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ITIKAF

 

 

 

 

ISLAMQA

 

QUESTIONS

  1. Conditions of I’tikaaf
  2. The reward for i’tikaaf
  3. On which day is i’tikaaf?
  4. Is it valid to observe i’tikaaf in any mosque?
  5. The minimum length of time for i’tikaaf
  6. I’tikaaf is prescribed in Ramadaan and at other times
  7. Is i’tikaaf in musallas and Islamic centres valid?
  8. I’tikaaf of both men and women is only valid if observed in the mosque
  9. When should a person who is observing i’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan enter i’tikaaf and exit from it?
  10. Is it permissible for a woman to observe i’tikaaf on behalf of her deceased parents?
  11. The basic goal of i’tikaaf – why have the Muslims forsaken this Sunnah?
  12. Can a woman observe i’tikaaf for the full ten days?
  13. He wants to observe i’tikaaf on the odd-numbered nights only
  14. About the hadeeth, “There is no i‘tikaaf except in the three mosques”
  15. Is it permissible for one who is observing i’tikaaf to go out of the mosque
  16. Taking pills to prevent menses in order to observe i’tikaaf
  17. The minimum length of time for i’tikaaf
  18. I’tikaaf in a room inside the mosque
  19. Can a man prevent his wife from observing i’tikaaf?

 

 

 

1. Conditions of I’tikaaf

 

 

What are the conditions of i'tikaaf? Is fasting one of them? Is it permissible for the mu’takif (person in i’tikaaf) to visit one who is sick, or to accept an invitation, or to attend to his family’s needs, or to attend a funeral, or to go to work?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

It is prescribed to observe i’tikaaf in a mosque in which prayers in congregation are held. If the mu’takif is one of those for whom Jumu’ah is obligatory and the period of his i’tikaaf will include a Friday, it is better for him to stay in a mosque where Jumu’ah prayer is observed. 

 

It is not a condition for him or her to be fasting. 

 

The Sunnah is for the mu’takif not to visit any sick person during his i'tikaaf, or to accept any invitation, attend to his family’s needs, attend any funeral or go to work outside the mosque, because it was proven that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Sunnah for the mu’takif is not to visit any sick person, or attend any funeral, or touch or be intimate with any woman, or go out for any reason except those which cannot be avoided.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2473

 

2.The reward for i’tikaaf

 

What is the reward for i’tikaaf?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

I’tikaaf is prescribed in Islam and it is an act of worship that draws one closer to Allaah.

Once this is established, there are many ahaadeeth which encourage us to draw closer to Allaah by doing naafil acts of worship. The general meaning of these ahaadeeth includes all kinds of worship, including i’tikaaf. 

 

For example, there is the hadeeth qudsi in which Allaah says: “My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6502. 

 

Secondly: 

 

There are several ahaadeeth which speak of the virtue of i’tikaaf and describe its reward, but they are all weak (da’eef) or fabricated (mawdoo’). 

 

Abu Dawood said: I said to Ahmad (i.e., Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal): Do you know anything about the virtue of i’tikaaf? He said: No, except something weak. Masaa’il Abi Dawood, p. 96. 

 

These ahaadeeth include the following: 

1 – Ibn Maajah (1781) narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said concerning the person who observes i’tikaaf: “He is refraining from sin and he will be given a reward like that of one who does all kinds of good deeds.”  This was classed as da’eef by al-Albaani in Da’eef Ibn Maajah

 

2 – al-Tabaraani, al-Haakim and al-Bayhaqi narrated the following from Ibn ‘Abbaas, which they classed as da’eef: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever observes i’tikaaf for one day seeking thereby the Face of Allaah, Allaah will place between him and the Fire three ditches wider than the distance between the east and the west.” This was classed as da’eef by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Da’eefah, 5345.  

 

3 – al-Daylami narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever observes i’tikaaf out of faith and in the hope of reward will be forgiven his previous sins.” Classed as da’eef by al-Albaani in Da’eef al-Jaami’, 5442. 

 

4 – Al-Bayhaqi narrated the following report from al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him), which he classed as da’eef: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever observes i’tikaaf for ten days in Ramadaan, that will be equivalent to two Hajjs and two ‘Umrahs. This was mentioned by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Da’eefah (518) where he said: it is mawdoo’ (fabricated).

 

3.On which day is i’tikaaf?

 

Is it permissible to observe i'tikaaf at any time other than the last ten days of Ramadaan?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

Yes, it is permissible to observe i'tikaaf at any time, but the best is to do so during the last ten days of Ramadaan, following the example of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them). It was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also observed i'tikaaf during Shawwaal in some years. 

 

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon his family and companions

 

Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas, Fataawa al-Lajnah, 10/410

 

4.Is it valid to observe i’tikaaf in any mosque?

 

 

Is it valid to observe i’tikaaf in any mosque?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

The scholars differed concerning the characteristics of the mosque in which it is permissible to observe i’tikaaf. Some said that it is valid to observe i’tikaaf in any mosque, even if prayers in congregation are not held there, based on the general meaning of the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

 

“And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques” [al-Baqarah 2:187]

 

Imam Ahmad was of the view that it is conditional upon it being in a mosque in which prayers are held in congregation. He quoted the following evidence for that: 

 

1 – The words of ‘Aa’ishah: “There should be no i’tikaaf except in a mosque in which prayers in congregation are held (masjid jamaa’ah).” Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in his essay Qiyaam Ramadaan

 

2 – Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “There should be no i’tikaaf except in a mosque in which prayer is established.” Al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 5/212. 

 

3 – If a person observes i’tikaaf in a mosque in which prayers in congregation are not held, this will lead to one of two things: 

 

(i)Either he will miss prayer in congregation, and it is not permissible for a man to miss prayer in congregation without a valid excuse.

 

(ii)Or he will go out a great deal in order to pray in another mosque, which defeats the purpose of i’tikaaf. 

 

See al-Mughni, 4/461. 

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in al-Sharh al-Mumti’ (6/312): 

 

I’tikaaf is not valid unless it is observed in a mosque in which people gather (to pray)? 

Is what is meant a mosque in which Jumu’ah prayers are held, or one in which prayers in congregation (jamaa’ah) are held? 

 

The answer is: a mosque in which prayers in congregation are held; it does not have to be one in which Jumu’ah prayers are held, because the mosque in which prayers in congregation are not held is not a mosque in the true sense of the word, such as if the mosque has been abandoned by its people or they have moved away. 

 

It is not essential that the mosque be one in which Jumu’ah prayers are held, because Jumu’ah does not happen repeatedly and going out to attend Jumu’ah does not affect i’tikaaf, unlike the five daily prayers which happen repeatedly every day and night. 

 

This condition – that the mosque be one in which prayers are held in congregation – applies if the person observing i’tikaaf is a man. If it is a woman, her i’tikaaf is valid in any mosque, even if it is one in which prayers are not held in congregation, because prayer in congregation is not obligatory for woman. 

 

Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughni

 

A woman may observe i’tikaaf in any mosque; it does not have to be one in which prayers are held in congregation, because that is not obligatory for women. This is the view of al-Shaafa’i. 

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in al-Sharh al-Mumti’ (6/313): 

 

If a woman observes i’tikaaf in a mosque in which prayers are not held in congregation, there is nothing wrong with that because she does not have to pray in congregation.

 

5.The minimum length of time for i’tikaaf

What is the minimum length of time for i’tikaaf ? Is it possible to observe i’tikaaf for a short time or does it have to be for several days?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

The scholars differed as to the minimum length of time for i’tikaaf.

 

The majority of scholars are of the view that the minimum length of time is a moment. This is the view of Abu Haneefah and Ahmad. See al-Durr al-Mukhtaar (1/445); al-Majmoo’, 6/489; al-Insaaf, 7/566. 

 

Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’, 6/514: 

 

With regard to the minimum length of time for i’tikaaf, the majority stipulated that it must be observed in the mosque, and that it is permissible to do a lot or a little, even a hour or a moment.  

 

They quoted several reports as evidence for that: 

 

1 – That i’tikaaf in Arabic means staying, and the word may be applied to a long period of time or a short one; there is no report in sharee’ah that defines it as being a specific length of time. 

 

Ibn Hazm said: I’tikaaf in the language of the Arabs means staying… any stay in the mosque for the sake of Allaah with the intention of drawing closer to Him is i’tikaaf… whether that is for a short time or a long time, because the Qur’aan and Sunnah do not specify any number or length of time. Al-Muhalla, 5/179 

 

2 – Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated that Ya’la ibn Umayyah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I will stay in the mosque for an hour, and I am only staying to observe i’tikaaf. Ibn Hazm quoted this as evidence in al-Muhalla (5/179); it was quoted without comment by al-Haafiz in al-Fath. “Hour” here refers to a period of time but it does not mean an hour in the modern sense of sixty minutes. 

