Category Archives: Ramadan

What Have We Gained From Ramadan??

 
We left the blessed month of Ramadan, its beautiful days and its fragrant nights. We left the month of the Qur’an, taqwa, patience, mercy, forgiveness and freedom from hellfire… 

Have we fulfilled the requirements of taqwa and graduated from the Ramadan school with the diploma of the God-fearing??? 

Have we fought our souls and desires and defeated them, or have we been overtaken by our customs?? 

Have we performed our actions in a way that fulfills the conditions for receiving mercy, forgiveness and release from the Fire?? 

Many questions and numerous thoughts come to the heart of the sincere Muslim, who asks and answers with truthfulness.

What Have We Gained From Ramadan??

Ramadan is a school of imaan and a ‘stop to recharge one’s spiritual batteries’ – to acquire one’s provision for the rest of the year… 

For when will one take a lesson and change for better if not in the month of Ramadan? 

The noble month is a true school of transformation in which we change our actions, habits and manners that are in variance with the Law of Allah ‘azza Wa jal.

“Verily, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”   [Surah Ar-Ra`d, 11]

If you are from those who benefited from Ramadan, fulfilled the requirements of taqwa, truly fasted the month, prayed in it with truthfulness, and strove against you soul, then praise and thank Allah, and ask Him for steadfastness upon it until you meet your death. 

Be not like one who has sewn a shirt and then destroyed it… Have you seen one who sewed a shirt or thawb, so when she looked at it, she liked it. Then she destroyed it pulling a thread by thread for no reason. What would people say about such a person?! Or have you seen one who earns a fortune trading throughout the day, then when the night comes, he throws away all that he earned, dirham by dirham. What would people say about such a person??! 

This is the condition of one who returns to sinning and evildoing after Ramadan and leaves obedience and righteous actions. So after he was favored with the blessing of obedience and enjoyment of communicating with Allah he returned to the blaze of sins and evil actions. How evil are the people who know Allah only in Ramadan! 

My dear ones, 

Falling short in one’s commitment to Islam after Ramadan is manifested in many ways, including: 

1 – Men leaving the five prayers in congregation, after they filled mosques for Taraweeh prayers, thus going to the masjid for recommended prayers and leaving obligatory ones. 

2 – Return to musical entertainment, forbidden films, women displaying their adornment beyond that which ordinarily appears thereof, free mixing etc. 

This is not thankfulness for blessings and favors, nor is it the sign of acceptance of one’s actions, rather this is opposition to favors and absence of thankfulness. 

These are from signs of one’s deeds not being accepted – and Allah’s refuge is sought – for one who truly fasts rejoices on the occasion of `eid, praises his Lord for helping him complete the fast, and remains fearful that Allah may not accept his fasting, just as the Salaf would continue asking for acceptance of their actions in Ramadan for six months after it. 

From signs that one’s deeds are accepted is that he or she has improved in his or her obedience to Allah `azza Wa jall.

“And remember when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]…” [Surah Ibrahim, 7]

Increase you in good, faith and righteous actions. So if the servant is truly thankful to his Lord, you will see him guided to more obedience and distanced from sinfulness. Thankfulness is leaving sins, as the early Muslims said.

“And worship your Lord until there comes you to the certainty [I.e. Death].” [Surah Al-Hijr, 99]

The Muslim must continuously be in the state of obedience of Allah, firm upon His Sharee`ah, steadfast upon His Deen, so that he or she is not of those who worship Allah only during one month or only in one place. Rather, the believer knows that the Lord of Ramadan is also the Lord of other months, and that He is the Lord of all times and places, so he is steadfast upon the Sharee`ah of Allah until he meets Him while He is pleased with him. Allah Ta`ala said,

“So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah].” [Surah Hud, 112]

“So take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.” [Surah Fussilat, 6]

And the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi Wa sallam, said, 

Say ‘I believe in Allah’, then be steadfast. [Muslim]

— If the fasting in Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary fasting, such as fasting six days in Shawwal, on Mondays and Thursdays, the three days in the middle of the month, the days of `Aashoora and `Arafat, and others. 

— If standing in prayer at night during Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntary night prayer throughout the year.

“They used to sleep but little of the night.” [Surah Adh-Dhaariyaat, 17]

— If the charity in Ramadan and zakat ul-fitr have ended, then there is the obligatory Zakat, and also there are many other open doors to charity, voluntary actions and jihad. 

— Reading of the Qur’an and contemplating it is not only for Ramadan, rather it is for all times. 

Righteous actions are for all times and all places, so strive – O my brother and sister – and beware of laziness. And remember that it is not allowed for us to leave the obligatory actions or delay them, such as the five daily prayers on time, in congregation etc. 

And do not fall into forbidden actions, such as forbidden sayings, food and drinks, or by looking at or listening to what is forbidden. 

Be steadfast and upright upon the Deen of Allah at all times, for you do not know when you’ll meet the Angel of Death. Beware of him taking you while you are in a state of sin. “O Allah, Who turns the hearts, keep our hearts steadfast upon Your Deen.” 

I ask Allah to accept from us and you our fasting, our prayers and other righteous actions, that our condition after Ramadan be a better one, that the state of our Ummah improves, that we are granted honour and that we truly turn to our Lord…Aameen

An Analysis of the Shia Maghrib Prayer Timing

Background

It is commonly accepted among the Shias today that Sunnis are praying the Maghrib prayers before the time that has been stipulated by the Shari’ah.

According to Sunnis, as long as the actual sun’s disc disappears, the time is Maghrib. As for Shias, they maintain that the time of Maghrib is when the redness of the East is no longer visible, which occurs around ten to fifteen minutes after the actual sun disappears (and perhaps even longer depending on the region). This is especially significant in Ramadan, since Shias argue that Sunnis are breaking their fast before Maghrib time, and thus, their fasting is not accepted. To support this belief, Shias often bring forth multiple narrations to support this position.

