I’TIKAAF: RULES AND ETIQUETTES

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL
BEING THE THIRD KHUTBAH FOR THE MONTH OF RAMADAN 19/RAMADAN/ 1440AH (24/MAY/2019CE)

I’TIKAAF: RULES AND ETIQUETTES
Praise be to God, who decree Ramadan fasting on believers, and made it a veil from disobedience and fire. He also made i’tikaaf one of the best acts of worship especially in the month of Ramadan. Allah says
ولاَ تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وأنْتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِد
“And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them.” (2:187). I bear witness there is no god but Allah alone without partner, and that Muhammad (pbuh) is His servant and Messenger, who said: “The Masjid is the home of every pious (person), and Allah ensures for whoever takes the masjid as his home, His mercy, compassion and closeness on the path to His pleasure and Paradise” {Narrated Tabrani and Bazzar} May Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him and his families and all his companions, and those who follow them in righteousness until the day of recompense.

As to what follow,
Dear faithful, I enjoin you and myself to fear Allah, the Almighty both outwardly and inwardly, Allah says:
” يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ (102) ” {آل عمران : 102}
“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him].” (3: 102)

Brothers in faith, it must be stated that the latter part of every virtuous moment is better. We are now close to the last part of the month of Ramadan where the latter part is better than the former section. It is expected of a Muslim to pull his girdle and readiness for devotion in the nights and to wake his family members as was the practice of the Messenger of Allah – (pbuh). Today’s sermon shall centre on the: I’TIKAAF: RULINGS AND ETIQUETTE.

The merits of the last ten days of Ramadan:
Aisha (RA) narrated said: “When the (last) ten days begins, the Messenger of Allah – peace be upon him – tighten his loincloth (i.e neglect cohabiting with his wives), and he keep awake in the night (by worshipping Allah), and would wake up his family” (Bukhari)
Also Muslim reported that ‘Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time.

The messenger of Allah would engage himself in I’tikaaf (seclusion in the masjid for devotions and prayers) in this period where having intercourse is as well forbidden owing to the proof in the Quran: “And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them.” (2:187).

I’tikaaf: definition, legitimacy, purpose, place and time:
I’tikaaf in language means persistent or inherent practice of an act good or bad. Allah says: (يَعْكِفُونَ عَلَى أَصْنَامٍ لَهُمْ)
“then they came upon a people intent in devotion to [some] idols of theirs. “ (7:138)
Technically as defined by the Hanbali school: Persistent stay in the masjid for devotion, of a specific manner, by a Muslim, who is sane, distinctive, in state of purity, for a minimum of an hour. It is not permissible of an unbeliever, even if he is an apostate, as well as an insane person or a child, due to lack of intention. And not from a person in a state of post-sex condition and so on, even if he performs ablution, passage through the masjid is equally not acceptable, however a moment stay is the least.

Evidence of the legitimacy: Allah says:
ولاَ تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وأنْتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِد
“And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them.” (2:187).
وعهدنا إلي إبراهيم وإسماعيل أن طهرا بيتي للطائفين والعاكفين ” البقرة: 125
“And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], “Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].” (2: 125)
Hadith: “Narrated ‘Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) The Prophet used to practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practice Itikaf after him.

Aim: The aim is to purity the heart through being conscious of Allah with devotion to worship and forsaking the worldly inclinations, to gain Allah’s mercy and protection and victory. It is one of the most beloved acts of worship which enhances watchfulness over solat and awaiting its time. All these added to fasting elevates the believer before God. Its best period is the last ten days which provide opportunity for the search for the night of majesty.

Time: It is desirable all time in Ramadan and other months. Most scholars accept any minimum time possible while the Maalikis stipulate for at least one day and night.

The place: The Hanbalis stipulate it should be in a mosque where congregational prayers are held without any disagreement.

If a woman observes i’tikaaf in the mosque, she should cover herself under a tent as did the wives of the Prophet peace be upon him.
Narrated ‘Amra: Aisha said, “the Prophet used to practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan and I used to pitch a tent for him, and after offering the morning prayer, he used to enter the tent.” Hafsa asked the permission of ‘Aisha to pitch a tent for her and she allowed her and she pitched her tent. When Zainab bint Jahsh saw it, she pitched another tent. In the morning the Prophet noticed the tents. He said, ‘What is this?” He was told of the whole situation. Then the Prophet said, “Do you think that they intended to do righteousness by doing this?” He therefore abandoned the Itikaf in that month and practiced Itikaf for ten days in the month of Shawwal.”