 

Some scholars are of the opinion that the minimum length of i’tikaaf is one day. This was narrated from Abu Haneefah and was the view of some of the Maalikis. Shaykh Ibn Baaz said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (15/441): 

 

I’tikaaf means staying in the mosque to worship Allaah, whether that is for a long time or a short time, because as far as I know there is no report to indicate a set time, whether one or two days or more. This is an act of worship which is prescribed in Islam unless one vows to do it, in which case it becomes obligatory. This applies equally to men and women.

 

6. I’tikaaf is prescribed in Ramadaan and at other times

Can i’tikaaf be done at any time or is it only to be done in Ramadaan?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

I’tikaaf is Sunnah at any time, in Ramadaan or otherwise, but it is better in Ramadaan, especially in the last ten days of Ramadaan. 

 

This is indicated by the general meaning of the evidence which speaks of i'tikaaf being mustahabb, which includes Ramadaan and other times.

 

Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’ (6/501): 

 

I’tikaaf is Sunnah according to consensus, and it is not obligatory unless one vowed to do it

– also according to consensus. It is mustahabb to do it a great deal and it is mustahabb especially in the last ten days of Ramadaan. 

 

He also said (6/514): 

 

The best i’tikaaf is that which is accompanied by fasting, and the best of that is in Ramadaan, and the best of that is the last ten days. 

 

Al-Albaani said in Qiyaam Ramadaan

 

I'tikaaf is Sunnah in Ramadaan and at other times of the year. The basis for that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

 

“…while you are in I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques”

 

[al-Baqarah 2:187]

 

And there are saheeh ahaadeeth which describe the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) observing i’tikaaf as well as numerous reports which describe the salaf as doing so too. 

 

It was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) observed i’tikaaf during ten days of Shawwaal as well. This is agreed upon. 

 

‘Umar said to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “During the Jaahiliyyah I vowed to observe i’tikaaf for one night in al-Masjid al-Haraam.” He said: “Fulfil your vow.” So he [‘Umar] observed i’tikaaf for one night. Agreed upon. 

 

It is more emphasized in Ramadaan, because of the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to observe i’tikaaf for ten days every Ramadaan, and in the year in which he passed away he observed i’tikaaf for twenty days. Narrated by al-Bukhaari. 

 

The best i’tikaaf is at the end of Ramadaan, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to observe i’tikaaf for the last ten days of Ramadaan until he passed away. Agreed upon. 

 

Shaykh Ibn Baaz said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (15/437): 

 

Undoubtedly i’tikaaf in the mosque is an act of worship, and (observing it) in Ramadaan is better than at other times. It is prescribed in Ramadaan and at other times. 

 

See Fiqh al-I’tikaaf by Dr Khaalid al-Mushayqih, p. 41.

 

7. Is i’tikaaf in musallas and Islamic centres valid?

Is it permissible to observe i’tikaaf in musallas or Islamic centres (in which the five daily prayers and Jumu’ah prayer are offered), or is it permissible only in masjids? May Allaah reward you with good.

 

Praise be to Allaah.

 

It is only valid to observe i’tikaaf in masjids, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques” [al-Baqarah 2:187]

 

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

 

The evidence in this verse indicates that if it (i’tikaaf) were valid in places other than the mosque, the prohibition on intimacy with one’s wife would not be singled out for prohibition there because intercourse is contrary to i’tikaaf according to scholarly consensus. So it is known, from mention of the mosques, that what is meant is that i’tikaaf can only be in the mosques. Ibn al-Mundhir narrated that there was scholarly consensus that what is meant by “sexual relations” in this verse is intercourse. Al-Tabari and others narrated via Qataadah that the reason for revelation of this verse was that if they were in i’tikaaf, and a man went for some need and met his wife, he had intercourse with her if he wanted, so this verse was revealed. End quote. 

 

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Mughni (3/65): 

 

I’tikaaf is not permissible except in a mosque in which prayers in congregation are held. 

I’tikaaf is not valid anywhere except in a mosque if the person observing i’tikaaf is a man. We do not know of any difference of opinion among the scholars concerning this. The basic principle concerning that is the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning): “And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques” [al-Baqarah 2:187]. End quote. 

 

Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’ (6/505): 

 

I’tikaaf on the part of a man or of a woman is not valid anywhere except in the mosque. It is not valid in the prayer-place of a woman’s house or the prayer-place of a man’s house, which is a separate area set aside for prayer. End quote. 

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

 

Shar’i i’tikaaf must be in the mosques, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): (interpretation of the meaning): “… while you are in I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques” [al-Baqarah 2:187]

 

End quote from Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb (8/176) 

 

Based on this, i’tikaaf in musallas or Islamic centres is not valid. 

 

And Allaah knows best.

 

8. I’tikaaf of both men and women is only valid if observed in the mosque

Can a woman observe i’tikaaf in her house?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

The scholars are agreed that a man’s i’tikaaf is only valid if observed in the mosque, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques”

 

[al-Baqarah 2:187]

 

So i’tikaaf is something that should be done specifically in the mosque. 

 

See al-Mughni, 4/461 

 

With regard to women, the majority of scholars are of the view that as in the case of men, their i’tikaaf is not valid unless it is observed in the mosque, because of the verse quoted above (interpretation of the meaning): 

 

“And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques”

 

[al-Baqarah 2:187]

 

The wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him for permission to observe i’tikaaf in the mosque and he gave them permission, and they used to observe i’tikaaf in the mosque after he died. 

 

If it were permissible for a woman to observe i’tikaaf in her house, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have told them to do that, because it is better for a woman to remain concealed in her house than to go out to the mosque. 

 

Some of the scholars were of the view that it is valid for a woman to observe i’tikaaf in the “mosque” of her house, which is the place that she allocates for prayer in her house. 

 

But the majority of scholars said that this is not allowed and said that the place where she prays in her house is not called a masjid (mosque) except by way of metaphor, and it is not really a mosque, so it does not come under the rulings on mosques, hence it is permissible for people who are junub and menstruating women to enter it. 

 

See al-Mughni, 4/464. 

 

Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’ (6/505): 

 

It is not valid for men or women to observe i’tikaaf anywhere but in the mosque; it is not valid in the mosque of a woman’s house or the mosque of a man’s house, which is a space that is set aside for prayer. 

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (20/264) about where a woman who wants to observe i’tikaaf should do so? 

 

He replied: 

 

If a woman wants to observe i’tikaaf, she should observe i’tikaaf in the mosque so long as that does not involve anything that is forbidden according to sharee’ah. If that does involve anything that is forbidden then she should not do i’tikaaf. 

 

In al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (5/212) it says: 

 

The scholars differed as to where women should observe i’tikaaf. The majority are of the view that woman are like men, and their i’tikaaf is not valid unless observed in the mosque. Based on this it is not valid for a woman to observe i'tikaaf in the mosque of her house, because of the report narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) who asked about a woman who vowed to observe i’tikaaf in the mosque of her house. He said: “(This is) an innovation, and the most hateful of actions to Allaah are innovations (bid’ah).” So there can be no i’tikaaf except in a mosque in which prayers are established. And the mosque of a house is not a mosque in the real sense of the word and does not come under the same rulings; it is permissible to change it, and for a person who is junub to sleep in it. Moreover if it were permissible (to observe i’tikaaf at home), the Prophet’s wives (may Allaah be pleased with them) would have done that at least once to show that it is permissible.

9. When should a person who is observing i’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan enter i’tikaaf and exit from it?

I want to observe i’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan. I would like to know when I should enter the mosque and when I should exit therefrom.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

Firstly: 

 

With regard to entering the place of i’tikaaf, the majority of scholars (including the four imams Abu Haneefah, Maalik, al-Shaafa’i and Ahmad, may Allaah have mercy on them) are of the view that the one who wants to observe i’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan should enter his place of i'tikaaf before the sun sets on the night of the twenty-first. They quoted several texts as evidence, including the following: 

 

1 – It was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to observe i'tikaaf during the last ten nights of Ramadaan, Agreed upon. This indicates that the period of i’tikaaf is counted by the nights, not the days. And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

 

“And by the ten nights”

 

[al-Fajr 89:2]

 

The last ten nights start with the twenty-first. 

 

Based on this, he should enter the mosque before the sun sets on the night of the twenty-first. 

 

2 – They (the scholars) said that one of the greatest aims of i'tikaaf is to seek Laylat al-Qadr, and the night of the twenty-first is one of the odd-numbered nights in the last ten nights of Ramadaan, so it may possibly be Laylat al-Qadr, so he should be observing i’tikaaf on that night. This was stated by al-Sindi in Haashiyat al-Nasaa’i

 

See al-Mughni, 4/489. 

 

But al-Bukhaari (2041) and Muslim (1173) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted to observe i’tikaaf, he would pray Fajr then enter his place of i'tikaaf. 

 

Because of the apparent meaning of this hadeeth, some of the salaf were of the view that he would enter his place of i’tikaaf after Fajr prayer. This view was followed by the scholars of the Standing Committee (10/114) and Shaykh Ibn Baaz (15/442). 

