Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims will be performing I'tikaaf this year, just like they do every year. Whilst it is a rewarding experience both mentally and spiritually, there are many aspects of this process that most Muslims are not completely familiar with. This points back to the basic question: what is Ramadan? It is a month of opportunities for Muslims to seek forgiveness and repentance for their sins; a time to devote oneself in prayer and establish a connection with Allah (swt); a month of unlimited blessings, offerings, and rewards for Muslims to avail and if everyone knew all the benefits of being in I'tikaf, they would be sure to perform it every year.
Those who are fortunate enough do so take part in I'tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. In these ten days, people spend the entirety of their day in a mosque. During these ten days of Ramadan people devote themselves to religious acts and responsibilities such as Salah, Sawm (fast), Taraweeh, reciting Quran, preaching about Islam to other fellow Mu’takifs (the people performing the I'tikaf) and so on.
One of the many aims of I'tikaaf is to be secluded from worldly distractions. I'tikaaf allows Muslims to stay away from worldly desires and such activities that can damage their fast or the overall enthusiasm to obtain blessings in the month of Ramadan. Another benefit is that it gives the Mu’takifs adequate time to assess their past and present. While a person is in Aitekaf they are reciting Quran and learning how to live life in the most appropriate manner; they can decide to change the way they live right there in the Aitekaf.
I'tikaaf also helps a person become mature, helpful to others, polite, a good decision maker and an overall good example of how a Muslim should be. During I'tikaf a person feels more relaxed and trouble free because they are away from the outside world and they don’t know what is happening in the neighbourhood, the city or the country. Thus, they get to focus wholly on the responsibilities of I'tikaaf and completing it successfully.
It is important for every Mu’takif to keep recalling the purpose of Itikaf. One can only stay motivated and on the right track during I'tikaaf if they know why they undertook it in the first place. Just like paying Zakat is a means of purifying wealth; performing I'tikaaf is a means of purifying the soul.
Muslim Aid would just like to emphasize the importance of paying Zakat. Ramadan is an excellent time to make a donation.
So let’s all aim to perform I'tikaaf this Ramadan and keep the entire Muslim Ummah in our thoughts and prayers. Be sure to check out the Muslim Aid Blog for more information on Ramadan and other Islamic topics.