FROM NEW ISLAMIC LAWS BOOK by www.World-federation.org
Ruling 1719. Iítikāf is one of the recommended (mustahabb) ritual acts of worship (Ďibādāt) that becomes obligatory (wājib) by means of a vow (nadhr), covenant (Ďahd), oath (qasam), or suchlike. A valid iítikāf is when one stays in a mosque with the intention of attaining proximity to Allah (qasd al-qurbah); and the recommended precaution (al-ihtiyāt al-mustahabb) is that the stay should take place with the intention of performing ritual acts of worship, such as prayers (salāh), and supplications (duíāís).
Ruling 1720. There is no particular time for performing iítikāf; rather, whenever it is correct to keep a fast (sawm) during the year, performing iítikāf at that time is also correct. The best time for performing iítikāf is the blessed month of Ramadan, more so during the last ten nights of Ramadan.
Ruling 1721. The minimum length of time for iítikāf is two nights and three days; less than that is not correct (sahih). There is no maximum limit. There is no problem in including the first or the fourth night in the intention of iítikāf. If a person is a muítakif [the term given to someone who is performing iítikāf ] for five full days, he must also be a muítakif on the sixth day.
Ruling 1722. The starting time for iítikāf is the time of morning (subh) prayers on the first day, and, based on obligatory precaution (al-ihtiyāt al-wājib), the finishing time for iítikāf is the time of sunset (maghrib) prayers on the third day. For a valid iítikāf to take place, a period of time equivalent to three days will not suffice; i.e. one cannot be a muítakif after the time of subh prayers on the first day [and stay in the mosque until the same time on the fourth day] even if he compensates the time lost from the first day on the fourth day; for example, he stays in the mosque from the time of afternoon prayers (zuhr) of the first day until the time of afternoon prayers on the fourth day.
CONDITIONS FOR THE VALIDITY OF IíTIKĀF
Ruling 1723. The following are the conditions for a valid iítikāf.
i. The muítakif must be a Muslim.
ii. The muítakif must be sane (Ďāqil).
iii. Iítikāf must be performed with the intention of attaining proximity to Allah.
Ruling 1724. A muítakif must have the intention of attaining proximity to Allah in the same manner that was mentioned with regard to ablution (wudūí),1 and iítikāf must be performed from start to finish with a sincere intention to attain proximity to Allah.
iv. The duration of the iítikāf must be a minimum of three days.
Ruling 1725. The minimum duration of iítikāf is three days; less than three days is incorrect. However, there is no maximum limit, as mentioned in Ruling 1721.
v. A muítakif must fast during the days of iítikāf.
Ruling 1726. A muítakif must fast during the days of iítikāf. Therefore, iítikāf performed by someone who cannot [legally] fast [during those days] Ė such as a traveller who does not intend to stay for ten days, a sick person, a woman in menstruation (i.e. a hāíid) and a woman who is experiencing lochia (nifās) Ė is not correct. Furthermore, on the days of iítikāf, it is not necessary to fast especially for performing iítikāf; rather, it is acceptable for one to keep any fast during iítikāf, even a fast that one has been hired to keep (istījārī), or a recommended fast, or a lapsed (qadāí) fast.
Ruling 1727. While a muítakif is fasting Ė i.e. from the time of subh prayers until the time of maghrib prayers Ė everything that invalidates (i.e. makes bātil) a fast also invalidates iítikāf. Therefore, a muítakif must refrain from intentionally (Ďamdan) doing the things that invalidate a fast.2
vi. Iítikāf must be performed in one of Ďthe four mosquesí or in a jāmií mosque.
Ruling 1728. It is correct to perform iítikāf in Masjid al-Harām, Masjid al-Nabī (S), Masjid al-Kūfah, and Masjid al-Basrah. Similarly, it is correct to perform iítikāf in the jāmií mosque of every town, except when the religious leadership (imāmah) of that mosque is in the hands of a person who is not just (Ďādil), in which case, based on obligatory precaution, iítikāf is not correct. A jāmií mosque is one that is not particular to people of a specific locality or area, nor to a specific group; rather, it is a place where people of different areas and localities of the town gather and frequent. The legality (mashrūíiyyah) of iítikāf performed in any mosque other than a jāmií mosque is not established; however, there is no problem in performing iítikāf in other mosques with the intention of there being a probability of it being a desirable act. As for performing iítikāf in a place that is not a mosque Ė for example, in a place that is a husayniyyah3 or only a prayer room Ė it is not correct and has no legal basis.
vii. Iítikāf must take place in one mosque.