However, the Imams, in many occasions, also stated that Maghrib occurs when the sun’s disc disappears.

Narrations

Wasa’el Al-Shia 4/177-183 provides a large list of the narrations that support the view that Maghrib starts when the sun’s disc disappears:

Al-Tahtheeb: Al-Jarud said: Abu Abdullah (as) said, “I now pray it (Maghrib) when sun’s disc has fallen.”Al-Kafi/Al-Tahtheeb: Abdullah bin Sinan said: I heard Abu Abdullah (as) say, “The time of Maghrib is when the sun sets and the disc disappears.”Al-Kafi/Al-Tahtheeb: Zurarah said: I heard Abu Ja’afar (as) say, “Maghrib is when the disc disappears.”Man La Yahtharhu Al-Faqeeh: Abu Ja’afar (as) said, “Maghrib is when the disc disappears.”Man La Yahtharhu Al-Faqeeh: Al-Sadiq (as) said, “If the sun disappears, then it is time to break the fast and prayer becomes obligatory. ”Man La Yahtharhu Al-Faqeeh: Jabir (Al-Ju’fi) narrated from Abu Ja’afar (as) that he said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) said: If the disc disappears, he who fasts eats, and the time of prayer has begun.”Amali Al-Saduq: Dawud bin Abi Yazeed said: Ja’afar Al-Sadiq (as) said, “If the sun disappears, the time of Maghrib has occurred.”Amali Al-Saduq: Al-Rabee’ bin Sulaiman, Aban bin Arqam, and others narrated that Ja’afar Al-Sadiq (as) prayed while sunlight was noticeable. When asked, he said, “If the sun sets, the time of prayer has occurred.”Al-Tahtheeb/Amali Al-Saduq/Ilal Al-Shara’i’: Ja’afar Al-Sadiq (as) was asked about the time of Maghrib. He said, “When the kursi disappears.” He was asked, “What is its kursi?” He replied, “Its disc.” He asked, “When does the disc disappear?” He said, “If you look at it and cannot see it.”Al-Tahtheeb: Isma’eel bin Al-Fadhl Al-Hashimi narrated from Ja’afar Al-Sadiq (as), who said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) prayed Maghrib when the sun sets, when the edge disappears.”Al-Tahtheeb: Abu Baseer said that Ja’afar Al-Sadiq (as) said, “The time of Maghrib is when the sun disappears.”Al-Tahtheeb: Amr bin Abi Nasr said that he heard Ja’afar Al-Sadiq (as) say about Maghrib, “When the disc disappears, it is time for prayer, and (time to) eat.”

Shia Explanation

Arguing against the authenticity of these reports does not occur since the above reports are plenty in number. Furthermore, some of them are indeed authentic according to Shia hadith standards, like the hadiths of Abdullah bin Sinan, Zurarah, and Dawud bin Abi Yazeed. Due to this, Shias focus on reconciling these reports with others that speak of Maghrib occurring when the redness of the East disappears.

Note: It is important to be aware that there are more authentic reports the support the view that Maghrib starts when the disc disappears than the reports that supports the view that it starts after the redness of the East disappears.

Excuse #1: Reconciliation

The argument is that these reports speak of one of the two conditions of Maghrib, which is the disappearance of the disc of the sun. The other condition is the disappearance of the redness of the East. In other words, the claim is that the followers of the Imam need to place these narrations together and to hold the view that Maghrib occurs after both these conditions are met.

This argument is very flawed, since it means that the reports provided above are incomplete in nature, and result to a false understanding of the time of Maghrib. Take the following scenario as an example:

If we had two reports, one saying that the Imam stated that the time of Maghrib is after 6pm and the other saying that it is at 6:15pm, then according to this rationale, breaking the fast at 6:15pm is the correct view since 6:15pm occurs after 6pm. Obviously, our response is that everyone that follows the first hadith and breaks the fast from 6:01-6:14pm has invalidated their fast due to the incomplete information provided by the Imam.

Excuse #2: Taqiyyah

The go-to excuse that is provided by every Shia scholar in cases of contradictions is the handy taqiyyah card. The argument is: Since Sunnis break the fast upon the disappearance of the disc, it is only natural to assume that the Imams they practiced taqiyyah to appeal to Sunnis.

The dangers of this belief are devastating. It suggests that the Imams, that were sent as guides for humanity, falsely taught people to break their fast at an invalid time. This disastrous belief goes against the very reason for the existence of the Imam: Guidance.

Conclusion

The explanations that are provided to solve the issue of the contradicting reports fall short. It becomes obvious that the Imams either truly contradicted themselves or that these are false attributions to them by their companions or by Shia narrators in general.

Objective Shias are perhaps left without a resolution to this contradiction, since there are no external evidences to support either position. However, this dilemma isn’t restricted to this fiqhi topic alone, but can be found in all sections of Shia Shari’ah, which is one of the major issues with Shia hadith and the failure of their hadith grading system.

DUROOD AND DUA IN TARAAWEEH

Question: At the Musjid in Durban where I perform Taraaweeh, the Huffaaz delete the Durood and the Dua after Tashahhud. They say that it is permissible to do so in Taraaweeh. A friend asked if he can do the same when performing his Qadha? Please advise.

ANSWER (By Mujlisul Ulama):

This haraam practice has been taught by miscreant molvis who have failed to understand the meaning of Sunnat. For them if a practice is Sunnat, it signifies permission to commit spiritual debauchery and to expunge even Sunnatul Muakkadah practices. 

