

  • Sunnah Itikaf is performed during the last 10 days of the holy month of Ramadan.
  • Nafl Itikaf can be performed without any restriction of date and time and is considered as Nafl (voluntary) act.
  • Wajib Itikaf is whenever Muslim vows to perform Itikaf, it becomes compulsory (wajib).

Click here for supplication to keep the fast

When to Itikaf?

In the last 10 nights of Ramadan, many people try to spend the whole time in Itikaf so that they do not miss the rewards of Laylat al-Qadr. As prophet Muhammad SAW said that Laylat al Qadr will fall on odd number night, thus, some Muslims decide to spend all 10 days and nights in Itikaf whereas some reserve odd number nights for Itikaf. The time of the Itikaf begins at the time of Maghrib (evening) prayer and ends on sightseeing of the Shawal moon. You may find the following hadith which clarifies the importance of Itikaf and when to perform.

 حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ بِشْرٍ ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ ، عَنِ ابْنِ جُرَيْجٍ ، عَنْ سُلَيْمَانَ الْأَحْوَلِ خَالِ ابْنِ أَبِي نَجِيحٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ. ح قَالَ سُفْيَانُ ، وَحَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَمْرٍو ، عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ . ح قَالَ : وَأَظُنُّ أَنَّ ابْنَ أَبِي لَبِيدٍ حَدَّثَنَا ، عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ ، قَالَ : اعْتَكَفْنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْعَشْرَ الْأَوْسَطَ ، فَلَمَّا كَانَ صَبِيحَةَ عِشْرِينَ ، نَقَلْنَا مَتَاعَنَا ، فَأَتَانَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، قَالَ : مَنْ كَانَ اعْتَكَفَ ، فَلْيَرْجِعْ إِلَى مُعْتَكَفِهِ فَإِنِّي رَأَيْتُ هَذِهِ اللَّيْلَةَ ، وَرَأَيْتُنِي أَسْجُدُ فِي مَاءٍ وَطِينٍ ، فَلَمَّا رَجَعَ إِلَى مُعْتَكَفِهِ ، وَهَاجَتِ السَّمَاءُ ، فَمُطِرْنَا ، فَوَالَّذِي بَعَثَهُ بِالْحَقِّ ، لَقَدْ هَاجَتِ السَّمَاءُ مِنْ آخِرِ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ ، وَكَانَ الْمَسْجِدُ عَرِيشًا ، فَلَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ عَلَى أَنْفِهِ ، وَأَرْنَبَتِهِ أَثَرَ الْمَاءِ وَالطِّينِ .

ہم رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کے ساتھ رمضان کے دوسرے عشرے میں اعتکاف کے لیے بیٹھے۔ بیسویں کی صبح کو ہم نے اپنا سامان ( مسجد سے ) اٹھا لیا۔ پھر رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم تشریف لائے اور فرمایا کہ جس نے ( دوسرے عشرہ میں ) اعتکاف کیا ہے وہ دوبارہ اعتکاف کی جگہ چلے، کیونکہ میں نے آج کی رات ( شب قدر کو ) خواب میں دیکھا ہے میں نے یہ بھی دیکھا کہ میں کیچڑ میں سجدہ کر رہا ہوں۔

پھر جب اپنے اعتکاف کی جگہ ( مسجد میں ) آپ دوبارہ آ گئے تو اچانک بادل منڈلائے، اور بارش ہوئی۔ اس ذات کی قسم جس نے نبی کریم صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کو حق کے ساتھ بھیجا! آسمان پر اسی دن کے آخری حصہ میں بادل ہوا تھا۔ مسجد کھجور کی شاخوں سے بنی ہوئی تھی ( اس لیے چھت سے پانی ٹپکا ) جب آپ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم نے نماز صبح ادا کی، تو میں نے دیکھا کہ آپ کی ناک اور پیشانی پر کیچڑ کا اثر تھا۔

Narrated Abu Said: We practiced Itikaf with Allah’s Apostle in the middle ten days (of Ramadan). In the morning of the twentieth (of Ramadan) we shifted our baggage, but Allah’s Apostle came to us and said, Whoever was m Itikaf should return to his place of Itikaf, for I saw (i.e. was informed about the date of) this Night (of Qadr) and saw myself prostrating in mud and water. When I returned to my place the sky was overcast with clouds and it rained. By Him Who sent Muhammad with the Truth, the sky was covered with clouds from the end of that day, and the mosque which was roofed with leafstalks of date palm trees (leaked with rain) and I saw the trace of mud and water over the nose of the Prophet and its tip. (Sahih Bukhari#2040)

Important Conditions of Itikaf

  • Obviously, Itikaf is for Muslims, and the children who have not reached the age of understanding are not eligible. The children must be able to take care of themselves and be able to eat, dress, and wash themselves without the help of others.
  • There should be a pure intention to participate in Itikaf for the sake of Allah and not to show off to others.
  • Women and girls need to ask permission from their husbands or parents to perform Itikaf.

Physical and Mental Health

  • The person should be able to make reasonable and rational thoughts and decisions. To further clarify, the person should not be under the influence of drugs, for example, which can change his/her state of mind.
  • A person suffering from a mental illness where he cannot decide for himself should not perform the Itikaf.
  • While performing Itikaf, you must be in a state of wudu (ablution). In case wudu is nullified, you must renew it immediately.
  • You must fast as a requirement of the Itikaf. However, if you are suffering from any disease and can not fast then definitely you are allowed to perform Itikaf.

