In view of the above, it is advisable that everyone entering the Masjid to join the congregational prayer should, on entering the Masjid, make the Niyyat for ‘I’tikaaf’, in thatcase it means that aslong as he remain busy with Salaat, Zikr, listening to lectures or sermons he also receive reward for the I’tikaaf. I always observed that my late father used to make ‘Niyyat’ for I’tikaaf whenever he entered the Masjid. Occasionally, by way of teaching and reminding his followers, he would raise his voice when reciting when reciting the words for ‘Niyyah’. The reward for I’tikaaf is great as indicated by the fact that the Holy Prophet (SAW) always used to perform I’tikaaf. The example of him who resides in the Masjid in I’tikaaf is that of a person who, having gone to a certain place to appeal for something, remains there until it is granted. When someone comes begging at our door and then refuses to leave until he has been granted his request. I am sure that even the person with the hardest heart amongst us will eventually give in to his request. How much more Merciful is Allah, and when someone persistently sits at His door, what doubt can there be in the fulfilment of his wishes. Allama ibn Qayyim, in explaining the significance of I’tikaaf writes that the actual aim is to divert the heart away from everything except Allah, and to make it come near to Allah, thereby forming a complete spiritual connection with the Creator. All wordly connections are thus cut off, for the sake of gaining Allah’s attention and all thoughts, desires, love and devotion become centred around Him. As a result, an attachment with Allah is attained – a love and friendship that will be the only support in loneliness of the grave. One can possibly imagine the great ecstacy with which that time in the grave will be spent.
In Maraaiqul Falaah, the author writes that I’tikaaf, when properly and sincerely performed, is among the most virtuous deeds. One cannot possibly enumerate all the great advantages and benefits in it. In actual fact, what takes place in I’tikaaf is that the heart is drawn away from everything else except the Creator, while the soul is actually laidat His door-step. All the time, one remains in a state of ‘Ibaadah’, even when one is asleep, one is still in His worship striving for nearness to Him. And Allah says (according to a Hadith): “Whoever draws near to Me (the length of) one hand, then I draw nearer to him (the length of) two hands, and whoever draws near to Me by walking, I draw nearer to him by running.” Moreover, in I’tikaaf one seeks refuge in the house of Allah, and is safe therein from all enemies.