Category Archives: Itikaf
Fatwas of Ibn Baz
Q. What is the degree of authenticity of the Hadith: There should be no I`tikaf (seclusion for worship in a Masjid) except in the Three Masjids (mosques) If it is authentic, does it actually mean that there should be no I`tikaf except in the Three Masjids (i.e., the Sacred, Prophet’s, and Al-Aqsa)?
A. It is valid to observe I`tikaf in any Masjid other than the three Masjids, on condition that congregational Salah (Prayer) is established therein. For, if this condition is not fulfilled, it becomes invalid to observe I`tikaf there.
However, this does not apply if a person vows to observe I`tikaf in any of the three Masjids, for they are then obliged to fulfill their vow. May Allah guide us all to do what pleases Him.
As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!).
Chairman of the Departments of Scholarly Research,
Ifta’, Daw`ah, and Guidance
Posted from http://alifta.org
Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Book 33:
Retiring to a Mosque for Remembrance of Allah (I’tikaf)
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 242:
Narrated Abdullah bin Umar:
Allah’s Apostle used to practise Itikaf in the last ten days of the month of Ramadan.
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 243:
(the wife of the Prophet) The Prophet 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:
Allah’s Apostle 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 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 (i.e. in the morning of the twenty-first).
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 245:
The Prophet 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:
(the wife of the Prophet) Allah’s Apostle 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:
The Prophet 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.
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 248:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
Umar asked the Prophet “I vowed in the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance to stay in Itikaf for one night in Al-Masjid al-Haram.” The Prophet said to him, “Fulfill your vow.”
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 249:
Aisha said, “the Prophet used to practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan and I used to pitch a tent for him, and after offering the morning prayer, he used to enter the tent.” Hafsa asked the permission of ‘Aisha to pitch a tent for her and she allowed her and she pitched her tent. When Zainab bint Jahsh saw it, she pitched another tent. In the morning the Prophet noticed the tents. He said, ‘What is this?” He was told of the whole situation. Then the Prophet said, “Do you think that they intended to do righteousness by doing this?” He therefore abandoned the Itikaf in that month and practiced Itikaf for ten days in the month of Shawwal.”
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 250:
The Prophet intended to practice Itikaf and when he reached the place where he intended to perform Itikaf, he saw some tents, the tents of ‘Aisha, Hafsa and Zainab. So, he said, “Do you consider that they intended to do righteousness by doing this?” And then he went away and did not perform Itikaf (in Ramadan) but performed it in the month of Shawwal for ten days.
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 251:
Narrated Ali bin Al-Husain:
Safiya, the wife of the Prophet told me that she went to Allah’s Apostle to visit him in the mosque while he was in Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. She had a talk with him for a while, then she got up in order to return home. The Prophet accompanied her. When they reached the gate of the mosque, opposite the door of Um-Salama, two Ansari men were passing by and they greeted Allah’s Apostle . He told them: Do not run away! And said, “She is (my wife) Safiya bint Huyai.” Both of them said, “Subhan Allah, (How dare we think of any evil) O Allah’s Apostle!” And they felt it. The Prophet said (to them), “Satan reaches everywhere in the human body as blood reaches in it, (everywhere in one’s body). I was afraid lest Satan might insert an evil thought in your minds.”
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 252:
Narrated Abu Salama bin ‘Abdur-Rahman:
I asked Abu Said Al-Khudri, “Did you hear Allah’s Apostle talking about the Night of Qadr?” He replied in the affirmative and said, “Once we were in Itikaf with Allah’s Apostle in the middle ten days of (Ramadan) and we came out of it in the morning of the twentieth, and Allah’s Apostle- delivered a sermon on the 20th (of Ramadan) and said, ‘I was informed (of the date) of the Night of Qadr (in my dream) but had forgotten it. So, look for it in the odd nights of the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan. I saw myself prostrating in mud and water on that night (as a sign of the Night of Qadr). So, whoever had been in Itikaf with Allah’s Apostle should return for it.’ The people returned to the mosque (for Itikaf). There was no trace of clouds in the sky. But all of a sudden a cloud came and it rained. Then the prayer was established (they stood for the prayer) and Allah’s Apostle prostrated in mud and water and I saw mud over the forehead and the nose of the Prophet.
