The purpose of itikaf is to minimize the relations with the world, to be alone with the one's self, to pray more, to hope for forgiveness of sins by praying and to come closer to God.
In the Islamic literature, itikaf means "being alone in a masjid with the intention of gaining the consent of Allah and obeying certain rules". Hadith sources reported that the Prophet(sav) entered itikaf in Madinah in the last ten days of Ramadan every year after the Hijrah(migration), and that his wives generally did itikaf with the Messenger of Allah (Müslim, “İtikâf”, 3; Tirmizî, “Savm”, 80). According to what Aisha (r.anha), when the last ten days of Ramadan came, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) awakened his family to worship, gave more importance to worship, worshiped more than other times, and recommended these to Muslims. (Muslim, "İtikâf", 7)
Itikaf as a type of worship, It has been known since the time of Ibrahim (a.s) (2/Bakara, 125). This worship, which is also approved by the Quran, has an important place in the life of the Prophet(sav) (2/Bakara, 87). It is known that the Messenger of Allah (sav) did itikaf in Medina every year, except for only one year. (Tirmizi, “Savm”, 79).
Known also by the pre-Islamic Mecca's people , the belief of itikaf gained the qualification of sunnah with the practices of the Prophet(sav). From time to time, and mostly in the last ten days of the month of Ramadan, he used to pray in the Masjid an-Nabawi, that is, he spent all hours of the day there. It is known that for this purpose, a tent was established inside the masjid and that he did not leave the masjid except for his mandatory needs. (Muslim, "İtikâf", 79; Tirmidhi, "Savm", 1-6; Abu Dawud, "Savm", 77-78)
In addition to being a more effective method to make the self obey prohibitions, it also increases the possibility and hope of encountering the Night of Qadr, which is expected to take place in the last ten days of Ramadan. Night of Qadr is the most precious, most blessed and happiest night of believers. For, it is a better night than a thousand months when the Allmighty Creator opens the doors of mercy and all kinds of grants are given to the guests of the spiritual feast.
According to a hadith narrated from Abu Hurayra (r.a), Prophet(sav) stated the following about the Night of Power. "Whoever believes and hopes for his reward from Allah and spends the night of Qadr with prayers, his past sins will be forgiven." The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) especially recommended that we seek the Night of Qadr in the odd numbered(calender) nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. (Muslim, "Sıyam", 216)
Leaving a reminder to his people, The Prophet(sav) encouraged and advised Itikaf, "Those who are deprived of the Night of Qadr will be deprived of all goodness." He commanded. (Müsned, II, 230, 285)
Therefore, it is a rare opportunity for a Muslim who cannot make time for himself due to the business of modern life. Accounting , questioning himself for the year left behind, to be able to plan the future more efficiently, to benefit more from the spiritual climate of Ramadan; is the way to be able to have spent the night of “Qadr deservedly which is more valuable than a thousand months.” (97/Kadr, 1-5)
What are the proofs of Itikaf in Islam?
İtikâf is a legitimate devotion. Its legitimacy is fixed by Quran and the Sunnah.
Do not be intimate with your spouses while you are meditating in the mosques. (2/Al-Baqarah, 187)
The Prophet (pbuh) entered itikaf in Medina in the last ten days of each month of Ramadan, starting from the second year of the hijrah, after the Ramadan fast was made obligatory. As a matter of fact, Hz. Aisha said the following about the Prophet's (sav) doing itikaf: Until the day Prophet(sav) passed away, he used to enter itikaf and said; "Seek the Night of Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadan." After the Prophet, his wives also did itikaf. [Muslim, İtikâf, 5.]
Enes b. Malik, Who had the honor of serving the Prophet (sav) throughout his life in Medina for ten years and who reported the most hadiths from our Prophet (sav), and Ubey b. Ka'b, one of the most beautiful readers of the Quran among the people of Allah's messenger; said the following about the Itikaf done by our Prophet (saas): "The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to do itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. But for one year (because he was on a journey) he could not entere itikaf. The following year, he did itikaf for 20 days. ” [Abu Dawud, Savm, 77; Tirmidhi, Savm, 79.]