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  • 6/18/2011

Itikaf, the Spring of Life 


Since the life of the transient world keeps us busy for the whole year in studies, work, business, traveling and other such things and causes us to be negligent of the next life, we may sometimes think that these thing are the sole purpose in life and thus, we end up forgetting our true goal – Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him). Thus, it is for this reason that Itikaf is referred to as “The spring of life in a world struck with the drought of negligence of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him).”One of the greatest traditions of Islam, the spark of which has recently been reignited in the hearts of the youth, is that of Itikaf. This is a tradition which has been in Islam from the first days of the revelation and is also something known and recognized in other Divine religions sent by Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) and practiced by them – more or less:

"And when We made the House a pilgrimage for mankind and a (place of) security, and said, ‘Appoint for yourselves a place of prayer on the standing-place of Ibrahim [Maqam-e-Ibrahim].’ And We enjoined Ibrahim and Ismail saying: ‘Purify My House for those who visit (it) and those who abide (in it) for devotion, those who bow down (and) those who prostrate themselves.’ The Holy Qur’an (Surah 2, The Cow, verse125).

It is the negligence of ourselves and our Creator which is given a fresh breath of life in this short three day period of Itikaf. In addition, we can once again find ourselves and our Lord and return back to Him now (spiritually return back to Him) before we are forced to return back to him by the separation of the soul from the body in a state of complete negligence of Him. The period of  Itikaf is the best time to force one’s self to sit and think and reflect on the self and the world around; the period of the  Itikaf is the best time to forget the worries of the transient world and to return to the soul and the Creator of the soul; the period of the  Itikaf is the best time to return back to Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) in true repentance for our sins committed through the year and to concentrate on the Words of Allah in the Qur’an, the prayers and supplications used to call upon Him and all of those things which are related to Him and His Sacred Essence.  Itikaf is not a three day holiday from work or school; it is not a time to sit in the Masjid in complete ignorance of ones’ self and his spiritual surroundings; it is not the venue to pass one’s time in idleness.  Itikaf is not the act of sleeping and snoring in the Masjid and killing time…


Truly, Itikaf is a three day spiritual retreat to build the self; it is the act of leaving one’s personal house to be in the service of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) and to recognize one’s self in Allah’s house (the Masjid) while at the same time, being a guest in the House of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) – eating His food which He has sent and being around His servants which He has guided.

Definition of Itikaf

The literal definition of the word  Itikaf is to stay in a particular place, however in the definition of the faith of Islam, this word means to stay in the Masjid for a particular time period in the worship of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) while maintaining certain conditions, which shall be covered later on in this article. In the state of Itikaf, a person can stand, sit, sleep, etc… and there is not one particular ‘form’ that this retreat must be carried out in (unlike the salat which has a specific form to it). What is important in this period is to obey the commandments of Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him), to refrain from the things which He has prohibited (both in life in general and in this three day sojourn) and to be in the service of Him.

Source: coiradio.com

Other links:

Prayers: What Is The Philosophy Behind Wudhu And Ghusl?

What Is The Need To Face The Qiblah In The Prayers?

Why Should We Offer Prayers At Prescribed Times?

What Is The Philosophy Behind Tayammum ?

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