I’tikaaf – if you think about it deeply and if it is done perfectly it is a most positive and hygienic act. Staying in the mosque for ten days spending time in worship, reading al Qur’an, positive thinking of Allah and His creation charges our spirits and empowers our bodies and thinking and teaches us how to be self-disciplined and have full control over ourselves.
How to measure out the real value of life and to make sure that we are on the right track, to shake off the dust of sins of our souls, to enrich and deepen our spiritual sense, to sharpen our vision, to look forward towards Life After before it is eminent for us. I’tikaaf does not mean to be negative to perform your duties in life or to run away from people and live by your own. This is not in any sense the aims of i’tikaaf.
As you know not all Muslims are able to do i’tikaaf but some of them do, and it is done inside the mosque so you are still with Muslims not away from them. You have a spiritual and hygienic environment around yourself, you are not isolated or neglected. If i’tikaaf can affect your living standard or affect the work in general or harm the society in any way it is not obligatory to do it in this case.
I’tikaaf can provide you with great happiness, tranquility, stability in mind and soul with hardly little cost.
Laws pertaining to I’tikaaf
To sit for I’tikaaf from the Asr Salah of 20th Ramadan until the Eid moon is sighted is Sunnat-e-Mu’akkidah Kefaye e.g. if only one person from the entire city or an area sits for I’tikaaf the rest of the people of that place will be relieved of their responsiblity, though they will be deprived of its rewards, but will not be regarded as omitters of this particular Sunnat.
1. One must sit for I’tikaaf in such a Mosque wherein the Five Daily Prayers are offered.
2. It is unlawful to leave the Mosque or its precints after having made the intention for I’tikaaf unless for relieving oneself or for religious necessities.
3. Human wants will include relieving oneself of urine or stool, to take a bath, if it is necessary, Istinja and Wudu.
4. If there is no one to bring food to him it would be permissable for him to bring his food from home. It is better for him to take the food to the Masjid and eat it there.
5. Religious needs will include going for Jum’ah Prayer to the central Mosque if Jum’ah is not offered in the Mosque in which he is sitting for I’tikaaf. In this case he should go to the Mosque at such a time which would allow him to offer his four Rakaats Sunnat, listen to the two Khutbah’s, offer the two Rakaats Fard in congregation, offer his six Rakaats after Fard and immediately return to his Mosque. It is Makrooh for him to leave the precints of the Mosque without any valid reason. While in I’tikaaf he can eat, drink, sleep, read or teach from religous books, explain religious issues, talk on the lives and incidents of the Prophet’s and Saints (Wali) of Allah in the Mosque.