Itikaf (Stay in Mosque) :
Itikaf Meaning : ‘To confine oneself in a mosque for prayers, invocations and Ibadah, leaving the worldly activities for a limited no. of days.’
It is another prescribed Sunnah which bears great rewards for the person who does it. A Mu’takif (one who observes Itikaf) is supposed to devote himself to Ibadah during these days, away from worldly affairs. The Ibadah may include performing Nawafil prayers, Invocations, Recitation & understanding of Qur’an, Reading & understanding ahadith etc. And, mostly, Itikaf is associated with trying to find out the ‘Night of Qadr‘.
Itekaf starts with the morning prayer:
It has been mentioned in hadith that Itekaf starts with the morning prayer.The hadith discussing the fact is as follows:
Narrated ‘Amra bint ‘Abdur-Rahman from ‘Aisha:
Allah’s Apostle used to practice Itikaf every year in the month of Ramadan. And after offering the morning prayer, he used to enter the place of his Itikaf. ‘Aisha asked his permission to let her practice Itikaf and he allowed her, and so she pitched a tent in the mosque. When Hafsa heard of that, she also pitched a tent (for herself), and when Zainab heard of that, she too pitched another tent. When, in the morning, Allah’s Apostle had finished the morning prayer, he saw four tents and asked, “What is this?” He was informed about it. He then said, “What made them do this? Is it righteousness? Remove the tents, for I do not want to see them.” So, the tents were removed. The Prophet did not perform Itikaf that year in the month of Ramadan, but did it in the last ten days of Shawwal. (Sahih Bukhari : Book 3 ,Volume 33 , Hadith 257)
Narrated by Abdullah bin Umar : Allah’s Apostle used to practise Itikaf in the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.
Narrated by ‘Aisha : (the wife of the Prophet) The Prophet used to practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practice Itikaf after him.
Narrated by ‘Aisha : The Prophet used to (put) bend his head (out) to me while he was in Itikaf in the mosque during my monthly periods and I would comb and oil his hair.
Narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri
Allah’s Apostle used to practice Itikaf in the middle ten days of Ramadan and once he stayed in Itikaf till the night of the twenty-first and it was the night in the morning of which he used to come out of his Itikaf. The Prophet said, “Whoever was in Itikaf with me should stay in Itikaf for the last ten days, for I was informed (of the date) of the Night (of Qadr) but I have been caused to forget it. (In the dream) I saw myself prostrating in mud and water in the morning of that night. So, look for it in the last ten nights and in the odd ones of them.” It rained that night and the roof of the mosque dribbled as it was made of leaf stalks of date-palms. I saw with my own eyes the mark of mud and water on the forehead of the Prophet (i.e. in the morning of the twenty-first).
Itikaf In Ramadan: