The Rules Related to I’tikaaf
(Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai)
Mass “Itikaafs” – Haraam and Bid’ah in Disguise
(Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai)
FATWASQ. Is the 10 day Ramadhaan I’tikaaf an infiraadi (individual) or an Ijtima-i (congregational) ibaadat? Most of the people need a break because the daily schedules are tight and extensive. Feeding roughly 100 people daily for 10 days —Sehri, Iftaar, Dinner after Taraaweeh and again after the night bayaan at about 11 pm. The Maulana’s host and his mureeds are compelled to participate in this khaanqah activity every year. The participants have a hypocritical stand. The majority talks negatively of this state of affairs. Please comment.
The 10 day Ramadhaan I’tikaaf is an infiraadi ibaadat. It is not a congregational ibaadat. The gluttonous feasting, especially during the month of Ramadhaan, is vile in particular. Only beasts devour food in the manner described by you. This is indeed a ridiculous set up which the Mauana Saheb has fabricated under guise of Tasawwuf. It is haraam to impose the hardship of preparing meals for so many people, especially during Ramadhaan. The negative talk is sufficient evidence for the unlawful impositions on the womenfolk. The people who participate in this feasting are also blameworthy. It is not permissible to impose the burden of feeding so many people, so many times a day, and that too, in Ramadhaan.
Q. What if there is nobody to sit in I’tikaaf in the Musjid?
A. The wrath of Allah Ta’ala and the sin of having abandoned this Sunnah settle on the entire community.
Q. Is the I’tikaaf of Ramadhaan valid in a Jamaat Khaanah?
A. The Masnoon I’tikaaf on the last ten days of Ramadhaan is valid in only a Musjid where the five Salaats are being performed. It is not valid in a Jamaat Khaanah.
Q. What is a Sunnat and a Nafl I’tikaaf?
A. Sunnah I’tikaaf is the I’tikaaf of the last ten days of Ramadhaan. Nafl I’tikaaf could be observed throughout the year and there is no specific time for it. It could be for even one minute. Whenever entering a Musjid, make intention of Nafl I’tikaaf, and engage in thikr, tilaawat, Salaat, etc. As long as you are in the Musjid you will then be receiving the thawaab of Nafl I’tikaaf. The moment you leave the Musjid, the Nafl I’tikaaf terminates. Furthermore, whereas Fasting is compulsory for the Sunnat I’tikaaf, there is no fasting for a Nafl I’tikaaf, although it is permissible to fast even if one observes Nafl I’tikaaf.
Q. What is the time limit for a Nafl I’tikaaf?
A. There is no fixed time or time limit for observing a Nafl I’tikaaf. A Nafl I’tikaaf of even a few moments is valid and it merits great Thawaab. Upon entering the Musjid one could make Niyvat for observing Nafl I’tikaaf. Merely intend that you are sitting in I’tikaaf and engage in any activity of Ibaadat, eg. Zikr, Dua, Tilaawat.
Q. A person in I’tikaaf breaks his wudhu. Can he leave the Musjid to make wudhu although it is not his intention to perform Salaat or recite Qur’aan at that time?
A. If the Mu’takif’s (the one who is in I’tikaaf) wudhu has broken, then he has to leave the Musjid to make wudhu because it is not permissible to be inside the Musjid without wudhu even if he will not be reciting Qur’aan or performing Salaat. However, the Mu’takif who makes wudhu and does not perform Tahyatul Wudhu is most unfortunate.
Q. Is it necessary for a person observing the ten days Ramadhaan I'tikaaf to perform Tahyatul Musjid and Tahyatul Wudhu every time he goes out to make wudhu?
A. It is not Wajib to perform Tahyatul Musjid every time one enters the Musjid on the same day. But, it is preferable and meritorious to do so whether one is in I’tikaaf or not. Tahyatul Wudhu too should be performed every time one renews wudhu whether one is in I’tikaaf or not.
Q. Is it permissible for the Mu’takif to perform the Sunnat ghusl of Jumuah?
A. It is not permissible for the Mu’takif to leave the Musjid to perform even the Masnoon ghusl for Jumuah.
Q. During the Ramadhaan I’tikaaf is it permissible to take a non-Waajib shower?
A. During I’tikaaf, only a compulsory bath is permissible. If a person leaves the Musjid for a shower which is not Waajib, his I’tikaaf is nullified. It is not permissible for the mu’takif (the one who observes I’tikaaf) to leave the Musjid to even renew wudhu if his wudhu is valid. He may not step out of the Musjid.
