This matter regarding Itikhaaf in Quantity was on my mind for a long time. Now that a question has come, we will address.
1) Itekhaaf is firstly Sunnah Muakkhida ala Kifaayah.
Simply speaking, an emphasised Sunnat is performed by one person of the locality then the whole locality is exonerated from its responsibility and if no one completes this duty then the whole locality is sinful. Thus from this definition itself one comes to the conclusion that even one person will be sufficient, not even two is required.
Thus jurisprudically Itekhaaf in quantity is not proven. From sunrise to sunset we claim to follow the Hanafi Fiqh but when it suits us we switch to justify hidden agendas.
2) Further the Fuqaha when questioned wheather it is necessary to make Itekhaaf in each and every Masjid, if there be many Masaajids in one locality. The reply as stated is Ahsanul Fatawa is that there is no clear classical text to prove that in every Masjid Itekhaaf should take place but making Qiyaas (Shaari analogy) on Taraweeh, it will be permissible to do so.
3) Stats show that in some Masjids there are hundreds whilst in poor isolated areas NO one sits. Should not those who want to sit for Itekhaaf go to those areas and fulfil a need of the time.
4) Nabi (S.A.W) told Sahabah (R.A) that those who sat with him the year gone by should do so again. This hadith is subject to many interpretations. Example, he did not ask for increase, what was the real Illat (super cause) for that request etc. Thus to prove massive quantity Itekhaaf from this hadith is not reasonable. Quantity collective Itekhaaf can be proven subject to academic discussion namely -
5) In the subsequent eras of the Khulafa Rashideen not even collective Itekhaaf is prove, moreover
6) The exact quantity that sat with Nabi (S.A.W) is not known or recorded, furthermore
7) The action not done by the Sahabah (R.A) leads to the valid understanding that is, Itekhaaf is Sunnat-e-Muakkhidah ala Kifayah to which the illustrious Hanafi Fuqahaa come to the conclusion:-
8) The purpose of Itkehaaf according to all the Ulema is via isolation and seclusion to seek out the Lailatul Qadr.
Now with these massive Itekhaafs these purposes are totally defeated.
9) These days there is non-proven competition. We hear in our Khanqah Masjid, our Sheikh got 200 sitting for Itekhaaf and so on and so forth. Is this Islaamic?
10) Nowadays adverts are put out, come to this Masjid, under this Sheikh for Itekhaaf. This viscous propaganda is done via, posters, leaflets, hand-bills, radio, bbm, sms, E-mail and personal conveyances. Is this proven?
11) Now to attract, spend Itekhaaf with us, we provide, bedding, food, deserts, refreshments, towels, dry-cleaning, medical facilities and each group tries to outshine the next. Is this good?
12) Now is some places, fridges and microwaves are bought into the Masaajids What next?
13) Result: In one Masjid in Durban, it costs R300,000,00 to maintain those in Itekhaaf for 10 days. Is this good? Could this money be used to build one Musallah?
14) The first Khanqah was established by the Khalfat of Hadhrat Hassan Basri (A.R), Hadhrat Habib Halabi (A.R) outside the Masjid. These days this concept is being presented that we turn the Masjid into a Khanqah in the last 10 days of Ramadhaan. This is fallacious and wrong. This is non-substantiated. This is misleading and full of deception. Be wary of such un-savoury tactics.
15) Sadly now the Tabligh Jamaat centres have fallen into this trap and instead of sending out Jamaats, people are encouraged to stay in for Itekhaaf, whilst Battle of Badr and conquest of Makkah took place in Ramadhaan. Allaah grant understanding
16) In these massive Itekhaafs, numerous Bidaat and Makrooh Tahrimi activities are done wilfully.
a) Congregational Nafl Salaat;
b) Congregational Night Vigil;
c) Congregational gatherings on auspicious nights;
d) Congregational loud Zikr in unison in the Masjid;
e) Using of Masjid amenities and faculties extravagantly
17) This Usool is produced that it is not necessary to have a specific text for its permissibility. Those who utilise this text have opened the flood gates of Bidaat and every other act of the Ahle Bidaat becomes Kosher.
Thus sway the generality of a Usool without understanding its proper usage. Its place, time and situation.
18) The Salf-e-Saliheen whom we are ordered to conform to in order to be on the right path means Rasulullaah (S.A.W), Sahabah (R.A), Tabeen, Tabeen with Ihsaan. Period.
19) They did not venture to perform such huge massive Itekhaafs. So why must we?
20) Thus seclusion is loss, isolation not found, wastage and extravagance encouraged, Bidaat promoted, Makrooh-e-Tahrimi acts done, personality projection canvassed, it becomes like a party all and more in the name of Deen of Islaam.
In the name of spiritual up-liftment and spiritual reformation.
In an activity that is not adequately substantiated very little or no Barakaat (blessing) results.
The actions, statements and spiritual inspirations of every pious person is not a Shaari proof. (See on website for Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat)
Thus value the proven aspects of Shariat, practice upon them, in it lies goodness.
Moreover if it had great tremendous goodness, why the Salf-e-Saaliheen did not do it? Did they miss out? Did they not understand the value of this action? Think carefully.
Allaah guide us all.