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 253:
One of the wives of Allah’s Apostle practiced Itikaf with him while she ad bleeding in between her periods and she would see red (blood) or yellowish traces, and sometimes we put a tray beneath her when she offered the prayer.
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 254:
Narrated ‘Ali bin Al-Husain (from Safiya, the Prophet’s wife):
The wives of the Prophet were with him in the mosque (while he was in Itikaf) and then they departed and the Prophet said to Safiya bint Huyai, “Don’t hurry up, for I shall accompany you,” (and her dwelling was in the house of Usama). The Prophet went out and in the meantime two Ansari men met him and they looked at the Prophet and passed by. The Prophet said to them, “Come here. She is (my wife) Safiya bint Huyai.” They replied, “Subhan Allah, (How dare we think of evil) O Allah’s Apostle! (we never expect anything bad from you).” The Prophet replied, “Satan circulates in the human being as blood circulates in the body, and I was afraid lest Satan might insert an evil thought in your minds.”
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 255:
Narrated ‘Ali bin Al-Husain from Safiya:
Safiya went to the Prophet while he was in Itikaf. When she returned, the Prophet accompanied her walking. An Ansari man saw him. When the Prophet noticed him, he called him and said, “Come here. She is Safiya. (Sufyan a sub-narrator perhaps said that the Prophet had said, “This is Safiya”). And Satan circulates in the body of Adam’s offspring as his blood circulates in it.”
(A sub-narrator asked Sufyan, “Did Safiya visit him at night?” He said, “Of course, at night.”)
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 256:
Narrated Abu Said:
We practiced Itikaf with Allah’s Apostle in the middle ten days (of Ramadan). In the morning of the twentieth (of Ramadan) we shifted our baggage, but Allah’s Apostle came to us and said, “Whoever was m Itikaf should return to his place of Itikaf, for I saw (i.e. was informed about the date of) this Night (of Qadr) and saw myself prostrating in mud and water.” When I returned to my place the sky was overcast with clouds and it rained. By Him Who sent Muhammad with the Truth, the sky was covered with clouds from the end of that day, and the mosque which was roofed with leaf-stalks of date palm trees (leaked with rain) and I saw the trace of mud and water over the nose of the Prophet and its tip.
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 257:
Narrated ‘Amra bint ‘Abdur-Rahman from ‘Aisha:
Allah’s Apostle used to practice Itikaf every year in the month of Ramadan. And after offering the morning prayer, he used to enter the place of his Itikaf. ‘Aisha asked his permission to let her practice Itikaf and he allowed her, and so she pitched a tent in the mosque. When Hafsa heard of that, she also pitched a tent (for herself), and when Zainab heard of that, she too pitched another tent. When, in the morning, Allah’s Apostle had finished the morning prayer, he saw four tents and asked, “What is this?” He was informed about it. He then said, “What made them do this? Is it righteousness? Remove the tents, for I do not want to see them.” So, the tents were removed. The Prophet did not perform Itikaf that year in the month of Ramadan, but did it in the last ten days of Shawwal.
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 258:
Narrated Abdullah bin Umar:
‘Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I vowed in the Pre-lslamic period to perform Itikaf in Al-Masjid-al-Haram for one night.” The Prophet said, “Fulfill your vow.” So, he performed Itikaf for one night.
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 259:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
that ‘Umar had vowed in the Pre-lslamic period to perform Itikaf in Al-Masjid-al-Haram. (A sub-narrator thinks that ‘Umar vowed to perform Itikaf for one night.) Allah’s Apostle said to ‘Umar, “Fulfill your vow.”
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 260:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet used to perform Itikaf every year in the month of Ramadan for ten days, and when it was the year of his death, he stayed in Itikaf for twenty days.
