Ibn Abbas R.A. relates that Rasulullah S.W. said, “The person performing I’itikaaf remains free from sins, and he is indeed given the same reward as those who do righteous deeds (in spite of not having done those deeds as a result of having been secluded in the musjid)”. Reported in Mishkaat from Ibn Majah
(Note that one remaining secluded in the musjid is not allowed to depart from there for worldly needs. He may only set forth to the outside for the calls of nature, to perform ablution or ghusl or for attending Jumu-ah when that is not performed in the same musjid, after which he must return forthwith). Now this Hadith points to two great benefits of I’itikaaf.
Firstly one is saved from sin. It is true that it very often happens that one falls into sin without ever intended to do so. (The world all around us is full of temptations). To commit sin in the blessed month of Ramadhaan is indeed a great injustice to ourselves. By remaining secluded in the musjid, one complete avoids the temptation to sin. Secondly, it would appear outwardly that when one is secluded in the musjid, one is automatically at a disadvantage by not being allowed to perform certain good deeds like joining funeral prayers, attending burials visiting the sick etc. that is not so, because according to this Hadith one is rewarded for these deeds even though not performing them. What a great favour from Allah! How great is Allah’s bounty! By performing ibaadah one receives the reward of numerous other ibaadhas. In fact Allah Ta-aala seeks the slightest cause to bestow His blessings. His blessings would be received in abundance with a little effort and plea. If only we can understand and properly appreciate these favours, that proper appreciation and understanding can only enter our minds when we have the true love and interest of our Deen.
(May Allah grant us that Aameen).