Allah, the Almighty has preferred some days and nights to others in virtues. Every season has virtue with a certain form of worshipping of Allah and a vast type of mercy from Almighty Allah. The successful and true believer takes advantage of the hours, days, nights and months of such seasons by worshipping his True Lord through different types of worship. It is so that Allah may grant him His Mercy, remove his sins and save him from the severe and blazing torment of the Hell-fire.
One of the greatest virtuous acts in the last ten blessed days of Ramadan is Itikaf.
Itikaaf means to stick to something, whether good or bad, and to block out everything else. It means seclusion and staying in the mosque for a specific purpose, which is the intention of worshipping and drawing close to Allah.
It is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that:
“The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan; then his wives practiced Itikaf after him.”
It is strange that the people have given up this practice despite the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) never abandoned this practice since he migrated to Al-Madinah until his death.
The Purpose of Itikaf is to keep one’s heart purely attached to his Gracious Lord and to be cut off from preoccupation with His creation and worldly concerns, be worshipping Him, reciting the Holy Quran and all of one’s concerns and thoughts are to be entirely turned to the remembrance of Allah, struggle to achieve Allah’s Good Pleasure and to draw near and be close to Him. Moreover it makes a person to be fully devoted and sincere to Allah in all circumstances.
This type of worship covers many virtues as it makes a person to be pleased with Allah, being alone with Him and capable of approaching Him. It teaches a person to abstain from the evil, self-indulgent and worldly existence, it guides a person to patience with regards to sacrifice worldly comforts and cozy materials, to stay away from pleasures and to approach Allah by all kinds of worship.
It should be observed in the mosque, because the mosque is a place where the heart becomes so humbled before Allah and finds righteousness and tranquility. The one, who observes Itikaf during the last ten blessed days of Ramadan must enter the place, where he practice Itikaf before the sunset of the 20th Ramadan shortly before the start of the night of the 21st Ramadan and leaves after the sunset of the last day of Ramadan whether it is 29th or 30th day.
There are many things to be avoided in Itikaf, keeping busy in extreme speech and actions that have no concern with a person, leaving the mosque without need, but it is permissible to leave mosque for an absolute necessities, i.e. to pass urine or stools and purify him from the impurity. One should not have sexual intercourse with his wife during Itikaf, whether in the day or in the night, but it is permissible to keep clean, use perfume, wash and adorn oneself by analogy with combing.
Itikaf is a golden opportunity in which a person can get rid of evil deeds and bad habits by turning in repentance to the Almighty Allah, and by abstaining from all sins during Itikaf, not giving in to his desires and getting used to this. The worship of Allah requires continual patience, which can be gained during Itikaf and it is a kind of training and self-discipline for the soul.
Ata Al-Khurasani (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“A person engaged in Itikaf is like a slave who has thrown himself between the Hands of the Lord and then he says: ‘My Lord! I will not leave my place until You forgive me, my Lord! I will not leave my place until You have mercy on me!”
We ask the Gracious and the Merciful Lord by His Best Names to benefit us from this golden opportunity, have mercy on us, forgive our sins and admit us to Paradise. Ameen.by