Where to perform Itikaf

The meaning of Itikaf is to perform in the masjid (mosque) as mentioned in Surat al-Baqarah 2:187 (reproduced hereunder) which highlights the importance of Itikaf to perform in the mosque. However, according to some religious scholars, there is an exception for women to perform Itikaf at home.

اُحِلَّ لَکُمۡ لَیۡلَۃَ الصِّیَامِ الرَّفَثُ اِلٰی نِسَآئِکُمۡ ؕ ہُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّکُمۡ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لِبَاسٌ لَّہُنَّ ؕ عَلِمَ اللّٰہُ اَنَّکُمۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تَخۡتَانُوۡنَ اَنۡفُسَکُمۡ فَتَابَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ وَ عَفَا عَنۡکُمۡ ۚ فَالۡئٰنَ بَاشِرُوۡہُنَّ وَ ابۡتَغُوۡا مَا کَتَبَ اللّٰہُ لَکُمۡ ۪ وَ کُلُوۡا وَ اشۡرَبُوۡا حَتّٰی یَتَبَیَّنَ لَکُمُ الۡخَیۡطُ الۡاَبۡیَضُ مِنَ الۡخَیۡطِ الۡاَسۡوَدِ مِنَ الۡفَجۡرِ۪ ثُمَّ اَتِمُّوا الصِّیَامَ اِلَی الَّیۡلِ ۚ وَ لَا تُبَاشِرُوۡہُنَّ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ عٰکِفُوۡنَ ۙ فِی الۡمَسٰجِدِ ؕ تِلۡکَ حُدُوۡدُ اللّٰہِ فَلَا تَقۡرَبُوۡہَا ؕ کَذٰلِکَ یُبَیِّنُ اللّٰہُ اٰیٰتِہٖ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَتَّقُوۡنَ ﴿۱۸۷﴾

تمہارے لیے حلال کردیا گیا ہے کہ روزوں کی رات میں تم اپنی بیویوں سے بے تکلف صحبت کرو ۔ وہ تمہارے لیے لباس ہیں ، اور تم ان کے لیے لباس ہو ۔ اللہ کو علم تھا کہ تم اپنے آپ سے خیانت کر رہے تھے ، پھر اس نے تم پر عنایت کی اور تمہاری غلطی معاف فرمادی ، ( ١١٨ ) چنانچہ اب تم ان سے صحبت کرلیا کرو ، اور جو کچھ اللہ نے تمہارے لیے لکھ رکھا ہے اسے طلب کرو ، ( ١١٩ ) اور اس وقت تک کھاؤ پیو جب تک صبح کی سفید دھاری سیاہ دھاری سے ممتاز ہو کر تم پر واضح ( نہ ) ہوجائے ۔ اس کے بعد رات آنے تک روزے پورے کرو ۔ اور ان ( اپنی بیویوں ) سے اس حالت میں مباشرت نہ کرو جب تم مسجدوں میں اعتکاف میں بیٹھے ہو ۔

یہ اللہ کی ( مقرر کی ہوئی ) حدود ہیں ، لہذا ان ( کی خلاف ورزی ) کے قریب بھی مت جانا ۔ اسی طرح اللہ اپنی نشانیاں لوگوں کے سامنے کھول کھول کر بیان کرتا ہے ، تاکہ وہ تقوی اختیار کریں

It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you.

And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous. (Surat al-Baqarah: Ayat No 187)

Things to Do during Itikaf:

You should perform the following actions, considering the importance of the Itikaf and to enjoy the blessings of Almighty Allah:

  • As a Muslim, you must offer obligatory prayers, which is a must required during the Itikaf.
  • You should offer the Taraweeh prayer (Sunnah), after the Isha prayer. Don’t forget to recite the Taraweeh Prayer/Dua.
  • It is far better that you should offer Sunnah and Nafl prayers (which are voluntary) according to your convenience.
  • You should read the Quran with translation as much as you can during this period.
  • You should also try to memorize the Quran. If you can manage, try to study the Hadith and Tafseer (interpretation) of the Quran.
  • The Allah Almighty must reward the Mutakif, thus you should make dua as much as possible.
  • You should also recite Salawat (Durud) and Istighfar more frequently.
  • Don’t forget the prayers of Fasting/dua for Sahri and dua for Iftar.
  • Don’t forget to recite the following Dua of Layla tul Qadr/Shab-e-Qadr

اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي

Things Permitted during Itikaf:

During the Itikaf period, almost all the worldly things are prohibited, however, the following are allowed:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Discussing matters of Deen/religion or necessary talk

Conditions to leave the Masjid:

You should not leave the mosque/Masjid without a valid/Sharai reason, otherwise, it will nullify the Itikaf. The following are a few valid reasons to leave the mosque:

  • For wudhu
  • To go to a toilet
  • For wajib ghusl

The above discussion is just a glimpse, and we have tried to cover the important aspects of the Itikaf. Considering the importance of Itikaf, you should try to avail of the opportunity and gather the blessings of Allah Almighty during this holy month Ramadan. May Allah Subhana Wa Taala guide us and lead us to the right path!Like this post

You May Also Like

+ There are no comments

Add yours