About I‘tikaaf

About I‘tikaaf
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I‘tikaaf is to retire to the mosque for the sake of worshipping Allah The Almighty.

 
Its ruling is that it is an act of the Sunnah (recommendation) and the basic proof for it is what Allah The Almighty Says (which means): {And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques.} [Quran 2: 187]
 
This verse indicates that I‘tikaaf is prescribed in Sharee‘ah. It has to take place in a mosque in order for it to be valid. Also, it is prohibited for those who are in I‘tikaaf to have sexual intercourse with their wives for as long as they are still in I‘tikaaf.
 
There are many authentic Hadeeths that also prove this. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would observe I'tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadan until Allah took his soul, then his wives observed I’tikaaf after he was gone.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), would do  I‘tikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadan:  Naafi‘  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “‘Abdullaah (Ibn ‘Umar), may Allah be pleased with him, showed me the spot where the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) would practice I‘tikaaf in the mosque.” [Muslim]
 
It was narrated in Saheeh Al-Bukhari that Safiyyah, may Allah be pleased with her, the wife of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), went to the Messenger of Allah,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), to visit him in the mosque while he was in I‘tikaaf. She talked with him for a while, then got up to return home. The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), accompanied her. When they reached the gate of the mosque, opposite the door of Umm-Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, two Ansaari men were passing by and they greeted the Messenger of Allah hurriedly. He said to them: Take it easy! She is (my wife) Safiyyah bint Huyayy." Both of them said, "Subhaan Allah, (How dare we think of any evil) O Messenger of Allah!" And they felt it. The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), said (to them): “The devil reaches everywhere in the human body just like blood does. I was afraid lest the devil might insert an evil thought into your minds.”[Al-Bukhari]
 
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), would perform I‘tikaaf every year in the month of Ramadan for ten days, and when it was the year of his death, he stayed in I‘tikaaf for twenty days. [Al-Bukhari]
 
It is permissible to practice I‘tikaaf in any mosque based on the generality of the texts. However, practicing I‘tikaaf in one of the three mosques; Al-Masjid Al-Haraam (in Makkah), Al-Masjid An-Nabawi (in Madeenah) and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem) is better in the same way as performing prayer in one of them is better than performing it in any other mosque.
 
Whoever would like to practice I‘tikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadan should enter the mosque before sunset of the twenty-first night and come out of his I‘tikaaf after sunset of the night of Al-‘Eed.
 
I‘tikaaf is invalidated by leaving the mosque if there is no acceptable justification, for the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), did not use to enter his house during it except to relieve himself. I‘tikaaf is also invalidated by merely intending to end it even if one does not actually leave the mosque based on the generality of the Hadeeth: “Deeds are considered by their intentions.”
 
It is also invalidated by having sexual intercourse, for Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques.} [Quran 2: 187] That is, prohibiting such relations entails the invalidation of the act of worship if one does what he is prohibited from doing.
It is also invalidated by apostasy, for Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {If you should associate [anything] with Allah, your work would surely become worthless.} [Quran 39: 65]
Moreover, consuming alcohol also invalidates I‘tikaaf for a drunk person is not considered from the people of the mosque.
 
It is permissible for the person observing I‘tikaaf to inquire after the health of the sick while passing and the like but not stop with him for ‘Aai’shah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “I would enter the house only to answer the call of nature, and inquire after the health of the sick (in the family) only while passing.” [Muslim]
 
I‘tikaaf should be performed according to the way for which it was prescribed; that is, the Muslim should confine himself in a mosque for prayers, invocations and the like, leaving aside worldly activities.
 
We ask Allah The Almighty to accept our deeds and make them for His sake only and in conformity with the Sunnah of His Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). We also ask Allah The Almighty to accept our fasting in Ramadan and our Qiyaam (night prayers) in it.

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