Shaitaan has securely gripped them in his embrace and it is he who is inspiring them with such debauchery and wholesale expungment of such a vital act of Ibaadat as the Durood and Dua after Tashahhud in Qa’dah Akheerah. 

Shaitaan had firstly given them the lesson of discarding Mustahab acts and to regard such acts as insignificant. Now Iblees has given these miscreant molvis the further lesson of debauching Sunnatul Muakkadah. It will then progress to the Waajibaat. With his subtle ta’eem Iblees has upgraded the deviation of these evil molvis who are a danger to the very Imaan of the masses. 

These juhala ‘molvis’ have emaciated the Taraaweeh Salaat by discarding the Sunnatul Muakkadah acts. They even advise expungment of Thana from the Taraaweh Salaat. Taraaweeh for them is a pastime hobby. 

While these miscreants find it extremely laborious and vexatious to devote a minute or two for reciting the absolutely necessary Masnoon Durood and Dua in the Last Qa’dah, they devote considerable time to their Ramadhaan picnicking and camping which they dub ‘I’tikaaf’. They derive greater nafsaani enjoyment if the picnicking in the Musjid is a mass ‘i’tikaaf’. For these haraam nafsaani functions with which they defile the sanctity of the Musjid, violate the honour and respect of Ramadhaan and utterly ruin the Ibaadat of I’tikaaf, they have much leisure, derive much pleasure and display great and energy, but to accord a minute for reciting the Durood and Dua commanded by Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) they display their nifaaq. 

Those who are miserly in reciting Durood are among the vilest misers according to the Hadith. The disdain they show for the Dua at a time when Allah Azza Wa Jal is on the First Sama’ is appallingly repugnant. 

The lamentable aspect of these haraam shenanigans is that it is being blatantly practised at the behest and ta’leem of molvis. Indeed they are the ulama-e-soo’ who undermine the Deen and ruin the Akhlaaq of the masses with their propagation of nafsaaniyat  under guise of the Deen. 

It is not permissible to discard the Durood and the Dua from any Salaat even from Nafl Salaat.

One-Night Khatms in Taraweeh

[The excerpt is from the work of Maulana Abdul Hay Lakhnawi rahimahullah, translated by Maulana Zameelur Rahman]

A question often arises about what the people today frequently do on the 27th night or another night of Ramadān. They adorn the masjid with carpets, hang many lamps and appoint huffāz that are quick in their recitation and have good retention to complete the whole Qur’ān in a single night during Salāt al-Tarāwīh. Hence, one leads after another, and each of them recites as much as is possible for him in two or more rak’ats until the khatm is completed close to dawn or suhūr time in accordance with the speed of the reciters. They call it khatm shabīnah. Is this permissible or not?

I answered that the completion of the Qur’ān itself in one night is encouraged, but the attachment of reprehensible matters to it is reprehensible. Its elaboration is that there are some things that are good and some which are reprehensible in what they are accustomed to and believe to be good:

First, the completion of the Qur’ān in one night, which is a wonderful thing, practised by many of the Salaf. In fact, some of them completed it in a single rak’ah!

Second, speedy recitation, as they make the recitation fast, to the point that the letters do not emerge from their [correct] points of emergence, let alone contemplation (tadabbur) and measured reading (tartīl)! This is something reprehensible, as Ibn Abī Dāwūd transmitted from Muslim ibn Mikhrāq that he said: I said to ‘Ā’ishah that there are some people of whom one recites the [entire] Qur’ān twice or thrice in one night. She said: “They recited and did not recite! I would stand with the Messenger of Allāh one night and he recited al-Baqarah, Āl-‘Imrān and al-Nisā’ and he did not pass by a verse in which is glad-tidings but he supplicated and expressed desire, nor by a verse in which is warning except he supplicated and sought refuge.”

In fact, amongst them are some who make it so fast that he leaves out verses and one listening to him is unable to correct him due to the speed of his recitation. In fact, some of them do not correct him because it would disrupt his speed. Is there anything more reprehensible than this?! I saw something even worse than this, which is that when the hāfiz completes the recitation, the listeners stretch their tongues with praise of him, saying, “How fast was your recitation!”, “How beautiful was your voice!” etc., and they do not warn him against what he did, of leaving out measured reading and omitting verses.

Third, the laziness of the listeners, as when the hāfiz stands for recitation, they [sit down and] wait until the rukū’ of the first rak’ah, and only when he intends to go down to rukū’ do they join in with him. It is right to say about them: “And when they stand for Salāh, they stand up lazily”. (4:142)

Fourth, creating antipathy in the muqtadis, as when the huffāz lengthen the recitation it causes difficulty on those who join him. Thus, some of them sit and some of them alternate between their feet and some of them break the rak’ah and listen while sitting down outside the Salāh. What evil is greater than this?! This is why the fuqahā’ have expressly said that one ought to recite in Tarāwīh the amount that is not burdensome on them.

Fifth, lighting many candles above need, which is a matter of frivolity and play which must be avoided, as the fuqahā’ have expressly stated in many places. These and their likes are evils which take out the good thing to the level of reprehensibility. How many a good thing is rendered reprehensible by the adjoining of a [blameworthy] attachment?! And Allāh knows best the truth.  

Iqāmat al-Hujjah ‘alā anna l-Ikthār fi l-Ta’abbud laysa bi Bid’ah, pp. 154-6

Ruining the Fast, Body and Soul

By Mujlisul Ulama

FASTING in the Month of Ramadhaan is a wonderful  spiritual and physical remedy. Allah Ta’ala is the Creator of the Rooh (Soul) and the physical body, and He has designed all practices of Ibaadat for the self are  for the development of both the soul and the body. Although the intention underlying Fasting is only to gain Allah’s Pleasure by fulfilling His Command, the Fasting comes with many health benefits.

