BY ISHOLA BALOGUN

Ramadan fast has been prescribed for all Muslims for the development of their souls and to enable them subdue their carnal appetites. This much exertion and sacrifice of sensual desires has been made obligatory upon every Muslim; that he neither eats nor drinks anything nor seek sexual satisfaction during the whole of the blessed month, in compliance with the command of Allah (SWT) and in the process avoid all sinful acts.

It is the general, compulsory course of spiritual training and self-purification for the month of Ramadan and for higher spiritual development that I’tikaf (seclusion) becomes necessary. But before you embark on this seclusion, there are some conditions that must be considered. These are:

Sound state of mind: Thus, the person must not be mentally unstable;

True Faith (Eeman): Belief is the only thing that distinguishes the non-Muslim and the Muslim performing Itikaf.

Permission: I’tikaf could infringe on the man’s marital rights with his wife and other members of the family if their consent was not sought. It becomes necessary for the Mutakif to seek permission from his spouse or family before embarking on it. Similarly, if one’s parents are not happy about his absence for days, then the Muslim is not permitted to go forth for this act of worship. One must have the permission of the person or family whom he is responsible to.

Intention (Niyyat): I’tikaf must be performed for the purpose of seeking closeness to Allah and not to show off or due to societal, family or peer pressure.

Fasting (Sawm) during I’tikaf: The person who is not able to fast, for whatever reason, is deprived from this act of worship. Therefore, if a person is a traveler or one who is not able to fast due to some impediments, he cannot partake in I’tikaf.

Place: One must stay inside the Mosque for the entire period for his I’tikaf to be correct.

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