If you keep your phone with you in Aitekaf, you are breaking it because you are still connected to “worldly affairs”, warns Mufti Naeem, one of Pakistan’s well-respected clerics.
Aitekaf refers to the practice of isolated worship in silence in a mosque for the last ten days of Ramazan.
“If people who are in Aitekaf are constantly on the phone, and connected to the world, they are wasting their worship,” said Mufti Naeem, while speaking on the SAMAA TV show Naya Din on Monday. “They keep asking people at home how their business is doing.”
Mufti Naeem runs Jamia Binoria in Karachi, one of the largest madrassa-mosque complexes in the city, and is respected for issuing edits or fatwas on religious dilemmas.
He was critical of Aitekaf having become “fashionable”. He said that it was important for mosques to appoint scholars to guide people in Aitekaf, so that they say their prayers properly.
“In our madrassa we maintain a proper routine, guide them and keep them involved in worship all the time and do not allow them to indulge in anything else,” he said.
Leaving the mosque is not allowed if you are in Aitekaf. You can leave the mosque for a short period if it is very important.
If someone’s Aitekaf is broken, it becomes compulsory or wajib for them to perform it next year.
Instead of family members bringing food, it is better to collect money and arrange food in congregation. In Aitekaf, people from different backgrounds come together and everyone brings food according to their economic stature. Therefore, it is better to collect money and arrange food within mosque so that everyone eats the same food and the rich-poor divide is not exacerbated. If you have a medical problem and need a specific diet, you can get separate food, he said.