“Abu Sa‘Iyd R.A. that Rasulullah S.W. once performed I’itikaaf for the first ten days of Ramadhaan. Thereafter he mad I’itikaaf in a Turkish tent (inside the musjid) for the middle ten days. Thereafter he raise his head out of the tent and said, “Verily in search of Laylatul Qadr did I perform I’itikaaf for the first ten days, then for the middle ten days. Then someone (an angel) came and told me. “It is in the last ten days whosoever has made I’itikaaf with me should continue for the last ten days”. I had indeed been shown that night and then made to forget, which it shall be. And verily did I see myself prostrating to Allah with my forehead on mud on the morning after the night. Seek Laylatul Qadr the last ten nights of Ramadhaan; seek it among uneven ones”.
Abu Sa‘Iyd R.A. says; “That same night it rained. The roof on the musjid leaked, and I looked at Rasulullah S.W. two eyes and on his forehead were remains of water and mud. This was on the morning of the 21st performing sujood in muddy clay”.
Reported in Mishkaat.
It used to be the general practice of Rasulullah S.W. to perform I’itikaaf in Ramadhaan. At times he used remain in the musjid for the whole month and during the last year of his life he was in I’itikaaf for twenty days. Because he always secluded himself in the musjid for last ten days, the ‘ulama consider it sunnah mu’akkadah to perform I’itikaaf for that period.
From the above Hadith it can be deduced that the major object behind I’itikaaf was to search for Laylatul Qadr. What better manner can there be than to be in I’itikaaf , because one is considered to be in ibaadah all the time, whether one is awake or asleep. Furthermore, one in I’itikaaf is free from all daily tasks and thus has all the time to devote to thikrullah, (the remembrance of Allah) and meditation, throughout Ramadhaan Rasulullah S.W. eserted himself and increase his ibaadah and when the last ten days came along, he had no limit in exerting himself. He himself remained awake throughout the night and awakened his family for the same purpose. Aa-isha R.A. reports:
“During Ramadhaan Rasulullah S.W. tied his lungi tightly about him, staing awake all night and waking his family (for the purpose of ibaadah). “Tied his lungi tightly about him’ means either that he knew no limits in exerting himself in ibaadah; or that he gave due importance and preference to ibaadah, and avoided all forms of sexual contact.