We have come here to the Khanqah to spend time in I’tikaaf, in fact our I’tikaaf is an Islaahi I’tikaaf. The primary objective here is our Islaah (spiritual reformation) whereas the objective of I’tikaaf generally is to engage in the Ibaadaat (worship) of Allah Ta'ala.
KHANQAH OF HADRAT SHEIKH R.A
We had noticed that our first Sheikh, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Saheb R.A held many programmes for the Mua’takifeen during the day (in his Khanqah) with the objective of reformation. We too have tried to emulate those programmes in our Khanqah although there will be minor differences between the two. The focus there was not only on Ibaadat.
THE HIGH LEVEL OF IBAADAT
However, Ibaadat also used to take place at a very high level there. Our friend Mufti Basheer Amod of Stanger would spend the entire night in Ibaadat at times in the Khanqah of Hadrat Sheikh R.A. The Fajr Salaah in the Khanqah during the month of Ramdaan would be kept very short, but Mufti Saheb would be on the verge of collapsing in the Fajr Salaah due to lack of sleep. This was the high level of Ibaadat carried out during I’tikaaf, and together with Ibaadat was the task of spiritual reformation.
The need for engaging in such Ibaadat can be understood from the following verse of the Quraan wherein Allah Ta'ala commands Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam,
فاذا فرغت فانصب والي ربك فارغب
So when you have completed (with the task of propagating Islam during the day), then exert yourself (in other forms of Ibaadah at night)... And turn (your heart) to your Rabb (asking your needs only from Him). – (Surah Inshiraah verse no. 07 / 08)
In our terms, if an Alim has completed teaching in the Madrasah for the day, or given a Bayaan to the masses, or a Daa’ie has completed his Ghusht, then one should engage in so much of Ibaadat that he feels the tiredness. Many of us only remember one Malfooz of Hadrat Maulana Thanvi r and quote it, that is, when you feel tired then stop your Ibaadat and recitation and take rest, whereas we are also required to engage in so much Ibaadat that the tiredness can be felt. However, engaging in excessive Ibaadah is not everyone’s cup of tea nor is it everyone’s slice of cake, but each one should do that which is within his ability, and a little more.
IBAADAT IN THE HARAM OF MAKKAH SHARIF
A friend involved in Jamaat work had gone for Umrah, he would spend the nights in the Haram of Makkah from 01.30am until Ishraaq Salaah engaging in Ibaadat. This is the spirit that we should also have within us. A person in I’tikaaf gets reward whilst sleeping, or whilst sitting silently in the Masjid, etc. We should therefore always make intention of I’tikaaf when entering the Haram Sharif of Makkah, the Haram Sharif of Madinah or any other Masjid in the world. Another important point that I wish to share with those visiting Madinah Sharif, make Niyyat of visiting Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam and being in the Suhbat (companionship) of Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam as well. Can there ever be a greater bounty than being in the company of Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam ? A person that travels to Madinah Sharif with this intention will spiritually benefit and increase all the time. May Allah Ta'ala grant us the Taufeeq! Ameen.