the time of the dfahilïya. There seems to be no reason to doubt the truth of such reports.
The main current of tradition fixes the time of Muhammad's retreat in the last ten days or nights of Ramadan. "The Apostle of Allah used to practise i tikaf in the last ten of Ramadan"1).
Yet the first and the second decade of that month are very often mentioned, e. g. : "The Apostle of Allah practised i tikaf in the first ten of Ramadan and we did so: then Gabriel visited him and said: that which thou seekest, lieth before thee. Thereupon he retired during the middle ten and we did so. Then Gabriel visited him and said: That which thou seekest, lieth before thee. Then, on the morning of the 20st, Muhammad stood as a khatïb. saying: Whose hath retired with the prophet, shall return [to his place of retreatj: for I saw the lailat al-kadr in a dream, but I have forgotten its [date]; lo, it is in one of the last ten, on an odd date"") etc.
Here it is expressly said that the uncertainty regarding the time of i tikaf depended upon the uncertainty of the lailat alkadr, for an intrinsic connection is laid in this tradition between the two. Just as the Night of the Decree may happen to be any night of Ramadan, so i tikaf may take place is any of its three decades. A few more examples may illustrate the connection between the retreat and the Night. "The Apostle of Allah practised i"tikcif in the middle decade of Ramadan, seeking the lailat al-kadr"3). And Kastallanï says: a/ctikaf belongs to the Consolidated sunnds, especially in the last ten of Ramadan, with a view to seeking the lailat al-kadr"4). The connection between the two may also appear from the fact that i tikaf is practised chiefly at night time. cUmar vows to spend a night in the Mekkan masd/id and Kastallanï concludes from a tradition that people used to do i tikaf during the night rather than in the day time 5).
1) Bukhaii, F tikaf, b. I, 6, 8, 18 etc.
2) Bukharl, Ar/han, b. 135. Cf. Muslim, Siyam, tr. 214: ƒ£*!! üJJ! q'
üjkJy' iLis i3 ƒ«•*Jt Jj'iSI
3) Muslim, Siyam, tv. 217: ^ üJJ! ftJJCc!
4) lil, 500: yioil! & ^ jüt,
5) III, 507 3 infra ; ^LJjl jjüll Kjj