I’tikaf; a way to save oneself from the fire of Hell
The Holy month of Ramadan is already here. This is one opportunity to ask Allah for forgiveness and it is through Ramadan we get closer to Allah Almighty. Ramadan is just not about fasting, it is about praying to Allah whole heartedly.
The last 10 days of Ramadan are the most religious. Devoting yourself during these days is one of the purest forms of worship. This devotion is called I’tikaf. The Muslims who perform I’tikaf spend the last 10 days of the Holy month of Ramadan in a mosque where they seclude themselves from the worldly things and just Pray to Allah. All they seek is His blessings and ask for forgiveness.
Types of I’tikaf
Wajib I’tikaf: While asking Allah to fulfill a dream or wish, the person promises to undertake I’tikaf. As soon as his wish is granted, it becomes his Wajid duty to perform I’tikaf. It should not be less than one day and night and the person is expected to fast during its performance.
Nafl l’tikaf: Nafl I’tikaf does not require any specific number of days or a time for a person to perform it. He may form the Niyyah (to perform an act from the heart for the sake of Allah) for any number of days that he prefers and at any time of the year. This particular I’tikaf requires no fasting.
Why is it important to perform I’tikaf?
A person who performs I’tikaf is at an advantage of being closer to Allah. Also because he is not in sync with his daily routine, he sacrifices the things that he likes for the next 10 days. This earns him rewards. The following are some of the benefits of observing I’tikaf:
o Performing I’tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan is equivalent to the reward that one gets with the performance of two Hajj and Umrah. Al-Bayhaqi narrated the following report from al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), which he classed as da’eef: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever observes I’tikaf for ten days in Ramadan, that will be equivalent to two Hajjs and two ‘Umrahs”. This was mentioned by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Da’eefah (518) where he said: it is mawdoo’ (fabricated).
o One is washed off his sins and is rewarded for undertaking I’tikaf. It also protects the person from the fire of hell. Prophet Muhammad once said in His hadith: “Whosoever for Allah’s sake did even one-day Itikaf, Allah would keep him away from Jahannam by trenches.”(Tabarani). Ibn Abbas (RA) has also reported that our beloved Prophet said that the person who observes I’tikaf, “That he is safe from sin & he also gets that reward which everyone (outside I’tikaf) gets for pious deeds.”(Ibn Majah).
o I’tikaf protects the person from evil and keeps him away from sins as the person devotes himself to Allah Almighty by offering Taraweeh, reading Quran, making Dhikr and reciting dua.
o While observing I’tikaf, the person is supposed to stay in the masjid. While doing so, he is kept away from the worldly pleasures and this earns him rewards.