8 practical tips to perform Etikaf in Masjid al Nabawi (Madina)

The Holy month of Ramadan is almost at the end and we know that in the last 10 days many Muslims around the world opt to follow the Sunnah and perform Etikaf. People from around the globe visit Madina during Ramadan to make an Umrah and perform Etikaf there.

If you are among those who are planning to make an Etikaf this year in Madina, here are some tips that shall be useful for you. We have already shared a complete guide to performing Etikaf in Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. It is also important for every Muslim to know about the things that break or invalidate the Etikaf.

1-Make timely travel Arrangements: As more and more people plan to move to Madina during the last ten nights of Ramadan, you shall pre-plan everything. Plan ahead as flights and hotels are sold out. A wise decision would be to take a flight to Jeddah and then head to Madina after performing Umrah on 17th or 18th of Ramadan.

This way you can ensure that you spend ten nights of the last 10 days there as moon sighting is always uncertain and that you spend Eid there.

In order to have cheap and easy bookings, make sure you proceed 2-3 months earlier. Always travel with a trusted agent and get yourself vaccinated.

2-Apply for Etikaf Online: Now, one can make Etikaf registration online. This will help you save your time and save you from standing in queues for hours. Once registered, you will be able to stay in Masjid al-Haram during Etikaf and would be allowed to bring your things in.

Make sure you print the confirmation letter as the identity pass for Motikif would only be issued once it is produced to the authorities.

3-Pack up: This is a crucial step as you need only to pack up the necessary things. You cannot take along half of your belongings with you as space is limited and authorities won’t allow you take them inside the mosque.

The five things that will be enough are Underwear/shirts, a pillow, a thobe, a traveler’s sleeping bag and few toiletries. Take along with you light and comfortable clothes. Keep with you some necessary medicines such as pain-killers, antibiotics and for stomach issues. Take along a power bank to keep your mobile charged.

4-Setting Up in the Mosque: The mosque does have a special space for the people performing Etikaf, yet the mosque is always full. You cannot keep a spot with you always and one has to move with their belongings from one spot to another. Try to occupy space near the toilets as this will help you in timely ablution.

5-Iftaar & Suhur: The iftar and suhur are served and the menu is almost the same for all the days. However, at the time of iftar, the food spread is lied down. You need to make sure you occupy the same spot so that you don’t bother others.

Your things would also be stored at a designated place so occupy a same spot over the time. Make sure you behave well with people and show gratitude towards them as this is what Ramadan teaches us.

Do not waste food, things that you don’t like shall be given away to others! If you want a change or so, there are people out there who can bring you food from the nearby hotels. If you are going by yourself to take food, make sure you do not violate the rules of Etikaf.

6-Bathroom tricks: The bathrooms are clean and water is readily available. Whenever you go, make sure you perform a small shower to freshen up. Most of the washrooms there are not of western style so get ready for that, yet there are few such at the back.

If you take the stairs (at left and not the escalators) you will end up at the backend washrooms where there are fewer people.

7-Rawda & Paying Salaams: This is one of the most awaited experience. You need to walk slowly and pay Salaam to the Prophet PBUH. However, as you move closer, the place gets packed. So be patient. Try to pay salam from far.

Try to go after asr prayer as that time there are fewer people. Pray two units of prayer there and go away to let other people adjust. If there is too much chaos inside, you can offer the prayer at the outskirts.

8-Eid Salah and Departure: Try to remain inside the masjid after Fajr prayer if you wish to occupy a good place to offer Eid prayer. As many would be leaving at the 2nd or 3rd day of eid, make sure you reach the airport 3 hours earlier and reach the Hajj terminal.

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Steve has vast experience in writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures.