By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: A very limited number of dedicated faithful would start performing seclusion activities, known as I’tikaf at specified and secluded corners of countrywide mosques from Monday afternoon with the pledge to strictly follow Covid-19 guidelines and maintain social distance by avoiding large gatherings.
The faithful have been enjoined to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocol during the Iâ€™tikaf, said Basharat Shah, the head of Masjid management committee of a Jamia Masjid, Islamabad.
Iâ€™tikat is a period starting from 20th Ramadan where Muslims seclude in the mosque for ten days in search for Lailatul Qadr (Night of Majesty) and for seeking forgiveness of Almighty Allah by abandoning their routine business.
â€œDuring this period these worshipers would not go out from the mosque for worldly purposes, except for essential needs, and devote their whole time for reading the Holy Qurâ€™an and engage in prayers seeking forgiveness and blessings of Allah,â€ a religious scholar Qari Jehangir Abbasi told APP.
Itikaf is a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and carries a multitude of blessings of the Allah Almighty. Men observe Itikaf in small cubicles, set up by hanging large cloth sheets inside mosques, whereas women observe it at any corner or quite place in the house which is not frequently visited by others.
The sole purpose should be to worship Allah and seek pardons of his/her sins. Iâ€™tikaf helps the worshipers to connect themselves with their Creator through prayers, reciting Holy Quran and reading religious books so that they understand the concept of worship in the most comprehensive sense.
Everyone of them tries to get closer to Allah through prayers, worship and glorification of His names. In pre covid era, mosques in the Federal Capital and adjacent Rawalpindi used to allocate places to the worshippers on the first-come- first-serve basis because of an ever-increasing number of those willing to observe Itikaf.However, this year very limited number of aspirants have been allowed to perform Iâ€™tikaf with the condition to strictly adhere to guidelines to prevent the spread of covid-19 pandemic.
In major Masajid of Islamabad, special arrangements have been finalized for the Iâ€™tikaf sittings. Religious discourses were arranged for the stayers to spend their time usefully inside the mosques and believers can spend their time within the mosque premises and also participate in the Qiyamul Layl (midnight) prayers.
Philanthropists and common citizens send food items for Sehri and Iftari to the mosque during Ramzan-ul-Mubarak. This year, some 25 faithful from twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad would perform Iâ€™tikaf at Faisal Mosque. Special arrangements have been made for Motakafeen (Aitekaf observers) to impart them education about â€˜Fiqhaiâ€™ problems besides lectures from religious scholars. ‘Religious scholars would deliver lectures on different issues on daily basis and that programme will continue till the moon sighting of Shawal,â€ an official of Dawah Academy stated.