Ruling 1729. It is necessary that iítikāf be performed in one mosque. Therefore, one iítikāf cannot be performed in two mosques, whether they are separate from each other or joined together, unless they are joined together in a manner that they are commonly considered to be one mosque.
viii. Iítikāf must be performed with the permission of one whose permission is legally (sharían) required.
Ruling 1730. Iítikāf must be performed with the permission of one whose permission is legally required. Therefore, if a womanís staying in a mosque is unlawful (harām) Ė for example, because she has left her house without the permission of her husband Ė her iítikāf is invalid; and in case a womanís staying in a mosque is not unlawful but performing iítikāf conflicts with her husbandís rights, the validity of her iítikāf Ė if performed without her husbandís permission Ė is problematic (mahall al-ishkāl) [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, it is not valid].4 Similarly, if iítikāf disturbs and annoys oneís parents due to their compassion and sympathy for him, it is necessary for him to obtain their permission; and if it does not annoy them, the recommended precaution is that he should still obtain their permission.
ix. A muítakif must refrain from doing the unlawful acts of iítikāf.
Ruling 1731. Someone who is performing iítikāf must refrain from doing the unlawful acts of iítikāf, which are as follows:
1. using fragrance;
2. having sexual intercourse with oneís spouse;
3. masturbating, having sexual contact with oneís spouse by means of touching, and lustfully kissing (based on obligatory precaution);
4. altercating (mumārah) and disputing (mujādalah) with others;
5. conducting a transaction.
Doing these things invalidates oneís iítikāf. In the case of an iítikāf that is not an assigned obligation (i.e. it is not al-wājib al-muíayyan),5 the obligation to refrain from these things Ė apart from having sexual intercourse Ė is based on obligatory precaution.6
Ruling 1732. It is not permitted (jāíiz) for a muítakif to smell perfumes in any circumstance Ė whether he derives pleasure from smelling them or not Ė and neither is it permitted for him to smell fragrant plants and flowers if he derives pleasure from doing so; however, there is no problem if he does not derive pleasure from smelling them. Similarly, a muítakif can use perfumed personal cleansing products, such as liquid soap or a bar of soap, shampoo, and toothpaste that has a pleasant smell. It is not permitted, however, to smell the perfume that people who are not performing iítikāf usually apply when they come to mosques, but, apparently, merely having a sense of the fragrant smell is not a problem, nor is it necessary for one to hold his nose.
Ruling 1733. While one is performing iítikāf, it is not permitted for him to have sexual intercourse with his spouse Ė even if it does not result in ejaculation Ė and doing so intentionally invalidates iítikāf.
Ruling 1734. Based on an obligatory precaution, a muítakif must not intend to ejaculate (even by lawful means), and he must refrain from having sexual contact with his spouse by means of touching, and he must also refrain from lustfully kissing her. Looking lustfully at oneís spouse during iítikāf does not invalidate oneís iítikāf, but the recommended precaution is that one should refrain from doing so.
Ruling 1735. Disputing about worldly or religious matters while one is performing iítikāf is unlawful if it is done with the intention of defeating the other person or showing off oneís virtues and superiority. However, if it is done with the intention of making evident what is right, clarifying what is true, and resolving an error or mistake made by the other side, not only is it not unlawful but it is one of the best forms of worship. Therefore, the criterion [of whether such action is unlawful or not] is the intention of the muítakif.
Ruling 1736. Conducting transactions while one is performing iítikāf is unlawful; and based on obligatory precaution, any type of business transaction Ė such as hire (ijārah), silent partnership (mudārabah),7 exchange (muíāwadah) etc. is also unlawful, although the transaction that is conducted is valid.
Ruling 1737. Whenever a muítakif is compelled to conduct a transaction in order to procure food and drink or other necessary items, and he cannot find someone else who is not a muítakif to do this on his behalf by way of agency (wikālah), and it is not possible for him to procure the aforementioned items without conducting a transaction Ė for example, by way of receiving them as a gift or borrowing them Ė in such a case, there is no problem in him conducting a transaction.
Ruling 1738. If a muítakif intentionally commits an unlawful act of iítikāf despite knowing the religious law (al-hukm al-sharíī), his iítikāf becomes invalid.
