A mention about I’tikaaf: Sh Saalih al-Fouzaan

In the name of Allaah, the Beneficent, Most Merciful. May peace and salutations be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions. As for what follows;

Sheikh Saalih ibn Fouzaan al-Fouzaan, may Allaah preserve him, was asked:

“What is I’tikaaf? What is the ruling on it? Is it permissible for me to make i’tikaaf in my home?”

He answered: “I’tikaaf is a great act of worship. Allaah made mention of it in His Noble Book; from those verses His statement to His Close Friend Ibraaheem and his son Ismaa’eel, may peace be upon them both,

“And We commanded Ibraaheem and Ismaa’eel  that they should purify My House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I’tikaf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer).” [2:125]

And His statement,

“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 masaajid.” [2:187]

It is also from the sunnah of the Messenger, may Allaah exalt his rank and grant him safety, authentically reported on him. He used to perform i’tikaaf during the middle ten days of Ramadan searching for The Night of Decree. Then at the end of his life he would perform it during the last ten, may Allaah exalt his rank and grant him safety, when it was made clear to him that the Night of Decree is in the last ten days.

His wives performed i’tikaaf with him also and so it is a tremendous act of worship and it is remaining in a masjid for the purpose of worshipping Allaah alone with no partners with the likes of prayer, recitation of the Qur’aan, rememberance of Allaah and freeing oneself up for that from the worldy actions. Being engaged and occupied with Allaah, glorified be He, Most High, this is i’tikaaf. It is legislated at all times however it is only legislated in a masjid that the obligatory prayers are established in due to His statement:

“while you are in I’tikaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the masaajid.” [2:187]

As for a person performing i’tikaaf in his home so that his family can be near to him or an abandoned masjid that no one prays in then this is impermissible for the Muslim because by way of that he is cut off from establishing the congregational prayers. Therefore i’tikaaf isn’t legislated except in a masjid where the obligatory prayers are held and with Allaah lies the success.”


Additional Benefit:

Sheikh Muhammad bin Saalih al-‘Utahymeen, may Allaah have mercy upon him, states in his tremendous book ‘Majaalis Shahr Ramadan’:

“And if his leaving out of the masjid is with his entire body (while in the state of I’tikaaf) then he is in one of three catagories:

1: Leaving out of the masjid due to a natural or legislative neccessity. For instance using the bathroom, perfoming wudoo‘ or ghusl, eating, drinking, etc. This exiting the masjid is permissible if it can not be done in the masjid. Now if he can do this all in the masjid then it isn’t permitted for him to leave therefrom.

2: Leaving out the masjid for an act of obedience that isn’t obligatory upon him like visiting a sick person, witnessing a funeral and the like. This shouldn’t be done unless he stipulated it at the beginning of his i’tikaaf (in that case it is permissible).

3: Leaving out for something that nullifies the i’tikaaf like leaving out to buy and sell, to have relations with ones family or the like. This isn’t to be done whether he stipulates it or not because it nullifies the i’tikaaf and the intent behind it.”


About Abu Fouzaan Qaasim
American student studying in the Islaamic University of Medinah from Chester,PA.

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