Itekaf–the sacred seclusion in search of peace for heart and soul

Hyderabad Desk

Hyderabad: With the holy month of Ramzan entering its last phase, a diametrically opposite scene is playing out in Hyderabad. While Charminar, the heart of the Old City, is bursting at the seams with shoppers, another world seems to exist – a world of serene devotion and spiritual retreat.

Sunday saw many mosques getting an additional rush of devotees. Yes, it’s time for spiritual retreat. Following the Prophetic tradition, many devout Muslims have got themselves secluded into the mosques for the last 10 days. This special act of worship called Itekaf, is a tradition as old as time itself.

As the sun dipped below the horizon on Sunday evening, hundreds of devout men embraced seclusion within the sacred walls of their local Masjids. They will step out of the mosques only after the crescent of Eid-ul-Fitr is sighted.

For these men, Itekaf is not merely an act of worship, but a journey of self-discovery and spiritual rejuvenation. Away from the distractions of the world, they immerse themselves in prayer, contemplation, and the recitation of the Holy Quran. Each moment spent in the mosque is considered a step closer to the divine, a moment of profound connection with Allah. It’s time when worldly responsibilities take a back seat, jobs are put on hold and businesses paused–all in pursuit of a vacation for the soul.
It isn’t just the men who embarked on this sacred journey. The women, too, find their retreat within the walls of their homes. Secluded from the outside world, they devote themselves to prayer, reflection, and acts of kindness. In this shared commitment to spiritual growth, families find a bond that transcends the mundane.

For many Itekaf is not a spur of the moment decision. They plan it much in advance to take a break from their pressing engagements. “Staying in the mosque and getting immersed in the remembrance of Allah is the best way to draw closer to the Creator,” says Mustafa, a government employee, who practices Itekaf every year.

Another important reason for going into spiritual seclusion is to seek out Lailat-ul-Qadr, the night when Muslims believe the Quran was sent down from heaven to the world. Also called the night of destiny, it is considered greater in worth than a thousand months.

Moreover, by remaining confined in the mosque one is sure to attain both the peace of mind and purification of heart and also the strength of character to choose the right path in life.

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