The rulings pertaining to i’tikaaf

Section Ten – The rulings pertaining to i’tikaaf

In this section read about:
1. The conditions of i’tikaaf
2. Ruling of i’tikaaf
3. When a person in i’tikaaf leaves his i’tikaaf

1. 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 success. May the peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad his family and companions.

The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Fataawa, comprising – Head: Shaykh ‘Abdul ‘Azeez ibn Abdullaah ibn Baaz; Deputy Head: Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee; Member: Shaykh ‘Abdullaah ibn Qu’ood. (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 2/Page 862/Fatwa No.848), also (Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa.imah lil-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa., Fatwa No.6718)

2. Ruling of i’tikaaf

Question: What is the ruling of i’tikaaf, and is it permissible to do it in other than the masaajid (plural of masjid)?

Response: I’tikaaf is sunnah (recommended but not obligatory), and is not correct except in the masaajid. Firstly: Because Allaah the Majestic the High said: {…while you are in i’tikaaf in the masaajid} [Soorah al-Baqarah, Aayah 187]. He also said {…that they should purify My House for those who circumambulate it and make i’tikaaf in it} [Soorah al-Baqarah, Aayah 125]. The “House” is the Masjid al-Haraam (in Makkah). Secondly: If he were to make i’tikaaf in other than the masaajid, it would lead him to missing prayers with the congregation of Muslims in the masaajid and leaving it is a great sin. Or it would lead him to frequently go to the prayer, and his frequent leaving, going and coming contradicts the i’tikaaf, because the i’tikaaf is that the one doing it attaches himself (to the place of his i’tikaaf).

Shaykh Ibn Jibreen / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 2/Page 869/Fatwa No.855), also (Fataawa as-Siyaam libni Jibreen, Page 111)

3. 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 `Eed or after Fajr on the day of `Eed?

Response: The person in i’tikaaf leaves i’tikaaf once Ramadan 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 Ramadan. This is so as the last ten (nights) of Ramadan start from sunset of the night (prior) to the 20th day of Ramadan and ends at sunset of the night (prior) to `Eed.

Shaykh Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 2/Page 872/Fatwa No.859), also (Fataawa ash-Shaykh Muhammad as-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen Volume1/Page 551)