Thursday, 14 March 2019

Spiritual Practice of Seclusion (al-Khalwa)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
ولا حول ولا قوة الا بالله
The Mother of the Believers, sayyida A’isha (radi Allahu anha) says about the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wa-aalihi wasallam):

وَحُبِّبَ إِلَيْهِ الْخَلْوَةُ فَلَمْ يَكُنْ شَيْءٌ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ أَنْ يَخْلُوَ
“Seclusion was made beloved to him, such that there was not anything more beloved to him than being alone.”
(Jami at-Tirmidhi #3632)
The practice of al-Khalwa (seclusion) is from our Religion, and a great example of that is the institution of I’tikaf. It is from the Sunna of the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) to make I’tikaf in the mosque during the final ten days of Ramadan, and also at other times, such as the middle ten days of Ramadan and the first ten days of Shawwal. He would seclude himself in a tent. However, the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) first practiced al-Khalwa in the Cave of Hira, during the beginning of his Nubuwwa when he began to see true dreams and visions. Now when Allah made him (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) into His Apostle, he became a public figure who needed to discharge the duties associated with his divine commission, i.e., conveying the message of Allah. Nevertheless, the institution of I’tikaf in the mosque, a beautiful worship of Allah, is a form of al-Khalwa.
The concept of Arba’in or Chilla, a spiritual retreat for forty nights, is derived directly from the holy Quran:
 
وَإِذْ وَاعَدْنَا مُوسَىٰ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً
And when We made an appointment with Moses for forty nights
(Sura 2:51)
The great prophet Moses (peace be upon him) ascended Mount Sinai and remained there for forty nights in direct communion with the Lord Most High. Undoubtedly, this was an example al-Khalwa, the seclusion of spiritual retreat for the purpose of attaining nearness to Allah.

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