 

But the majority of scholars responded to this hadeeth in one of two ways: 

 

(1)   That the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had started i'tikaaf before the sun set, but he did not enter the place for i’tikaaf until after Fajr prayer 

 

Al-Nawawi said: “When he wanted to observe i’tikaaf, he would pray Fajr then enter his place of i'tikaaf”  - this was quoted as evidence by those who say that i’tikaaf should be started at the beginning of the day. This is the view of al-Awzaa’i and al-Thawri, and of al-Layth in one of his two opinions. Maalik, Abu Haneefah, al-Shaafa’i and Ahmad said: he should enter (i’tikaaf) before the sun sets if he wants to observe i’tikaaf for a month or for ten days. They interpreted the hadeeth as meaning that he entered the place of i’tikaaf in order to be alone there after he prayed Fajr, not that this is the time when he began i’tikaaf; rather he was in i’tikaaf from before Maghrib and stayed in the mosque, and when he had prayed Fajr he withdrew to be by himself. 

 

(2)   al-Qaadi Abu Ya’la, one of the Hanbalis, responded by interpreting the hadeeth as meaning that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do that on the twentieth. Al-Sindi said: This response is more likely to be correct.  

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked in Fataawa al-Siyaam (p. 501): When does i’tikaaf begin? 

 

He replied: 

 

The majority of scholars are of the view that i’tikaaf should begin on the night of the twenty first, not from Fajr of the twenty-first, although some of the scholars are of the view that i’tikaaf should begin from Fajr of the twenty-first, based on the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that was narrated by al-Bukhaari: “When he had prayed Fajr he entered his place of i'tikaaf”. But the majority of scholars responded by stating that the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) withdrew from people in the morning, but the intention to observe i’tikaaf was formed at the beginning of the night, because the last ten nights start when the sun sets on the twentieth.  

 

He also said (p. 503): 

 

Entering the place of i’tikaaf for the last ten nights of Ramadaan may be done when the sun sets on the night of the twenty-first, because that is the time when the last ten nights begin. This is not contradicted by the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah because the wording is different, so it should be understood according to what the language indicates. This is what was narrated by al-Bukhaari (2041) from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) observed i’tikaaf every Ramadaan and when he had prayed Fajr he would enter the place where he observed i’tikaaf. 

 

Her words “and when he had prayed Fajr he would enter the place where he observed i’tikaaf” indicate that he was already staying in the mosque, meaning that he was in the mosque before he entered he place of i’tikaaf. 

 

Secondly: 

 

With regard to coming out of i’tikaaf: 

 

He should come out when the sun sets on the last day of Ramadaan. 

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked: When should a person come out of i’tikaaf? Is it after the sun sets on the night of Eid or after Fajr on the day of Eid? 

 

He replied: 

 

He should come out of i’tikaaf when Ramadaan ends. Ramadaan ends when the sun sets on the night of Eid. Fataawa al-Siyaam, p. 502. 

 

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/441. 

 

The period of i’tikaaf during the (last) ten nights of Ramadaan ends when the sun sets on the last day of the month. 

 

If he chooses to stay until he has prayed Fajr and then depart from his place of i’tikaaf to the Eid prayer, there is nothing wrong with that. Some of the scholars regarded that as mustahabb. 

 

Imam Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that he saw that some of the scholars who had observed i’tikaaf during the last ten nights of Ramadaan did not go back to their families until they had attended the (prayer of Eid) al-Fitr with the people. Maalik said: I heard that from the righteous people who have passed on, and this is the dearest to me of what I have heard about that. 

 

Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’ (6/323): 

 

Al-Shaafa’i and his companions said: Whoever would like to follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in observing i’tikaaf during the last ten nights of Ramadaan should enter the mosque before the sun sets on the night of the twenty-first, so that he will not miss any of it, and he should come out after the sun sets on the night of Eid, whether the month is twenty-nine days or thirty. It is better for him to stay in the mosque on the night of Eid so that he can offer the Eid prayer there, or go out to the Eid prayer-place if they pray Eid there. 

 

If he goes directly from i’tikaaf to the Eid prayer, it is mustahabb for him to do ghusl and make himself look good before going out, because this is one of the Sunnahs of Eid. 

 

10. Is it permissible for a woman to observe i’tikaaf on behalf of her deceased parents?

Is it permissible for a woman to observe i’tikaaf on behalf of her deceased parents?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.

 

Some of the scholars are of the view that it is permissible to do any act of worship and to give the reward for it to the dead, whilst others are of the view that that is limited only to the acts of worship that are mentioned in the texts. 

 

Shaykh Saalih ibn Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) was asked: What are the things that will benefit the deceased if done by the living? Is there a difference between physical acts of worship and others? We hope that you can explain this matter to us and show us a principle to which we may refer whenever we are confused about such issues. Please advise us, may Allaah bless you. 

 

He replied: The living may benefit the deceased in the ways indicated by the evidence, such as saying du’aa’ for him, seeking forgiveness for him, giving charity on his behalf, performing Hajj and ‘Umrah on his behalf, paying off debts that he owes, and carrying out Islamically acceptable instructions left in his will. The evidence indicates that all of these are prescribed in Islam. 

 

Some of the scholars added to these all acts of worship that a Muslim does and gives the reward for it to another Muslim, living or dead. But the correct view is that it is limited only to those for which there is evidence, and that may be regarded as an exception to what Allaah says in the verse (interpretation of the meaning): 

 

“And that man can have nothing but what he does (good or bad)”

 

[al-Najm 53:39]  

 

And Allaah knows best. 

 

Al-Muntaqa, 2/161 

 

With regard to parents in particular, Islam regards the son as a source of his father’s earning good deeds. 

 

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The good deeds that will reach a believer after his death are: knowledge which he learned and then spread; a righteous son whom he leaves behind; a copy of the Qur’aan that he leaves as a legacy; a mosque that he built; a house that he built for wayfarers; a canal that he dug; or charity that he gave during his lifetime when he was in good health. These deeds will reach him after his death.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 242; classed as saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah 4/121; classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi and al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb 1/18. 

 

Al-Sindi said in his commentary on Sunan Ibn Maajah

 

A righteous child is regarded as part of a person’s deeds and good teaching, because the father is the reason for his existence, and he is the cause of his righteousness because he has taught him true guidance, just as Allaah said in the Qur’aan, describing the son of Nooh (peace be upon him), (interpretation of the meaning): “verily, his work is unrighteous” [Hood 11:46] (i.e., a person may be labeled according to his deeds). End quote. 

 

Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

 

What a righteous son does of good deeds, his father will have a similar reward for them, without that detracting from his reward in the slightest, because his son is part of his efforts and his earning (of deeds). Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

 

“And that man can have nothing but what he does (good or bad)”

[al-Najm 53:39]

 

And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best that a man consumes is what he earns, and his son is part of his earnings.” Narrated by the four authors of al-Sunan and classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani because of corroborating reports. End quote from Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz, p. 126, 217. 

 

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) was asked: 

What are the deeds that will benefit one’s parents, whether they are alive or dead? 

He replied: These deeds are: honouring them when they are alive, treating them kindly in word and deed, taking care of their needs for maintenance, accommodation and other things, feeling happy to be with them, speaking nicely to them and serving them, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

 

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents”

 

[al-Isra’ 17:23]

 

especially when they grow old.  

 

After they die, the ways of honouring them that remain are making du’aa’ for them, giving charity on their behalf, doing Hajj and ‘Umrah on their behalf, paying off debts that they owe, upholding the ties of kinship that one has through them, honouring their friends, and carrying out their last wishes that are in accordance with Islam. End quote.

 

Al-Muntaha, 2/162. 

 

Secondly: 

 

With regard to women observing i’tikaaf, i’tikaaf is mustahabb for men and women, but in the case of women it is subject to the condition that it be done with the permission of the woman’s family or husband, and that there should be no fitnah caused by her observing i’tikaaf.

 

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:  

 

A woman may observe i’tikaaf so long as her doing so does not involve any fitnah. If it involves any fitnah, then she should not be allowed to do that, because if something forbidden results from something that is mustahabb, it must be prevented, just as if something forbidden results from something that is permissible, it must be prevented. If we assume that if she observes i’tikaaf in the mosque there will be fitnah, such as happens in al-Masjid al-Haraam, because in al-Masjid al-Haraam there is no place that is just for women, and if a woman observes i'tikaaf she will inevitably have to sleep, whether at night or during the day, and if she sleeps among men who are coming and going there will be fitnah.

 

 The evidence that i’tikaaf is prescribed for women is the fact that the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) observed i’tikaaf during his lifetime and after his death. But if there is the fear of fitnah, then a woman should not be allowed to do it, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade things that were less that that. When he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted to observe i’tikaaf he went out one day and saw a tent for ‘Aa’ishah and a tent for others of his wives. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Is it righteousness that you seek?!” then he ordered that the tents be taken down, and he did not observe i’tikaaf that year, and he made it up in Shawwaal. This indicates that if a woman’s i’tikaaf will result in fitnah, it should not be allowed. End quote. 