Ruling 1739. If a muítakif inadvertently (sahwan) or forgetfully commits an unlawful act of iítikāf, it does not invalidate his iítikāf in any circumstance.
Ruling 1740. If a muítakif commits an unlawful act of iítikāf on account of not knowing the ruling about this, in the event that he was culpably ignorant (al-jāhil al-muqassir),8 his iítikāf becomes invalid; and if he was inculpably ignorant (al-jāhil al-qāsir), his iítikāf is valid and it will be ruled as inadvertence [which as mentioned in the previous ruling, does not invalidate oneís iítikāf in any circumstance].
Ruling 1741. If a muítakif invalidates his iítikāf by doing one of things that renders an iítikāf invalid Ė which were mentioned in the previous rulings (masāíil) Ė and if the iítikāf is an assigned obligation,9 then based on obligatory precaution, he must make up the iítikāf [i.e. he must perform it belatedly as qadāí]; and if the iítikāf is not an assigned obligation Ė for example, one makes a vow to perform iítikāf without assigning a time for it Ė it is obligatory that he starts the iítikāf all over again; and if it is a recommended iítikāf and one invalidates his iítikāf after the completion of the second day, then based on obligatory precaution, he must make up the iítikāf; and if one invalidates a recommended iítikāf before the completion of the second day, there is no obligation on him and he does not have to make it up.
x. A muítakif must remain in the place of iítikāf and must not leave it except in cases where leaving is legally permitted.
Ruling 1742. In cases where it is permitted for a muítakif to leave the mosque, he must not stay outside the mosque for longer than it is necessary for him to attend to the matter in question.
LEAVING THE PLACE OF IíTIKĀF
Ruling 1743. Leaving the place of iítikāf for necessary and unavoidable matters Ė such as going to the toilet Ė is permitted. Leaving the mosque in order to perform ritual bathing (ghusl) for ritual impurity (janābah) is also permitted; indeed, it is obligatory. Similarly, it is permitted for women to leave in order to perform the ghusl for irregular blood discharge (istihādah); and if a woman who is experiencing istihādah and who must perform ghusl does not do so, the validity of her iítikāf is not affected.
Ruling 1744. Leaving the place of iítikāf in order to perform ablution (wudūí) for an obligatory prayer within its prescribed time (adāí) is permitted, even if the time for the prayer has not yet set in; and leaving in order to perform wudūí for an obligatory qadāí prayer Ė in case there is ample time for performing it Ė is problematic [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, one must not leave in this case].
Ruling 1745. In the event that there are facilities for performing wudūí inside the mosque, a muítakif cannot leave the mosque in order to perform wudūí.
Ruling 1746. If it becomes obligatory on a muítakif to perform ghusl, in case the ghusl is one of the ghusls that is not permitted to be performed in a mosque Ė such as the ghusl for janābah, which would require staying in the mosque while in the state of janābah or would cause the mosque to become impure Ė he must leave; otherwise, his iítikāf becomes invalid; and in case there is no problem in performing ghusl in the mosque Ė such as the ghusl for touching a corpse (mass al-mayyit) Ė and it is possible to perform ghusl, then based on obligatory precaution, it is not permitted to leave the mosque.
Ruling 1747. Leaving the place of iítikāf in order to perform recommended ghusls Ė such as the Friday ghusl or the ghusl for performing the rituals (aímāl ) of Umm Dāwūd10 Ė and similarly, leaving in order to perform a recommended wudūí, is problematic [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, one must not leave in order to perform them]. Generally speaking, leaving a mosque for Ďsupererogatory mattersí (i.e. those that are religiously preferred to be done rather than not done) Ė excluding matters that are commonly considered to be necessary Ė is problematic, and precaution must be observed [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, one must not leave the mosque for Ďsupererogatory mattersí]. However, a muítakif can leave the place of iítikāf for the purposes of attending a funeral procession (tashyīí al-janāzah), preparing a corpse for ghusl, prayers, burial (dafn), and suchlike; [he can also leave for] visiting the sick and attending the Friday prayer (salāt al-jumuíah).
Ruling 1748. Based on obligatory precaution, it is not permitted for a muítakif to leave the mosque in order to attend congregational prayers (salāt al-jamāíah) that are being held outside the place of iítikāf unless one is a muítakif in the holy city of Mecca, in which case he can leave the mosque in order to perform congregational prayers or to perform prayers on his own ( furādā); furthermore, he can perform these prayers wherever in Mecca he wants.
