August 24, 2011
Observing a Retreat in the Mosque (I`tikaf)
Observing a retreat in the mosque is of the best things we can do during the last ten nights of Ramadan. Aisha tells us: "The Prophet used to observe a retreat in the mosque during the last ten nights of Ramadan up until he died. His wives continued to observe this practice after his death." (Al Bukhari & Muslim)
The practice of i`tikaf is a strongly recommended act. It is defined as remaining in retreat in the mosque for the express purpose of worship. The purpose of doing so is to devote one's heart exclusively to Allah . The person engaging in i`tikaf keeps this intention close to mind and seeks Allah's blessings. He should not forget the reason why he is observing this retreat.
A person observing i`tikaf does not leave the mosque except for what is absolutely necessary (like going to the bathroom). While in the mosque, he should busy himself with the remembrance of Allah . He should make sure to offer the remembrances of the morning and evening and the prescribed remembrances for the five daily prayers. He should perform all of the Sunnah prayers. He should read as much of the Quran as he can.
He should spend less time eating and sleeping as little as possible. He should avoid unnecessary talk. However, he should engage in advising his fellow Muslims and in enjoining them to truth and to patience.