Ramadan is rolling to an end with about eight days to go. It is not too late to do what you have not been doing very well. The remaining days can still earn you fantastic rewards, you can still make up for the lost twenty days in ibadah despite the pandemic. Seek forgiveness of sins, supplicate to Allah on all your desires, commit yourself to doing ibadah regularly day and night like you have never done before.
Given the state of most Muslims today, with the pressure of work, businesses, and ways of making ends meet for a jolly Ramadan, those who really know the benefits inherent in this period damn all the encumbrances of worldly affairs and take a short break off work, businesses for Allah. It is loaded with rewards so much that you can’t imagine. They embark on Itikaf (seclusion) for the remaining period to solidify their relationship with Allah.
This period should be spent in prayer, seeking His mercy and asking for forgiveness, studying the Quran and reflecting in your deeds.
One of the greatest traditions of Islam, the spark of which has become a popular issue at this period of Ramadan, is Itikaf. This is a tradition which has been in Islam from the early days of the revelation and is also something known and recognised as the practice of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) as ordained by Allah (SWT).
Itikaf means to stay in the Mosque with the intention of abiding in it for the sake of Allah (SWT). The purpose of such stay in the Mosque is ibadah and to get closer to Allah. During Itikaf, nothing is required other than observing nawafil, reading, studying the Holy Quran and doing Zikr which remembrance of Allah. For those who are not able to embark on seclusion, they should use the period very well in getting closer to Allah, obey the commandments of Allah (SWT), refrain from the things which He has prohibited and to be in His service.
This night opens its gates of treasures; the angels with the permission of Allah descend with peace, more importantly, the blessing will dwell with us till Fajr.
The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “The person who offered prayers to Allah in the Night of Majesty with faith and with hope of reward from Allah, all his past sins have been forgiven” (Bukhari).
This holiest and most blessed night is likely to occur on one of the odd nights on the last 10 days of Ramadan and the reward of worship on this night is better than the worship of a thousand months of worship, equivalent to a person’s lifetime put together.
READ ALSO: Lockdown: We’ve to bear with situation of Ramadan without religious obligations — Ganduje
Although the odd nights have been given a clue for locating the Night of Majesty, no one night has been fixed so that the yearning to find it may increase and people may spend more nights in worshipping Allah. This is the reason for Itikaf (seclusion) during the last 10 days of Ramadan so that we can locate the night and reap the benefits.
“Allahumma innaka afuwwun tuhib-bul af-wa, fa-afu anni”
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. In an hadith narrated by Abu Dawood, 2473. “The Sunnah for the mu’takif is not to visit any sick person, or attend any funeral, or touch or be intimate with any woman, or go out for any reason except those which cannot be avoided.” But before you embark on this seclusion, there are some conditions that must be considered. These are the conditions for embarking on Itikaf:
Sound state of mind: Thus, the person must be mentally stable;
Faith (Eeman): Belief is the only thing that distinguishes the non-Muslim and the Muslim performing Itikaf.
Permission: Itikaf 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): Itikaf 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 Itikaf: 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 Itikaf.
Place: It must be done in a mosque that has the required facilities and where Jumat is observed. One must stay inside the Mosque for the entire period for his Itikaf to be correct.
Aisha: “There should be no Itikaf except in a mosque in which prayers in congregation are held.”
Women can be in a state of Itikaf in mosques where congregation prayers are not held, because it is not compulsory for her to pray in congregation. A person may leave the mosque if he is extremely sick in order to attend to his health.
Duration of the Itikaf can be varied ranging from a short moment to many days. There is no specific time duration in Shariah for Itikaf. It is however permitted to do a lot or as little as you can. But it should be noted that one of the reasons, in fact the major reason for Itikaf is to seek Lailatul-Qadr. Therefore, it is important to stay in Itikaf throughout the period of the last ten days of Ramadan.