Chapter Twenty-Four: On I'tikaf

[This comes after fasting because it is prescribed as a result of fasting. He begins with its ruling:]

21.1 Its Ruling

I'tikaf is a meritorious voluntary act. It derives from a word meaning 'to stay in one place'.

[It is best done in the last ten days of Ramadan since the Prophet did that. Linguistically it means means devotion to a thing and sticking to it. In the Shari'a, it means that the Muslim clings to the mosque for dhikr, the prayer, recitation of the Qur'an while fasting and refraining from intercourse and things which lead to it for a day or more with an intention. This definition includes its pillars which are: Islam, discrimination and being in a mosque, and what was mentioned of dhikr, prayer, etc, and refraining from intercourse and things leading up to it. Its pillars designate that on which the reality of the thing is based. It is an act of devotion with those qualifications.]

24.2 Preconditions

24.2a. Fasting

You can only do i'tikaf if you are fasting

[In the well-known position. It is not valid for someone who is not fasting, even on account of a valid excuse, as opposed to the one who says that the i'tikaf of the old man who cannot fast is valid and the physically weak and that fasting is not a precondition of i'tkaf in the school. Another precondition is:]

24.2b. Consecutive

and if it is consecutive and

[As long as he has not vowed it separately. If he does vow that, then consecutiveness is not obliged.]

24.2c. In a mosque

in a mosque, as in the words of Allah ta'ala, 'While you are doing i'tikaf in mosques.'

[It is not valid in houses, shops and other such places. I'tikaf is valid in any mosque, even if there are only three mosques in a town.]

24.3. Concerning the mosque

If the town is one where there is a Jumu'a, then i'tikaf must be done in the jama'a mosque, unless you are fulfilling a vow to do a certain number of days in i'tikaf and these do not include the day of Jumu'a.

[If there is a Jumu'a and he is someone who is obliged to go to Jumu'a and vows some days of which Jumu'a is one. So it must be in the Jama'a mosque in which Jumu'a is sound. It is not valid on the roof of the mosque nor in an adjoining house or washing place, nor in a storehouse since they enclose him and so resemble shops. ]

24.4. Its length

24.4a The best length

According to us it best to do at least ten days.

[In the Maliki school at least ten are recommended. Its most complete form is a month and it is disliked to do more. There is an opinion that its minimum is a day and a night and most complete is ten days and more than that is disliked, or different to what is best.]

24.4b. Other lengths

However, if someone makes a vow to do i'tikaf for one day or more, they must fulfil their vow. If the vow was just for one night, they must do i'tikaf for a day and a night.

[The literal meaning would be that if he vowed a day, the night is not necessary. That is not the case. The school of the Mudawwana is different. If he vows a day, a day and a night is obliged. If you said this is unclear since how can he be obliged with what is disliked because the Mudawwana makes it clear that it is disliked for less than ten days according to the position that the minimum of what is recommended is ten days, the answer is that he is speaking about what he vows. It is obliged it even if it is disliked. Al-Uhjuri mentioned it. The well-known position is that he must do a day and a night if he vows a night. Sahnun says it is invalid because if someone vows i'tikaf in the night without the precondition, it is not valid.]

24.5 Breaking the fast while in i'tikaf

24.5a. Deliberately

If someone in i'tikaf deliberately breaks their fast, they have to begin their i'tikaf all over again

[This is by eating or drinking. There is a difference between what is deliberate or forgetful as stated in the Mudawwana. Illness and menstruation are in the same category as forgetfulness. So when he eats out of forgetfulness or becomes ill or a woman menstruates, they do not have to begin again since it is not invalidated and he makes it up after the excuse which broke the retreat no longer exists.]

24.5b. Intercourse in i'tikaf

and the same applies to someone who has sexual intercourse while in i'tikaf whether during the day or the night and whether it is through forgetfulness or deliberate.

[He adds in the Mudawwana "or kisses, has contact or touches." Ibn Naji says, "even if there is no pleasure." Abu'l-Hasan qualifies it by experiencing or intending pleasure even if he does not feel it.]

24.5c. Falling ill while in i'tikaf

If you fall ill in i'tikaf you can return home but you should complete your i'tikaf when you are well again.

[If the illness prevents the person from remaining in the mosque or fasting rather than remaining in the mosque, he must return home with the illness which prevents remaining in the mosque, and is permitted to do so there is an impediment to fasting only. According to ar-Rajraji he is obliged to remain in the mosque. When he is healthy he returns the mosque and resumes the i'tikaf, rather than making up.]

24.5d. Menstruating in i'tikaf

The same applies to a woman who starts to menstruate in i'tikaf.

[Or has bleeding from childbirth. She leaves and resumes it later.]

24.5e. Restrictions which continue to apply

The restrictions of i'tikaf continue to apply to both sick people and women who are menstruating during the time they are away from the mosque. When the woman regains her purity she should return immediately to the mosque whether this happens by night or by day.

[So they are not permitted to do outside the mosque what is incompatible with i'tikaf except not fasting. When the menstruating woman becomes pure and has a ghusl, or the sick person recovers, whether it be night or day, they return to the mosque immediately. If they do not return at that time, they restart according to the well-known position. If they return, that day is not counted because of the impossibility of fasting it.]

24.6. Not leaving the mosque

24.6a. Only to go to the lavatory

People doing i'tikaf should not leave the mosque except for normal needs.

[It is all that compels him to leave: urine, faeces, the ghusl for Jumu'a, the 'id, wudu', ghusl for janaba, eating and drinking provided that he does not go beyond the near place to the further place. Otherwise, his i'tikaf is invalidated. Another precondition that he does not engage in conversation with anyone. Otherwise his i'tikaf is invalidated. Then he clarifies the time in which i'tikaf begins :]

24.6b. When you enter the mosque

You should enter the mosque where you are intending to do your i'tikaf before sunset on the night you intend to start.

