The Etiquette and Verdicts of Al-Itikaf
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
قال أبو بكر محمد بن محمد خُوقِير المكي الحنبلي المتوفَّى 1349
هو لُزُومُ مَسْجِدِ لِطَاعَةِ الله تعالى و هو سُنَّةٌ و يَصِحُّ بلا صَوْمٍ
و يَلْزَمُ باِالنَّذْرِ, و لا يَصِحُّ إلاَّ في مَسْجِدٍ يُجَمَّعُ فِيه
و مَنْ نَذَرَ زَمَنًا مُعَيَّنًا دَخَلَ مُعْتَكَفَه قَبْلَ لَيلَتِهِ الأُولَى و خَرَجَ بَعْدَ آخِرِه.
و لا يَخْرُجُ المُعْتَكِفُ إلاَّ لما لابُدَّ مِنهُ و لا يَعُودُ مَرِيضًا و لا يَشْهَدُ جَنَازَةً إلاَّ أن يَشْتَرِطَه
وَإن وَطِئَ فِي فَرْجٍ فَسَدَ اعْتِكاَفُه
و يُسْتَحَبُّ اشْتِغَالُه بِالقُرَبِ واجْتِناَبُ ما لا يَعْنِيه
English Translation and notes from Sheikh Sa’d Ash-Shitri.
Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Muhammad Khuqeer Al-Meccan 1349H
The chapter of Al -Itikaf
Al-Itikaf means to stay inside the masjid for the purpose of obeying Allah the Most high.
- Al-Itikaf is an act where a person stay in a masjid where the congregational prayers held everyday
Al-Itikaf is Sunnah and it’s acceptable from a person not fasting.
- This is a Sunnah act of worship. Allah said:
وَلَا تُبَـٰشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمۡ عَـٰكِفُونَ فِى ٱلۡمَسَـٰجِدِۗ
Allah said: And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I’tikaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques
- Al-Itikaf is acceptable from a person not fasting according to Ahmed and Ash-Shafa’i. Based on the hadith of Umar collected in Al-Bukhari and Muslim: Umar said “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I vowed to perform I`tikaf for one night in Al-Masjid-al-Haram, during the Pre-Islamic Period of ignorance (before embracing Islam). “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Fulfill your vow
Al-Itikaf is obligatory from the person, who makes an oath to Allah to do so,
- This means if a person vows to do al-Itikaf then its obligatory on him to .the Prophet said:
مَنْ نَذَرَ أَنْ يُطِيعَ اللَّهَ فَلْيُطِعْهُ
“Whoever vowed to be obedient to Allah, must be obedient to Him
There is no fixed time frame for Al-Itikaf. Meaning it’s correct to do it for a day, 12 hours,6hours or even less. Nothing in the Quran, sunnah or Ijma places a fixed time for it.
and it can only be done in a masjid where the 5 daily prayers are established.
- This means that the person performing Al-Itikaf can only do so in the masjid where the 5 daily prayers are held unless he does it after asr in masjid where the normal prayers aren’t held then he leaves right before al-Maghrib then in this situation its acceptable.
Whoever pledges to make al-Itikaf in specific time period then he enters the masjid before the nightfall of that day and leaves the next night.
- This means whoever pledges to do al-Itikaf in the last 10 nights of Ramadhan then he must enter the Masjid before sunset on the 20th day,this way the 21st night he will be considered in Al-Itikaf.
- Some jurists say that the timing for Al-Itikaf starts after Fajr based on the hadith of Aisha and action of our Prophet. However the Majority of jurists answer this by saying the prophet used to reserve a room for himself in the masjid so when the prayer time came he would go an lead the prayer . Also from this we learn that the person performing Al-Itikaf is required to stay in only one place.
The person performing Al-Itikaf mustn’t leave the Masjid unless there is an absolute need to.
- The Person doing Al-Itikaf must remain in the Masjid unless there is a need for him to leave the masjid. For example to use the bathroom or go and take a Ghusl if he has a wet dream
He doesn’t visit the sick or follow a funeral unless he made it a condition along with his observance of Al-Itikaf.
- The person performing Al-Itikaf doesn’t leave the masjid to visit the sick or follow a prayer unless he made these two acts part of the condition of his itikaf.
If a person has sexual relation while in Itikaf it invalidates it.
- The Person performing Al-Itikaf invalidates it if he has sexual intercourse with his wife. Also included in this is kissing and hugging. However touching her without lustful intent then this is harmless.
It’s recommended while in Itikaf to occupy your time with acts of obedience and avoid all acts that don’t concern you.
- There is no harm to talk about general things in our lives as long as it’s not haram, Gheebah, tale carrying, talking about the faults of others.
For example look at this fool, or to speak about disputes, and avoid talk about scholars and Muslim rulers.
- While in Al-Itikaf busy yourself with Dua, reading Quran, prayer and Thikr. Reflect over yourself, your life, your relationship with Allah and so forth.
and avoid all things that don’t concern you.
- This means a person doesn’t speak about things that aren’t related to him directly. Things which don’t concern your worldly life or help your Hereafter. If your family comes to visit you then there is no harm to visit them in the masjid and Allah knows best.
Prepared by Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Battle
Khateeb/Academic in Qatar(c) 1438