Question & Answer
What is itikaf? Its types? And in Which type of masjid to perform it?


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

We begin with Allah’s blessed name, we praise him and we glorify him, seek his forgiveness and ask him to guide us. Whoever Allah guides, None can lead astray and whoever he misguides, None can guide. There is no power and no strength except from Allah, The most high, the Most great, the most powerful. We bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers. We pray for peace and blessings on all the noble messengers and in particular on the last of them all “the blessed prophet Mohammad (pbuh)”

Itikaf means to stick to something, whether good or bad, and to block out everything else. The seclusion and staying in the masjid with the intention of becoming closer to Allah. It is an act which is done to get closer to Allah.

Itikaf is of two types: Sunnah and obligatory.

The Sunnah Itikaf is that which the Muslim performs to get closer to Allah by following the actions of the Prophet(pbuh), especially during the last ten days of Ramadan. It can be fulfilled by staying in the mosque with the intention of making Itikaf for a long or short time. The reward will be according to how long one stays in the mosque. If one leaves the mosque and then returns, he should renew his intention to perform Itikaf.

The voluntary Itikaf does not have any specific time period. Whenever a person enters the mosque and makes the intention of becoming closer to Allah by staying there, he will be performing Itikaf until he leaves.

The obligatory Itikaf is that which the person makes obligatory upon himself. This may be done, for example, by an oath: "For Allah I must make Itikaf," or by a conditional oath: "If Allah cures me, I shall make Itikaf ...”. The obligatory Itikaf is to be as long as the oath states it to be. If one makes an oath to make Itikaf for one day or more, he is to fulfill that length of time.

Choosing Masjid for the Sunnah Itikaf in Ramadan:

There is a difference of opinion among the jurists concerning what mosques are acceptable for Itikaf. According to Abu Hanifah, Ahmad, Ishaq, and Abu Thaur, Itikaf is valid in any mosque in which the five prayers are held and which has a congregation.

Malik, ash-Shafi, and Dawud say that it is acceptable in any mosque, as there is no proof that restricts it to any particular mosques.

The Shaf'iyyah say it is better to perform Itikaf in a congregational mosque, as the Prophet, upon whom be peace, performed Itikaf in such a mosque, and because the number of those who attend the prayers in such a mosque is greater. If the period of Itikaf includes the time for the Friday prayer, then one must perform it in the congregational mosque in order not to miss the Friday prayer. And Allah alone knows the best.

I ask Allah to make this a sincere effort, seeking his pleasure, and I ask him to grant us refuge in him from the evils within ourselves, and that in our deeds. I ask him to grant us success in achieving whatever pleases him; And May Allah Shower His blessings and mercy upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his family and his Companions and on all those who follow him until the final hour.

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