Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
What should we do during a spiritual retreat (i‘tikaf) in the mosque? Is there a minimal period of time for its validity?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
The minimum period of time for a recommended (mustahab) spiritual retreat (i‘tikaf) in the mosque is merely a moment. As such, it is generally praiseworthy to make an intention for the retreat whenever you enter.
As well as making an intention, it is also from the sunna to supplicate when entering mosques. Imam Nawawi writes in his Book of Remembrances (al-Adhkar) that a person can recite the following supplication, for example: "O Allah, open the doors of Your Mercy for me’ (Allahumma iftah li abwab rahmatik)."
[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah (2.376); Nawawi, al-Adhkar]
Please also see: The Three Types of Spiritual Retreat (i`tikaf) and: The Spiritual Retreat (i`tikaf) and: Supplication upon Entering the Mosque
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.