An expert non-Muslim naturopath observed that the Islamic practice of Fasting a month is a wonderful health benefit, however, Muslims nullify the beneficial effects of the Fasting when they break their fast in the evening. They go overboard in reckless gluttony. This gluttony commences immediately at Iftaar. Instead of heeding Rasulullah’s advice and command of breaking the fast frugally, Muslims nowadays indulge in nauseating gluttony.

The gluttony begins with the commencement of the Athaan.   Elaborate meals are spread out in the Musaajid for anti-Sunnah and physically and spiritually ruinous feasting. The holy moments of Iftaar are treated as an occasion of haraam merrymaking. The fasting ones devour to the point of satiation or even more. Then generally they leave their mess on the Musjid carpets. After Maghrib Salaat, they rush home for the ‘primary’ and main meal. It boggles the mind to fathom how they manage to locate space in their bellies for the deluge of the harmful foods they ingest after Maghrib. Then after Taraaweeh, commences another round of feasting with deserts, etc.

A human being should utilize his intelligence to understand the physical and spiritual villainy perpetrated to the body and soul by such reckless gluttony unknown to even dogs and the beasts in the jungle. The inevitable consequence of this style of horrible, nauseating gluttony is the ultimate breakdown of the physical body which becomes afflicted with many diseases, and the utter ruin of the Muslim’s spiritual fibre. In the wake of this self-destruction the evil nafs becomes bloated and remains in full control of the intelligence.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered us to make iftaar with only dates and/or water. This exhortation is for practical implementation and has  been designed by Allah Ta’ala for our all round welfare.

The Virtue of the Last Ten Days of Ramadaan and Laylat al-Qadr

Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be upon the Trustworthy Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to strive hard (in worship) during the last ten days of Ramadaan in a way that he did not strive at any other times. (Muslim, 1175, from ‘Aa’ishah). Among the things he did were secluding himself in I’tikaaf and seeking Laylat al-Qadr during this time. (Al-Bukhaari, 1913; Muslim, 1169).

In al-Saheehayn it is reported from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that when the last ten days of Ramadaan came, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would stay up at night, wake his family and gird his loins. (al-Bukhaari, 1920; Muslim, 1174). Muslim added: he strove hard and girded his loins.

Her phrase “girded his loins” is a metaphor for his preparing himself to worship and strive hard in worship, more than usual. It has the meaning of “rolling up one’s sleeves” to worship (i.e. getting ready to make a great deal of effort).

It was also said that it was a metaphor for keeping away from women and abstaining from sexual relations.

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The phrase “stay up at night” means that he would stay awake, spending the night in prayer, etc. It was reported in another hadeeth that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recite the entire Qur’aan in one night, or spend a whole night in prayer until the morning, or fast an entire month, except in Ramadaan.” (Sunan al-Nasaa’i, 1641). The words “stay up at night” may mean that he spent most of the night in worship, or that he did not stay up for the entire night, but he did that at the times of ‘Ishaa and Suhoor, and other times, in which case it would mean that he stayed up for most of the night.

The phrase “and wake his family” means that he would wake his wives to pray qiyaam. It is known that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to wake his wives all year round, but he used to wake them to spend part of the night in qiyaam. In Saheeh al-Bukhaari it is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) woke up one night and said, “Subhaan Allaah! What tribulations have come down tonight! What treasure has come down tonight! Who will wake up the dwellers of the apartments? There may be women who are clothed in this world and naked in the Hereafter.” (al-Bukhaari, 1074). It was also reported (in Saheeh al-Bukhaari) that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to wake ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) when he wanted to pray Witr. (al-Bukhaari, 952). But when he woke his wives during the last ten nights of Ramadaan, this was more persistent than at other times of the year.

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The fact that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did this indicates the importance he attached to worshipping his Lord and making the most of this special time.

The Muslim should follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), for he is the best example, and he should strive hard in worshipping Allaah. He should not waste the hours of these days and nights. For we do not know, perhaps this time will never come again, for the spoiler of pleasures, i.e., death, which must come to all men, may come and snatch him and his life will end; then he will feel regret at the time when regret will be of no avail.

Among the unique virtues of these special nights is that Laylat al-Qadr is among them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Haa-Meem. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’aan and none but Allaah (Alone) knows their meanings.]

By the manifest Book (this Qur’aan) that makes things clear.

We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed night [(i.e. the Night of Al-Qadr) in the month of Ramadaan]. Verily, We are ever warning [mankind that Our Torment will reach those who disbelieve in Our Oneness of Lordship and in Our Oneness of worship].

Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments.

As a Command (or this Qur’aan or the Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messengers),

(As) a mercy from your Lord. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [al-Dukhaan 44:1-6]

Allaah sent down the Qur’aan on this night which the Lord of the Worlds has described as blessed. It was reported from a group of the Salaf – including Ibn ‘Abbaas, Qutaadah, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr, ‘Ikrimah, Mujaahid and others – that the night on which the Qur’aan was sent down was Laylat al-Qadr.

The phrase Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments means, on that night the destiny of all creatures for the coming year is decreed. On that night it is written who will live, who will die, who will be saved, who will be doomed, who will be destined for Paradise, who will be destined for Hell, who will be granted honour, who will be humiliated, where drought and famine will occur, and everything else that Allaah wills in that year.

What is meant by the idea that the destiny of all creatures is written on Laylat al-Qadr is – and Allaah knows best – that on Laylat al-Qadr they are transferred from al-Lawh al-Mahfooz. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “You may see a man furnishing his home or plowing his field, and he is one of those who are going to die,” i.e., it has been decreed on Laylat al-Qadr that he is one of those who are going to die (in the coming year). And it was said that on this night, the destiny of people is shown to the angels.

