What I‘tikaaf is

What I‘tikaaf is
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Linguistically speaking, I‘tikaaf means adherence to and frequent practice of something, whether it is good or evil.

 
From the Sharee’ah perspective, scholars of Fiqh (jurisprudence) have stated that I‘tikaaf means staying in a mosque for the sake of obeying Allah The Almighty. However, Shaykh Al-Islam  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said that it is to stay in the mosque for the sake of worshipping Allah The Almighty.
 
He further added that “obedience” is to act upon the command whether it is obligatory, recommended or permissible and it becomes an act of obedience via the intention. When we say “for the sake of worshipping Allah”, this implies humility and submission which properly expresses the true nature of I‘tikaaf. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {"What are these statues to which you are devoted?"} [Quran 21:52] “Devoted” here means humble and submissive. Allah also Says (what means): {To which you remained devoted.}[Quran 20:97] Again, “devoted” here means humble and submissive. The Arabic root that was originally used in the two verses is ‘Akafa from which the word I‘tikaaf is derived.
 
is prescribed by the Sharee’ah according to the Quran, Sunnah, reported citations of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and scholarly consensus.

 

 

·        {"Purify My House for those who perform Tawaaf [circumambulation] and those who are staying [there] for worship.} [Quran 2:125]
·        {As you are staying for worship in the mosques.} [Quran 2:187]
 
This goes in addition to other verses of the Quran that refer to I‘tikaaf.
 
 
Coming to the Sunnah, both the sayings and practices of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), confirm the fact that I‘tikaaf is prescribed by the Sharee’ah. The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), would make I‘tikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. In a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Sa‘eed Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, he stated that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), would practice I‘tikaaf in the first ten days of Ramadan, then he sought the Night of Al-Qadr (Divine decree) in the middle of Ramadan; then he was informed that it is in the last ten days of this blessed month. Hence, he started making Itikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadan and urged his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, to do the same.
 
Moreover, the reported citations of the Companions in this regard are very many as confirmed by what is mentioned in books. So, whoever wants to know more details and proofs, let him refer to books on this topic.
 
Finally, the consensus of scholars was reported from many scholars and jurists.
 
Question: Is there a Hadeeth on the virtue of I‘tikaaf, like saying for instance that the person who performs I‘tikaaf gets such and such a reward?
 
The answer to this question is, to the best of my knowledge, “No”.
 
Imaam Ahmad  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said that there is no Saheeh (Authentic) Hadeeth that specifies the reward of practicing I‘tikaaf. Abu Daawood  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said that he asked Imaam Ahmad  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him whether he knew a Hadeeth on the virtue of I‘tikaaf: he told him that he knew only Dha‘eef (weak) Hadeeths in this regard. This includes a Marfoo‘ (non-direct) Hadeeth narrated on the authority of Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allah be pleased with him, in which it was stated that whoever practices I‘tikaaf for one night will get a reward similar to that of performing ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) and whoever practices I‘tikaaf for two nights will get a reward similar to that of performing ‘Umrah twice. As for the evidence of its being prescribed by the Sharee‘ah, it is mentioned in very many Hadeeths that refer to the I‘tikaaf of the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ), as narrated by ‘Aa’ishah and the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and as mentioned in the Hadeeth of Abu Sa‘eed, may Allah be pleased with him, as well as other Hadeeths.

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