Benefits of I’tikaaf

Written by: M Rashid Tabassum;
One of the special worship during Ramazan is I’tikaaf. It is an Arabic word which means to cling, keep or stay. Its general meaning is “keeping or continuing to do something.” In Shari’ah, it means to stay in the Masjid to seek Allah’s pleasure. Holy Prophet (SAW) observed I’tikaaf every year. Once, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) could not observe I’tikaaf due to any travel, so He made I’tikaaf of 20 days next year. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) stayed in I’tikaaf for twenty days, when it was the last year of his life.
It is practice (Sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It is not obligatory for every Muslim. However, anyone who makes a vow to do it, it becomes obligatory. Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I vowed in the Pre-lslamic period to perform I’tikaaf in Masjid-al-Haram for one night.” The Prophet (SAW) said, “Fulfill your vow.” So, he performed I’tikaaf for one night (Sahi Bukhaari).
Furthermore, Holy Prophet (SAW) entered his I’tikaaf place after offering the Fajar prayer. He stayed whole night in Masjid in worship and entered his tent after Fajar prayer. He left after sunset on the last day of Ramazan whether it is 29 or 30 days. Prophet’s Wife (Ummul Momineen) Aishah (RA) said, “The Prophet used to strive hard (in worship) in the last ten nights of Ramazan as he never did at any other time (Sunan Ibn e Majah).
The benefits and rewards of I’tikaaf are immense:
Hazrat Hussain (RA) narrates that Prophet (SAW) said, “He who observes the ten days I’tikaaf during Ramazan will obtain the reward of two Hajj & two Umrah.” (Bayhaqi)
Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) reported that Prophet (SAW) said, “Whosoever for Allah’s sake did even one day I’tikaaf, Allah would keep him away from Jahannam by trenches.” (Tabarani)
Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said, (about the person who engages in I’tikaaf), “that he is safe from sin & he also gets that reward which everyone (outside I’tikaaf) gets for pious deeds.” (Ibn Majah)
Some rulings about I’tikaaf, according to Quran o Sunnah, are given below.
I’tikaaf is observed in Masjid only.
Hanging a tent in the Masjid for privacy is Sunnah. Holy Prophet ordered his wife to set up tent in the Masjid. (Reference Bukhaari)
Wife of a person who is observing I’tikaaf can also visit her husband in the Masjid. Hazrat Safiya (RA) went to the Holy Prophet (SAW) while he was in I’tikaaf. (Reference Bukhaari)
A person who is observing I’tikaaf can go home to use toilet if the Masjid has not toilet. Likewise is the need of taking bath compulsory.
Some things are not allowed during I’tikaaf:
One who is observing I’tikaaf (in a mosque) is not to visit a patient, or to attend a funeral, or touch or embrace one’s wife, or go out for anything but necessary purposes. There is no I’tikaaf without fasting. Allah says in Quran: “And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikaaf in the mosques” [al-Baqarah 2:187]
I’tikaaf is the best source to seek Allah’s pleasure. We should strive hard to attain Allah’s pleasure and to be closer to him. May Allah accept our worship (Aameen).

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