Monday, 10 October 2011

Aethikaf (Retreat in Masjid)


Yet another glory of Ramadan is the obsevance of Aethikaaf in the last ten days of the Holy Month. In the last year of his life our beloved Prophet S.A.W.S. observed Aethikaaf for twenty days in Ramadan.

Aethikaaf is the dedication to spend a considerable period of our time (in terms of hours or days) exclusively in a Masjid, in total devotion to Allah.  This can also be done any time during the year. We will gain innumerable blessings from Allah by observing it with sincerity and devotion.

The highest form of Aethikaaf for us, is to spend the last ten days of Ramadan in:

the Holy Masjidul Haram of Makkathul Mukarramah or
the Masjidun Nabavi S.A.W.S. in Madinatul Munawwarah or
the Masjid al Aq’sa in Baithul Muqaddas   (in that order).

If this is not possible, we may retire to the Juma'a Masjid in our city (or to any Masjid in our neigborhood or locality where Salaahul Juma'a is usually performed).

The best duration for Aethikaaf is
from the Salaahul Magh’rib of the 20th of Ramadan
to the Salaahul Magh’rib of the last day of the month
(29th or 30th as the case may be). 
We must be observing the Ramadan fast during the period
if our Aethikaaf is to be accepted by Allah.

If no one volunteers to enter Aethikaaf in a particular Masjid, the people of that locality may not be gifted to the full extent of the Neymaath which Muslims of other Masaajid (where Aethikaaf is observed) receive from Allah in Ramadan.

May Allahu Rabbul Izzat kindly save us and our near and dear ones from any sloth in this behalf.  Aameen!

commences with our expressing the intent to observe it for Allah and making the Masjid our abode for the number of days we have decided to set apart for it. 
We dedicate our stay to special prayers, over and above the Jama’ath (congregational) prayers we will be performing. 
We must also recite the Holy Qur’an and engage in Zikr-e-Ilaahi, incantations of the blessed names of Allah. 
We are allowed to converse with others on Islami issues. But we must not engage in gossip or waste our time in senseless pursuits. 
Sex is forbidden for the entire period of our Aethikaf. 
We may have our meals brought to the Masjid and partake of them.  This, however, should be done with due respect to its sanctity as a House of Allah.  It is our duty to keep it clean. 
We may go out for toilet and for bath. But we must reside (pray and sleep) only in the Masjid during the Aethikaaf.
Aethikaaf is a unique and uplifting experience that we must avail at least a few times in our life. 
Entrusting our home and our family and our business (or office) to the Protection of Allahu Sub’hanahu va tha Aalaa, we retire to the Masjid and enter this Devotional Workshop. 
Whether other Muslims join us or not, we are here to uplift ourselves in our faith through Qur’anic recitation and a deep study of, and meditation on, Islami literature. 
If we are inspired to write, we can do so and convey to all the joy and fulfillment we have been awarded by Allah.
And we practice with true devotion special prayers and Zik’r-e-Ilaahi (incantations of the blessed names of Allah) and send Darood as often as we can to Our Beloved Prophet S.A.W.S.
And, as we are reminded of our family and our Muslim brothers and sisters who are outside the Masjid, in our country or abroad,we render them the best service we can: 
We pray to Allahu Rabbul Izzath to kindly  pardon their sins, relieve any distress they are involved in and bless them with good health, happiness, enduring prosperity and the wealth of eemaan.
May Allahu Rahmaanir Raheem kindly grant all of us, men and women in Islam, the good fortune to be observing Aethikaaf in the most devout manner possible year after year. A’meen!ay Our Glorious Creator grant us an abode in Jannath.  A’meen!

Women also may observe Aethikaaf:

But this must be done within the home.

A portion of the house set apart for prayers.  This will be their abode for the duration of the Aethikaaf.

They must devote their time there entirely to prayers, recitation of Holy Qur’an and Zikr-e-Ilaahi. They must not engage in cooking and other household chores.  But they can help in processing vegetables etc. if this can be done without moving from their place of Aethikaaf.

They must terminate their Aethikaaf if they start menstruating in that state.

If Muslim families around the world, wish to rediscover the glory of their faith, let them observe Aethikaaf in earnest and avail unlimited blessings form the Rah’math of Allahu Rabbul Izzath.
A beginning can be made with as little as one day in Ramadan and its radiance will fill their hearts and homes and inspire them to observe Aethikaaf on more and more days in the future.
The excellent result of this, by the Grace of Allah, will be, a glorious Muslim world of which all of us can be proud.