 

Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 6/510, 511 

 

Conclusion: A person should do a lot of righteous deeds on his own behalf, before his life comes to an end and his deeds are cut off. His parent will have a share of the reward for these deeds without that detracting from their children’s reward. I’tikaaf is a righteous deed, but in the case of a woman it must be done according to the guidelines and conditions as stated by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him). 

 

And Allaah knows best.

 

11. The basic goal of i’tikaaf – why have the Muslims forsaken this Sunnah?

Why have the Muslims forsaken i’tikaaf, even though it is the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? What is the purpose of i’tikaaf?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

Firstly: 

 

I’tikaaf is one of the confirmed Sunnahs which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did regularly. 

 

This Sunnah has disappeared from the lives of the Muslims apart from those on whom Allaah has mercy. It is like many Sunnahs which the Muslims have virtually forsaken. 

There are several reasons for this, including the following: 

1-     Weakness of faith in many hearts

 

2-     Increased focus on worldly pleasures and desires, which leads to an inability to keep away from them even for a short time.

 

3-     Lack on interest in Paradise on the part of many, and their inclination towards leisure and relaxation, so that they do not want to put up with the hardship of i’tikaaf even for the sake of earning Allaah’s pleasure.

 

Whoever understands the significance of Paradise and the greatness of its delights will sacrifice his life and that which is most precious to him in order to attain it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The reward of Allaah is precious, the reward of Allaah is Paradise.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, 2450.

 

4-     Many people pay lip-service to the love of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), without acting upon it and implementing various aspects of the Sunnah, including i’tikaaf. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

 

“Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allaah and the Last Day, and remembers Allaah much”

 

[al-Ahzaab 33:21]

 

Ibn Katheer said (3/756):

 

This verse represents a major principle: that we should follow the example of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in word and deed in all situations. 

 

Some of the salaf (early generations of Islam) found it odd that people did not observe i’tikaaf even the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) persisted in doing so. Ibn Shihaab al-Zuhri said: It is strange that the Muslims have given up i’tikaaf when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not give it up from the time he entered Madeenah until Allaah took him (in death). 

 

Secondly: 

The i’tikaaf which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) always observed at the end of his life is i’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan. These few days may indeed be regarded as an intensive course of spiritual education which brings immediate positive results in a person’s life during the days and nights of Ramadaan and in the coming days, until the next Ramadaan comes. 

 

How great is the Muslims’ need to revive this Sunnah and establish it in the proper manner, as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions used to observe it. 

 

How great will be the success of those who adhere to the Sunnah after the ummah has neglected it and become corrupt.  

 

Thirdly: 

 

The basic goal of the Prophet’s i’tikaaf was to seek Laylat al-Qadr. 

 

Muslim (1167) narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) observed i’tikaaf during the first ten days of Ramadaan, then he observed i’tikaaf during the middle ten days in a small tent at the door of which was a reed mat. He took the mat in his hand and lifted it. Then he put his head out and spoke to the people, and they came close to him. He said: “I observed i’tikaaf during the first ten days seeking this night, then I observed i’tikaaf during the middle ten days. Then someone came and said to me that it is in the last ten days, so whoever among you wishes to observe i’tikaaf let him do so.” So the people observed i’tikaaf with him. 

 

This hadeeth teaches us a number of things: 

 

1-     That the basic goal of the i’tikaaf of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was to seek Laylat al-Qadr and to prepare to spend that night in worship. That is because of the great virtue of that night of which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “The Night of Al‑Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allaah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months)” [al-Qadr 97:3].

 

2-     The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) strove to seek that night before he was told when it is. So he started with the first ten days, then he observed it during the middle ten, then he continued to observe i'tikaaf during the last ten days, when he was told that it is in the last ten days. This is the utmost effort to seek Laylat al-Qadr.

 

3-     The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) followed the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because they started i’tikaaf and continued with him until the end of the month, because they were so keen to follow his example.

 

4-     The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was compassionate towards his companions and showed mercy to them, because he knew that i’tikaaf was difficult for them. So he gave them the choice between staying with him or of leaving, and said: “…so whoever among you wishes to observe i’tikaaf let him do so.” 

 

There are other aims of i’tikaaf as well, including the following: 

 

1-     Being alone with Allaah and cutting oneself off from people if possible, so that one may focus completely on Allaah.

 

2-     Renewing oneself spiritual by focusing totally on Allaah.

 

3-     Cutting oneself off completely in order to worship Allaah with prayer, du’aa’, dhikr and reading Qur’aan.

 

4-     Protecting one’s fast from everything that may affect it of whims and desires.

 

5-     Reducing permissible worldly pleasures and refraining from many of them even though one is able to enjoy them. 

 

See al-I’tikaaf Nazrah Tarbawiyyah by Dr. ‘Abd al-Lateef Balto.

 

12. Can a woman observe i’tikaaf for the full ten days?

I am a new muslim sister and I am quite confused in regards to I'tikaaf where women are concerned. Are women allow to perform I'tikaaf if there are seperate rooms for men and women at the local masjid? If women are allowed this, how many days should be performed (3 days, one week or all 10 days)?

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

Praise be to Allaah Who has guided you to Islam. We ask Allaah to increase you in faith and guidance. 

 

Yes, it is permissible for a woman to observe i’tikaaf in the mosque, indeed i'tikaaf is Sunnah for both men and women.

It is better to oberseve i'tikaaf for the full ten days, because this is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do. Al-Bukhaari (2026) and Muslim (1172) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to observe i’tikaaf for the last ten days of Ramadaan, until he passed away, then his wives observed i’tikaaf after he was gone. 

 

If a Muslim cannot observe i'tikaaf for all of the last ten days, then he may observe i’tikaaf for as long as he can, two or three days or more or less, even if it is only one night. 

 

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

 

I'tikaaf means staying in the mosque to worship Allaah, whether that is for a longer or shorter period, because there is no report – as far as I know – to indicate a specific length of time, whether one day, two days or more. 

 

Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 15/441.

 

13.He wants to observe i’tikaaf on the odd-numbered nights only

Is it permissible for me to observe i’tikaaf on the odd-numbered nights in Ramadaan, because I cannot observe i’tikaaf for the full ten days because I am newly married and my wife will be staying alone in my house, even though my house is close to where my parents live?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.

 

It is better for a Muslim to observe i’tikaaf during all of the last ten days, following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Al-Bukhaari and Muslim narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to spend the last ten days of Ramadaan in ‘i’tikaaf, until he passed away. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2025) and Muslim (1171). 

 

If he cannot spend all of the last ten days in i’tikaaf, and he limits himself to some of the days or nights, there is nothing wrong with that. Al-Bukhaari narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) vowed to spend one night in i’tikaaf in al-Masjid al-Haraam, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told him to fulfil his vow. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2042) and Muslim (1656). This indicates that it is valid to observe i'tikaaf for one night. 

 

What you should do is strive hard in worship during those nights, and strove to earn as much hasanah as much as you can. 

 

And Allaah knows best.

 

14. About the hadeeth, “There is no i‘tikaaf except in the three mosques”

Imam al-Albaani said in his essay Qiyaam Ramadan, in the section on i‘tikaaf: “Then I came across a clear saheeh hadeeth which singles out these mosques: ‘There is no i‘tikaaf except in the three mosques.”’ And he pointed out that it is a hadeeth of Hudhayfah narrated by al-Tahhaawi, al-Bayhaqi and al-Isma‘eeli, and hence in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah. What is the ruling on this hadeeth? What could we learn from it concerning i‘tikaaf? i.e., do we understand that it is prohibited to observe i‘tikaaf anywhere but in the three mosques or do we learn from this hadeeth that perfect i‘tikaaf cannot be done except in the three mosques? In either case, what is the proof?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.

 

Firstly: 

The Qur’aan and Sunnah, and scholarly consensus, indicate that it is mustahabb to observe i‘tikaaf in the mosques. 

 

Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and We commanded Ibrâhim (Abraham) and Ismâ'il (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka'bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I'tikâf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer)”

[al-Baqarah 2:125].  

 

“And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I'tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques”

[al-Baqarah 2:187]

 

More than one of the scholars narrated that there was consensus on that. See: al-Ijmaa‘by Ibn al-Mundhir, 47; al-Mughni, 3/122 

 

Although the scholars differed concerning the description of the mosque in which it is prescribed to observe i‘tikaaf, there is hardly any difference of opinion among the fuqaha’ that it is permissible to observe i‘tikaaf in the mosque in which Jumu‘ah prayer and prayers in congregation are offered. There was no report of any difference of opinion concerning that except from some of the Taabi‘een. 

