Itikāf (Arabic: اعتكاف), also transliterated as Etikaf or E'tikaf or E'tekaf, is a particularly commended pious Islamic practice consisting of a period of retreat in a mosque, for a certain number of days in accordance with the believer's own wish.
The time for this form of worship could be anytime when one is allowed to fast. The best time is the month of Ramadan, especially, the last ten days.
Itikaf offers an immense hidden benefit, which is protection from the effects of excessive socializing. Itikaf also offers protection from the evil consequences of talking and sleeping too much, because a person usually does Itikaf on his own, turning to Allah by praying Qiyamul-Layl (Night prayers), reading Quran, making Dhikr, reciting dua, and so on. Undoubtedly, a person’s success in freeing himself from excessive socializing, talking and sleeping, will help him to make his heart turn towards Allah, and will protect him from the opposite.
Intention is necessary as in the rest of the worship acts. It is necessary that the intention be made at the beginning of Itikaf so that the rule, requiring the worship act to be completed with intention, be followed thoroughly from the beginning to the end.
In the last 10 days of Ramadan there is a night that is worth 1000 nights, LaylatulQadr. By retreating in the mosque one can concentrate in seeking LaylatulQadr and excel in performing prayers, dhikr, Qur’an recitation, without interruption from the outside world.
Narrated 'Aisha: Allah's Apostle used to practice Itikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, "Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan ," Bukhari (Book #32, Hadith#237) Hadith
I`tikaf helps to enhance one's spiritual growth and to strive hard to worship Allah better as there is nothing to distract one's attention from this noble pursuit.But also revives a great Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
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