Resources for Itikaf
The first night that one should do itikaf (if they can) is the 21st (which was yesterday night for most of us). [My apologies for not posting this yesterday.]
1) Where do you do itkaf?
In the masjid.
– What about for women?
The majority opinion is that they are allowed to do it only in the masjid and NOT at home. And this is what the evidence shows.
– What if the women live in a country where there is no women’s section in masjids? Can they do it at home?
Huh? Don’t you think that this is a bit like asking “I can’t afford to go for Umrah. Can I do it at home?”
2) How and when do you do itikaf?
Lots of itikaf fatwas can be found here:
A short article about Itikaf: Concerning the Itikaf by Shaikh Al-Albani (rahimahullah)
4) What do you need to take with you?
– Lots of Patience
[Please note: it all depends on how long you’re staying in the masjid. If you’re going for one night, you obviously won’t take so much. If you’re going for seven days, then you need to really make sure you don’t miss anything.]
1) “Ibaadah stuff”:
Whatever you do, don’t take your laptop. And take a phone that doesn’t have any 3G. Otherwise, you’ll keep checking your email. You’re in the masjid to take a break from this dunya (wordly life), remember?
Take your mushaf (Quran), of course. You can also take a book of tafsir with you. You should also take a book of dua (like the Fortress of the Muslim). Other (small) books that you could take: hadeeth, seerah (biography of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam), etc.
If you’re the kind who prefers listening*, then take your mp3 player/iPod/iPhone/whatever, with you. [And don’t forgot the charger and the 3 pin plug (if needed).]
[*One of the rights of the Quran is that it be RECITED. Listening to it will not fulfill this right.]
Don’t focus on this so much. However, if your masjid doesn’t provide any food, then do be sure to take the required amount with you. You can take: dates, soups (don’t forget the spoon), biscuits, noodles (don’t forget the fork), tinned juices, fruits (don’t forget to take a knife), tea/coffee (+the rainbow milk and sugar!), bread, peanut butter and jam, etc
[Don’t forget the tissues.]
And please: share your food. Don’t think “Oh, I’ll run out!”. Allah will provide for you.
Last year, because I went to pray my maghrib nafl first, I didn’t get any food. (apart from the dates). And I couldn’t eat biryani (am I the only one on this planet that doesn’t like biryani?) because I can’t eat oily food due to some health problems.
I was so disappointed. I thought “Hey, I went to do a good thing so how come there was no food left over for me?”, thereby flunking the test.
Then I got taught a big lesson. Between that time and Fajr, about 8-9 sisters offered me food (Moroccan, Emarati, Ash-Sham, KFC, you name it). I even got Pringles (my favourite kind – the yellow one). I realised (once again) that Allah can do all things and He can provide for us from places that we never imagined.
So, don’t ever doubt His promise. Do the good things (e.g. sharing the food, praying the nafl, etc) and don’t let Shatyan (the devil) fool you with false fears.
Believe me, everyone in the masjid loves my kettle. It’s the most beloved thing there (when it is actually there). It helps them make some tea so that they don’t snooze through the night prayers, etc.
So, take a kettle and also the required tea/coffee items (along with plastic cups, spoons, sugar, tinned milk, etc). Trust me, it will REALLY help everyone in the masjid and you’ll get all the reward.
[Again, don’t forget the 3 pin plug (if needed).]
4) Sleeping stuff:
You need a pillow. You might even need two. [When you sit on the floor for long, you might get cramps. Pillow#1 is behind your back. Pillow #2 is under you.]
You need a blanket. If your masjid is like mine (Welcome to Iceland), then you need to take a THICK quilt and a sweater. And thick socks.
5) Change of clothes:
This depends on how long you’re staying in the masjid. Even if you’re going for just one day, keep a spare set of clothes (in case of emergencies).
6) Shower stuff + others:
Again this depends how long you’re staying in the masjid. It’s not easy having a shower in most of the bathrooms so if you’re staying for about 2 days, you could take a shower right before you leave and take another one right after you come back, thereby avoiding the whole shower scenario.
Take your shampoo and shower gel (it’s easier to pack than soap and can also be used for washing your clothes if you plan on going for long). Perhaps a shower cap as well.
Try to take the thinnest towel that you can (otherwise you’re going to have a huge bag.)
You should also take either a plastic water bottle or a tumbler/mug, if you plan to bathe in the bathroom. You could also take a mini bucket.
And don’t forget your toothbrush and toothpaste.
And you could take a miswak. If your friend’s daughter decides to use your miswak as a mini-sword, then you might need to take a back up miswak. [Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.]
You could take a hair brush and a comb (and whatever you use to keep your hair in place). Yes, we know you’re in itikaf but taking care of one’s hair is also part of the sunnah. The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the furthest removed from this worldly life, yet he took care of his appearance and combed his hair.
If you wear contact lenses, then don’t forget to take your glasses and the lens solution.
7) Take any medicines that you use regularly.
8) Take locks for your bag.
Uh yeah. You might need this.
9) Take an alarm clock, maybe even two.
10) Notebook and a pen.
This is something that a student of knowledge should always keep with him/her.
5) What type of ibaadah can you do in the masjid?
Everything that you can do at home. You could also teach someone.
Okay, this might be one of the strangest posts that you’ve ever read but I hope that it benefits at least ONE person, insha-Allah.
Obviously, this is not a perfect list but I hope, insha-Allah. that it can be some sort of help for those who have never done itikaf before.
Believe me, if you do itikaf for one day, you’ll get addicted to it for life. That’s what happened to me and to many other sisters.