I'tikaf: The Spiritual Retreat

By E ISLAM (www.eislam.co.za)

The meaning of Itikaf is to seclude oneself in the Masjid with the express niyyah (intention) of Itikaf.

Allah Ta’ala has indeed in His perfect wisdom created humanity in a unique way. He has made it such that from time to time His creation needs a rest. We rest at night to give our bodies time to recover. Birds retire to their nests, horses to their stables, bees to their hives etc. However there comes a time when more intensive rest or a retreat is required. Sometimes due to a person’s physical condition he is admitted into the intensive care unit allowing his body time to recover.

Likewise the soul also needs to recover from the hustle and bustle of the world, the spiritual pollution caused by evil elements of society, the rat race of wanting, desiring and acquiring more of this world and the distractions that has diverted our mind, heart and soul from the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala and His Beloved Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The Intensive Care Unit(ICU) for the soul is the Masjid and Itikaf is the feature within this ICU to allow the soul to not only recover but be spiritually rejuvenated! Itikaf is indeed a Spiritual Retreat!

Inside each and every human being, a constant battle rages. It is like a battle between two tigers. One tiger is a manifestation of evil. It is full of hate, lust, and greed. It’s fangs drip with bitterness and strife. The other tiger is an embodiment of good. It is full of love, compassion, and honesty. He never betrays his brother.

These two tigers are constantly at war. Which tiger is going to win the battle?

The answer is quite obvious…. Whichever one you feed.

Our soul is being bombarded by forces of good and evil. We need to feed it good so that it overpowers the evil….and Itikaf is indeed an excellent opportunity to achieve this by feeding and nourishing the soul with good deeds.

Since the life of the transient world keeps us busy for the whole year in studies, work, social functions, business, traveling and other such things that often causes us to be negligent of our souls and the next life, we may sometimes think that these things 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 I’tikaf 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).”

I’tikaf indeed rejuvenates the soul and gives a fresh breath to life. In addition, we can once again find ourselves and our Lord Allah Ta’ala and spiritually return back to Him before we are forced to return back to Him when our soul separates from our body (death).

The period of I’tikaf 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 I’tikaf is the best time to forget the worries of the transient world and to return to nurturing the soul and linking oneself with the Creator of the soul; the period of the I’tikaf 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 give our souls the spiritual strength desperately needed to live a spiritual and pure life in this challenging world.

The Messenger of Allah ( Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam) observed, I'tikâf and the Muslims have on the whole adhered to it. It has become a regular feature of the month of Ramadhân and a confirmed practice with the devout and the faithful.

Hazrat Ayesha (Radiallâhu anha) relates that "Rasulullâh. Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam regularly observed I'tikâf during the last ten days of Ramadhân till the end of his life. After him, his wives maintained the tradition." (Hadith-Bukhari)

It is related by Hazrat Abû Huraira (Radiallâhu anhu) that

"Rasulullâh Sallallâhu 'alayhi wasallam observed I'tikâf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadhân. In the year he passed away he observed it for twenty days." (Hadith-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him s family) is reported to have said:

"The persons who secludes himself (in the Masjid in I'tikaf) in true faith and hope (for the reward of Allah), all of his previous sins shall be forgiven." (Kanzul Ummal, Hadith 24007)


WAAJIB (Compulsory) Itikaf.

This Itikaf becomes compulsory when a person makes it obligatory upon himself. An example of this is, when a person makes a vow to Allah that if Allah fulfills a certain wish of his, he will undertake to perform so many days Itikaf. In this case the moment his wish is fulfilled, Itikaf becomes compulsory. A person may just make unconditional vow whereby he makes Itikaf Waajib upon himself for certain number of days. This becomes a Waajib duty on from that moment onward.

SUNNAH Itikaf.

This was the general practice of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and it means to seclude oneself inside the Masjid for the last ten days of Ramadhan.

NAFIL Itikaf.

There is no special time or specific number of days for Nafil Itikaf. A person may make niyyah for any number of days at any time, even for his whole life

Before engaging into Itikaf it is highly recommended to learn the rules relating to this important act of ibadah (worship). Please to do consult your local Ulama (Islamic Scholars) for more guidance.