 

Secondly: 

 

With regard to the hadeeth mentioned in the question, “There is no i‘tikaaf except in the three mosques,” it is a hadeeth from the great Sahaabi Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman which was narrated from him via Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyaynah from Jaami‘ ibn Abi Raashid from Abu Waa’il: Hudhayfah said to ‘Abdullah, meaning ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him): Are you observing i‘tikaaf between your house and the house of Abu Moosa when you know that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “There is no i‘tikaaf except in al-Masjid al-Haraam or in the three mosques”? ‘Abdullah said: Perhaps you have forgotten and they remembered, or you made a mistake and they got it right. 

 

But the companions of Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyaynah differed concerning it. 

 

Some of them narrated it as being the words of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). They were: 

 

Muhammad ibn al-Faraj, recorded by al-Ismaa‘eeli in Mu‘jam Shuyookhihi, 2/112; Mahmoud ibn Adam al-Marwazi, recorded by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan, 4/316; Hishaam ibn ‘Ammaar, recorded by al-Tahhaawi in Bayaan Mushkil al-Athaar, 7/40; Sa‘eed ibn Mansoor, as recorded in al-Tahqeeq fi Ahaadeeth al-Khilaaf by Ibn al-Jawzi, 2/127. 

 

Some of them narrated it as being the words of Hudhayfah, as if the isnaad ends with him (and not with the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)). They were: 

 

‘Abd al-Razzaaq in al-Musannaf, 4/348; Sa‘eed ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan and Muhammad ibn Abi ‘Umar, reported by al-Faakihi in Akhbaar Makkah, 2/149 

 

The more correct view – and Allah knows best – is the mawqoof report which goes back to Hudhayfah, i.e., he said these words on the basis of his own opinion and ijtihaad, and he did not hear it from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). That is for the following reasons: 

-1-This text is narrated as the words of Hudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) by another chain of narrators. It was narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf (2/337) and also by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq (4/347) via Sufyaan al-Thawri from Waasil al-Ahdab from Ibraahem al-Nakha‘i who said: Hudhayfah came to ‘Abdullah and said: Is it not amazing that your people are observing i‘tikaaf between your house and the house of al-Ash‘ari? – Meaning in the mosque. ‘Abdullah said: Perhaps they got it right and you got it wrong! Hudhayfah said: Do you not know that there is no i‘tikaaf except in three mosques: al-Masjid al-Haraam [in Makkah], al-Masjid al-Aqsa [in Jerusalem] and Masjid Rasool-Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) [in Madinah]? There is no difference between observing i‘tikaaf in it or in this market of yours.. 

 

The report of Ibraaheem al-Nakha‘i from ‘Abd-Allah ibn Mas‘ood is acceptable to the scholars. See: Jaami‘ al-Tahseel, 141; Sharh al-‘Ilal, 1/294 

-2-Differences in reports from Hudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him). It was narrated from him via other chains of narrators that he said: There is no i‘tikaaf except in a mosque in which prayers are offered in congregation. And he did not limit it to the three mosques at all. 

 

Ibn Hazm (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Muhalla (5/195), after mentioning this difference of opinion: 

 

We say: It is uncertain whether this is from Hudhayfah or someone else, and something uncertain cannot be definitely attributed to the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). If he (peace be upon him) had said, “There is no i‘tikaaf except in the three mosques”, Allah would have preserved it and there would have been no uncertainty concerning it. So we are certain that he (peace be upon him) never said it. End quote. 

 

-3-The senior Sahaabah did something other than that. ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allah be pleased with him), ‘Aa’ishah and Ibn ‘Abbaas all issued fatwas stating that i‘tikaaf may be observed in any mosque in which prayers in congregation are held, and there is no proof that any of the Sahaabah differed from them concerning that. Rather this action (i.e., observing i‘tikaaf in the mosque) was well-known among them in all regions, with no objection to it, apart from what was narrated from Hudhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him). And Allah knows best. This was stated by Shaykh Sulaymaan al-‘Alwaan. 

 

To sum up, it is not correct to attribute this hadeeth to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). It is the individual opinion of Hudhayfah in which he differed from the rest of the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them), as he also differed from the apparent meaning of the Holy Qur’aan which states that i‘tikaaf may be observed in any mosque, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “while you are in I'tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques”[al-Baqarah 2:187]. It is not appropriate to go against the apparent meaning of the Qur’aan and the actions of the majority of the Sahaabah on the basis of one mawqoof report concerning which there is some uncertainty, as it was not narrated by the authors of Saheehs or Sunans, and none of the earlier fuqaha’ issued any fatwa on that basis. Although some of the later scholars were of this view, their ijtihaad concerning this matter was incorrect. 

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Sharh al-Mumti‘(6/504): 

 

It is Sunnah to observe i‘tikaaf in any mosque in the world, not only in the three mosques, as it was narrated from Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “There is no i‘tikaaf except in the three mosques.” This is a da‘eef (weak) hadeeth. 

The fact that it is da‘eef is indicated by the fact that Ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him) doubted it and said: Perhaps they got it right and you got it wrong, or they remembered and you forgot. Thus he regarded this ruling and this report as unsound.

 

As for the ruling, it is to be found in the words: They got it right and you got it wrong. As for his doubting the report, it is reflected in his words: They remembered and you forgot. Human beings are prone to forgetfulness. 

 

If this hadeeth is saheeh, then what it means is that there is no perfect i‘tikaaf, i.e., in other mosques apart from the three, just as prayers offered elsewhere are lower in status than prayers offered in the three mosques. 

 

The fact that it is general in meaning and includes all mosques is indicated by the words of Allah (interpretation of the meaning): “while you are in I'tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques”[al-Baqarah 2:187].  

 

Moreover, how can this ruling in the Book of Allah be for the ummah that stretches from east to west, then we say that it is not valid except in the three mosques? It is far-fetched to suggest that the ruling is mentioned in general terms to the Muslim ummah then to say that this act of worship is not valid except in three mosques. End quote. 

 

And Allah knows best.

 

15. Is it permissible for one who is observing i’tikaaf to go out of the mosque?

I would like to know how i’tikaaf is to be done in the mosque during the last ten days of Ramadaan, noting that I work and my work finishes at 2 p.m. Do I have to stay in the mosque all the time?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

If the mu’takif (person observing i’tikaaf) goes out of the mosque, his i’tikaaf is invalidated, because i’tikaaf means staying in the mosque to worship Allaah. 

 

That applies unless the mu’takif goes out for an unavoidable reason, such as to relieve himself, to do wudoo’ or ghusl, or to bring food if he does not have anyone to bring food to the mosque for him, and other similar matters which cannot be avoided and which cannot be done in the mosque.  

 

Al-Bukhaari (2092) and Muslim (297) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used not to enter the house except for things that a person needs when he was observing i’tikaaf.  

 

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Mughni (4/466): 

 

What is meant by things that a person needs is to urinate and defecate, because every person need to do that. Similarly, he also needs to eat and drink. If he does not have anyone who can bring him food and drink, then he may go out to get them if he needs to. For everything that he cannot do without and cannot do in the mosque, he may go out for that purpose, and that does not invalidate his i’tikaaf, so long as he does not take a long time doing it. 

 

If the mu’takif goes out to do his work, this is something that invalidates i’tikaaf. 

 

The Standing Committee was asked: 

 

Is it permissible for the mu’takif to visit someone who is sick or to accept an invitation or to attend to his family’s needs or to attend a funeral or to go to work? 

 

They replied: 

 

The Sunnah is that the mu’takif should not visit one who is sick during his i’tikaaf, or accept any invitation, or attend to his family’s needs, or attend any funeral, or go to work outside the mosque, because it was proven that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Sunnah is for the mu’takif not to visit any sick person, or attend any funeral, or touch his wife or be intimate with her, or to go out for any purpose except those which cannot be avoided.” 

 

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2473. 

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/410.

 

16. Taking pills to prevent menses in order to observe i’tikaaf

I want to sit in Aitikaaf. This would be my third time I will be in Aitikaaf. My menses date will be somewhere in the last 10days of Ramadaan. There are pills available nowadays to stop the periods. I have used them while I sat in Aitikaa for the first time as my menses date was there. But this time I am afraid to use them as I had cancer and I have been operated and went through Chemotherapy. When I was diagnosed to cancer I did neeeyat that may ALLAH grant me health and I will sit in Aitikaaf. Now it the matter of my promise with ALL MIGHTY ALLAH. What should I do? Should I consult a doctor to know if the pills would be no harm or shall I not sit in Aitikaaf? Please tell me as I am very worried.

 

Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly: 

 

We ask Allaah to heal you and grant you good health, and to keep your spiritual and worldly affairs safe and sound.  

 

Secondly: 

 

It is permissible to take pills to prevent menses in order to be able to do acts of worship such as i’tikaaf, ‘umrah and Hajj, but that is subject to the condition that they should not be harmful to the body. As you are suffering from the disease that you mentioned, you have to consult the doctor before taking these pills, and make sure that they will not conflict with your treatment or cause any harm to you. The Muslim is enjoined to take care of his body and not harm it, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

 

“And do not kill yourselves (nor kill one another). Surely, Allaah is Most Merciful to you”

[al-Nisa’ 4:29] 

 

“and do not throw yourselves into destruction”

 

[al-Baqarah 2:195]

 

and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There should be neither causing harm nor reciprocating harm.” Narrated by Ahmad and Ibn Maajah (2341), classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah

 

It says in al-Adaab al-Shar’iyyah (2/463): It is haraam to use as a remedy anything that causes harm. End quote. 

