Chief Imam of Lekki Central Mosque, Lagos State, Shaykh Ridwan Jamiu has advised Muslims to observe I’tikaf in their homes consequent to the government guidelines which placed restriction on religious and social activities in the state.
Iʿtikāf, according to the scholar is the practice of seclusion. It consists of a period of staying in a mosque for the last ten days of Ramadan devoting oneself to ibadah (acts of worship) and staying away from worldly affairs.
It is mostly observed by Muslims in various central mosques during the last ten days of Ramadan (Islamic fasting) to seek the night of Majesty described in the Qur’an chapter 97.
He noted that it is binding of Muslims to respect the law of the land and the people in power or authorities after respecting the Almighty and the Prophets.
Jamiu, while speaking to newsmen on Thursday, Jamiu said consequent to the breakout of coronavirus pandemic, it is pertinent for Muslims to act according to the present realities by being law-abiding and not flout the state government directive on religious gatherings which had necessitated the closure of mosques.
Explaining ways in which Muslims can still observe I’tikaf without contravening the laws or engaging in acts of worship that could enhance community spread of coronavirus, the Imam advised Muslims to find a secluded place in their various homes and restrict themselves by engaging in the same practice which they would do as though they are in various mosques.
According to him, the observance of I’tikaf at home is permissible under the principle of necessity in the face of difficulty (Darurat wa mashaqa) as contained in the Shariah, adding that I’tikaf at home as a necessity is covered by Qur’an in chapter 64 verse 16 where Allah says “Therefore fear Allah as much as you can”.
Jamiu, however, explained that though the practice may look strange to Muslims who are used to observing I’tikaf in mosques, adding that a similar thing happened in the time of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) when the children of Israel were commanded by Allah to pray at home because of Pharaoh’s threat, as reported in Qur’an chapter 10, verse 87.