One of the special deeds of Ramadan is I'tikaf. It simply means the seclusion of one's self in the masjid, for the sole purpose of worshipping Allah, leaving the affairs of this dunya. Through I'tikaf, one attains peace of mind, as he engages in various acts of worship, seeks repentance and Allah's forgiveness. In a sense, I'tikaf is the combination of various acts of worship. The Prophet Muhammed (SAW) was very punctual in his practice of I'tikaf, that it is reported he only missed it once, so he made up for it by performing it for another 10 days in the last ten days of Shawwal.
Abu Huraira narrated: "The Prophet (SAW) used to perform I'tikaf every year in the month of Ramadan for ten days, and when it was the year of his death, he stayed in I'tikaf for twenty days." - Bukhari
I'tikaf is the sure means of finding Laylatul Qadr; a night greater than a thousand months.
Important Issues Regarding I'tikaf
- It begins the evening of the 20th day of Ramadan. The Mu'takif must be in the Masjid before Sunset.
- One shouldn't leave the Masjid except for an emergency.
- It is permissible for one's wife to meet him during I'tikaf and for him to accompany her back home if her return home is deemed unsafe.
- Women are allowed to perform I'tikaf in the Masjid, even though some would say women should only be allowed to perform I'tikaf in their homes.
- It is not allowed to have physical relations with wives or husbands during the period when one is observing I'tikaf
“And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I’tikāf in the masjids…” - Q2:187