Q. During I’tikaaf is it permissible to take a Masnoon ghusl?
A. Only an obligatory bath may be taken whilst observing I’tikaaf. Emerging to take a non-obligatory bath nullifies the I’tikaaf.
Q. Is it permissible for a woman to visit male relatives (for example, her brother) when they are in I’tikaaf?
A. When it is not permissible for a woman to attend the Musjid for even Salaat purposes then her going to the Musjid for mere visiting purposes will be unlawful to a greater degree. A Musjid is a public place where males congregate for Ibaadat. Allah Ta`ala has commanded women to abstain from public places in attendance by men. It is totally contrary to the Shariah Law of Purdah for a woman to emerge from the home unnecessarily and then proceed towards the Musjid enterely for the purpose of visiting. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mas`ood (radhiyallahu anhu) — one of the greatest Sahaabah — narrates the followinig Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): ‘Verily, a woman is ‘Aurah’ (i.e. her entire body is to be concealed). When she emerges (from her home) shaitaan is in her attendance.’
Q. A family member passes away while one is in I’tikaaf. What should he do?
A. The Mu’takif (the one in I’tikaaf) should make dua for his relative who passed away. There is no need for him to break his I’tkaaf merely to participate in the Janaazah Salaat and to accompany the Janaazah. However, if there is a pressing need for his presence, and he attends, then he has to make Qadha of one day.
Q. How should qadha of I’tikaaf be made if a person left the Musjid for part of the day? What if the person is a female?
A. Qadha of only the days of the Masnoon I’tikaaf invalidated should be made. If for example the 7th day was invalidated, then qadha of one day should be kept. When making Qadha, fasting for that day should also be observed. This applies to both males and females. The woman may make the Qadha fast in any place, not necessarily in the same place when she had initiated her I’tikaaf.
Q. I sat in I’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadhan. On one of these day, I went out of the Musjid thereby nullifying my I’tikaaf. How and when should I make Qadha of my I’tikaaf?
You have to make qadha of one day. If qadha is being made after Ramadhan, then remember that you have to fast during the Qadha I’tikaaf. Enter the Musjid just before sunset and end the I’tikaaf the next day just after sunset.
Q. A Hanafi broke his I’tikaaf on one of the last ten days of Ramadhaan. How should he make qadha?
A. The Hanafi who broke his I’tikaaf has to make Qadha of that day after Eid. He should enter the Musjid a few minutes before sunset and fast on the day he makes Qadha. The qadha will be until sunset of the next day.
Q. I left the Musjid for some business need for about an hour. What is the status of my I'tikaaf?
A. You have to make qadha of one day’s I’tikaaf for having left the Musjid to attend to the business. When making qadha, you also have to fast on that day.
Q. Some of the persons who are in I'tikaaf at the Musjid where I attend are heavy smokers. When they go to the toilet, they smoke. In the morning, the Musjid stinks of the foul odour of the cigarettes which these people of I'tikaaf had smoked in the toilet. Please comment on this lamentable state.
A. People who smoke and create the terrible, haraam odours you have described, should not be allowed to be in I’tikaaf. The trustees should prohibit them. It is haraam to pollute the Musjid with the filthy odour of cigarette- smoke. Any offensive smell is haraam in the Musjid. For this reason our senior Ulama have prohibited the use of paraffin lamps in a Musjid. Only oil lamps are used in the Musaajid where there is no electricity. These people should shame themselves for the pollution they cause in the Musjid, for the takleef (distress) to other musallis, for chasing the Malaaikah out of the Musjid, and for shamelessly opting for I’tikaaf when they know that they are diseased.
Q. A person in I’tikaaf went to make wudhu. Instead of wudhu he took a bath. What is the state of his I’tikaaf?
A. The non-Waajib bath which the person took nullified his I’tikaaf of that day. He has to make Qadha of one day after Ramadhaan. When making Qadha, he should also fast on that day.
Q. Some brothers from the U.S.A. go to Madinah specially to observe the I'tikaaf of the last ten days of Ramadhaan. Is this advisable?
A. It is not advisable. The brothers should remain in their hometowns for I’tikaaf. It is not advisable to spend so much money and to undergo journies and become involved in sins unintentionally along the route for making I’tikaaf in the Haram Shareef. The brothers lack in understanding. They should put their money to constructive use. There are millions of suffering Muslims on whom the money could be spent, thereby gaining tremendous amounts of thawaab, far, far in excess of the thawaab for undergoing a journey to sit in I’tikaaf in Madinah Munawwarah. The thawaab of assisting a Muslim in need is the equivalent of a thousand I’tikaaf. Thus Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu) nullified his I’tikaaf specifically to aid a brother in distress.