14 Nov Fasting: The meaning and principles of I’tikaf
I’tikaf literally means to stick to something, whether good or bad, and to block out everything else. As a term, it denotes devoting oneself, especially during the last 10 days of Ramadan, to praying in a mosque. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, performed i’tikaf for 10 days every Ramadan. In the year that he died, he performed it for 20 days.
I’tikaf is not acceptable from an unbeliever, a non-discerning child, a person requiring major purification because of (sexual) defilement, and a menstruating woman and a woman with post-childbirth bleeding.
I’tikaf will be fulfilled if a person stays in the mosque with the intention of becoming closer to God. If these conditions are not met, it is not i’tikaf. If an individual intends to perform a voluntary i’tikaf but ends it before the 10-day period has ended, he or she must make up the remaining days later.