I'tikaf is indeed a great Sunnah of our Beloved Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). During I'tikaf, a person shall be housed and confined within the sacred precincts of the Masjid. The Masjid is one of the salient symbols of Islam and utmost respect must be shown to the Masjid. Allah Ta'ala says, “And whosoever honours the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.” (22:32)
Our time in the Masjid should be spent with full consciousness and awareness, keeping the veneration of the Masjid in mind.
To uphold the sanctity of the Masjid the following should be adhered to:
- Abstain from all unnecessary talking and chatting in the Masjid, whether in person or per mobile devices. Loud speech, vulgarity and laughter is absolutely forbidden.
- Do not become too informal in our behaviour. Always be conscious that “This is my Allah's House.”
- Be courteous and considerate to fellow mu'takifeen. The reward of I'tikaf should not be diminished by causing inconvenience to others.
- Mobile phone usage should be completely cut off or used only in the case of an emergency. Being occupied with the world through one's phone is against the spirit and purpose of I'tikaf.
- Care should be taken to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of the Masjid at all times. Use the amenities of the Masjid with consideration for others. Also be conscious of one's personal hygiene to avoid causing offence to others.
- It is important to ensure that items brought into the Masjid do not bear any animate logos or pictures on them e.g., chips, drinks and biscuit packets etc. Many a time, items with animate pictures are left exposed in the Masjid undermining the sanctity of the Masjid and become a means of our deprivation from the mercy of the angels.
- Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "Angels do not enter a house (or any other place) where there are statues or (animate) pictures.” (Muslim). We should ensure that all measures are taken to limit the exposure of animate pictures in the Masjid.
Some steps would be:
- Have items packed in ordinary containers rather than original packaging bearing the animate picture.
- Use a sticker or a dark coloured marker to block out the entire head of the image
- Keep items covered in a bag or with a sheet.