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Thursday, May 14, 2020

What is Itikaf and how it is Observed in Ramadan


The month of Ramadan has almost come to an end with its lat ten days remaining. While the believers have observed fasting throughout the month and offered Taraweeh prayers in the masjids (or at home due to restrictions paced on offering Taraweeh in the masjids due to Coronation Virus), the two hallmarks of the month of Ramadan in which believers can draw maximum benefit of Allah's blessings are Itikaf and finding the Night worth Thousands of Nights (Laila tul Qadr) - a night i which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

We have already written about the Saum (fasting), Taraweeh Prayers, and Laila tul Qadr. In this post we will talk of Itikaf " اعتكاف‎ ".

In the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during day and impose upon them an embargo by abstaining from eating and marital relations with one's spouse from dawn till dusk. However, besides these two restrictions they carryout all daily chores of their life, like attending to their office, business and performing all matters related to the sustenance and management of the their houses and family.

But there still remains yet another sacrifice from the believers during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan, in which the men relocate themselves to the masjids and remain there from night of 21st Ramadan till the Eid moon is sighted.This relocation is called Itikaf. Women can also observe Itikaf in masjids if adequate arrangements are made. Else she can find a corner in her house where she can observe Itikaf without being disturbed.

Thus Itikaf or E'tikaf is a period of retreat in a masjid, during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan. Literally translated, it is an Arabic word that means "to isolate oneself and to stick or adhere to something."

During this period, a person sitting in Itikaf is not supposed to leave the masjid and has all his needs like food or clothes provided to him by his family inside the masjid. However, he is allowed to take bath or attend to nature's call using the washrooms and toilets of the masjid. 

During this period, while he attends to all five prayers and Taraweeh prayers in the congregation, he is also lucky to be there in the masjid when the Laila tul Qadr appears during the odd days of the month of Ramadan. Since, the happening of this night is only known to Allah, the men in Itikaf are lucky to be there in the masjid and are benefited to find it by virtue of their Itikaf.  

The time spent in Itikaf is in fact a time for self-reflection. It provides an excellent opportunity to establish a close bond with Allah for he has secluded him from all other worldly needs and requirements of the outside word. During his stay in the masjid, a man should recite Quran as mush as possible to be spiritually benefited from it and repent of his sins throughout. However, it should be noted that one must not while away his time in gossiping with others present in the masjid about worldly affairs. Instead they may talk or discuss affairs related to the religion or better understanding of Qur'an.

Please listen to Dr Zakir A Naik, an eminent scholar on Itikaf:
For more Q &A about understanding Islam, please refer to our reference page: Understanding Islam: Frequently Asked Q & A.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.

May Allah show us the right path so that we do not go astray due to what man has interpreted verses of religious scriptures to suit their own religions and faith. Aameen.

Photo | Related References / Videos: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

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