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Blessings of A’tikaf

It means confinement to a specific thing or place, or retreat and seclusion
12:00 AM Apr 05, 2024 IST | Dr. Farooq Peer
blessings of a’tikaf
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If our hard work wins the pleasure of Allah, there is no greater blessing than this. We should connect our hearts with Allah in such a way that one does not feel the need for reaching out to someone else.


That is what “A’tikaf” does for a Muslim in particular, and human being in general.


The word “A’tikaf” is used in the Holy Quran in different forms such as “aakifun” or “al aakifeen”. It means confinement to a specific thing or place, or retreat and seclusion. But for a Muslim it means to confine oneself for sometime to a mosque in order to stay there to worship or at least to withdraw oneself from worldly business.


Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to perform A’tikaf even before receiving the message. He was in seclusion in the cave of Hira when he received the message for the first time. While coming back from the city of Ta’if, he again performed this practice as Messenger in that same cave.


He used to fast in Mecca even before the fasting in Ramadhan became a binding. After fasting in Ramadhan became obligatory, he used to perform “A’tikaf” in the last ten days of Ramadan in the mosque. In the last year of his life, he did it for thirty days and nights.


“A’tikaf” enables a person to reach a state of mental tranquility,quietude and spiritual peace, and purifies and sanctifies one’s inner self. Practicing of “A’tikaf” is “Sunnah Kifa’i”, which means it was the practice of the Prophet (SAW), and that at least one individual from each community or locality must perform it. Otherwise, on the Day of Judgment, the entire community would be held accountable for not performing “A’tikaf”. One may perform a “Nafl” type of “A’tikaf” in a mosque for one or two days, or even for an hour according to Imam Shafi, Imam Yusuf, and Imam Muhammad, but the “A’tikaf” in the month of Ramdhan is a must.


“A’tikaf” should be in a mosque where the five daily prayers and even Friday prayer is performed. However, if Friday prayer is not held at that Mosque the observer of A’tikaf may travel to another nearby mosque, but should not waste time outside. One who is in “A’tikaf” must not go out of Mosque excpet for a reasonable cause such as using the bathroom if it is outside.


The women may also perform “A’tikaf” in their homes at their specified prayer areas. In “A’tikaf”, any type of worship of Allah is recommended. These include recitation of the Holy Quran, remembrance of Allah, asking for forgiveness, the study of religious literature etc.

Hazrat Aisha (RA) reports about Prophet Muhammad (SAW) “He used to perform A’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadhan.”(Bukhari) From this Hadith it is clear that A’tikaf is not something which Prophet (SAW) observed or performed only once in his lifetime, rather he did it on regular basis throughout his life in the last ten days of Ramadan.

The biggest virtue of A’tikaf is that it occurs in the month of Ramadhan and the Muslims set out for excessive prayers and virtuous deeds. There is no denying the fact that any act of piety and virtue receives multiple times greater reward in Ramadhan compared to ordinary days, however, if the last ten days are spent in A’tikaf, the blessings and reward increase exponentially.

In one Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “He who observes the ten days A’tikaf during Ramadhan will obtain the reward of two Hajj and two Umrah.” Hence, for a Muslim it is imperative to observe A’tikaf in Ramadhan whenever possible.

The month of Ramadhan guarantees freedom from Hell and thus A’tikaf is the best practice to protect oneself from Hell. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in the Hadith: “Whosoever for Allah’s sake did even one day’s A’tikaf, Allah would keep him away from Hell by trenches.”(Tabarani)

All the prayers and virtuous deeds in Ramadhan are committed with the objective of seeking forgiveness from the previous sins and gaining reward for the good deeds. Therefore, the manifold benefits should be the aim of a Muslim. The Sunnah of A’tikaf is a perfect act that provides the chance of gaining these manifold benefits.

Therefore, observing A’tikaf is an excellent way of doing away with sins and receiving manifold rewards. The month of Ramadhan in itself is one of the greatest blessings that a Muslim receives in an Islamic calendar.

Within this month of blessings, the virtues of A’tikaf is also another great advantage and a source of mercy and blessing from Allah that can help a Muslim seek forgiveness from what has forgone and attain reward for the present moment and for the future.