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 261:
Narrated ‘Amra bint ‘AbdurRahman from ‘Aisha: Allah’s Apostle mentioned that he would practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. ‘Aisha asked his permission to perform Itikaf and he permitted her. Hafsa asked ‘Aisha to take his permission for
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 262:
Aisha during her menses used to comb and oil the hair of the Prophet while he used to be in Itikaf in the mosque. He would stretch out his head towards her while she was in her chamber.
Imam Al-Nawawi’s Riyad-us-Saliheen
I`tikaf (Seclusion in the Mosque) in the Month of Ramadan
1268. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to observe I`tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
1269. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to engage himself in I`tikaf (seclusion for prayers) in the mosque during the last ten nights of Ramadan till he passed away; thereafter, his wives followed this practice after him.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
1270. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to observe I`tikaf every year (during Ramadan) for ten days; in the year in which he passed away, he observed I`tikaf for twenty days.
Commentary: We learn from these Ahadith that the observance of I`tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan is Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). But it can be done only in mosque not at home. I`tikaf helps to enhance one’s spiritual growth and to strive hard to worship Allah better as there is nothing to distract one’s attention from this noble pursuit.
Author:Imaam Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaanee
Source:Qiyaam Ramadaan (pg. 34-41)
1. ‘Itikaaf (secluding oneself in the masjid) is a recommended act in Ramadaan as well as any other day in the year. The source for that is found in Allaah’s saying: “…while you are making ‘Itikaaf in the masaajid.” And there are also many authentic ahaadeeth about the Prophet’s (saws) ‘Itikaaf and narrations from the Salaf about it also. They are mentioned in the Musannafs of Ibn Abee Shaybah and ‘Abdur-Razzaaq.
It is authentically reported that the Prophet (saws) made ‘Itikaaf in the last ten days of Shawaal, and that ‘Umar (raa) said to the Prophet (saws): “I made an oath (to Allaah) in the Days of Ignorance that I would make ‘Itikaaf for one night in the Masjid Al-Haraam, (should I do it)?” The Prophet (saws) responded: “Fulfill your oath.” So he made ‘Itikaaf for one night. 
2. Observing it in Ramadaan is established in the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah (raa): “Allaah’s Messenger (saws) would make ‘Itikaaf for ten days in every Ramadaan. But when it was the year in which he died, he made ‘Itikaaf for twenty days.” 
3. The best time to do it is in the last part of Ramadaan because the Prophet (saws) would make ‘Itikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan until Allaah took his soul (in death). 
1. It’s observance is not legislated except in the masaajid, based on Allaah’s saying: “And do not have intercourse with them (your wives) while you are making ‘Itikaaf in the masaajid.”  And ‘Aa’ishah (raa) said: “The Sunnah for the one doing ‘Itikaaf is that he should not go out (of the masjid) except for some need that he must fulfill. He should not witness a funeral, nor should he touch his wife, or have intercourse with her. And there is no ‘Itikaaf except in a masjid that establishes the Jamaa’ah (congregational prayer). And the Sunnah for the one doing ‘Itikaaf is that he should be fasting (on the day he makes ‘Itikaaf).” 
2. The masjid should also hold the Jumu’ah prayers so that he is not forced to leave the masjid to pray the Jumu’ah prayer. This is because going out for it is an obligation, based on ‘Aa’ishah’s saying in one of the narrations from the previous hadeeth: “…and there is no ‘Itikaaf except in a masjid that holds the Jumu’ah prayer.” 
Furthermore, I came upon an authentic hadeeth that clearly specifies the “masaajid” mentioned in the previous ayah to mean the three masaajid: Masjid Al-Haraam, Masjid An-Nabawee and Masjid Al-Aqsaa. The hadeeth is: “There is no ‘Itikaaf except in the three masaajid.” 
According to what I came across, those among the Salaf who held this opinion were Hudhayfah Ibn Al-Yamaan, Sa’eed Ibn Al-Musayyib and ‘Ataa. However, he (‘Ataa) did not mention Masjid Al-Aqsaa. Others held the opinion that it was any congregating masjid (in which the Jumu’ah prayer is held), without restriction. And yet others disagreed saying it can even be done in the masjid of one’s home. And there is no doubt that adhering to what complies with the hadeeth about it is what deserves to be followed. And Allaah, Glorified and Exalted, knows best.
