The Fiqh of I`tikaaf (Ahadith 1740 - 1742)

Bismillah.
Volume 3, Book 33, Number 245:
Narrated 'Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa):
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) 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:
Narrated 'Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa):
Allah's Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) 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:
Narrated 'Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa):
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) 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.
In view of the fact that the purpose of I’tikaaf is to withdraw oneself from worldly affairs and devote oneself entirely to the remembrance of Allâh, therefore, one must during the course of I’tikaaf avoid unnecessary talk and work. Whatever time one finds, one must spend in performing nawafil (Salâh), tilawah, and other ‘ibâdahdhikr and tasbihat. Moreover, the learning and teaching of ‘ilm of dîn, lectures and study of Islâmic books is not only permissible but also a cause of obtaining thawab.

The Fiqh of I`tikaaf

  • If one observing I’tikaaf lets a part of his body out of the mosque, he is neither considered to have exited the premises nor does this affect the validity of his I’tikaaf. Therefore, he is allowed to take or give anything through the window or door of the mosque.
  • It is acceptable in the Sharee’ah (Islamic jurisprudence) for one observing I’tikaaf to wash and comb his hair, apply perfume, perform Ghusl (ritual bath for purification), shave and groom himself.
  • It is permissible for one observing the I’tikaaf to look at his wife and be touched by her without lust. And it is valid under the Sharee’ah for the wife to serve her husband, such as cleaning and combing his hair, and washing his clothes, etc.
  • It is impermissible for one in I’tikaaf to exit the mosque, save for the express purpose of fulfilling a natural inevitable necessity, such as urination, excretion and fetching food and water for himself, if there is no one else to bring it to him. The same applies to any essential need which he can not satisfy in the mosque; he has the right to go out for it without fearing for the validity of his I’tikaaf.
  • If a person performing I’tikaaf goes out of the mosque due to a need, it is not binding upon him to move hastily. He should walk at his normal pace, provided that he returns to the mosque as soon as he has achieved his objective.
  • According to the majority of religious scholars, the one observing I’tikaaf must not leave the mosque to visit a patient or even attend a funeral procession. But, he does have the right to inquire about the health of a patient while passing by, without going to him.
  • If one observing I’tikaaf goes out for a necessity, such as the death of his father or son, and he has not previously stipulated that he may have to leave the mosque for a similar critical reason, he must restart his I’tikaaf after he has fulfilled his need.
  • It can be derived from the aforementioned Hadeeth that a wife is to abide in her husband’s house, even if he will not go to her for any purpose or if a Sharee’ah-defined impediment hinders him from going home, such as traveling or I’tikaaf; in all cases, it is forbidden for the wife to go out of his home, without his permission.
  • If one exits his place of seclusion without a necessity, hisI’tikaaf becomes invalid.
  • There is a difference of opinion among scholars with regard to the prerequisites of I’tikaaf, [as it is said one must] be fasting and seclude himself only in a mosque where the Friday prayers are held in congregation. The sound view is that fasting is not a precondition, since the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa salam, observed I’tikaaf in Shawwaal. Furthermore, it is permissible to do I’tikaaf in the mosque in which, though congregational prayers are offered, the Friday prayer is not, necessarily. In that case, one should go out to attend the Friday prayer and his I’tikaaf will still be valid. But, it is better for one to seclude himself in a mosque in which the Friday prayers are held.