I'tikaf in Ramadan

With the Prophet (pbuh) in his I’tikaaf

The Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, did I’tikaaf during the first ten days of Ramadhan, then in the middle ten days, seeking Laylat al-Qadr, then it became clear to him that it was in the last ten days, after which he always spent them (the last ten days) in I’tikaaf.

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, used to do I’tikaaf during the middle ten days of the month, and when the night of the twentieth had passed and the twenty-first had begun, he would go back to his home, and those who were doing I’tikaaf with him also went home. Then one month he made I’tikaaf on that night when he used to go home. Then he addressed the people, commanding them as Allah willed, then he said: ‘I used to spend these ten days in I’tikaaf, but now I want to spend these last ten days in I’tikaaf, so whoever used to do I’tikaaf with me, let him stay in his place of I’tikaaf. I was shown that night (Laylat al-Qadr) then I was made to forget it, so seek it during the last ten nights, in the odd-numbered nights. And I saw myself prostrating in water and mud.’

Abu Sa’eed said: “it rained on the night of the twenty-first, and the roof of the mosque leaked in the place where the Messenger of Allah, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, was praying. I looked at him when he had finished praying Subh (Fajr), and his face was wet with water and mud, so what he, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, had seen came to pass. And this was one of the signs of his Prophethood.”

The Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, continued to do I’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadhan, as it was reported in al-Saheehayn from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), who said that: “the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, used to spend the last ten days of Ramadhan in I’tikaaf until he died, then his wives continued to do I’tikaaf after he died.” (Narrated by
al-Bukhaari, 1921; Muslim, 1171).

During the year in which he, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, died, he spent twenty days in I’tikaaf (al-Bukhaari, 1939), i.e., the middle ten days and the last ten days. This was for a number of reasons:

In that year, Jibreel reviewed the Qur’an with him twice (al-Bukhaari, 4712). It was appropriate for him to spend twenty days in I’tikaaf, so that he could review the entire Qur’an twice. He, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, wanted to increase his righteous deeds and do more acts of worship, because he, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, felt that his time (of death) was near, as we may understand from the words of Allah (interpretation of the meaning): “When there comes the Help of Allah (to you, O Muhammad against your enemies) and the Conquest (of Makkah).

And you see that the people enter Allah’s religion (Islam) in crowds.

“So glorify the Praises of your Lord, and ask His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts the repentance and Who forgives.” [al-Nasr 110:1-3]

So Allah commanded His Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, to increase his Tasbeeh (“Subhaan Allah – Glory be to Allah”) and his Istighfaar (“Astaghfir-Allah – I seek the forgiveness of Allah”) towards the end of his life, and this is what he, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, did. Often when he did Rukoo’ and Sujood, he would say, “Subhaanak Allahumma wa bi hamdik, Allahumma ighfir li (Glory and praise be to You, O Allah. O Allah, forgive me)” – in obedience to the commands of the Qur’an. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 487, and Muslim, 484).

He, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, did that in gratitude to Allah for the blessings that He had bestowed upon him of righteous deeds such as jihaad, teaching, fasting and qiyaam (praying at night), and for the blessings of the revelation of the Qur’an to him, raising high his fame, and other favours that Allah had bestowed upon him.

The Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, used to enter his place of I’tikaaf before the sun set. If he wanted, for example, to spend the middle ten days of the month in I’tikaaf, he would enter his place of I’tikaaf before the sun set on the eleventh day. If he wanted to spend the last ten days in I’tikaaf, he would enter his place of I’tikaaf before the sun set on the twenty-first day.

Concerning the report in al-Saheeh that he, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, prayed Fajr and then entered his place of I’tikaaf (narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1928; Muslim, 1173; al-Tirmidhi, 791), what is meant here is that he entered the special place in the mosque after Fajr prayer. He used to do I’tikaaf in a place reserved especially for that, as it was reported in Saheeh Muslim, that he used to do I’tikaaf in a Turkish tent. (Narrated by Muslim, 1167).

The Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, used to put his head into ‘Aa’ishah’s apartment whilst he was in I’tikaaf in the mosque, and she should wash his hair and comb it, and she was menstruating, as was reported in al-Saheehayn (al-Bukhaari, 1924, 1926; Muslim, 297).

In Musnad Ahmad it was reported that he would lean in the doorway of her room, then he would put his head out, and she would comb his hair. (Ahmad, 6/272).

This indicates that if a person in I’tikaaf puts part of his body – such as his foot or his head – outside of the place where he is doing I’tikaaf, there is nothing wrong with that, and if a woman who is menstruating puts her hand or foot into the mosque, there is nothing wrong with it, there is nothing wrong with that because this is not counted as entering the mosque.

Another thing that we learn from this hadeeth is that there is nothing wrong with the person in I’tikaaf keeping clean and perfuming himself, and washing and combing his hair. None of these things affect his I’tikaaf.

Another of the things that happened to the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, in his I’tikaaf was narrated by the two shaykhs (al-Bukhaari and Muslim) from ‘Aa’ishah, May Allah be pleased with her, who said: “When the Messenger of Allah, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, wanted to go into I’rikaaf, he would pray Fajr, then go into the place where he did I’tikaaf. He commanded that a tent be put up, and it was done. Some of the other wives of the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, commanded that tents be put up, and this was done. When he, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, had prayed Fajr he looked and saw the tents, and said: “Are you seeking to do a righteous deed?” Then he commanded that his tent should be dismantled, and he did not do I’tikaaf in that month, delaying it until the first ten days of Shawwaal. (al-Bukhaari, 1928; Muslim, 1173).

The phrase “Are you seeking to do a righteous deed?” means, Is your motive for doing this the desire to do good, or is it jealousy and the desire to be close to the Messenger of Allah, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, ?

It is most likely – and Allah knows best – that his I’tkaaf in Shawwaal of that year was after the Eid, i.e., the second of Shawwaal.

It may be that it started on the day of Eid. If this is true, then it is an indication that fasting is not a condition of I’tikaaf, because there is no fasting on the day of Eid.

Something else that happened to the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, in his I’tikaaf and was narrated by the two shaykhs (al-Bukhaari and Muslim) was that Safiyyah the wife of the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, came and visited him during his I’tikaaf in the mosque during the last ten days of Ramadhan. She spoke with him for a while, then she stood up to go home. The Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, stood up with her to take her back, then when she reached the door of the mosque, by the door of Umm Salamah, two men of the Ansaar passed by and greeted the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him. The Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, said to them, “Wait, this is Safiyyah bint Huyay.” They said, “Subhaan Allah, O Messenger of Allah!” They felt distressed (that he thought they might think something bad). The Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “The Shaytaan is as close to a man as his blood.” According to another report: “(Shaytaan) flows through the veins of a man like blood.” “I was afraid that the Shaytaan might cast some evil ideas into your hearts.”

He, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, was keen that the two Ansaaris should remain steadfast in their faith, and he was afraid that the Shaytaan might plant some evil thoughts in their hearts, making them doubt the Messenger of Allah, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, , which would have led them to kufr, or that they might be distracted by trying to rid themselves of these insinuations, so he, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, explained the matter to them so as to remove any possible doubts or insinuating whispers. So he told them that was Safiyyah bint Huyay (may Allah be pleased with her), and she was his wife.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *