Itikaf is a sunnah from our prophet (pbuh). It is a term for dedicating oneself to worship Allah by staying in the mosque for the last 10 days of Ramadan. Muslims stay up every night eager to attempt the Night of Power.

The Night of Decree and I'tikaf in Ramadan

Itikaf means committing oneself to something, but in Islamic contexts it refers to the staying in seclusion in a mosque, by a Muslim who knows what he is doing, for  the worship of Allah.[1]

Status: This is a recommended action, i.e. Sunnah, and it draws a person closer to Allah, who says in the Qur’an:  

‘And We charged Abraham and Ishmael [saying], "Purify My House for those perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].’


 This verse makes clear that it was an approved practice in earlier faiths.

:Allah also says in the verse explaining rulings applicable to fasting

‘And do not have relations with them (your wives) as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques.’


:A’ishah reports that

‘the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to spend the last ten days of Ramadan in seclusion in the mosque, until he passed away.’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 2,020; Muslim, hadith No. 1,172

All Muslims agree that it is an aspect of Islam and that it is a Sunnah which becomes binding only if a man commits himself to it by making a pledge to do it. 

Thus the fact that i' tikaf is a Sunnah is confirmed by the Qur’an, the hadith and the unanimity of scholars.

Islam recommends Muslims to practise this Sunnah and stay in the mosque in the last 10 nights of Ramadan when they should devote more of their time to worship. The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) practice in these 10 nights was to devote all his time to worship, staying up every night, eager to be attending to his worship on the Night of Decree which falls in one of these 10 nights. The Night of Power is a night of great significance, including:

  • It is the night when the Qur’an was bestowed.

    ‘Indeed, We sent the Qur'an down during the Night of Decree.’


  • On this night Allah determines everything that takes place in the year ahead:

    ‘On that night is made distinct every precise matter. [Every] matter [proceeding] from Us. Indeed, We were to send [a messenger].’


    This is a sub-decree, because Allah had determined everything more than 50,000 years before creation. However, on this night Allah determines what happens to His creation during the following year: who will survive and who will die; the saved and the ruined; the happy and the miserable; the powerful and the humiliated. Whatever Allah wishes to happen during the following year is written down on this Night of Decree.
  • It is a blessed night

    :as Allah says

    ‘Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night.’


  • Worship on this night is better rewarded than worship over one thousand months,

    :as Allah says

    ‘The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.’


  • This means that worship on the Night of Decree is better rewarded than worship for a thousand months without the Night of Decree, which is equal to 83 years and three months.
  • The angel Gabriel and other angels descend with blessings, goodness and forgiveness on that night,

    :as Allah has stated

    ‘On that night, the angels and the Spirit, by their Lord’s leave, descend with all His decrees.’


  • The Night of Decree is a night of peace,

    :as Allah says

    ‘That night is peace, till the break of dawn.’


    It is a night that is free of evil and harm, when a great deal of worship and good actions are dedicated to Allah’s pleasure. Hence, it is all peace.

:Abu Hurayrah reports that the Prophet  (peace be upon him) said

‘Whoever stands in prayer the Night of Decree in worship sincerely dedicating such worship for Allah’s pleasure shall be forgiven their past sins.’

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 2,014; Muslim, hadith No. 760


  1. Al-Bahuti, Kashshaf al-Qina' , vol. 2, p. 404; Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, vol. 3, p. 183.