For a detailed article on Itikaf and its rules please visit :


Palestine: Problems and Solution

By: Masood Azizi Nadvi
Translation: Hifzur Rahman Qasmi, Delhi

"Palestine", the Western south part of Syria is located on the shore of the middle white sea in the Western part of Asian continent joining it with the continent of Africa. The earth of Palestinian is one of the oldest civilized areas. According to new discoveries, residents of this very area reached the destination of agricultural strength nine thousand years B. C. which was first ever achievement of the human history. "Ariha" the oldest city of the world was habilitated eight thousand years B. C. on this very soil. Of late, Palestine is the abode of multiple cultures and civilizations. But nowadays, its real citizens are facing much trouble by the hands of the Jews and Israelites. They are really surrounded by difficulties and tests.
Palestine is a holy place. It is the first Qiblah (direction in which Muslims turn for prayers) and third of the holy mosques. The holy Qur'an mentions the sentence "Barakna" (We blessed it) for the holy city of Quds. The event of Isra is also related to this very place. The soil of this earth has been the abode of prophets and religious personalities. The earth of Palestine got more colored by the blood of martyrs than any other Muslim dominant area. On one hand all these facts are accepted, while on the other, it is a tragedy that now this holy place is surrounded by enemies.
The present scenario of Palestine makes it amply clear that the defensive power of Muslims is very less than that of enemies both spiritually and materially. Therefore, Muslims all over the world, in general and those of Palestine in particular, can not overcome the dangers which they face, unless they get united among themselves. Thus it is necessary for them to stand in front of enemies like one being.
United we can be like the shining sun.
Otherwise the scattered stars are good for nothing.
In 636 CE, Muslims came over the city of Quds and since then they had been saving its holiness. But in 1099 CE, the Christians encroached upon the city devastating all its sanctity. However, after a long wilderness and horror, it came again to its real protector by a man of Kurd family, Salahuddin Ayyubi in 1187 CE. It continued as such. The enemies of Islam kept on conspiring. Tudar Herzel put forth the plan of Jew abode for the first time in 1897 CE. At last on 15th May, 1948, Israel was established. Thus after 750 years, the united conspiracy of Jews and Christians and the weakness of Muslims resulted into the loss Palestine from our hands. Then in June, 1967, they encroached upon the Mosque of Aqsa. This is a grim story. It is 42 years since the Masjid-e-Aqsa was trespassed. Despite of all weakness and negligence, Muslims are trying to free it.
Of late, it is necessary to create awareness among Muslims in general and among students of religious education to know about the history of this event and the cause of fall and rise, so that, they can try to find out a solution to the problem of Palestine. For this reason, programmes are held in the world and articles and magazines are published so as to tell Muslims about the 42 years of encroaching and their responsibilities to regain it.
Actually, Palestine is not only a problem of Palestinian Muslims; rather it is the problem of all Muslims living in any corner of the world. And Muslims bear a religious relationship to it. So it is not suitable at all for a Muslim to be unaware and negligent of its problems. It is one of the most sensitive cases of the time. The responsibility to solve it goes to all Muslim countries and all Muslim individuals. Presently Muslims are sunken in the negligence. When they will awake and a Salahuddin Ayyubi will come into being, the victory will kiss their feet. The enemies of Islam who have trespassed this soil with bad intention will suffer defeat.
"Palestine is in fact the abode of Jews", is their argument to establish the Israeli state in Palestine. There lies a story in the background of this argumentation: After the death of the Prophet Moses (pbuh), the sons of Israel went to Palestine and in a state of unsurety they established a state there by the name of "Israel". Then vicissitude of fortune resulted them into a perpetual exile from their own established abode. This argument, however, is totally illogical, because most of the Christians and Arab historians have already accepted the fact that the Arabs had resided there even before the Jews. Apart from that, if the stability of all Muslims, Jews and the Christians in Palestine through out the ages is reviewed, it becomes quite clear that the Muslims and particular Arab Muslims have more right over the reign.
Turning eyes from these facts, let's accept the existence of Jews in Palestine and establishment of a state by the name of Israel before 6th century BC, and it the Promised Land. Thus the Jews have right to cast the Palestinian Muslims and reside themselves. If this logic is accepted, Britain, the creator of Israel must vacate the England for its real residents the Sail. And also Americans will have to vacate America for its old residents, the Red Indians- because they have snatched the nation after killing eight crore Red Indians. This is not enough, but the Japanese too will have to vacate Japan for its real inhabitants. Thus the whole map of the new world will have to change. Span also must be emptied for the Arabs. If this cannot be done, then the only solution to the problems of the Middle East is that Israel should be dissolved and Palestine should be returned to its real residents the Arabs. 
