Fatwas – I’tikaf special
Meaning of I’tikaf
Q- We would like to know what is meant by “I’tikaf” and its ruling?
A- I’tikaf is for a person to confine himself to the mosque in obedience to Allah so as to separate himself from the people and free himself (from the chores of daily life) to exert himself in worshipping Allah. This can take place in any mosque, whether it is a mosque in which people gather for the Friday prayer or not. However, it is better (to perform the I’tikaf) in a mosque in which the people gather for the Friday prayer so that one performing I’tikaf is not forced to leave the mosque (in which he is doing I’tikaf) to go to another mosque for the Friday prayer.
– Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fatawa Ramadan – Volume 2, Page 861, Fatwa No.846, Fiqh al–’Ibaadaat – Page 208
Conditions of I’tikaf
Q- What are the conditions of I’tikaf, and is fasting one of them? Is it permissible for the person in I’tikaf to visit a sick person, answer an invitation, fulfill some of his family’s needs, or go to work?
A- I’tikaf is prescribed in a mosque in which the congregational prayer is established. If the person in I’tikaf is from those upon whom Friday prayers are obligatory and the length of his I’tikaf includes a Friday, then it is better to be in a mosque in which Friday prayers are established. Fasting is not (a) necessary (part of it).
The sunnah is that one does NOT:
• Visit the sick during his I’tikaf
• Accept invitations
• Fulfill the needs of his family
• Witness the funeral (by following it) and
• Go to work outside the mosque.
• Touch a woman (his wife), nor have intercourse with her
• Leave to fulfill a need except what is necessary
This is due to what has been authenticated on the authority of ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said: “The sunnah for he who is in I’tikaf 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 fulfill a need except that which is necessary.”
– The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Fatawa, Fatawa Ramadan – Volume 2, Page 862, Fatwa No.848; Fatawa al–Lajnah ad–Daa.imah lil–Buhooth al–’Ilmiyyah wal–Iftaa. – Fatwa No.6718
Is I’tikaf restricted to Ramadan?
Q- Does I’tikaf have a fixed time or is it restricted to Ramadan, or is it permissible in other than Ramadan?
A – What is prescribed is that it should be in Ramadan only. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not make I’tikaf in other than Ramadan, except what he (peace be upon him) did in Shawwaal, after having left doing I’tikaf in Ramadan one year, and so did it in Shawwaal. Yet if a person was to make I’tikaf in other than Ramadan it would be permissible, because ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying: “I vowed to do I’tikaf for a night or a day in the mosque al–Haraam.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Fulfill your vow”.
– Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fatawa Ramadan – Volume 2, Page 864, Fatwa No.851; Fiqh al–Ibaadaat libni ‘Uthaymeen – Page 208
Leaving from I’tikaf
Q- When does a person leave I’tikaf, is it after sunset on the night prior to Eid or after Fajr on the day of Eid?
A – The person in I’tikaf leaves I’tikaf once Ramadan finishes and it finishes as the sun sets the night prior to Eid. He enters I’tikaf 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 Eid.
– Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fatawa Ramadan – Volume 2, Page 872, Fatwa No.859; Fatawa ash–Sheikh Muhammad as–Saalih al–’Uthaymeen – Volume1, Page 551
I’tikaf in rooms within the mosque
Q- Is the caretaker’s room or the room in which the Zakaah Committee meet in the mosque acceptable as a place to do I’tikaf, keeping in mind that the doors to these (two) rooms are within the mosque?
A- The rooms and the doors leading to them which are within the mosque are regarded as (within) the mosque. However, if the rooms were outside the mosque despite their doors being in the mosque, then they (the rooms) are not regarded as within the mosque.
Teaching or giving a lecture
Q- Is it correct for one who is in the state of I’tikaf to teach someone or (even) give a lecture?
A- That which is better is for the one in the state of I’tikaf to busy himself with specific acts of worship such as dhikr (remembrance of Allah), prayer, reading the Qur’an 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 Allah.
– Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fatawa Ramadan – Volume 2, Page 876, Fatwa No.863, Fatawa Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen – Volume 1, Pages 549
Father does not allow
Q- What is the ruling of the person whose father did not allow him to do I’tikaf for unconvincing reasons?
A – I’tikaf 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. Allah 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’tikaf, and mentions reasons that mean you do not do I’tikaf 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’tikaf, 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’tikaf.
Yes, if your father said not to make I’tikaf 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.
– Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fatawa Ramadan – Volume 2, Page 878, Fatwa No.866; Fatawa ash–Sheikh Muhammad as–Saalih al–’Uthaymeen – Volume 1, Pages 551–552
Leaving the mosque
Q- Is it permissible for the one in a state of I’tikaf to leave the Haram (the Sacred Mosque in Makkah or in Madina) to go and eat or drink? And is it permissible for him to ascend to the roof of the mosque to listen to the lectures?
A –Yes, It is permissible for one in the state of I’tikaf in the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah) or other than it, to leave (the mosque) to go to eat or drink if he is unable to bring these (supplies) to the mosque. 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 ghusl if he is in the state of Janabah (as in the case of the one who has a wet dream).
As regards ascending to the roof of the mosque, then even this does not affect (his I’tikaf) because leaving the mosque from any of the (exit) doors, intending by it to return to the mosque by proceeding to the roof are only a matter of a few steps. (So) there is no harm in this.
– Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fatawa Ramadan – Volume 2, Page 879, Fatwa No.867, al– Fatawa libni–’Uthaymeen – Kitaab –ad’Da’wah – Volume 1, Pages 205–206
I’tikaf at home
Q- Is it permissible for a woman to perform I’tikaf at the place of prayer in her home?
A – No. If a woman wishes to perform I’tikaf, then she should do so in a mosque, so long as there is no danger in that (such as free–mixing and complacency regarding the Hijab, etc). (However), if there is any danger in that, then she should not perform I’tikaf.
– Sheikh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Fatawa Ramadan – Volume 2, Page 891, Fatwa No.877, Fiqh al–’Ibaadaat – Page 209
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