I'tikaf, an authentic Sunnah

Since 2012-11-11

I'tikaf is retiring to a Masjid for worshipping Allah Almighty. It is one of the Sunnan that are authenticated in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (prayers peace and of Allah be upon him);....

All Praise is due to Allah Who is Ever All-Knower, All-Seer of His slaves. He rewards much, by His grant and favor, the few deeds. And prayers and peace of Allah be upon whom He had sent as guide, preacher and forerunner, our prophet Muhammad, and upon all his family and companions.

Ramadan is a great season for whoever wants safety and wants to free his neck from the hellfire. In this month, the acts of worship are numerous and the rewards are multiplied and the clemencies descend. Among the characteristics of this month is its last ten days, which the Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) used to exert himself in devotion during them to a greater extent than any other time. ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The Prophet (prayers and of peace Allah be upon him) used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time” [Reported by Muslim]

«أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان يجتهد في العشر الأواخر ما لا يجتهدُ في غيره»
رواه مسلم

And it is reported in the two Sahihs that she said: “When the last ten nights began Allah's Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) kept awake at night (for prayer and devotion) and wakened his family” [Narrated by Al-Bukhari]

«كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا دخل العشرُ شد مئزره، وأحيا ليله، وأيقظ أهله»
رواه البخاري

Among the acts of the last ten days is I’tikaf

I’tikaf is retiring to a Masjid for worshipping Allah Almighty. It is one of the Sunnan that are authenticated in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (prayers peace and of Allah be upon him); Allah Almighty says: {And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a Masjid for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the Masjids} [Al-Baqarah 2:187]

{وَلا تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنْتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ}

Transliteration: wala tubashiroohunna waantum AAakifoona fee almasajidi

And Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) used to observe I’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he returned to Allah Almighty. Then his wives observed I’tikaf after him” [Agreed upon]

«أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يعتكف العشر الأواخر من رمضان حتى توفاه الله عز وجل، ثم اعتكف أزواجه من بعده»
متفق عليه

I’tikaf is one of the deserted Sunnan that are not observed much; many people became inattentive of it. Imam Az-Zuhry (may Allah mercy him) said: “How strange are the Muslims! They neglected I’tikaf although the Prophet (peace and prayers of Allah be upon him) never neglected it from his coming to Al-Medina till he returned to Allah Almighty.” Thereupon, dear Muslim brother, you should revive this great Sunnah, encourage people to revive it and make it desirable to them. Begin with yourself because the worldly life has few phases and few days. Get rid of the obstacles of this worldly life and its adornment, do not miss this great good and make to yourself a few days in which you devote yourself to Allah Almighty with your heart and your limbs in humility, submission and tears to join the procession of the accepted successful people.

Dear Muslim brother, I’tikaf could be in any Masjid where the congregational prayer is held; however, it is recommended for the person, whoever his I’tikaf coincides with Friday, to practice it in a Masjid where the Friday prayer is performed. If he practiced I’tikaf in a Masjid, where the Friday prayer is not held, he should get out from that Masjid to observe the Friday prayer then return to the place of his I’tikaf. Dear brother, make sure that the Masjid, in which you will practice I’tikaf, is away from the masses of people and the sources of noise and choose a Masjid you know no body and nobody in it knows you; indeed, this is better for sincerity and it makes your heart and mind completely away from the people. If you were among those who practice I’tikaf in one of the two sacred Masjids, beware of narrowing the place to the degree that annoys your brothers, who practice prayer; rather you should give them space for observing their prayers and do not be among those who like to show their I’tikaf to the people who practice the prayers to make them greet you or give space to you! Actually, some of those who practice I’tikaf do not pray Taraweeh or pray at night; rather they make others confused by raising the voices during talking trivial talks.

I’tikaf is Sunnah at all times; the Muslim could begin his I’tikaf whenever he likes and end it whenever he likes. However, it is better to practice I’tikaf in Ramadan in general and in the last ten days in special; the person should pray the Fajr prayer of the 21st of Ramadan then enter the place of his I’tikaf and stay in the Masjid till getting out to Eid prayer. This is the desirable time for ending the I’tikaf.

It is great opportunity and few hours for the Muslim to take benefit from by getting away from people for devoting himself for worshipping Allah in one of His Masjids to gain His grace and reward and to worship Him in Lailatul Qadr before the records are folded and the scales are set down.

Dear brother, care during your I’tikaf for remembrance, reciting the holy Quran, practicing prayer and observing the acts of worship. Beware of the trivial talks of this worldly life that are not your business. However, it is permissible to talk with your family or others in whatever brings good, because Safya (the mother of the believers, may Allah mercy her) said: “The Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) was in I’tikaf, and I came to visit him at night and I talked to him, then I got up to return home and the Prophet got up with me …” [Narrated by Muslim]

«كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم معتكفا . فأتيته أزوره ليلا . فحدثته . ثم قمت لأنقلب . فقام معي ليقلبني »
رواه مسلم

You are allowed to get out the Masjid for fulfilling your urgent needs such as going to the water closet or bringing food and drink, if there is no body to bring it to you. The same is applied to going to the doctor, if you became sick during your I’tikaf, or if you needed to care for one of your relatives whom it is obligatory for you to care for and there is no one to do that instead of you.

The unpermitted acts during I’tikaf includes getting out the Masjid for something is not compatible with the I’tikaf like getting out the Masjid for buying and selling or practicing sexual intercourse with the wife and other things like that.

Dear brother, if you have company with you in I’tikaf, you should choose the company that helps you in the obedience, supports you, cares for the good and invests the time in the worship; you should avoid those who waste their times in the talks and conversations. Some of those who practice I’tikaf together show hard working in the first days then they begin to get lazy and waste their times in trivial talks may be drawn to prohibited things like talebearing and such things.

Dear Muslim brother, I’tikaf is Sunnah whereas preserving your home and your children is obligatory. So, do not neglect the more important thing, which is caring for your children; rather you should gather between the two things. Care for taking your children away from the sources of infatuations, and do not let your I’tikaf lead you to neglecting obligatory duties. Moreover, if it was easy for you to take your children with you during your I’tikaf, it would be a way of education beside its being good for the peace of your mind and its being a way for increasing the closeness between you and your children and making them accustomed with worship. However, if this was difficult for them, it would be enough to make them observe I’tikaf with you for just one night; and do not forget to reward them well and encourage them to observe I’tikaf.

Dear Muslim brother, the seasons of obedience are like stations for a traveler to take along provisions to Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth. So, be among the wise sane people who do not miss these opportunities and these stops without taking from the gifts of the Lord and the greatness of the reward.

Care for observing I’tikaf with sincere intention, set aside boasting, showing off and the love of being praised. Moreover, never have pride in your good deeds; be sure that your deeds are only for Allah Almighty. He Almighty says: {And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him)} [Al-Baiyinah 98:5]

{وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ...}
البينة: 5

Transliteration: Wama omiroo illa liyaAAbudoo Allaha mukhliseena lahu alddeena hunafaa

And the well-known Hadeeth states “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended” [Agreed upon]

«إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى…»
متفق عليه

Among the things that help you to do this is to choose a Masjid where you know no body and nobody in it knows you. Also, you do not need to declare your I’tikaf to people in the day of Eid or after it.

May Allah comfort your eyes with His worship and make you among the successful accepted people. And may Allah forgive us and our parents and all Muslims. And peace and prayers of Allah be upon our prophet, Muhammad, and all his family and companions.

Al-Qasem House

Translated by Wathakker.net website




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