 

Based on this, if these pills are harmful then it is not permissible for you to take them, and you can start i’tikaaf, then if your menses comes then you should leave the mosque and stop i’tikaaf; this is an excuse for you to stop it, and in fact it will be obligatory for you to do so because it is not permissible for a menstruating woman to remain in the mosque. 

 

But if they are not harmful then there is nothing wrong with your taking them. 

And Allaah knows best.

 

17. The minimum length of time for i’tikaaf

What is the minimum length of time for i’tikaaf ? Is it possible to observe i’tikaaf for a short time or does it have to be for several days?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

The scholars differed as to the minimum length of time for i’tikaaf. 

 

The majority of scholars are of the view that the minimum length of time is a moment. This is the view of Abu Haneefah and Ahmad. See al-Durr al-Mukhtaar (1/445); al-Majmoo’, 6/489; al-Insaaf, 7/566. 

 

Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’, 6/514: 

 

With regard to the minimum length of time for i’tikaaf, the majority stipulated that it must be observed in the mosque, and that it is permissible to do a lot or a little, even a hour or a moment.  

 

They quoted several reports as evidence for that: 

 

1 – That i’tikaaf in Arabic means staying, and the word may be applied to a long period of time or a short one; there is no report in sharee’ah that defines it as being a specific length of time. 

 

Ibn Hazm said: I’tikaaf in the language of the Arabs means staying… any stay in the mosque for the sake of Allaah with the intention of drawing closer to Him is i’tikaaf… whether that is for a short time or a long time, because the Qur’aan and Sunnah do not specify any number or length of time. Al-Muhalla, 5/179

 

2 – Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated that Ya’la ibn Umayyah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I will stay in the mosque for an hour, and I am only staying to observe i’tikaaf. Ibn Hazm quoted this as evidence in al-Muhalla (5/179); it was quoted without comment by al-Haafiz in al-Fath. “Hour” here refers to a period of time but it does not mean an hour in the modern sense of sixty minutes. 

 

Some scholars are of the opinion that the minimum length of i’tikaaf is one day. This was narrated from Abu Haneefah and was the view of some of the Maalikis. Shaykh Ibn Baaz said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (15/441): 

 

I’tikaaf means staying in the mosque to worship Allaah, whether that is for a long time or a short time, because as far as I know there is no report to indicate a set time, whether one or two days or more. This is an act of worship which is prescribed in Islam unless one vows to do it, in which case it becomes obligatory. This applies equally to men and women.

 

18. I’tikaaf in a room inside the mosque

Is the doorkeeper’s room or the Zakaah committee room inside the mosque considered suitable for i'tikaaf? Please note that the doors of these rooms are inside the mosque.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

Rooms which are inside the mosque and whose doors open into the mosque come under the same ruling as the mosque. Based on that, it is permissible to observe i'tikaaf in them because they are part of the mosque. 

 

But if they are outside the mosque, then i’tikaaf observed in them is not valid, even if the room has a door leading into the mosque.

 

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/411.

 

19. Can a man prevent his wife from observing i’tikaaf?

Does a husband have the right to prevent his wife from observing i’tikaaf?.

 

Praise be to Allaah.  

 

It is not permissible for a woman to observe i’tikaaf without her husband’s permission, because her observing i’tikaaf in the mosque affects the husband’s rights. 

 

If he does give her permission, he has the right to cancel it and call her out of i’tikaaf. 

 

Ibn Qudaamah (4/485) said: 

 

The wife does not have the right to observe i’tikaaf without her husband’s permission… if her husband gives her permission, then he wants her to come out after she has started i’tikaaf, he has the right to call her out in the case of a voluntary i’tikaaf. This is the view of al-Shaafa’i… If what he gave permission for was something that she vowed to do, then he does not have the right to bring her out, because it becomes obligatory once it is started and must be completed, like Hajj once one has entered ihraam for it. 

 

The Sunnah indicates that it is permissible for a man to prevent his wife from observing i’tikaaf without his permission. 

 

Al-Bukhaari (2033) and Muslim (1173) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted to observe i’tikaaf, he would pray Fajr then enter his place of i’tikaaf. He ordered that his tent be pitched, intending to observe i’tikaaf for the last ten days of Ramadaan. Then Zaynab ordered that her tent be pitched, and others among the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also ordered that their tents be pitched. When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed Fajr, he saw the tents and said: “Do you intend righteousness by doing this?” Then he commanded that his tent be taken down, and he abandoned i’tikaaf in Ramadaan and observed i’tikaaf for ten days at the beginning of Shawwaal. 

 

According to a report narrated by al-Bukhaari:  ‘Aa’ishah asked him for permission (to observe i’tikaaf) and he gave her permission, then Hafsah asked ‘Aa’ishah to ask for permission for her and she did so.  

 

Al-Nawawi said: 

 

“Righteousness” here means obedience or worship. Al-Qaadi said: He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said this by way of rebuke. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had given some of them permission to do that, as narrated by al-Bukhaari. The reason why he criticized that was that he feared that they would not be sincere in their i’tikaaf, and all they wanted was to be close to him because of their jealousy concerning him, or because of his protective jealousy towards them, so he did not want them to stay in the mosque when it was the place where people gathered and was attended by the Bedouins and hypocrites, and they would need to go out and come in to attend to their needs and thus they would be exposed to people’s gaze… Or it may have been because he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw them with him when he was in the mosque and it was as if he was at home with his wives, which was a distraction from the purpose of i’tikaaf, which is to keep away from one's wives and worldly concerns, etc. Or it may have been because they were crowding the mosque with their tents. This hadeeth indicates that women’s i’tikaaf is valid, because he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave them permission, and he only stopped them from doing it afterwards for a reason. And it indicates that a man may prevent his wife from observing i’tikaaf without his permission. This is the view of all the scholars. If he has given her permission, can he prevent her after that? There is a difference of opinion among the scholars on this point. According to al-Shaafa’i, Ahmad and Dawood he has the right to stop her and bring her out of a voluntary i’tikaaf. 

 

Ibn al-Mundhir and others said: This hadeeth indicates that a woman should not enter i’tikaaf until she has asked her husband’s permission, and that if she enters i’tikaaf without his permission he has the right to bring her out; if he has given permission he has the right to change his mind and stop her. It was narrated from ahl al-ra’y that if the husband gives her permission then stops her, he commits sin thereby and she may refuse. It was narrated from Maalik that he does not have the right to do that. But this hadeeth is proof against them. 

 

From Fath al-Baari..

Fatwa Online

 

  1. I'tikaaf in other than Ramadhaan and its duration
  2. The good and desired actions (specified) for Ramadhaan
  3. The meaning of "i'tikaaf" and its ruling
  4. The conditions of i'tikaaf
  5. Does i'tikaaf have a fixed time or is it restricted to Ramadhaan?
  6. When a person in i'tikaaf leaves his i'tikaaf
  7. Performing i'tikaaf in adjacent rooms within the masjid
  8. Teaching or giving a lecture whilst in the state of i'tikaaf
  9. Father does not allow him to do i'tikaaf for inconvincing reasons
  10. Leaving the masjid to go and eat or drink whilst in the state of i'tkaaf
  11. A woman performing i'tikaaf at home
  12. Specifying a particular day for i'tikaaf

 

1.I'tikaaf in other than Ramadhaan and its duration


Question: Is [engaging in] i'tikaafin other than Ramadhaan permissible? And what is its [legislated] duration?

 

Response: [Engaging in] i'tikaafis permissible at any time during Ramadhaan and other than it; However, [engaging in] i'tikaafduring Ramadhaan is better [as it is] in accordance with [what] the Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) [did], as well as for the superiority of the time (the month of Ramadhaan). And [engaging in i'tikaaf] does not have any specified duration, [however] the longer the duration [one engages in i'tikaaf] the better, so long as [doing so] does not occupy him from that which is more important than it from [other] acts of worship as well as seeking provision (i.e. maintaining one's job).

 

2.The good and desired actions (specified) for Ramadhaan

Question: What are the good and desired actions (specified) for the blessed month of Ramadhaan?

 

Response: The good and desired actions (specified) for Ramadhaan are many, amongst them (are):

 

Taking care in performing that which Allaah has made obligatory in Ramadhaan and (the) other (months) from the salaah (prayer) and the fasting. After that, increasing in the supererogatory (actions) from:


.reading the Qur.aan;


.(performance of) the taraaweeh prayer;


.(performance of) the tahajjud (night) prayer;
.giving charity;


.i'tikaaf (seclusion in the masjid to worship Allaah);


.increasing in (the) remembrance (of Allaah);


.reciting subhaan-Allaah (glory be to Allaah), laa-ilaaha ill-Allaah (there is none truly worthy of worship except Allaah), Allaahu Akbar (Allaah is the Greatest);


.sitting in the masjid for the purpose of worship;


.protecting the fast from (all) that may invalidate it;


.keeping away from impermissible and disliked speech and actions.

