Sunnah Itikaf means to confine oneself for some time to a mosque or a specific place in order to worship Allah. It also means to retreat or remain in seclusion to please Allah.
When Itikaf is performed?
The last Ashra of Ramadan is very crucial. Muslims devoted themselves to Allah Almighty and engage themselves in Ibadat to grab the blessings of Allah.
Itikaf is performed in the last ten days of Ramadan. It is a sunnah of Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W). He (S.A.W.W) used to spend last Ashra of Ramadan in seclusion in Masjid-e-Nabvi. Hazrat Ayesha (R.A) Reported that:
“ He (S.A.W.W) used to perform itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan until Allah the Mighty and Majestic took him” (Bukhari).
Rules of Itikaf:
- Fasting is the pre condition for performing itikaf. One who spend days in seclusion must keep fast.
- Engaging oneself in Ibadat is another rule for itikaf. During itikaf Muslims keep busy in ibadat, it can be nawafil recitation of Holy Quran and other compulsory or Farz Ibadat.
- For men there are mosques to spend days in itikaf, women will perform itikaf at home. One separate room corner can be used for that, where there is no hustle and bustle.
- The alms for invalidating itikaf is to set free a slave, if not possible fast for 2 consecutive months or if it is not possible, feed 60 poor people.
- Maximum 10 days to be spend in seclusion, but minimum seclusion is 3 days. One must stay at least 3 days in seclusion.
Things to Avoid During Itikaf:
- Wordly activities like buying and selling must be stopped. One must confine himself for the worship of Allah during Itikaf.
- Talking, gossiping, backbiting and every type of unnecessary discussions are prohibited during itikaf. As the essence of itikaf is that one must think that he or she has only devoted themselves to Allah for a specific time period.
Virtues/ Benefits of Itikaf:
- It is said that itikaf is equivalent to reward of two Hajj and Umrah.
- It is a protection from Hell, and one who performs itikaf will be granted Jannah.
- Prophet (S.A.W.W) said in his Hadith:
“ whosoever for Allah’s sake did ever one day itikaf, Allah would keep him away from Jahanam by trenches”. (Tabarani)
- As we keep ourselves busy in ibadat during itikaf, Allah washes away our sins, forgive and bless us.