Sep 18, 2014

The Haram Diary - Introduction

By Syed Faraz Luqman



“Verily in the remembrance of Allah, do hearts find peace” (Surah Ar-Rad: Part verse 28) 

Most of you know (or heard) that I spent the last 10 days of my Ramadhan in the hallowed valley of Makkah al Mukarramah. No less in a place than the Haram itself. Islam’s most sacred Masjid. In the proximity of the Ka’bah - The BaitAllah (House of Allah).

This was an attempt to perform an act of worship in Islam known as the I’tikaf.

To those who do not know, an I’tikaf is a duty (fardh) of Islam which is generally a communal obligation. It was a manner of worship of the Prophet PBUH (from before his Prophethood) wherein he would take some provisions and retreat into the surrounding mountains of Makkah, to small caves and live there for 2-3 days at a time. This time was where he would confine himself to meditation and search his mind, his heart and his soul to ascertain the purpose of his life and this world.

After the advent of Prophethood he established as his tradition (sunnah) and this has grown to be one of the most beautiful events a Muslim can have. The word I’tikaf literally means to stay at a place. The act of worship is elaborated as taking a 10 day meditation stay in a Masjid… away from your home, away from comfort, family, friends, work etc in a state of prayer and quiet meditation. The Sunnah I’tikaf is performed usually in the last 10 days of Ramadan (you can do it for a longer period pertaining to a few rules). For men, a Masjid is the station of his I’tikaf. For women, it is a secluded part of her home which can be separated from the rest of the house using curtains etc. In either cases, the deed is done as a worship, a meditation…or to be closer to modern description, as a one to one therapy session with Allah.

This is one of the most life changing journeys a Muslim can take. You are expected to be involved in Worship at all times. In fact, once a Muslim enters the state of I’tikaf, everything he does comes under worship automatically. From his sitting in the masjid doing zikr to his sleeping in the masjid..everything is Ibadah.

I have sat in I’tikaf a total of 3 times now. My first time was a full 10 day sojourn in my College masjid in India. My second was a shorter stay (about 6 days) in my neighbourhood masjid in Qatar. My third was my biggest attempt at it. This time I chose to be a guest at Allah’s house. And being the guy I am, I couldn't do it without recording it.

I kept a Diary for the time I was there. Every day, in the late hours of the night, I would spend about 10-30 minutes writing what I was learning by doing during my stay. I did not expect it to run more than a few pages but by the time I left Makkah 10 days later, the diary (a notebook) filled 33 pages.

It would be impudent of me to write it all and expect everyone to read it all. But there are a few things of my experiences which I would like to share with you. Hence it will be a concise write up of my stay of 10 days divided into 3 parts (barring this one).

InshaAllah, if my words ever do even the least bit to inspire you, say a little prayer for my Parents.

Peace be with you !

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


Looking forward to reading your diary. I dont mind reading the full 33 pages! Having lived in one of the sacred cities, ,y heart is attached to both and wouldnt mind reading anyone's experiences there.
Thank you

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