The Validity of I‘tikaaf under the Sharee‘ah

The Validity of I‘tikaaf under the Sharee‘ah
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Allah The Almighty Says (what means):

  • {And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], "Purify My House for those who perform Tawaaf [circumambulation] and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer]."} [Quran 2:125]
  • {And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous.} [Quran 2:187]
It was narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘U mar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, that the Messenger of Allah,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), would observe I‘tikaaf (residing in the mosque for a certain period purely for the purpose of worship) on the last ten days of Ramadan. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
It was also narrated on the authority of ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allah,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), would observe I‘tikaaf on the last ten days of Ramadan until he died, and his wives, may Allah be pleased with them, continued to observe I‘tikaaf after his death. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
Benefits and rulings
 
 
First: I‘tikaaf was prescribed for previous nations too.
 
Second: I‘tikaaf is valid under the Sharee‘ah and a confirmed act of Sunnah. It is also one of the great acts of worship through which one may draw closer to Allah The Almighty. For this reason, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), observed it regularly. Az-Zuhri  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "How shocking Muslims can be! They have abandoned I‘tikaaf, although the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did not quit it from when he entered Madeenah as he used to observe it every year in the last ten (days of Ramadan) until he died."
 
‘Ataa' Al-Khuraasaani  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “It is said that the parable of the one observing I‘tikaaf is that of a man who prostrates himself in front of his Lord and says, ‘O my Lord, I will not leave until You forgive me! O my Lord, I will not leave until You forgive me!’"
 
Third: I‘tikaaf cannot be observed anywhere other than the mosque, although it need not be a mosque in which the Friday prayer is offered, and it is not interrupted by going out to offer Friday prayer even if one sets out earlier than its time.
 
Fourth: The I‘tikaaf of those for whom congregational prayer is not obligatory is permissible to be observed in mosques where regular congregational prayers are not performed, such as abandoned mosques and the mosques of farms, markets, etc.
 
Fifth: the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), always observed I‘tikaaf on the last ten days of Ramadan, and so did his wives, may Allah be pleased with them, after him. One of the purposes of the I‘tikaaf of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), was to seek the Night of Al-Qadr (Power).
 
Sixth: It is impermissible to have sexual relations while in the state of I‘tikaaf; and if one has sexual intercourse with his wife during it, then his I‘tikaaf becomes invalid, but neither expiation nor making up becomes due on him. It is reported in an authentic narration from Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, that he said, “if a person observing I‘tikaaf has sexual intercourse with his wife, he has made invalid his I‘tikaaf and he has to start it all over again."
 
Seventh: if one has sexual intercourse with his wife forgetfully, his I‘tikaaf would not thereby become invalid, which is exactly the same for his fasting.

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