The meaning of “Qadr” is veneration or honour, i.e. it is a night that is venerated because of its special characteristics, and because the one who stays up during this night becomes a man of honour. And it was said that Qadr means constriction, in the sense that the knowledge of precisely when this night is, is hidden. Al-Khaleel ibn Ahmad said: it was called Laylat al-Qadr because the earth is constricted by the great numbers of angels on that night, and Qadr means constriction. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “But when He tries him, by straitening his means of life [fa qadara ‘alayhi rizqahu]…” [al-Fajr 89:16], i.e., by constricting or reducing his provision.

And it was said that Qadr means Qadar, i.e., that on this night the decrees for the coming year are ordained, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments” [al-Dukhaan 44:4]

and because Allaah’s decrees are decided and written down on this night.

So Allaah has called it Laylat al-Qadr, because of its great value and high status with Allaah, and because so many sins are forgiven and so many faults are concealed during this night. For it is the night of forgiveness, as it was reported in al-Saheehayn from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever stays up during Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (al-Bukhaari, 1910; Muslim, 760).

Allaah has given this night special characteristics which make it unique:

It is the night on which the Qur’aan was sent down, as we have stated above. Ibn ‘Abbaas and others said: “Allaah sent down the Qur’aan at one time from al-Lawh al-Mahfooz to Bayt al-‘Izzah in the first heaven, then it was revealed to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in stages according to events over twenty-three years.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/529)

Allaah described it as being better than a thousand months, as He said (interpretation of the meaning): “The night of al-Qadr is better than a thousand months” [al-Qadr 97:3].

Allaah described it as being blessed, as He said (interpretation of the meaning): “We sent it (this Qur’aan) down on a blessed night” [al-Dukhaan 44:3].

On this night, the angels and the Spirit [al-Rooh] descend, “i.e., many angels descend of this night because it is so blessed, and the angels come down when Allaah’s blessing and mercy come down, just as they come down when Qur’aan is recited, and they surround the circles of dhikr (gatherings where Allaah is remembered), and they beat their wings for the one who sincerely seeks knowledge, out of respect for him.” (See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/531). The Spirit [al-Rooh] is Jibreel (peace be upon him), who is specifically mentioned in this manner as a sign of respect for him.

This night is described as peace, i.e., it is safe, for the Shaytaan cannot do any evil or cause any harm on this night, as Mujaahid said. (See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/531). On this night, many people are saved from punishment because of what they do to worship Allaah, may He be glorified.

“Therein (that night) is decreed every matter of ordainments”  [al-Dukhaan 44:4 – interpretation of the meaning], i.e., the affairs of that year are dispatched from al-Lawh al-Mahfooz to the angels who record the decrees: who will live, who will die, what provision people will be given, what will happen until the end of that year, every matter of ordainments is decreed, and it cannot be altered or changed. (See Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/137, 138). All of this is already known to Allaah before it is even written down, but He makes known to the angels what is to happen, and commands them to do whatever they are enjoined to do. (Sharh Saheeh Muslim li’l-Nawawi, 8/57).

Allaah forgives the previous sins of the one who stays up and prays during this night out of faith and in hope of earning the reward from Him. It was reported in the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadaan out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven, and whoever stays up during Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Agreed upon). The phrase “out of faith and in the hope of earning reward” means, believing in Allaah’s promise of reward for this, and seeking the reward, with no other aim or purpose, such as showing off etc.” (Fath al-Baari, 4/251).

Allaah has revealed a soorah concerning this night which will be recited until the Day of Resurrection, in which He mentions the honour and great value of this night. This is the soorah in which He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, We have sent it (this Qur’aan) down in the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree).

And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is?

The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allaah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months).

Therein descend the angels and the Rooh [Jibreel] by Allaah’s Permission with all Decrees,

(All that night), there is peace (and goodness from Allaah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn.” [al-Qadr 97:1-5]

The phrase And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is serves to draw attention to the importance and great significance of this night.

The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months means, it is better than over eighty three years, as we have already mentioned. This is a great virtue, the value of which no one can fully understand except the Lord of the Worlds, may He be blessed and exalted. This encourages the Muslim to spend this night in prayer and to seek the Face of Allaah by doing so. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to seek this night, hoping to gain some good from it, and he is the example for this Ummah.

It is mustahabb to seek it during Ramadaan, especially in the last ten nights of the month. It was reported in Saheeh Muslim that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did I’tikaaf during the first ten days of Ramadaan, then he did I’tikaaf during the middle ten days in a Turkish tent [the word qubbah, translated here as “tent”, refers to a tent or any circular structure] in which a mat was placed. He said: so he took the mat in his hand and put it at the side of the tent, then he raised his head to speak to the people, so they came closer to him. He said: “I did I’tikaaf during the first ten days, seeking this night, then I did I’tikaaf during the middle ten days. Then someone came to me and told me that it is in the last ten days, so whoever among you wants to do I’tikaaf, let him do so.” So the people did I’tikaaf with him. He said: “I was shown an odd-numbered night, in the morning of which I was prostrating in mud and water”. Then in the morning of the twenty-first, he got up to pray Subh and it was raining; the roof of the mosque leaked, and there was mud and water. He came out when he had finished praying, and there was mud and water on his forehead and nose. That was the morning of the twenty-first, one of the last ten days. (Saheeh Muslim, 1167).

