By Imam Khalid Latif
In my freshman year of college, Ramadan was in the Winter. Immediately after my last exam, I took a train back to NJ, dropped some things off at my parent’s house, and went to our local mosque where I intended to spend the last week or so in the masjid for a practice called Itikaf.
Narrated Abdullah bin Umar: Allah’s Apostle used to practise Itikaf in the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.
The word itikaf itself denotes “remaining” in a place and when referred to as a practice undertaken by many during the last 10 nights of Ramadan (as well as other times of the year), it refers to an individual’s spiritual retreat to the mosque. The idea is to remove oneself completely from the world and focus on the development of one’s relationship with the Divine. Leaving behind the pursuit of the material and everything that comes with it while pursuing acts of worship, moments of reflection, and congregational and individual prayer in hopes of rooting the heart in a state of tranquility.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the time I spent in Itikaf that year. The moment I felt its impact the most was the minute I left from the mosque and stepped into the world again. Things that I had seen almost every day of my life prior to that day now looked different, not because they were different, but because the eyes that I was looking at them with now saw things differently. [Read more…]