Types of I’tikāf

The literal meaning of i’tikāf is ‘to reside’ or ‘to stop’. In shar’iah, the word i’tikāf refers to residing in the Masjid with the intention of i’tikāf while refraining oneself from certain actions. I’tikāf is of three types:

  1. Wājib I’tikāf: i’tikāf becomes compulsory upon a person if he makes an oath, for example, “If I pass my driving test then I shall stay in i’tikaf for a day.” it must be noted that one is obliged to also keep a fast while observing this type of i’tikāf.
  1. Sunnah I’tikāf: residing in the Masjid during the last ten days of Ramadhān is considered as Sunnah Mu’akkadah alal Kifāyah (a communal emphasised sunnah). To be in the state of fasting is also a condition for this type of fast. Therefore, if one does not fast (due to illness or any valid reason) then his i’tikāf will break.

Note: If one wishes to perform Sunnah I’tikāf, then he should go to the Masjid on the twentieth day of Ramadhān before maghrib time and make the intention for Sunnah I’tikāf. Upon hearing the news of the new moon or on the thirtieth day after maghrib, he will be permitted to leave the Masjid (the sunnah I’tikāf will have been completed).

  1. Nafl I’tikāf: this type of i’tikāf can be performed anytime and has no conditions, such as keeping fast, except that one makes intention when entering the Masjid. By doing so, a person will receive the reward of performing i’tikāf until he leaves the masjid.

With Regards to Sunnah I’tikāf, there are many ahādith mentioning its virtues. In fact, the Prophet ﷺ was consistent in performing i’tikāf to such an extent that if the Prophet ﷺ would miss it, then he would observe i’tikāf for twenty days the following year. (Sunan Abu Dāwud Hadith No.2463)

عَنْ أُبَىِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ يَعْتَكِفُ الْعَشْرَ الأَوَاخِرَ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ فَلَمْ يَعْتَكِفْ عَامًا فَلَمَّا كَانَ الْعَامُ الْمُقْبِلُ اعْتَكَفَ عِشْرِينَ لَيْلَةً

(Badai’ as-Sanā’i Vol. 3 Pp. 5-9, Print: Dār al-Hadith, Al-lubāb fi Sharh al-Kitāb Vol. 1 Pg. 162 Print: Qadeemi Kutub Khānah, Al-fiqhu alal Madhahib al-Arba’ah Pg. 328 Print: Dār ibn Hazm, Qāmus al-Fiqh Vol. 2 Pp. 170-172 Print: Zam Zam Publishers and Al-Fatāwa al-Hindiyyah Vol.1 Pg. 211 Print: Dār al-Fikr)

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Muhammad Zakir

الفقه على المذاهب الأربعة: هو اللبث في المسجد للعبادة على وجه مخصوص

اللباب في شرح الكتاب: قال الزيلعي: والحق أنه ينقسم إلى ثلاثة أقسام: واجب، وهو المنذور، وسنة، وهو في العشر الأخير من رمضان، ومستحب، وهو في غيره. اهـ.

الفتاوى الهندية: وَيَنْقَسِمُ إلَى وَاجِبٍ، وَهُوَ الْمَنْذُورُ تَنْجِيزًا أَوْ تَعْلِيقًا، وَإِلَى سُنَّةٍ مُؤَكَّدَةٍ، وَهُوَ فِي الْعَشْرِ الْأَخِيرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ، وَإِلَى مُسْتَحَبٍّ، وَهُوَ مَا سِوَاهُمَا هَكَذَا فِي فَتْحِ الْقَدِيرِ.

وَأَمَّا شُرُوطُهُ) فَمِنْهَا النِّيَّةُ حَتَّى لَوْ اعْتَكَفَ بِلَا نِيَّةٍ لَا يَجُوزُ بِالْإِجْمَاعِ كَذَا فِي مِعْرَاجِ الدِّرَايَةِ)

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