What are the rules of Itikaf? – 2024 Guide to Itikaf for Men and Women

What are the rules of Itikaf?

Itikaf is a spiritual retreat for Muslims, especially during Ramadan. Muslims perform Itikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan usually as one of the ways they get closer to Allah and be away from any worldly desires. There are several rules of Itikaf that every Muslim should be aware of. These rules include guidelines for the type of location, duration, and conduct of Itikaf, as well as the types of activities that are permissible (Halal) or prohibited (Haram) during this time. 

What are the Itikaf Rules?

The rules of Itikaf are the basic rules that should be followed during the period of Itikaf to ensure that the person undertaking the Itikaf can fully concentrate on their spiritual development, without distractions or interruptions. 

There are some general rules of Itikaf that you can live by:

  • There is no minimum period for  Itikaf.
  • You must get the intention to perform Itikaf.
  • Fasting is not a condition for the validity of the Itikaf, although it is recommended to fast (but in Ramadan, it is a must). 
  • The Itikaf performer must enjoy the following conditions: Islam, Reason, and wrong and right discernment. So Itikaf is not valid for an unbeliever, an insane person, or a non-discerning boy.
  • The Itikaf performer should be free from major hadath (impurity due to having sex “Janabah”, menstruation, and postpartum bleeding). 
  • The Itikaf should be held in a mosque in which the congregation (Jumah Khutbah) is held.

Is Itikaf Compulsory?

Itikaf is not a necessary or mandatory act in Islam. Itikaf is a Sunnah (recommended) act of worship, but it can be mandatory in some cases according to its type (such as making a vow to perform itikaf = becomes compulsory).

What are the types of Itikaf?

There are three types of  Itikaf, here they are: –

1. Itikaf as-Sunnah: 

Itikaf as-Sunnah is the type of Itikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan as our prophet used to do.

2. Itikaf an-Nafalah:

Itikaf an-Nafalah is the type of Itikaf that is performed on any other day except the days of Ramadan or Shawwal. It is considered a voluntary act of worship

3. Mandatory Itikaf:

Mandatory Itikaf is when you have made a vow to perform Itikaf, then it is a must to perform it. A vow means making a promise to Allah that If a specified incident happens, you will make itikaf. 

Ibn Abbas reported that Saad b. Ubida asked Allah’s Messenger for a decision about a vow taken by his mother who had died before fulfilling it. Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Fulfil it on her behalf.”

Sahih Muslim 746a

Do Leaving the Mosque Nullify Itikaf?

It is not permissible for the person in itikaf to leave the mosque in which he is in i’tikaf except for something that is essential to him, such as relieving a need such as urinating or defecation or bringing food or drink, if there is no one to bring it to him, and the same is going out for medication and treatment, and other necessities that are indispensable to man.

Kalimah Center provides many useful Ramadan articles and guides, learn about them below:

What Nullifies the Itikaf?

There are certain acts that could nullify the Itikaf, here are some major ones:

1. Leaving the masjid for unnecessary matters:

You should no leave the Itikaf during the specified period except for doing matters that are necessary and could not be done except by you.  Itikaf becomes invalidated by leaving the mosque without necessity.

2. Have Sex with His Wife During Itikaf Time?

A Husband can’t have sex with his wife during Itikaf. Sexual relationship notified i’tikaf as the Almighty says: 

“Do not be intimate with your spouses while you are meditating in the mosques”.

(Al-Baqara: 187).

If the one who is in i’tikaf has sexual intercourse with his wife, his i’tikaaf is invalidated, and he does not have to make up for it according to the sound opinion.

3. Visiting a sick person or witnessing a funeral

It is not permissible for the one who is in itikaf to visit a sick person or to witness a funeral unless he stipulates that in his i’tikaaf. There is nothing wrong with his relatives visiting him at his place of Itikaf, especially if there is a reason for that. 

4. Trading and selling

You do not have the right to trade, sell or buy during your i’tikaf.

Learn more about the response to the question about the real author of the Quran from Experts.

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What is the etiquette of Itikaf?

Since the intent of i’tikaf was to cut off people and devote themselves to obedience to God. Here are some etiquettes:

  • preoccupation with the remembrance of God Almighty (Dhikr) and supplication (Dua), and recitation of the Qur’an.
  •  Perform a lot of supererogatory prayers.
  • Avoiding worldly conversations as much as possible, and there is nothing wrong with a permissible conversation with family.

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