3. It is from the Sunnah for the one making ‘Itikaaf to observe fasting, as has been stated by ‘Aa’ishah (raa). 
What is permissible for the person making ‘Itikaaf:
1. It is permissible for him to leave the masjid in order to fulfill a need. It is also permissible for him to stick his head out of the masjid to have it washed and combed. ‘Aa’ishah (raa) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (saws) entered his head in my presence while he was making ‘Itikaaf in the masjid, and I was in my apartment. So I would comb his hair, [and in one narration: I would wash it, even though there was the threshold between me and him, and I would be menstruating], and he (saws) would not enter the house unless he had a [human] need, while making ‘Itikaaf.” 
2. It is permissible for the one making ‘Itikaaf and others to make wudoo (ablution) in the masjid, based on the saying of a man who would serve the Prophet (saws): “The Prophet would make a light wudoo (ablution) in the masjid.” 
3. He may set up a small tent in the back of the masjid in which to make ‘Itikaaf. This is since ‘Aa’ishah (raa) would set up a khibaa  (tent) for the Prophet (saws) when he would make ‘Itikaaf. And this was from his (saws) command. 
And one time he made ‘Itikaaf in a small tent that had a mat covering its doorway. 
The Allowance of a woman to make ‘Itikaaf and visit her husband (who is making ‘Itikaaf) in the masjid:
4. It is permissible for a woman to visit her husband while he is making ‘Itikaaf. And he may walk with her to bid her farewell up to the door of the masjid, based on the saying of Safiyyah (raa):
“The Prophet (saws) was making ‘Itikaaf in the masjid during the last ten days of Ramadaan, so I went to visit him one night, and his wives were with him. So I spoke to him for an hour, then I got up to leave and he said: ‘Don’t rush, I’ll go out with you.’ So he got up with me to escort me out.” And her dwelling used to be in the home of Usaamah Ibn Zayd. Then they walked until they reached the door of the masjid, which was by the door of Umm Salamah. Then two men from the Ansaar passed by and when they saw the Prophet (saws), they rushed away. So the Prophet (saws) said: ‘Slow down! This is (my wife) Safiyyah Bint Huyai’ So they said: ‘SubhaanAllaah, O Messenger of Allaah.’ He (saws) said: ‘Verily, the Devil flows through the human like the flowing of blood. And I feared lest he put some evil into your hearts.'” [Or he (saws) said: “something into your hearts.”] 
In fact it is even permissible for a woman to make ‘Itikaaf along with her husband in the masjid or by herself, based on the statement of ‘Aa’ishah (raa): “One of the wives of Allaah’s Messenger (saws) made ‘Itikaaf with him while she was in the state of Istihaada (bleeding between periods) [in another narration it states she is Umm Salamah] and she would see red (blood) or yellowish traces (come out of her). And sometimes we put a tray beneath her when she offered the prayer.” 
And she also said: “The Prophet (saws) would observe ‘Itikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan, until he died. Then his wives observed ‘Itikaaf after him.” 
There is proof in this that it is permissible for the women to make ‘Itikaaf also. And there is no doubt that this is on the condition that their guardians grant them permission to do that. And it is also on the condition that the place is free from any fitnah and intermingling with men, based on the many evidences for that and also on the Fiqh principle: “Preventing an evil takes precedence over bringing about a good.”
5. Having sexual intercourse nullifies one’s ‘Itikaaf, based on Allaah’s saying: “And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are making ‘Itikaaf in the masaajid.”
And Ibn ‘Abbaas (raa) said: “If the person making ‘Itikaaf has sexual relations then he nullifies his ‘Itikaaf and must start it over again.”  There is no recompense (kaffaarah) that is binding upon him due to a lack of anything being mentioned about that by the Prophet (saws) and his Companions.
 This is a portion of a hadeeth from ‘Aa’ishah reported by Al-Bukharee, Muslim and Ibn Khuzaimah in their Saheeh collections. I have referenced it in Saheeh Sunan Abee Dawood (2127)
 Reported by Al-Bukharee, Muslim and Ibn Khuzaimah. The extra addition is from Al-Bukhaaree in one narration as is stated in my abridgment to it (995). And it is referenced in Saheeh Sunan Abee Dawood (2136-2137) also.
