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Nur ar-Ramadan

Pakistanis Increasingly Embark on I`tikaf

Pakistanis Increasingly Embark on I`tikaf


By Mosbah Abdel-Baki, IOL Correspondent


During the last ten days of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, thousands of Pakistanis embark on i’tikaf (spiritual retreat) in mosques to recite the Noble Qur’an and dhikr (remember Allah).

Hoping to gain Allah’s blessings, Pakistani women have also started observing i`tikaf either in mosques or at home.

Opinion polls showed that at least 150,000 Pakistanis, including 3,000 women, are observing i`tikaf in the mosques of the restive city of Karachi, home to 14 million people.

“People have been increasingly taking part in religious sermons and activities since the US started laying pressures on Pakistan in the wake of the September 11 attacks,” one mosque imam said.

I`tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan in the mosque is a tradition of Prophet Muhammad  (peace and blessings be upon him).

The Sunnah of i`tikaf is that one makes the intention and begins the i`tikaf on the evening of the 20th of Ramadan from sunset time and continue until the sighting of the moon for `Edul-Fitr.

During i`tikaf men should stay in the mosque day and night and should not leave it except for the use of toilet or shower.

They are allowed to eat also inside the mosque, but if it is not convenient they may go outside and come back as soon as they finish.

During i`tikaf one should spend most of one’s time in prayer, reading the Qur’an, dhikr, and reflection.

Engaging in business and other worldly conversation and activities is not allowed during i`tikaf.

However, attending a Janazah (Funeral) or visiting a sick person or leaving for any emergency is permissible.

Fill in A Form

The growing interest in observing i`tikaf among Pakistanis coincides with watertight security measures across the country, and particularly in Karachi, following bomb attacks against Sunni and Shiite mosques, says correspondent.

Therefore, Pakistanis willing to do i`tikaf are required to fill in a form with all basic information and present a copy of their IDs.

Religious and social societies are responsible for all preparations related to i`tikaf in most Pakistani mosques.

In few mosques, the responsibility rests with the mosque administration.

In any case, daily religious lessons and lectures are held in the mosques for worshipers on i`tikaf to raise their religious and spiritual awareness.