Monday, July 3, 2017

I'tikaf In Masjid Baitul Ihsan (Masjid BI) And Masjid Agung Sunda Kelapa

Disclaimer: I wrote this as a self-reminder should I want to do another i'tikaf in the future.

Before I start, allow me to write a definition of i'tikaf. I hope I get it correctly. I'tikaf means staying in a mosque for a period of time, devoting the time for ibadah (praying, reciting Quran, reading Hadits etc) and staying away from the worldly affairs. 

In some countries, women are not allowed to do i'tikaf in the mosque. But in Indonesia, women do i'tikaf. So I guess it is a cultural thing, just like women in Indonesia are not allowed to perform Jumat prayer but actually women can do Jumat prayer in Masjidil Haram. Correct me if I'm wrong :).

OK, back to this post. Last Ramadan, I did i'tikaf in two mosques: Masjid Baitul Ihsan and Masjid Agung Sunda Kelapa. Here are my recount of the experience.

Masjid Baitul Ihsan or Masjid BI

Built in 2001, the 1.087-square meter Masjid Baitul Ihsan is located inside the state bank Bank Indonesia's complex and can house up to 4,000 people. It has a parking area, shoes shelves, toilets and ablution area, and best of all, it is air-conditioned.

Logistics. The second best thing about this mosque (beside it being air-conditioned): it provides drinking water. All you need to do is bring your own water bottle. 

There are some food vendors near the entrance gate. But if you want the real deal, you can always run to the 24-hour McDonalds in Sarinah. To have a proper sahur, you can register for a rice box at the entrance after Witir and pay Rp 20.000.  

Accommodation. It has wall-to-wall carpet. The ground floor has thicker carpet than the second floor. Since I was taking a spot on the second floor, it was a good thing I brought my Deuter Dreamlite500 sleeping bag.

The number of toilet can be improved. But as a person who doesn't pee much during fasting month, I can survive.

I'tikaf Program. The mosque holds Maghrib, Isya, Tarawih (8 rakaat) and Witir (3 rakaat), which usually conclude at 9 p.m. There is a sermon for about one hour. Then you are left to do personal activities (either praying, reading Quran etc) until 1 a.m. when they wake you up to do qiyamul lail. The night prayer is done in 8 rakaat. Each night of the last 10 days of Ramadan the imam will read 3 juz. When I did i'tikaf it was juz 7-9.

Masjid Agung Sunda Kelapa

Built in 1970, the 9.920-square meter Masjid Sunda Kelapa is located behind the National Development Planning Board and can also house up to 4.000 people. MASK has the same facilities like Masjid BI, however, this mosque is much older and not much modernization.

Logistics. There is no drinking water. So you must buy bottled water. Or in my case, I brought a refillable water bottle, asked a food vendor to refill and pay for the water. It's the least I could do to reduce the plastic waste.

There are a lot of food vendors outside of the mosque's gate, and you can choose from satay (meat on skewer) and soto (clear soup) to ketoprak (vegetable, vermicelli noodle topped with peanut sauce) and dimsum (meat dumpling). All is delicious and affordable!

The mosque gives free rice boxes for ifthar and sahur, which they receive from donors. On that particular dawn, the mosque distributed 2.130 rice boxes for sahur and not everyone received. I happened to bring my own meal, so I gave my rice box to an elderly lady.

Accommodation. Women can occupy the multi purpose hall. But I found it too cramped, so I took a spot at the roofed terrace, which is not air-conditioned. Sleeping bag to the rescue!

The number of toilet is enough to cater the whole congregation. But the toilet condition is a bit...hmm...well, there is room for improvement.

I'tikaf Program. The mosque holds Maghrib, Isya, Tarawih (20 rakaat) and then you have a break to do personal activities until midnight, when they wake you up and turn off the light for qiyamul lail. The night prayer is 8 rakaat and the imam reads one juz. 

Conclusion

When doing i'tikaf, I know I should bring these:
1. Mukena (praying outfit), sajadah (praying mat) and other equipment
2. Sleeping bag
3. Tissues (both dry and wet tissues)
4. Refillable water bottle
5. Food (in case no food vendor/free rice box)

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