 

3.The meaning of "i'tikaaf" and its ruling

Question: We would like to know what is meant by "i'tikaaf" and it's ruling?

 

Response: I'tikaafis for a person to confine himself to the masjidin obedience to Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala) so as to separate himself from the people and free himself (from the chores of daily life) to exert himself in worshipping Allaah. This can take place in any masjid, whether it is a masjidin which people gather for the Jumu'ahprayer or not. However, it is better (to perform the i'tikaaf) in a masjidin which the people gather for the Jumu'ahprayer so that one performing i'tikaafis not forced to leave the masjid(in which he is doing i'tikaaf) to go to another masjidfor the Jumu'ahprayer.

 

4.The conditions of i'tikaaf


Question: What are the conditions of i'tikaaf, and is fasting one of them? Is it permissible for the person in i'tikaaf to visit a sick person, answer an invitation, fulfil some of his family's needs, or go to work?

 

Response: I'tikaaf is prescribed in a masjid in which the congregational prayer is established. If the person in i'tikaaf is from those upon whom Friday prayers are obligatory and the length of his i'tikaaf includes a Friday, then it is better to be in a masjid in which Friday prayers are established. Fasting is not (a) necessary (part of it). The sunnah is that he does not visit the sick during his i'tikaaf and that he does not answer the invitation, nor fulfil the needs of his family. He should not witness the funeral (by following it) and he should not go to work outside the masjid. This is due to what has been authenticated on the authority of 'Aa.ishah (radhi-yallaahu `anhaa) that she said: ((the sunnah for he who is in i'tikaaf is that he does not visit the sick nor witness a funeral, nor touch a woman (his wife), nor have intercourse with her nor leave to fulfil a need except that which is necessary)).

 

And with Allaah lies all the success, and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam)and his family and his companions.

 

5.Does i'tikaaf have a fixed time or is it restricted to Ramadhaan?

Question: Does i'tikaaf have a fixed time or is it restricted to Ramadhaan, or is it permissible in other than Ramadhaan?

 

Response: What is prescribed is that it should be in Ramadhaan only. This is because the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) did not make i'tikaaf in other than Ramadhaan, except what he (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) did in Shawwaal, after having left doing i'tikaaf in Ramadhaan one year, and so did it in Shawwaal. Yet if a person was to make i'tikaaf in other than Ramadhaan it would be permissible, because 'Umar (radhi-yallaahu 'anhu) asked the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) saying: "I vowed to do i'tikaaf for a night or a day in the Masjid al-Haraam." The Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said: "Fulfil your vow."

 

6.When a person in i'tikaaf leaves his i'tikaaf?

Question: When does a person leave i'tikaaf, is it after sunset on the night prior to `Eedor after Fajr on the day of `Eed?

 

Response: The person in i'tikaaf leaves i'tikaaf once Ramadhaan finishes and it finishes as the sun sets the night prior to `Eed. He enters i'tikaaf at sunset (prior) to the 20th day of Ramadhaan. This is so as the last ten (nights) of Ramadhaan start from sunset of the night (prior) to the 20th day of Ramadhaan and ends at sunset of the night (prior) to `Eed.

 

7. Performing i'tikaaf in adjacent rooms within the masjid

Question: Is the caretaker's room or the room in which the ZakaahCommittee meet in the masjid acceptable as a place to do i'tikaaf, keeping in mind that the doors to these (two) rooms are within the masjid?

 

Response: The rooms and the doors leading to them which are within the masjidare regarded as (within) the masjid. However, if the rooms were outside the masjiddespite their doors being in the masjid, then they (the rooms) are not regarded as within the masjid.

 

And with Allaah lies all success, and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and his family and his companions.

 

8.Teaching or giving a lecture whilst in the state of i'tikaaf

Question: Is it correct for one who is in the state of i'tikaafto teach someone or (even) give a lecture?

 

Response: That which is better is for the one in the state of i'tikaafto busy himself with specific acts of worship such as dhikr (remembrance of Allaah), prayer, reading the Qur.aan and that which is similar. However, if there is a need to teach someone or to learn, then there is no harm in this as this is (also) from the remembrance of Allaah.

 

9.Father does not allow him to do i'tikaaf for inconvincing reasons

Question: What is the ruling of the person whose father did not allow him to do i'tikaaf for unconvincing reasons?

 

Response: I'tikaaf is sunnah (recommended) and righteousness to parents is obligatory, and a recommended act does not override an obligation. It does not contradict the obligation in anyway because the obligation takes precedence over it. Allaah the most High said in a hadeeth qudsee: "My servant does not come closer to Me with something more beloved to Me than that which I have obligated upon him." So, if your father orders you not to do i'tikaaf, and mentions reasons that mean you do not do i'tikaaf due to his need of you during that time, then the father is the one to weigh that up not you. This is because the scale you have may be unjust and inaccurate. This is because you desire to do i'tikaaf, so you do not consider these excuses as justifiable whereas your father considers them justifiable. So what I advise you is not to make i'tikaaf. Yes, if your father said not to make i'tikaaf without mentioning any just reason for that, you would not be obliged to obey him in this case, as you are not obliged to follow him in a matter which in disobeying him would not cause any harm to him and in obeying him would cause disadvantage to you.

 

 

10. Leaving the masjid to go and eat or drink whilst in the state of i'tkaaf

Question: Is it permissible for the one in a state of i'tikaafto leave the Haram (i.e. al-Masjid al-Haraamin Makkahor al-Masjid an-Nabaweein Madeenah) to go and eat or drink? And is it permissible for him to ascend to the roof of the masjidto listen to the lectures?

 

Response: Yes, It is permissible for one in the state of i'tikaafin al-Masjid al-Haraam(in Makkah) or other than it, to leave (the masjid) to go to eat or drink if he is unable to bring these (supplies) to the masjid. This is because this is something which is necessary, just as he would need to leave to answer the call of nature and, likewise, he would have to leave to perform ghuslif he is in the state of janaabah(as in the case of the one who has a wet dream).

 

As regards ascending to the roof of the masjid, then even this does not affect (his i'tikaaf) because leaving the masjidfrom any of the (exit) doors, intending by it to return to the masjidby proceeding to the roof are only a matter of a few steps. (So) there is no harm in this.

 

11.A woman performing i'tikaaf at home

Question: Is it permissible for a woman to perform i'tikaafat the place of prayer in her home?

 

Response: No. If a woman wishes to perform i'tikaaf, then she should do so in a masjid, so long as there is no danger in that (such as free-mixing and complacency regarding the hijaab, etc). (However), if there is any danger in that, then she should not perform i'tikaaf.

 

 

12. Specifying a particular day for i'tikaaf


Question: Is it permissible for one who wishes to perform the i'tikaafto specify a particular day itself for i'tikaaf?

 

Response: It is not for him to specify a particular day itself within which to regularly perform i'tikaaf, rather, he should take care to perform i'tikaafin the last ten (days and nights) of Ramadhaan in accordance with (the guidance of) the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam).

 

And with Allaah lies all success, and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam)and his family and his companions.

 

Alifta

QUESTIONS

  1. Ruling on I`tikaf, what those observing I`tikaf should do, and the ruling on stipulating fast for it
  2. Definition, objective and other rulings related to I`tikaf
  3. Ruling on I`tikaf, what those observing I`tikaf should do, and the ruling on stipulating fast for it
  4. Time and place of I`tikaf and the ruling on interrupting it
  5. There is no I'tikaf except in three Mosques?

 

1. Ruling on I`tikaf, what those observing I`tikaf should do, and the ruling on stipulating fast for it.

 

Q: What is I`tikaf (seclusion for worship in a Masjid)? And if a person wants to observe I`tikaf, what should they do and should not do? Is it permissible for woman to observe I`tikaf in Al-Bayt-ul-Haram (the Sacred House, another name for the Ka`bah)? How should this be done? 

 

A. I`tikaf is an act of worship and Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the example of the Prophet). It is best to be practiced in Ramadan in any Masjid (mosque) where congregational Salah (Prayer) is offered. Allah (Exalted be He) says: And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques. There is nothing wrong in observing I`tikaf in Al-Masjid Al-Haramand Al-Masjid Al-Nabawy (the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah) by either men or women, in case this does not entail harm for people offering Salah. The one who observes I`tikaf should keep to the place of their I`tikaf and Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah), and should not go out except for answering the call of nature or for bringing food, if there is no one to provide it for them, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to go out to meet his needs. It is not permissible for a woman to have sexual intercourse with her husband while she is observing I`tikaf. 

