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Types of I`tikaaf (Hadith No. 1743)

Bismillah.

Volume 3, Book 33, Number 248:

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu):

Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) asked the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) “I vowed in the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance to stay in Itikaf for one night in Al-Masjid al-Haram.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to him, “Fulfill your vow.”

There are three main types of I`tikaaf:

  1. WAJIB: To vow or pledge to make I’tikaaf (on a fixed day) for the sake of Allah upon the fulfilment of some wish or desire.
  2. SUNNAT-MUAKKADAH: To reside the last ten nights and days of Ramadhan in the Masjid is Sunnat-Muakkadah, i.e. If a person from the community fulfills the obligation of I’tikaaf, the entire community will be absolved of this sacred duty. Otherwise all the residents will be sinful of neglecting this Sunnah.
  3. MUSTAHAB OR NAFL: This I’tikaaf can be for any amount of time, even for a few minutes.
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The Fiqh of I`tikaaf (Ahadith 1740 – 1742)

Bismillah.

Volume 3, Book 33, Number 245:

Narrated ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa):

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) used to (put) bend his head (out) to me while he was in Itikaf in the mosque during my monthly periods and I would comb and oil his hair.


Volume 3, Book 33, Number 246:

Narrated ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa):

Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) used to let his head in (the house) while he was in the mosque and I would comb and oil his hair. When in Itikaf he used not to enter the house except for a need.


Volume 3, Book 33, Number 247:

Narrated ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa):

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) used to embrace me during my menses. He also used to put his head out of the mosque while he was in Itikaf, and I would wash it during my menses.

In view of the fact that the purpose of I’tikaaf is to withdraw oneself from worldly affairs and devote oneself entirely to the remembrance of Allâh, therefore, one must during the course of I’tikaaf avoid unnecessary talk and work. Whatever time one finds, one must spend in performing nawafil (Salâh), tilawah, and other ‘ibâdahdhikr and tasbihat. Moreover, the learning and teaching of ‘ilm of dîn, lectures and study of Islâmic books is not only permissible but also a cause of obtaining thawab.

The Fiqh of I`tikaaf

  • If one observing I’tikaaf lets a part of his body out of the mosque, he is neither considered to have exited the premises nor does this affect the validity of his I’tikaaf. Therefore, he is allowed to take or give anything through the window or door of the mosque.
  • It is acceptable in the Sharee’ah (Islamic jurisprudence) for one observing I’tikaaf to wash and comb his hair, apply perfume, perform Ghusl (ritual bath for purification), shave and groom himself.
  • It is permissible for one observing the I’tikaaf to look at his wife and be touched by her without lust. And it is valid under the Sharee’ah for the wife to serve her husband, such as cleaning and combing his hair, and washing his clothes, etc.
  • It is impermissible for one in I’tikaaf to exit the mosque, save for the express purpose of fulfilling a natural inevitable necessity, such as urination, excretion and fetching food and water for himself, if there is no one else to bring it to him. The same applies to any essential need which he can not satisfy in the mosque; he has the right to go out for it without fearing for the validity of his I’tikaaf.
  • If a person performing I’tikaaf goes out of the mosque due to a need, it is not binding upon him to move hastily. He should walk at his normal pace, provided that he returns to the mosque as soon as he has achieved his objective.
  • According to the majority of religious scholars, the one observing I’tikaaf must not leave the mosque to visit a patient or even attend a funeral procession. But, he does have the right to inquire about the health of a patient while passing by, without going to him.
  • If one observing I’tikaaf goes out for a necessity, such as the death of his father or son, and he has not previously stipulated that he may have to leave the mosque for a similar critical reason, he must restart his I’tikaaf after he has fulfilled his need.
  • It can be derived from the aforementioned Hadeeth that a wife is to abide in her husband’s house, even if he will not go to her for any purpose or if a Sharee’ah-defined impediment hinders him from going home, such as traveling or I’tikaaf; in all cases, it is forbidden for the wife to go out of his home, without his permission.
  • If one exits his place of seclusion without a necessity, hisI’tikaaf becomes invalid.
  • There is a difference of opinion among scholars with regard to the prerequisites of I’tikaaf, [as it is said one must] be fasting and seclude himself only in a mosque where the Friday prayers are held in congregation. The sound view is that fasting is not a precondition, since the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam, observed I’tikaaf in Shawwaal. Furthermore, it is permissible to do I’tikaaf in the mosque in which, though congregational prayers are offered, the Friday prayer is not, necessarily. In that case, one should go out to attend the Friday prayer and his I’tikaaf will still be valid. But, it is better for one to seclude himself in a mosque in which the Friday prayers are held.

The Basic Goal of I`tikaaf (Ahadith 1737 – 1739)

Bismillah.

Kitaab-ul-I`tikaaf [Book of Retiring to a Mosque for Remembrance of Allah] starts today..

Volume 3, Book 33, Number 242:

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar (radiallaahu `anhu):

Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) used to practise Itikaf in the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.


Volume 3, Book 33, Number 243:

Narrated ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa):

The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) used to practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practice Itikaf after him.


Volume 3, Book 33, Number 244:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri (radiallaahu `anhu):

Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) used to practice Itikaf in the middle ten days of Ramadan and once he stayed in Itikaf till the night of the twenty-first and it was the night in the morning of which he used to come out of his Itikaf. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever was in Itikaf with me should stay in Itikaf for the last ten days, for I was informed (of the date) of the Night (of Qadr) but I have been caused to forget it. (In the dream) I saw myself prostrating in mud and water in the morning of that night. So, look for it in the last ten nights and in the odd ones of them.” It rained that night and the roof of the mosque dribbled as it was made of leaf stalks of date-palms. I saw with my own eyes the mark of mud and water on the forehead of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) (i.e. in the morning of the twenty-first).

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.

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.

Women and I’tikaf (Hadith No. 307)

Salam,
Bismillah.

Volume 1, Book 6, Number 307:

Narrated ‘Aisha:

“One of the wives of Allah’s Apostle joined him in l’tikaf and she noticed blood and yellowish discharge (from her private parts) and put a dish under her when she prayed.”

This clearly indicates that women are allowed to do I’tikaf in the month of Ramadan. Who plans to do it this Ramadan? :)

Wassalam.

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