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 met. These are:
Sound state of mind: The person must be mentally stable; I’tikaf is not for unstable and unsound mind, so he does not distract others.
True Faith (Eeman): Belief is the only thing that distinguishes non-Muslim and a Muslim performing I’tikaf.
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 a 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 derived from this act of worship. Therefore, if a person is a traveller 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.
Ramadan timing for today
City Fajr Iftar/Maghrib
Abuja 4:49am 6:53pm
Ibadan 5:09am 7:05pm
Ilesha 5:05am 7:08pm
Ilorin 5:02am 7:05pm
Kano 4:38am 6:53pm
Lagos 5:10am 7:04pm
Asaba 5:00am 6:55pm
Zaria 4:42am 6:52pm
Maiduguri 4:20 6:35pm
Jalingo 4:35am 6:38pm
Please, note that at Farj time, sahuur ends and Magrib time, Iftar begins.