Ruling 1749. A muítakif cannot leave the mosque in order to bring things that he needs if he can instruct someone who is not a muítakif to bring them for him.
Ruling 1750. A muítakif can leave the place of iítikāf in order to sit secondary school, university, or hawzah (Islamic seminary) examinations in the event that it is commonly considered to be necessary. However, he must not stay outside the mosque for a long time such that the form of the iítikāf is lost; up to two hours, for example, is no problem.
Ruling 1751. If a muítakif leaves the mosque in order to attend to some urgent matter but stays outside for a long time such that the form of his iítikāf is lost, his iítikāf is invalid even if he was compelled or forced to leave, or he left because of necessity or due to forgetfulness.
Ruling 1752. If a muítakif leaves the place of iítikāf Ė intentionally, of his own choice, and while knowing the religious law Ė for a matter that is not necessary, nor one for which a muítakif is permitted to leave, his iítikāf becomes invalid.
Ruling 1753. If a muítakif leaves the place of iítikāf Ė on account of not knowing the ruling (masíalah) and being ignorant of the religious law Ė for a matter that is not necessary, nor one for which a muítakif is permitted to leave, his iítikāf becomes invalid.
Ruling 1754. If a muítakif leaves the mosque due to forgetfulness, his iítikāf becomes invalid; and if a muítakif leaves the mosque because he was compelled or forced to leave, his iítikāf does not become invalid unless he stays outside for a long time such that the form of iítikāf is lost, in which case his iítikāf becomes invalid.
Ruling 1755. If it is obligatory for a muítakif to leave the place of iítikāf Ė for example, in order to pay a debt that is obligatory on him, and the time to repay it is due, and he has the ability to repay it, and the lender wants it to be repaid; or, in order to accomplish something else that is obligatory on him and which requires him to leave Ė in these cases, if he acts contrary to his duty and does not leave, he commits a sin but his iítikāf does not become invalid.
Ruling 1756. A muítakif must not stay outside the mosque for longer than is necessary; and while he is outside, if possible, he must not sit under a shade. However, there is no problem if he sits under a shade while he is outside in order to empty his bowels and/or bladder; and based on obligatory precaution, after he has emptied his bowels and/or bladder, he must not sit at all unless it is necessary for him to do so.
Ruling 1757. A muítakif can walk under a shade outside the mosque, although the recommended precaution is that he should avoid doing so.
Ruling 1758. Based on obligatory precaution, it is necessary for a muítakif to take the shortest route when he leaves the place of iítikāf or returns to it. However, if by using a longer route he would end up staying outside the mosque for a shorter time, he must choose that longer route [i.e. the route could be longer in distance but quicker to traverse due to it being, say, less busy].
MISCELLANEOUS RULINGS ON IíTIKĀF
Ruling 1759. When one makes the intention to perform an iítikāf that is not an assigned obligation,11 he can stipulate a condition from the outset that if a problem arises, he will leave the iítikāf.12 Therefore, by stipulating such a condition, one can leave the iítikāf if a problem arises, and there is no problem in doing so even on the third day. However, if a muítakif stipulates a condition that he will stop his iítikāf even if no particular reason arises, the validity of such a condition is problematic [i.e. based on obligatory precaution, it is not a valid condition]. It is worth mentioning that stipulating the aforementioned condition (i.e. the condition of leaving the iítikāf in the middle of it if a problem arises) before or after the iítikāf has started is not correct; rather, it must be stipulated at the time of making the intention to perform iítikāf.
Ruling 1760. A valid iítikāf is not conditional on one having reached the age of legal responsibility (bulūgh), and iítikāf performed by a child who is able to discern between right and wrong (mumayyiz) is also correct.
Ruling 1761. If a muítakif sits on a usurped (ghasbī) carpet and he is aware of the fact that it is usurped, he commits a sin but his iítikāf does not become invalid; and if someone gets to a place first and reserves it, and a muítakif takes his place without his consent, then although he commits a sin his iítikāf is valid.
Ruling 1762. If at the time of making the intention for an obligatory iítikāf one stipulates a condition of returning (i.e. a condition of leaving the iítikāf in the middle of it if a problem arises) Ė the details of which were mentioned in Ruling 1759 Ė in the event that he does something that is unlawful for one to do during iítikāf, it is not necessary for him to make up the iítikāf nor to start it all over again.