History has proved that the base of the tragedy of Palestine was the Arab rebellion against Turks brought out by the greatest creator of Israel. The Balfour Manifesto proposed in 1917 was first step towards Israel and it is the base of the crisis of the Middle East. But now we will analyze that when this manifesto was proposed, what was the position of Ottoman caliphate? What role was played by the Arabs in it? It is said very sorrowfully that the real creator of this crisis was none but the Arab leadership.
The Christian power had been conspiring to finish the Ottoman caliphate since centuries. Long before the 1st world war, the Europe had announced the war against the Turks, which was led by the Britain. A rebellion was created against Turks in the united Balkan, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece. From 1904 to 1940, most parts of the Europe had got out of the hands of the Turks. In these circumstances, the hue-man's services of Turks, the hegemony of Islam by the virtue of Ottomans, the pride of Turkish Caliphs for dedicating themselves to the Haramain and their determination to confront the European countries with so bravery required that the whole Arabian country must have stood unitedly in favor of the Turks. But woe to communal prejudice and greed for kingdom which compelled the Arabian leader Shareef of Makka not only to avoid the favour of Turks but also to create a rebellion against them. He conspired to finish the Ottoman Caliphate and invited the Britain allies to finish Turks. His all three sons had been working as ambassadors between him and the Britain from 1915 till 1917.
Lawrence of Arabia, a British army employee was a detective of Britain and exposed himself as a friend of the Arabs. Not only he would detect the activities of Arabia but also he would convince the Arabian leadership to take decision according to the will of Britain. Shareef of Makka was convinced that after the fall of the Turks, he would be provided a liberal state of Arabia. Thus the Arabian leadership came against the Turks openly. At last the Britain occupied Palestine some days before the Balfour Manifesto and the Turks were compelled to get out of it on December 8, 1917. Thus if the Balfour Manifesto is the base of Israeli state, then the wrong Arab leadership must be the real cause of Balfour Manifesto. The sorrowful aspect of this Arab-European relationship is that the dream of a liberate state which had been showed to Shareef of Makkah could never come true. This is such a historical fault of the Arabian leadership which the history will never forgive. The Palestine issue will remain unsolvable as long as the leadership of Arabia will be a toy in hands of people like Shareef of Makkah.
The reviews and analysis show that the state of Israel is getting hollow from inside. And it is not improbable. Its cruelty and aggression is crossing the limits. Therefore, Allah Almighty, according to His rule, is bringing it to fall slowly but surely.
It is not hidden from the eyes of intellectuals that only the Holy War, sincere resistance and brave struggle can make our dream to set Palestine free, re-attain the Masjidul Aqsa and the city of Quds and rehabilitate the Palestinians peacefully in the their real abode. Except it, every way goes to the deep valley from where there is no way out. This is such a fact that is explicitly proved not only by historical experiences of Muslims, Jews and Christians, but also by the review of the Palestine issue from the beginning to the end.
Therefore, the solution to the problems of Palestine lies only in the above mentioned agenda and the true Islamic code of life, because Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur'an "Only you will be exalted, if you have faith." Then what may be the reason of this failure after so long struggle? The reason is quite clear that Muslims are quite empty handed from the Faith which is required for success. As for the Muslim rulers, they too, do not have the required weapon of faith.
Does Muslims and the Muslim governments lack in material things and weapons? Or do they not have intellectual minds? Of course not! What we really lack is strong faith and trust in Allah. We came to believe in America, its material power and our own so called prudence. It is a historical fact that Allah Almighty made the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) who were far fewer in number overcome the unbelievers who greatly exceeded them in number and material resources. Where has the sense of honour of so many Muslims been lost now?
To solve the problem, political power, continuous struggle, unity and sacrifice, every thing is necessary. But the key factor is the power of faith and conviction. This is the age of test for Muslims in which they are failing. If they pass this exam, then no power of the world can point fingers to them, and not only Palestine but every problem of Muslims will get solved.

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