In a report, Abu Sa’eed said: “It rained on the night of the twenty-first, and the roof of the mosque leaked over the place where the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was praying. I looked at him, when he had finished praying Salaat al-Subh, and his face was wet with mud and water.” (Agreed upon). Muslim narrated a hadeeth from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Unays (may Allaah be pleased with him) that was similar to the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed, except that he said, “it rained on the night of the twenty-third.” According to a hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten days of Ramadaan, when there are nine days left, and seven days left, and five days left.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/260).

Laylat al-Qadr is in the last ten days of Ramadaan, as stated in the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed quoted above, and as stated in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah, and in the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek Laylat al-Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadaan.” (The hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah was narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/259; the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar was narrated by Muslim, 2/823. This wording is that of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah).

It is more likely to be one of the odd-numbered nights, because of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek Laylat al-Qadr in the odd-numbered nights of the last ten nights.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/259)

We should seek it especially in the odd-numbered nights, i.e., on the twenty-first, the twenty-third, the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh and the twenty-ninth. It was reported in al-Saheehayn that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten nights, on the odd-numbered nights.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1912, see also, 1913. Also narrated by Muslim, 1167, see also 1165).

According to the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten nights of Ramadaan, when there are nine left, when there are seven left, when there are five left.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1917-1918). So it is more likely to be one of the odd-numbered nights.

In Saheeh al-Bukhaari it was narrated that ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit said: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out to tell us when Laylat al-Qadr was, and two of the Muslims were arguing. He said: “I came out to tell you when Laylat al-Qadr was, and So and so and So and so were arguing, so it [the knowledge of when Laylat al-Qadr was] was taken away from me. Perhaps this is better for you. So seek it on the ninth and the seventh and the fifth” (al-Bukhaari, 1919), i.e., on the odd-numbered nights.

This hadeeth indicates how bad it is to argue and fight, especially with regard to matters of religion, and that this is a cause of goodness being taken away or concealed.

Ibn Taymiyah said: “But odd-numbers have to do with what is past [i.e., when one starts counting from the beginning of the month], so it should be sought on the twenty-first, the twenty-third, the twenty-seventh or the twenty-ninth; or it may be with regard to what is left, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘when there are nine left, or seven left, or five left, or three left.’ On this basis, if the month has thirty days, these will be even-numbered nights, so on the twenty-second there will be nine days left, on the twenty-fourth there will be seven days left. This is how it was explained by Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri in the saheeh hadeeth, and this is how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed qiyaam during this month. If this is the case, then the believer should seek it in all of the last ten days.” (al-Fataawaa, 25/284, 285).

Laylat al-Qadr is more likely to be in the last seven days. Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that a man among the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was shown Laytal al-Qadr in a dream, and that it was one of the last seven nights. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It seems that your dreams agreed that it is one of the last seven nights, so whoever wants to seek it, let him seek it in the last seven nights.” (narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1911; Muslim, 1165). Muslim reported: “Seek it in the last ten nights, and if any of you are weak or unable to do that, then let him not miss the last seven.”

It is most likely to be on the night of the twenty-seventh. It was reported, in a hadeeth narrated by Ahmad from Ibn ‘Umar, and a hadeeth narrated by Abu Dawood from Mu’aawiyah, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Laylat al-Qadr is the night of the twenty-seventh.” (Musnad Ahmad and Sunan Abu Dawood, 1386). The view that it is the night of the twenty-seventh is the opinion of most of the Sahaabah and the majority of scholars, and Ubayy ibn Ka’b (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to assert, without saying “in shaa Allaah”, that it was the night of the twenty-seventh. Zurr ibn Hubaysh said: I said: What makes you say that, O Abu’l-Mundhir? He said: by the signs of which the Messengers of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us: that the sun rises that morning with no visible rays.(Narrated by Muslim,2/268).

Many marfoo’ ahaadeeth were narrated which said that it was on this particular night.

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) also stated that it is the night of the twenty-seventh. He reached this conclusion by means of an amazing process. It was reported that ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) gathered the Sahaabah together and included Ibn ‘Abbaas even though he was very young. They said, “Ibn ‘Abbaas is like one of our children. Why have you brought him here with us?” ‘Umar said: “He is a youth who has a good mind and who asks lots of questions.” Then he asked the Sahaabah about Laylat al-Qadr, and they agreed that it was one of the last ten nights of Ramadaan. He asked Ibn ‘Abbaas about it, and he said: “I think I know when it is: it is the night of the twenty-seventh.” ‘Umar said, “What makes you think that?” He said, “Allaah made the heavens seven, and the earths seven, and the days seven, and He created man from seven, and He made Tawaaf seven (circuits), and al-Saa’ee seven, and the stoning of the Jamaar seven.” So Ibn’ Abbaas thought that it was the night of the twenty-seventh because of this analysis. This has been soundly reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas.

Another of the ways in which the conclusion was reached that it is the night of the twenty-seventh is by noting that the word fihaa (therein) in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): “Therein descend the angels and the Rooh [Jibreel]” [al-Qadr 97:4] is the twenty-seventh word of Soorat al-Qadr [in the original Arabic].

There is no shar’i evidence (daleel) to support this manner of analysis, and there is no need for such calculations, because we have sufficient shar’i evidence available to us.

The fact that it is usually the night of the twenty-seventh – and Allaah knows best – does not mean that this is always the case. It could be the night of the twenty-first, as mentioned in the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed quoted above, or it could be the twenty-third, as mentioned in the report of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Unays (may Allaah be pleased with him) quoted above. According to a hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both), the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Seek it in the last ten days of Ramadaan, when there are nine days left, and seven days left, and five days left.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4/260).

