Friday, August 2, 2013

Itikaf is a form of worship during Ramadan

Itikaf is a form of worship. It is formed by staying in a Mosque 
for a certain time. It is Ehtiyat that one should stay with the 
intention to worship Allah by praying formal or informal prayers 
although prayer is not a condition therein.

The time for this form of worship could be anytime when one is 
allowed to fast. The best time is the month of Ramadan, especially, 
the last ten days.

Holy Quran Says
"It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting 
to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you 
and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive 
yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, 
have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. 
And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct 
to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast 
until the sunset. 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. 
Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that 
they may become righteous."

Surat Al-Baqarah (2:187)(The Cow) - سورة البقرة

Conditions for I'tikaf during Ramadhan:
1. Intention as in the rest of the worship acts. It is necessary that 
the intention be made at the beginning of Itikaf so that the rule, 
requiring the worship act to be completed with intention, be 
followed thoroughly from the beginning to the end. 

The decision made at the beginning of the night to start Itikaf from 
the beginning of the following day will be open to objection. 
However, if one decides to start it from the beginning of the night 
it is not an offense to do so.

One is not allowed to change one's mind from one Itikaf to another of 
the same qualities or different.
2. Belief in Islam.
3. Freedom from mental illness.
4. Fasting; thus the Itikaf of one who cannot fast for some reason 
is not valid.
5. Duration; which is three continuous days at least. It could be more 
but not less than three days.

If it is started from the beginning of a day the two nights in between 
will be part of the duration. Less than three days is not considered Itikaf.

That it must take place in one of these Mosques: 
(a) The holy Mosque in Makkah, 
(b) the holy Mosque of the Prophet in Medina, 
(c) the holy Mosque of Kufa, 
(d) the holy Mosque of Basrah, and 
(e) the Mosque which is assigned for the Friday prayer in any town or city. 

It is Ehtiyat, however, to complete it in any of the first four Mosques.

The roof and basement of a Mosque is part of the same and it is valid 
to complete Etikaf in such places of a Mosque.

Permission of the people whose permission are required such as the 
master for the slave, husband and parents for the wife and children 
if this will be against the right of the husband or causes trouble to 
the parents.

6. Completing it in the Mosque where it was started. Thus, going out 
of the Mosque without an acceptable reason will invalidate the Itikaf, 
regardless, one knows the rule or is ignorant or has gone out because 
of forgetfulness, except in the case of an emergency or one being 
forced or it is because of some need such as using wash room or 
having Taharat.

One is allowed to come out of the Mosque during Itikaf to take part 
in the burial of a deceased or to visit an ailing one; Going out of 
the Mosque for a time long enough to cause the Itikaf to become 
as non-existing will be considered as invalidating the same, even 
if one has not done it out of one's own choice.

If one needs to have Ghusl/bath during the Itikaf and it is possible 
for him to have it inside the Mosque, and is not allowed to go 
out unless the reason for Ghusl requires him not to stay inside 
the Mosque.

Etikaf is originally an optional worship act but it may become 
obligatory because of a vow etc.

Things to avoid during Itikaf:
1. Having sex and also according to Ehtiyat kissing or playing 
with one's wife;

2. According to a necessary Ehtiyat causing a semen discharge,

3. And smelling perfumes for enjoyment; it is not an offense if 
one cannot enjoy the perfume because of some defect in his 
smelling ability.

4. Selling or buying in the form of a business deal, according to 
a necessary Ehtiyat; there is no offense to be occupied with 
allowable activities as sewing or writing etc., although it is 
a Mustahab Ehtiyat to avoid them too.

If one needs to buy something for food and there is no one to do 
the buying for him, it is not an offence for him to do it.

5. Expressing bitterness in talking about worldly or religious 
matters in order to prove one's ability, not the truth which is 
one of the best worships.

The contracts of buying or selling during Itikaf invalidate Itikaf, 
but such contracts will be valid.

If Itikaf is invalidated because of having sex even, during the night, 
expiation will be due; if it is invalidated by other things, there 
will be no expiation, although it is a Mustahab Ehtiyat in this case too.

The expiation for invalidating an Itikaf is to set free a slave or if 
this is not possible, fast for two consecutive months or if this also is 
not possible, feed sixty poor people.