Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) reports that the Holy Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) used to observe Ietikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhan till he died, and then his wives used to observe Ietikaf after him.
Ietikaf is a kind of seclusion observed in mosques during the last ten days of the holy month of Ramadhan. It is a Fard-al-Kifaya or obligatory duty to be observed at least by some person(s) representing the vicinity. If nobody turns up for observing Ietikaf, the entire locality will be the defaulter. The womenfolk are required to observe Ietikaf in a corner of their houses.
The hadīth bears testimony to the fact that the Holy Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) used to observe Ietikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhan – till the last Ramadhan of his life. Besides, his wives used to observe it in their chambers.
As Lailatul Qadr falls in one of the last five odd-numbered nights of Ramadhan, the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) used to spend the period very assiduously. He not only offered prayers for the whole night but used to awaken the members of his family for prayers. Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with him) says that the Holy Messenger used to exert his utmost in seeking Allah’s forgiveness, invoking His Mercy in prayers, recitation, etc. by girding up his loins. The Holy Messenger once missed the opportunity but he compensated it the next year by observing Ietikaf for 20 days.