I’tikaaf judgment and position of making vow which mandate on a Mu’takif:

The Rule of I’tikaaf: It is desirable. I’tikaaf can be classified into three (3) according to Abu hanifah:
(1) Obligatory: this is for he who vow to observe I’tikaaf.
(2) Sunnah: this applies to I’tikaaf in last ten days of Ramadan as exemplified by the Prophet (pbuh).
(3) Desirable: this can be at any time Ramadan inclusive, even if it is just for a short moment.
Conditions of I’tikaaf:
1 – Islam: i.e being a Muslim.
2 – Soundnes of intellect or ability to have reach age of discretion.
3 – It should be in the masjid: It is not acceptable to be done in homes, except for women who are permitted to do it in the masjid within her home- and that is the specific area she had identify for solat.
4 – Intention: The Prophet said: “Actions are (rewarded) according to the inentions” Imam shafii added that one should specify the class of the I’tikaaf in the course of establishing the intention.
5 – Fasting: This is a general condition stipulated by the Maalikis. Hanafi stipulates fasting for I’tikaaf based on vow (the obligatory). However the Shafi’i and Hanbali did not consider it except in the case of vow, where the Mu’takif specified fasting with the I’tikaaf.
Evidence of those have not considered fasting is the hadith of Umar where he said: “O Messenger of Allah, I have vowed to make itikaf in the holy Masjid for a night, he (pbuh) said to him: “fulfil your vow” {Bukhari and Muslim}

Here he did not require him to fast, the I’tikaaf was targeted to be in the night as well.
However, the evidence for those considered fasting is the hadith of Ibn Abbas: “The Mu’takif is not required to fast except if he made it binding on himself.” {Narrated Daaraqutni Ibn Abbas}.
6 – Purity from janaabah, menstruation and postpartum condition:
7 – Seeking of the husband’s permission:

Etiquettes of I’tikaaf
1- He should be engaged in meritorious acts like solat, reading qur’an, remeberance of Allah, seeking blessing on the Prophet (pbuh), pondering over the creations of the universe and its essence, reading the tafsir and other Islamic history, etc.
2- Fasting
3- It is desirable to observe I’tikaaf in the central masjid where solatul-jum’ah is observed. The best of all masjid is the holy masjid in makkah, the prophet’s masjid and the masjidul-aqsa.
4- Most desirable to have it in Ramadan due to the virtue of the period, especially in the last ten days.
5- It desirable as well to continue the I’tikaaf including the night of ‘eid, so as to move from venue of I’tikaaf to ‘eid prayer in the morning. The Prophet said: “Whoever stand (to pray) in the night of ‘eid, with hope of reward from Allah, his heart would be dead on the day hearts would be dead.” (ibn majah)
6- He should also desert all irrelevances, including argument, insults and obscenity.

Second Sermon
Praise be to Allah, we praise and thank Him. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our leader, Muhammad, his families, his companions, and those who follow them in righteousness until the day of recompense.

Having said that,

What are disliked in i’tikaaf:
It is disliked to neglect any of the etiquettes mentioned above. It is also disliked to turn the venue to a market place or where business agreement are contracted or signed. As well, it is forbidden for whoever sees being silence as an act of worship, it is an imitation of the fasting type of the people of the book which have been expunged.

Things that invalidate i’tikaaf: these include the following:
1 – Going out without a legitimate excuse, such as going out for sale or trade.
2 – Sexual intercourse: Allah says:
ولاَ تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وأنْتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِد
“And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them.” (2:187).
3 – Ejaculation in the event of direct lustfully contact like in kissing or caressing. “And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them.” (2:187).
4 – Apostasy:
5 – Intoxication during the day or at night.
6 – To faint or to fall into insanity for a long while.
7 – Menstruation and postpartum.
8 – Eating deliberately for the Maalikis and hanafis who consider fasting as condition for I’tikaaf.
9 – Falling in great sins such as backbiting, gossip and slander invalidate i’tikaaf as stipulated by the Maalikis, however the major overruled it does not.

The judgement on an invalidated i’tikaaf.
Hanbali said: for voluntary i’tikaaf he who leaves the masjid, for an unusual reason such as going for a mandatory witness, or fear of a threat or sickness and the like, and stayed for long, he is to choose between returning to the I’tikaaf or otherwise, because it is not obligatory. But for mandatory I’tikaaf he must return to the I’tikaaf venue.

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