 

Likewise, it is not permissible for a man observing I`tikaf to have sexual intercourse with his  wife, since Allah (Exalted be He) says: And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques. It is better for the one who observes I`tikaf not to talk much with people. Rather, they should devote themselves to worshipping and obeying Allah. However, if a man is visited by some of his brothers or a woman is visited by some of her Mahrams (permanently unmarriageable relatives) or Muslim sisters and talks with them, there is nothing wrong in that. The Prophet's (peace be upon him) wives used to visit him while he was observing I`tikaf, talk to him, and then leave him. This indicates that there is nothing wrong in it.


 

I`tikaf means staying at the Masjid for worshipping Allah (Exalted be He), whether for a long or a short period. As far as I know, nothing is reported regarding assigning a certain day, two, or more for I`tikaf. It is a prescribed act of worship unless someone vows to make it, as it becomes obligatory in this case. It could be observed by man or woman alike. It is not a condition to observe Sawm (Fast) during it, according to the correct opinion. Thus, if a man or a woman observe I`tikaf while they are not observing fast, then there is no harm in observing I`tikaf at anytime other than Ramadan.

 

2.Definition, objective and other rulings related to I`tikaf

Q: What is the ruling on I`tikaf (seclusion for worship in a Masjid)? What is its Shar`y (Islamic legal) definition? Does it include sleeping and eating in the Masjid (mosque), and is doing so permissible?

 

A: Undoubtedly, I`tikaf is an act of worship that brings one closer to Allah. It is better to be performed in Ramadan than in any other month, since Allah (Exalted be He) said: And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques. 

 


Besides, The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to observe I`tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan. Once he abandoned it (I`tikaf in Ramadan) and practiced it in Shawwal. The objective of I`tikaf is that people devote themselves to worship and stay in seclusion with Allah, which is the Shar`y seclusion. Some scholars gave the following definition of I`tikaf: Cutting all ties with creatures to maintain only ties of worship with the Creator. This means giving up all activities that might divert a person from obedience and worship of Allah. It is permissible to observe it in Ramadan as well as in other months, as is stated above. However, it is better to be performed while accompanied by fasting. Anyway, it is unobjectionable to observe I`tikaf without fasting according to the more correct of two opinions given by scholars. In this regard, it is authentically reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) on the authority of `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: O Messenger of Allah, I vowed to perform I`tikaf one night in Al-Masjid Al-Haram (knowing that it was before he embraced Islam). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Fulfill your vow.


 
 

It is well-known that one may fast during day but not during night. Moreover, it is unobjectionable to sleep or eat in a Masjid either by a person observing I`tikaf or otherwise. This is based on many Hadiths and traditions to this effect and on others describing the state of Ahl-ul-Suffah (poor people who lived on people’s charity). However, cleanness of the Masjid and caution against things that might dirty it, such as remnants of food, have to be taken into consideration. In this regard, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I was shown the rewards of my Ummah (for their different deeds),even a speck of dirt that someone removes from the Masjid. (Related by Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhy, and is judged to be authentic by Ibn Khuzaymah) Likewise, on the authority of `Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reported to have commanded the building of Masjids in different localities and that they should be kept clean and perfumed . (Related by the Five Compilers of Hadith [Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhy, Al-Nasa'y, and Ibn Majah] through a good chain of narrators) Different localities here refer to the different districts and tribes located in cities.

 

I ask Allah to guide us and you to acquire beneficial knowledge, to act thereupon, and to reform our hearts and deeds, for He is All-Hearing and Ever-Near. As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.

3.Ruling on I`tikaf, what those observing I`tikaf should do, and the ruling on stipulating fast for it

Q.What is I`tikaf (seclusion for worship in a Masjid)? And if a person wants to observe I`tikaf, what should they do and should not do? Is it permissible for woman to observe I`tikaf in Al-Bayt-ul-Haram (the Sacred House, another name for the Ka`bah)? How should this be done? 

 

A. I`tikaf is an act of worship and Sunnah (supererogatory act of worship following the example of the Prophet). It is best to be practiced in Ramadan in any Masjid (mosque) where congregational Salah (Prayer) is offered. Allah (Exalted be He) says: And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques. There is nothing wrong in observing I`tikaf in Al-Masjid Al-Haramand Al-Masjid Al-Nabawy (the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah) by either men or women, in case this does not entail harm for people offering Salah. The one who observes I`tikaf should keep to the place of their I`tikaf and Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah), and should not go out except for answering the call of nature or for bringing food, if there is no one to provide it for them, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to go out to meet his needs. It is not permissible for a woman to have sexual intercourse with her husband while she is observing I`tikaf.

 
Likewise, it is not permissible for a man observing I`tikaf to have sexual intercourse with his wife, since Allah (Exalted be He) says: And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques. It is better for the one who observes I`tikaf not to talk much with people. Rather, they should devote themselves to worshipping and obeying Allah. However, if a man is visited by some of his brothers or a woman is visited by some of her Mahrams (permanently unmarriageable relatives) or Muslim sisters and talks with them, there is nothing wrong in that. The Prophet's (peace be upon him) wives used to visit him while he was observing I`tikaf, talk to him, and then leave him. This indicates that there is nothing wrong in it.

 

I`tikaf means staying at the Masjid for worshipping Allah (Exalted be He), whether for a long or a short period. As far as I know, nothing is reported regarding assigning a certain day, two, or more for I`tikaf. It is a prescribed act of worship unless someone vows to make it, as it becomes obligatory in this case. It could be observed by man or woman alike. It is not a condition to observe Sawm (Fast) during it, according to the correct opinion. Thus, if a man or a woman observe I`tikaf while they are not observing fast, then there is no harm in observing I`tikaf at anytime other than Ramadan.

 

4. Time and place of I`tikaf and the ruling on interrupting it

 

Q: What is the ruling on I`tikaf (seclusion for worship in a mosque) for men and women? Should the one who observes I`tikaf fast? What should be done during I`tikaf? When should one begin and end I`tikaf?

 

A: I`tikaf is an act of Sunnah (action following the teachings of the Prophet) for both men and women. It was authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to observe I`tikaf on the last ten days of Ramadan. Some of his wives used to observe I`tikaf with him, and they observed I`tikaf after he (peace be upon him) passed away. I`tikaf should take place in the Masjids (mosques) where congregational Salah is performed. If the days of I`tikaf include a Friday, it is best to observe it in Al-Masjid Al-Jami` (the large Masjid where Jumu`ah [Friday] Prayers are held), if possible.

 

 

According to the soundest views of scholars, there is no specific time for I`tikaf and it is not conditional to fast during it, though it is better to fast. According to the Sunnah, I`tikaf begins with one having the intention to observe it and it ends when the period intended ends. It is permissible for a person to interrupt I`tikaf when necessary, since it is an act of Sunnah, and it is not obligatory unless one vows to observe it. Besides, it is desirable to observe I`tikaf on the last ten days of Ramadan, following the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

 

 

Then, it is also desirable to begin I`tikaf after the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer of the twenty-first day, following the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

 

 

Moreover, the period of I`tikaf ends when the ten days of Ramadan are over. A person who observes I`tikaf is not to be blamed if they end it before the intended time, unless it is vowed. It is also preferable for a person to choose a special place in the Masjid for rest. It is recommended to frequently maintain Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah), recital of the Qur'an, seeking forgiveness from Allah, making Du`a' (supplications), and offering Salah at times when it is not forbidden. There is no harm if the one observing I`tikaf has their friends visit and talk to them. Some of the Mothers of the Believers used to visit the Prophet (peace be upon him) and talk to him while he was observing I`tikaf. Once, he was visited by Safiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) while he was observing I`tikaf during Ramadan, and he (peace be upon him) then walked her to the door after her visit. This shows that there is no harm in visiting those who observe I`tikaf. The act of the Prophet (peace be upon him) shows his perfect modesty and his good manner with his wives.

 

 

May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, Companions, and those who uprightly follow him.

 

5. There is no I'tikaf except in three mosques?

 

What is the degree of authenticity of the Hadith: There should be no I`tikaf (seclusion for worship in a Masjid) except in the Three Masjids (mosques) If it is authentic, does it actually mean that there should be no I`tikaf except in the Three Masjids (i.e., the Sacred, Prophet's, and Al-Aqsa)?

 

 

A. It is valid to observe I`tikaf in any Masjid other than the three Masjids, on condition that congregational Salah (Prayer) is established therein. For, if this condition is not fulfilled, it becomes invalid to observe I`tikaf there.

However, this does not apply if a person vows to observe I`tikaf in any of the three Masjids, for they are then obliged to fulfill their vow. May Allah guide us all to do what pleases Him. As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!).

 

References

http://islamqa.info/en/search?key=I%E2%80%99tikaaf

http://www.fatwa-online.com/worship/fasting/fas013/index.htm

http://www.alifta.com/Fatawa/FatawaSubjects.aspx?languagename=en&View=Tree&HajjEntryID=0&HajjEntryName=&RamadanEntryID=0&RamadanEntryName=&NodeID=1063&PageNo=1&SectionID=14

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