Some of the scholars thought that it is more likely that Laylat al-Qadr moves and does not come on a specific night each year. Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “This is the apparent meaning because of the conflict between the saheeh ahaadeeth on this matter, and there is no way to reconcile the ahaadeeth apart from saying that Laylat al-Qadr moves.” (al-Majmoo’, 6/450).

Allaah has concealed this night so that His slaves will strive to seek it, and will strive hard in worship, just as He has concealed the hour of jumu’ah, and so on.

So the believer should strive hard during the days and nights of these ten days, seeking Laylat al-Qadr and following the example of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he should strive in making du’aa’ and seeking to draw close to Allaah.

It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, what do you think, if I witness Laylat al-Qadr, what should I say?’ He said: ‘Say, O Allaah, You are Forgiving and Generous, and you love forgiveness, so forgive me.’” (Narrated by Imaam Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi (3515) and Ibn Maajah (3850). Its isnaad is saheeh).

Thirdly: a greater virtue is attached to I’tikaaf on this night than on any other night of the year. I’tikaaf means staying in the mosque to worship Allaah, may He be exalted. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to spend these ten days in I’tikaaf, as stated in the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed quoted above. He spent the first ten days in I’tikaaf, then the middle ten days, then he told them that he had been seeking Laylat al-Qadr, and that he had been shown that it was in the last ten days, and he said: “Whoever was doing I’tikaaf with me, let him do I’tikaaf for the last ten days.” It was reported from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to do I’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan until he passed away, then his wives did I’tikaaf after him. (Agreed upon). There is also a similar report narrated from Ibn ‘Umar.

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted to do I’tikaaf, he would pray Fajr, then enter the place where he was to do I’tikaaf, as was stated in al-Saheehayn from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah.

The four imaams and others (may Allaah have mercy on them) said that he entered it before the sun set, and they interpreted the hadeeth as meaning that he entered his place of I’tikaaf and kept away from people after Salaat al-Subh, not that this was the time when he started his I’tikaaf. (See Sharh Muslim li’l-Nawawi, 8/68, 69; Fath al-Baari, 4/277). It is Sunnah for the person in I’tikaaf to keep himself busy with worship, and it is forbidden for him to have intercourse or to do anything that leads to it, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):  “And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques” [al-Baqarah 2:187].

And he should not go out of the mosque except in the case of a pressing need.

The signs by which Laylat al-Qadr is known

The first sign: it was reported in Saheeh Muslim from the hadeeth of Ubayy ibn Ka’b (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) announced that one of its signs was that when the sun rose on the following morning, it had no (visible) rays. (Muslim, 762).

The second sign: it was reported from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah, and by al-Tayaalisi in his Musnad, with a saheeh isnaad, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Laylat al-Qadr is a pleasant night, neither hot nor cold, and the following day the sun rises red and weak.” (Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, 2912; Musnad al-Tayaalisi).

The third sign: it was reported by al-Tabaraani with a hasan isnaad from the hadeeth of Waathilah ibn al-Asqa’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Laylat al-Qadr is a bright night, neither hot nor cold, in which no meteors are seen.” (Narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer. See Majma’ al-Zawaa’id, 3/179; Musnad Ahmad).

These three saheeh ahaadeeth explain the signs which indicate Laylat al-Qadr.

It is not essential for the one who “catches” Laylat al-Qadr to know that he has “caught” it. The point is to strive hard and to be sincere in worship, whether or not one knows that one has “caught” it. It may be that some of those who do not know that may be better with Allaah and higher in status than those who did know which night it was, because the former strove hard. We ask Allaah to accept our fasting and our prayer at night, and to help us to remember Him and to thank Him and to worship Him properly. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam).

I’tikaf Explained

The basic purpose of I’tikâf is that the heart gets attached to Allâh and, with it, one attains inner composure and equanimity and pre‑occupation with the mundane things of life ceases and absorption in the eternal Reality takes its place, and the state is reached in which all fears, hopes and apprehensions are superseded by the love and remembrance of Allâh, every anxiety is transformed into the anxiety for Him and every thought and feeling is blended with the eagerness to gain His nearness and to earn His good favour, and devotion to the Almighty is generated instead of devotion to the world and it becomes the provision for the grave where there will be neither a friend nor a helper. This is the high aim and purpose of I’tikâf which is the speciality of the most sublime part of Ramadhân, i.e., the last ten days.

Similarly, Hadhrat Shah Waliullah Rahimahullah remarks, “Since I’tikâf in the masjid is a means to the attainment of peace of the mind and purification of the heart, and it affords an excellent opportunity for forging an indentity with the angels and having a share in the blissfulnes of the Night of Power and for devoting oneself to prayer and meditation Allâh has set apart the last ten days of the month of Ramadhân for it and made it a Sunnah for His pious and virtuous slaves.”

Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam always observed, I’tikâf and the Muslims have on the whole adhered to it. It has become a regular feature of the month of Ramadhân and a confirmed practice with the devout and the faithful. Hazrat Ayesha Radiallâhu anha relates that “Rasulullâh. Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam regularly observed I’tikâf during the last ten days of Ramadhân till the end of his life. After him, his wives maintained the tradition.” (Bukhari)

It is related by Hazrat Abû Huraira Radiallâhu anhu that “Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam observed I’tikâf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadhân. In the year he passed away he observed it for twenty days.” (Bukhari)

MEANING OF I’TIKAF

The reality of I’tikâf is that a person remains in the masjid for a certain period with the intention [niyyah] of I’tikâf. There is no time limit pres­cribed for whatever time is spent in the masjid with the intention of I’tikâf such spending of time will constitute I’TIKÂF. However, a period of ten days is prescribed for the Masnun I’tikâf of Ramadhân ‑ the Sunnah will not be fulfilled for a period less than ten days. In the case ofI’tikâf Wâjib (that’ is, a person who has taken a vow to perform I’tikâf, it cannot be fulfilled in a period less than one day and one night. (Badai)

WHO MAY PERFORM I’TIKAF

1. It is necessary for I’tikâf that a person be a Muslim and sane. Hence, the I’tikâf of an insane person or a kafir will not be valid. However, just as a minor child may perform Salâh or keep fast, similary such minor may perform I’tikâf. (Badai).