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Ibn Khuzaimah in their Saheeh collections and it is referenced in the previously mentioned source (2126-2130)
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim and Ibn Khuzaimah (2223) and it is referenced in Al-Irwaa (966) and Saheeh Abee Dawood (2125)
 Surat-ul-Baqarah: 187. Imaam Al-Bukhaaree used this ayah as evidence for hat we have stated above. Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr said: “The point of evidence found in this ayah is that if it were correct to do ‘Itikaaf in someplace other than a masjid, the forbiddance of having sexual relations would not be specifically mentioned, because sexual intercourse is forbidden during ‘Itikaaf according to the consensus of the scholars. So it is understood through the mentioning of “masaajid” that the meaning is that ‘Itikaaf is not correct except in it the masaajid.
 Reported by Al-Baihaqee with an authentic chain, and Abu Dawood with a sound chain. The following narration from ‘Aa’ishah RAA is also form Abu Dawood, and it is referenced in Saheeh Aee Dawood (2135) and Al-Irwaa (966)
 Al-Bayhaqee reported on Ibn ‘Abbaas that he said: “Verily, the most hated of things to Allaah are the innovations. And verily from the innovations is making ‘Itikaaf in the masaajid that are located in the houses.”
 Reported by At-Tahaawee and Al-Isma’eelee and Al-Baihaqee with an authentic chain of narration on Hudhaifah Ibn Al-Yamaan RAA. And it is referenced in As-Saheehah (no. 2786) along with the narrations from the Sahaabah that comply with it, and all of them are authentic.
 Reported by Al-Baihaqee with an authentic chain of narration and Abu Dawood with a sound chain of narration. Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim said in Zaad Al-Ma’aad: “It is not reported on the Prophet (saws) that he made ‘Itikaaf while not fasting. Rather, ‘Aa’ishah (raa) said: ‘There is no ‘Itikaaf except with fasting.’ And furthermore, Allaah did not mention ‘Itikaaf except with the fast. And the Prophet (saws) did not do it unless he was fasting. So the correct opinion is in the evidence, which the majority of the scholars adhere to: that fasting is a condition for ‘Itikaaf. And this is the opinion that Shaikh-ul-Islaam Abul-‘Abbaas Ibn Tamiyyah favored.” And he adds to this that it is not legislated in the Religion that one who goes out to the masjid for prayer or other than that is supposed to make an intention for the amount of time he will spend in ‘Itikaaf. This is what Shaikh-ul-Islaam clarified in his Ikhtiyaaraat.
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree, Muslim, Ibn Abee Shaybah, and Ahmad, and the first addition belongs to these last two (mentioned). It is referenced in Saheeh Abee Dawood (2131-2132)
 Reported by Al-Bayhaqee with a good chain and Ahmad (5/364) in abridged form with an authentic chain of narration.
 A khibaa is one type of house of the Arabs made from fur or wool, and it is not from hair. And it is set up on two or three props. See An-Nihaayah.
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah. Her doing it is stated in the report of Al-Bukhaaree and his commanding it is stated in the report of Muslim.
 It is part of a hadeeth narrated by Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree, reported by Muslim and Ibn Khuzaimah in their Saheehs. It is referenced in Saheeh Abee Dawood (1251)
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim and also Abu Dawood, and the last part of it is form him (Abu Dawood). And I referenced it in Saheeh Sunan Abee Dawood (2133 & 2134).
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and it is referenced in Saheeh Sunan Abee Dawood (2138). The other narration is from Sa’eed Ibn Mansoor, as is I stated in Fath-ul-Baaree (4/281). However, Ad-Daarimee (1/22) says that she is Zaynab, and Allaah knows best.
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree, Muslim and others.
 Reported by Ibn Abee Shaybah (3/92) and ‘Abdur-Razaaq (4/363) with an authentic chain of narration. And what is meant by his saying: “must start it over” is that he must redo his ‘Itikaaf.