Ruling 1763. If a woman who is performing iítikāf becomes hāíid after the completion of the second day of iítikāf, it is obligatory on her to leave the mosque immediately; and based on obligatory precaution, it is necessary for her to make up the iítikāf, unless from the outset she had stipulated a condition of returning (i.e. a condition of leaving the iítikāf in the middle of it if a problem arises), the details of which were mentioned in Ruling 1759.
Ruling 1764. Performing an obligatory qadāí iítikāf is not an immediate obligation (al-wājib al-fawrī).13 However, making it up must not be delayed to such an extent that it would be regarded as being careless in accomplishing the obligation; and the recommended precaution is that it should be made up immediately.
Ruling 1765. If a muítakif dies in the middle of an iítikāf that has become obligatory on account of a vow, oath, covenant, or the passing of two days of iítikāf, it is not obligatory on his guardian (walī) (i.e. the eldest son) to make up the qadāí iítikāf, although the recommended precaution is that a qadāí iítikāf of a deceased person should be performed. Of course, in the event that a muítakif had stipulated in his will that, in such a case, someone must be hired from the one-third of his estate14 to perform iítikāf for him, then the deceased muítakif ís will must be followed.
Ruling 1766. If a muítakif intentionally invalidates his iítikāf by having sexual intercourse Ė be it during the day or at night Ė it is obligatory on him to give recompense (kaffārah). As for [intentionally invalidating oneís iítikāf by performing] other unlawful acts, there is no kaffārah, although the recommended precaution is that one should give kaffārah.
The kaffārah for invalidating an iítikāf is the same as the kaffārah for invalidating a fast of the month of Ramadan Ė i.e. one has the choice of either fasting for sixty days or feeding sixty poor people Ė although the recommended precaution is that one should observe the sequence in giving kaffārah, meaning that one should first fast for sixty days, and if he cannot, he should then feed sixty poor people.
Ruling 1767. It is not permitted to change from one iítikāf to another, whether both iítikāfs happen to be obligatory, like when a person has made one of them obligatory on account of a vow, and the other on account of an oath; or, both are recommended; or, one is obligatory and the other recommended; or, one is to be performed for himself and the other on behalf of someone else (niyābah) or he is being hired to perform it for someone else; or, both are to be performed on behalf of someone else.
See the sixth condition for the validity of wudūí and Ruling 281.
2 See Ruling 1551 for a list of the things that invalidate a fast.
3 A husayniyyah is a congregation hall for Shia ceremonies.
4 As mentioned in Ruling 6, the term Ďproblematicí (mahall al-ishkāl) amounts to saying the ruling is based on obligatory precaution.
5 An assigned obligation is an act of worship that must be performed at one distinct time. One way that an iítikāf could become an assigned obligation is by means of a vow.
6 This means that, with regard to an iítikāf that is not an assigned obligation, the obligation to refrain from having sexual intercourse is a fatwa, whereas the obligation to refrain from the other things is based on obligatory precaution (see Ruling 6 for the distinction between a fatwa and a ruling based on obligatory precaution). As for an iítikāf that is an assigned obligation, the obligation to refrain from those things is a fatwa, except for the third, which as stated in brackets in the ruling itself, is based on obligatory precaution.
7 This refers to a commercial association whereby an investor entrusts capital to an agent who trades with it and shares with the investor a pre-determined proportion of the profits.
8 The terms Ďculpably ignorantí and Ďinculpably ignorantí are explained in footnotes pertaining to Ruling 12.
9 See the first footnote pertaining to Ruling 1731 for an explanation of this term.
10 The rituals of Umm Dāwūd are a recommended set of acts of worship that are usually performed in the middle of the month of Rajab. See, for example, Shaykh ĎAbbās al-Qummīís Mafātīh al-Jinān, in the section on the recommended acts for Rajab.
11 See the first footnote pertaining to Ruling 1731 for an explanation of this term.
12 Such a condition is known as Ďa condition of returning (rujūí)í.
13 This is an obligation that must be performed as soon as it possible to do so, and delaying its performance is not permitted.
14 This refers to the maximum amount of oneís estate over which he has discretion in a will for it to be disposed of in accordance with his wishes after his death.