Once we get to the mosque and meet new friends, we often get carried away. We talk more and worship less. So to avoid wasting your time, energy and resources, this piece will guide you and serve as a reminder on how to spend your time during I’tikaf.
So to have an I’tikaf that is worth the rewards, try as much as possible to engage in the following acts of Ibaadah.
1. PURIFY YOUR INTENTION FIRST:
You know that intentions precede actions and actions are judged by it. Do you remember the first hadith of An-Nawawi about intention? Fine. It is good to purify and correct our intentions before we engage in any act of worship. This is very important because you may have underlying intentions without even realising it. So establish good intentions that you are going for I’tikaf only to worship your Lord, to seek forgiveness and to strengthen your Imaan. That’s all!
2. SCHEDULE AND MONITOR YOUR DAILY WORSHIP:
Having established the intention, it is proper to come up with plans and targets and monitor your targets to achieve I’tikaf goals. For instance, you can have a plan on reading the Qur’an and the number of Juz you’ll read daily. Try to come up with a schedule and make sure you achieve your goal every day. It is better planned than done haphazardly.
3. READ THE QUR’AN ABUNDANTLY:
One of the beautiful acts of worship you can enmesh yourself in is Qur’an recitation. This is the month the holy book was revealed to the prophet and it was revealed in the last 10 days of Ramadan. So, it is expected that we increase our recitation of the Qur’an and ponder on the message.
Remember that the reward for reciting each letter of the Qur’an during Ramadan is 700 hasanah or more. I am sure you won’t like to ignore these blessings of Allah.
4. NAWAFIL (VOLUNTARY) PRAYERS:
The goal of I’tikaf is to worship and draw close to Allah. One good way to get endeared to our creator is through voluntary deeds like Nawafil prayers.
Allah says in a Hadith Qudsi:
“And My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (voluntary deeds) until I love him,..” [Bukhari]
There are lots of Nawafil prayer to engage in during I’tikaf to keep ourselves busy with devotion but this space isn’t enough to mention all of them.
5. AZHIKAAR (REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH):
Keeping our tongues busy with excessive azhikaar in I’tikaf is another fine way to attract best of rewards. Abu Sa’id (RadhiAllahu Anhu) narrates the Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) was asked,
‘Which of the servants of Allah is best in rank before Allah on the Day of resurrection?’
He (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
”The ones who remember him much.”
While we do azhikar such as takbeer (Allahu akbar) tahleel (Lailaha illa Allah) to tahmeed (Alihamdulillahi Rabbil Aalameen) and so on, we should not forget this:
“Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee –”
We need to recite this abundantly during the last ten nights of Ramadan.
6. MAKING DUA AND REPENTANCE:
While we enmesh ourselves in various acts of worship that draw us closer to Allah, we should not forget to pray for ourselves, our family, other Muslims and the world in general.
Since the I’tikaf moment present us the opportunity to devote ourselves to Allah, we should not forget to seek forgiveness of our sins and repent from them.
The Qur’an says:
“Allah loves repentance & loves those who turn to him in sincere repentance.”
7. REFRAINING FROM SIN & IDLE TALK:
There is nothing regrettable as going to I’tikaf to do nothing. One must be very careful to avoid distractions and vain talks that could take his attention away from his devotion. Talks about sports, politics, fashion and argument should not be entertained. All this could plunge one into sins.
So, The mu’takif (one doing I’tikaf) should guard his ears, eyes, tongues, private part and heart against sins.
8. AVOIDING OVEREATING & SLEEPING:
A lot of people believe I’tikaf is more about withdrawing from one’s home, retiring into the mosque and sleep all day. Some mix I’tikaf with eating more and worship less as long as you are in the mosque, it is fine. No! it is not. I’tikaf is all about devoting oneself to worship Allah throughout the last 10 days of Ramadan and eating and sleeping won’t help you achieve this.
9. DO NOT LEAVE THE MOSQUE UNLESS NECESSARY:
It is not allowed for a man or woman sitting in I’tikaf to leave the mosque except he or she wants to do the following:
1. To answer the call of nature.
2. To pass the wind.
3. To make wudhu.
4. To take an obligatory bath.
5. To proclaim the adhan even if one is not the muadhin.
Otherwise, leaving the mosque for whatever reason is not permissible.
10. SEARCHING FOR THE NIGHT OF POWER (LAYLATUL QADR):
The night of majesty or the night of Power is so virtuous that Allah devotes a whole chapter named after it in the Qur’an. In this chapter [97:3], Allah said the night of Power is better than 1000 months. This night falls in the last ten days of Ramadan but it is not attached to any specific date.
The most authentic account of the occurrence of the Night indicates that it can occur on any one of the last ten, odd numbered nights of Ramadan, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29.
Therefore, it is best we stay up all night to worship Allah in the last 10 nights of Ramadan.
Aisha (RadhiAllahu Anha) said: I asked the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):
’O Messenger of Allah if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’
He said Say:
“Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee
This is the best way to go about I’tikaf. Let us keep to this and make sure we do not derail from achieving the I’tikaf goals through the various acts of worship mentioned above.
May Allah make it easy for us and grant us the ultimate rewards (Al-jannat) for our efforts.