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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The meaning of "i'tikaaf" during Ramadan

The meaning of "i'tikaaf" and its ruling
I'tikaaf is for a person to confine himself to the masjid in obedience to Allah (Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala) so as to separate himself from the people and free himself (from the chores of daily life) to exert himself in worshiping Allah. This can take place in any masjid, whether it is a masjid in which people gather for the Jumu'ah prayer or not. However, it is better (to perform the i'tikaaf) in a masjid in which the people gather for the Jumu'ah prayer so that one performing i'tikaaf is not forced to leave the masjid (in which he is doing i'tikaaf) to go to another masjid for the Jumu'ah prayer.

The conditions of i'tikaaf
I'tikaaf is prescribed in a masjid in which the congregational prayer is established. If the person in i'tikaaf is from those upon whom Friday prayers are obligatory and the length of his i'tikaaf includes a Friday, then it is better to be in a masjid in which Friday prayers are established. Fasting is not (a) necessary (part of it). The sunnah is that he does not visit the sick during his i'tikaaf and that he does not answer the invitation, nor fulfil the needs of his family. He should not witness the funeral (by following it) and he should not go to work outside the masjid. This is due to what has been authenticated on the authority of 'Aa.ishah (radhi-yallaahu `anhaa) that she said: ((the sunnah for he who is in i'tikaaf is that he does not visit the sick nor witness a funeral, nor touch a woman (his wife), nor have intercourse with her nor leave to fulfill a need except that which is necessary)).

When a person in i'tikaaf leaves his i'tikaaf
The person in i'tikaaf leaves i'tikaaf once Ramadan finishes and it finishes as the sun sets the night prior to `Eid. He enters i'tikaaf at sunset (prior) to the 20th day of Ramadan. This is so as the last ten (nights) of Ramadan start from sunset of the night (prior) to the 20th day of Ramadan and ends at sunset of the night (prior) to `Eid.

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