Ayesha reports that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ used to observe Ietikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhan till he died, and then his wives used to observe Ietikaf after him.
Ietikaf is a kind of seclusion which is observed in the mosque during the last ten days of Ramadhan. It is a Fard-al-Kifaya or obligatory duty to be observed at least by some person(s) representing the vicinity. If nobody turns up for observing Ietikaf, the entire locality will be the defaulter. The womenfolk are required to observe Ietikaf in a corner of their houses.
The hadīth bears testimony to the fact that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ used to observe Ietikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhan – till the last Ramadhan of his life. Besides, his wives used to observe it in their chambers.
As Lailatul Qadr or Lailatul Mubarakah (Night of Power) falls in one of the last five odd-numbered nights of Ramadhan, the Messenger ﷺ used to spend the period very assiduously. He not only offered prayers for the whole night but used to awaken the members of his family for prayers. Ayesha says that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ used to exert his utmost in seeking Allah’s forgiveness, invoking His Mercy in prayers, recitation, etc. by girding up his loins.
Allah’s Messenger once missed the Ietikaf but he compensated it the next year by observing it for 20 days. This shows the importance Allah’s Messenger attached to this act of devotion.
The mutakif is forbidden from leaving the mosque except in an emergency or to meet a dire necessity.