[This is recommended. Compare it with what is in the two Sahih collections of the hadith of 'A'isha. She said, "When the Messenger of Allah wanted to do i'tikaf, he prayed Fajr and then entered into his i'tikaf." The answer is that he entered at the beginning of the time. He isolated himself in the place in which he intended to do i'tikaf after Subh. What what meant by his place of i'tikaf is the tent 'A'isha had set up for him, and he prayed Subh and then entered it.]

24.7. What to avoid in I'tikaf

While in i'tikaf you should not visit the sick, follow funeral processions or go out to transact any business.

24.7a. Visiting the sick

[While somone is in i'tikaf, he is forbidden to visit the sick, as long as it is not one of his parents or both of them. In such a case, he is obliged to go out to show filial devotion since it is an obligation in the Shari'a and his i'tikaf is invalidated.]

24.7b. Funerals

[He is not permitted to come out for the funeral prayer of both his parents. If he goes out, his i'tikaf is invalidated. He must go out to the funeral prayer for one of them since not going out is disobeying the living. That is not the case when they are both dead. His i'tikaf is invalidated. This applies to his parents, even if they are unbelievers. He does not join the funeral prayer, even if it is placed adjacent to him, and if it is the funeral or a neighbour or righteous person.But if he does visit a sick person in the mosque or prays in a funeral prayer in it, his i'tikaf is not invalidated.]

24.7c. Business

[As for business, Ibn 'Umar asked, "Do his words, "does not go out to transact business" mean the usual going out because business takes in the markets and so it is prohibited to trade in the mosque or outside it, or do we say that he does not go out in the usual way and so it is permitted to trade inside the mosque? What is preferred is the first probablity which coincides with what al-Aqfahasi said: "If he makes a contract on a sale inside the mosque, his i'tikaf is not invalidated." That is the case if the transaction is put in front of him. If he exceeds that, then his i'tikaf is invalidated unless it is through a broker and so it is prohibited without dispute. If it is without a broker and it is something slight, it is permitted without dislike. If it is a lot, it is disliked, but it does not invalidate the i'tikaf in two aspects, i.e. whether by a broker or not, as the sale is not invalid without disagreement i.e. whether it is forbidden or disliked. That is not imagined in the form of permission. He is permitted to go out for other than trade for what he cannot dispense with, even if he goes far outside, as long as he does not pass a closer place where he can buy, but with the precondition that he does not find anyone to sell to him.]

24.7d. No preconditions

You cannot make your i'tikaf conditional in any way.

[It is not permitted to stupulate a condition in it. Its literal meaning it is forbidden, as "I will do i'tikaf for ten days. If I think I should leave, then I will leave," or he says, "I will do i'tikaf for the days rather than the nights," or the reverse. It is like that if he makes a precondition that if something occurs to him which obliges him to make it up, he will have to make it up. There is no difference in that between making a precondition before beginning it or afterwards. If any of that occurs, the precondition is invalid and the i'tikaf is valid.]

24.8. Lack of impediments

24.8a. The Imam can do it

There is no harm in the imam of a mosque doing i'tikaf.

[But it is better if he leaves it, meaning it is disliked for the Imam of the mosque. Or he indicates someone who says that the Imam of the mosque cannot do it. Ibn Waddah related from Sahnun that he did not permit the person in i'tikaf to act as Imam of the obligatory or nafila prayers. It is permitted that he be the Imam of the mosque with an equal balance on each side according to what Ibn Naji says, or it is recommended that he be the regular Imam. It is relied upon. He reported the permission without his aim being refutation. Abu 'Imran reported that it is permitted. There is a text in the Mukhtasar that he is disliked it for the regular Imam. You that it is confirmed that the Prophet did i'tikaf while he was the Imam. It is not concealed from you that it weakens what is in the Mukhtasar and what is relied on is the recommendation which is in agreement with the hadith.]

24.8b. Marriage

It is permissible for someone in i'tikaf to get married and for him to officiate at someone else's marriage.

[It is qualified in the Mudawwana that he does it while he is in place. If it is elsewhere, it is disliked if it is in the mosque and forbidden if it is outside of the mosque and then his i'tikaf is invalidated. It is also qualified by it not taking up a lot of his time. Otherwise it is disliked, whether he is the husband or the guardian. If it is said that the one in ihram is forbidden to contract a marriage, so what is the difference between him and the one in i'tikaf since they are both involved in a form of worship in which intercourse is forbidden, there are various answers, one of which is that the basic position is the permissibility of marriage for everyone. The person in ihram is removed from this by the statement of the Messenger of Allah that the person in ihram does not marry or give in marriage. The rest remands on its original basis which is permissibility.]

24.9 Leaving i'tikaf

24.9a When he leaves outside of Ramadan

If you go into i'tikaf at the beginning of the month or in the middle of the month, when you leave from your i'tikaf you should do so after the Maghrib of its last day.

[This is any month outside of Ramadan. He is permitted to leave his i'tikaf after Maghrib without dispute in the school. This is outside of Ramadan.]

24.9b. When he leaves in Ramadan

However, if the period of your i'tikaf continues until the day of the 'Id al-Fitr then you should spend the night before the 'Id in the mosque and leave from it in the morning to go to the place where the 'id prayer is going to be held.

[If his i'tikaf is in Ramadan, then the end is sunset on the day of the 'Id al-Fitr and so he is recommended to spend that night in the mosque until morning and go to the place of prayer since that is what the Prophet did, i.e. he connects one act of worship to another.]

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