What is our primary purpose in life? Surely its more than just to eat food, go to work or sleep? From the Qur’an we know that our primary purpose in life is to worship Allah (SWT), the Master of the day of judgment. But how do we recentre our life on this noble purpose?
Seclusion in the masjid for the last third of Ramadan – in Arabic, Itikaf – is an excellent opportunity to focus on just this! You are able to seclude yourself from your friends and family and leave al problems and distractions behind you just to focus on your ibaadah. You minimise your food and forget your daily chores and build a routine of only worshipping Allah SWT. The amazing impact this has on the soul, is evidenced by the number of people who make it an annual habit.
This got me thinking about how to live a life of itikaf. One which we abstain from most sins with ease and remain constant in worship of Allah so our good deeds and intentions far outway our bad. You experience less stress with dunya(worldly)-related problems, almost living a life of devotion like monks or nuns.
Of course, in Islam there is no form of monasticism as the Prophet (SAW) taught us or nuns as other religions do. When approached by some Muslims who wanted to break ties with the outside world to try reach the heights of worship, the Prophet (SAW) said “What is the matter with some people who said such and such I fast and break the fast, sleep and wake to stand to pray, eat meat, and marry women. He who is not pleased with my Sunnah is not of me.)” This is because we are here to experience the tests that we get from the outside world and these should help us build even more good deeds than worshipping 24 hours a day. With the correct intention you can live a life of worship e.g. when you go to work do with the intention to earn halal and feed your family with halal sustenance because it’s a responsibility upon you from Allah, your time spent working can be an act of ibaadah.