Itikaaf during the last ten days on Ramadaan
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 14 June 2017| 19 Ramadaan 1438
A’ishah (ra) said: “The Prophet (saw) used to observe i’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadan until his death, then his wives observed i’tikaaf after he was gone” [Bukhari]
From this hadith it is clear that Itikaaf is not something which Prophet (Saw) observed or performed only once in His lifetime, rather it was one of the Ramadan deeds of Prophet Muhammad(saw) which he did on regular basis throughout His life in the last ten days of Ramadan. Therefore, if a Muslim can’t observe Itikaaf during the entire last ashara of Ramadaan, then he or she must try observing it whenever the chance and time is available (nafl itikaaf).
It is devoting oneself in a mosque for a specific period of time for prayers, supplication, reading Qur’an and invocations, and disconnecting from worldly occupations.
I’tikaaf is a Sunnah act, not obligatory, unless one made a vow to do it, in which case it becomes obligatory; because the Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever vows to obey Allah, let him obey Him, and whoever vows to disobey Him, let him not disobey Him” [Bukhari].
I’tikaaf is like an intensive course of spiritual education which brings immediate positive results in a person’s life during days and nights of Ramadan, and also in the coming days until next Ramadan insha’Allah – so we should take advantage of this time.
The basic purpose of I’tikâf is that the heart gets attached to Allâh and, with it, one attains inner composure and equanimity and pre-occupation with the mundane things of life ceases and absorption in the eternal Reality takes its place, and the state is reached in which all fears, hopes and apprehensions are superseded by the love and remembrance of Allâh, every anxiety is transformed into the anxiety for Him and every thought and feeling is blended with the eagerness to gain His nearness and to earn His good favour, and devotion to the Almighty is generated instead of devotion to the world and it becomes the provision for the grave where there will be neither a friend nor a helper. This is the high aim and purpose of I’tikâf which is the speciality of the most sublime part of Ramadhân, i.e., the last ten days.
Similarly, Hadhrat Shah Waliullah Radiallâhu anhu remarks, “Since I’tikâf in the masjid is a means to the attainment of peace of the mind and purification of the heart, and it affords an excellent opportunity for forging an indentity with the angels and having a share in the blissfulnes of the Night of Power and for devoting oneself to prayer and meditation Allâh has set apart the last ten days of the month of Ramadhân for it and made it a Sunnah for His pious and virtuous slaves.”
Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam always observed, I’tikâf and the Muslims have on the whole adhered to it. It has become a regular feature of the month of Ramadhân and a confirmed practice with the devout and the faithful. Hazrat Ayesha Radiallâhu anha relates that “Rasulullâh. Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam regularly observed I’tikâf during the last ten days of Ramadhân till the end of his life. After him, his wives maintained the tradition.” (Bukhari)
It is related by Hazrat Abû Huraira Radiallâhu anhu that “Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam observed I’tikâf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadhân. In the year he passed away he observed it for twenty days.” (Bukhari)
The reality of I’tikâf is that a person remains in the masjid for a certain period with the intention [niyyah] of I’tikâf.
There is no time limit prescribed for whatever time is spent in the masjid with the intention of I’tikâf such spending of time will constitute I’TIKÂF. However, a period of ten days is prescribed for the Masnun I’tikâf of Ramadhân the Sunnah will not be fulfilled for a period less than ten days. In the case ofI’tikâf Wâjib (that’ is, a person who has taken a vow to perform I’tikâf, it cannot be fulfilled in a period less than one day and one night. (Badai)
Who May Perform I’tikaf
1. It is necessary for I’tikâf that a person be a Muslim and sane. Hence, the I’tikâf of an insane person or a kafir will not be valid. However, just as a minor child may perform Salâh or keep fast, similarly such minor may perform I’tikâf. (Badai).
2. A woman may also perform I’tikâf in her home by setting aside a specified place for ibâdah and performing therein such I’tikâf. However, it is necessary for her to obtain her husband’s consent for such I’tikâf. Moreover, it is essential that she is not in a state of menstruation and nifâs.
3. It is a condition of I’tikâf Masnun and I’tikâf wâjib that a person be in a state of fasting. Hence, if a person is not in a state of fasting, he cannot perform these categories of I’tikâf. However, fasting is not a condition in the case of Nafl I’tikâf.
The sunnah Itikaaf in South Africa will commence at sunset on Thursday, 15 June 2017.
Extracts – Jamiat.org.za