2. A woman may also perform I’tikâf in her home by setting aside a specified place for ibâdah and performing therein such I’tikâf. However, it is necessary for her to obtain her husband’s consent for such I’tikâf. Moreover, it is essential that she is not in a state of menstruation and nifâs.

3. it is a condition of I’tikâf Masnun andI’tikâf wâjib that a person be in a state of fasting. Hence, if a person is not in a state of fasting, he cannot perform these categories of I’tikâf. However, fasting is not a condition in the case of Nafl I’tikâf.

PLACE OF I’TIKAF

For male persons, ‘Itikat can only be performed in the masjid. The most blessed and preferred I’tikâf  is that performed at al‑Masjid al  Harâm in Makkah. The next most preferred I’tikâf is that performed at al‑Masjid al‑Nabawî in al‑Madinah. Third in order of preferability is al‑Masjid al Aqsa (in Al‑Quds). Fourthly, any Jam’i Masjid. However, it is not neces­sary to perform I’tikâf at a Jam’i Masjid. On the contrary, I’tikâf may be performed at any masjid where prayers are said five times (each day) in jama’at. If a masjid is such that five time prayers (each day) are not said therein, then in such an event there is a difference of opinion amongst the ‘Ulamâ’. Some scholars are of the view that I’tikâf may be performed at such a masjid, although it is not preferable. (Shâmi)

I’tikâf can be made in a masjid wherein only in Ramadhân 5 daily Salâh are performed (Fatâwa Rahîmîyah vol. 2. p. 30)

TYPES OF I’TIKAF

I’tikâf Masnun ‑ This refers to that I’tikâf which is only performed in the month of Ramadhân during the last ten days thereof commencing on the twenty‑first night and terminating upon the sighting of the the moon of Shawwal (that is, on the eve of ‘Id al‑Fitr) It is termed I’tikâf Masnun because Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam performed I’tikâf  every year in these days.

I’tikâf Nafl ‑ This refers to that ‘Itikafwhich may be performed at any time.
I’tikâf Wâjib ‑ This refers to that I’tikâf

(a) which becomes wâjib because of making nadhr, that is, taking a vow, or

(b) which becomes wâjib as Qada’ for rendering void a Masnun I’tikâf.

MEANING AND EFFECT OF MASNUN I’TIKAF

The I’tikâf which is performed in the last ten days of Ramadhân Mubarak is known as Masnun I’tikâf. The time for this I’tikâf  commences upon completion of the twentieth day (of Ramadhân), that is, with effect from the setting of the sun, and remains until the sighting of the Shawwal moon (Eid moon). In view of the fact this I’tikâf commences from the twenty‑first night (of Ramadhân) ‑ and the night commencing from the setting of the sun ‑ it is therefore necessary for the person wishing to perform I’tikâf  to enter the hudud of the masjid on the twentieth day on such time before Maghrib so that the setting of the sun takes place whilst he is in the masjid.

The I’tikâf of the last ten days of Ramadhân is Sunnah Mu’akkadah Kifayah. This means that if one person, who lives in a particular area in which a masjid is situated, performs I’tikâf, then in such an event the Sunnah is fulfilled on behalf of all the members of that area. However, if nobody in the entire area performs I’tikâf, then all the members of the area will be liable for the sin of failing to fulfil a Sunnah.

RESPONSIBILITY OF MEMBERS OF AN AREA AND MAIN FEATURE OF I’TIKAF

It is clear from the foregoing that it is the responsibility of every member of the area or township to ascertain in the beginning whether any person is to sit for the I’tkâf  in their masjid or not. However, it is not permissible to cause some person to sit by giving him payment or money because it is not permissible in the case of ‘Ibadah to give or take money or wages. (Shâmi)

If no member of a particular area is able to sit for I’tikâf  due to circumstan­ces of necessity, then in that event arrangements must be made to cause some person from another area to sit. (Fatâwa Darul Ulûm Deoband)

The outstanding pillar of I’tikâf is that a person remains for the duration of I’tikâf  within the hudûd of the masjid. Save and except for the necessities of nature (see details later), he must not leave the hudud of the masjid even for one moment. For, if he leaves the hudûd of the masjid for one moment without a valid Shar’î reason (the details of which are dealt with later), the I’tikâf is rendered void.

LEAVING THE MASNUN ON THE GROUNDS OF SHAR’ΠNECESSITY

By the term Shar’î necessity, we mean those necessities on the basis of which the Sharî‘ah has permitted the person performing I’tikâf to leave the masjid. The I’tikâf  is not rendered void if the person leaves by virtue of such necessities.

These necessities are as follows:
1. The need to urinate or defecate, that is, to attend to the call of nature.

2. The need for Ghusl of janabah when it is not possible to make Ghusl in the masjid

3. The need to make wudhu when it is not possible to make wudhu while in the masjid.   

4. The need to bring food and drink when another person is not available to do so.   

5. The need of the Mu’adhin to go out for the purpose of calling Adhân.   

6. If Jumuah Salâh is not performed in the masjid wherein  I’tikâf is performed, the need to go to another masjid to perform Jumu’ah.   

7. The need to move to another masjid in the event of leaking, etc. of the the masjid.

Apart from these needs, it is not permisible for the person performing I’tikâf  to leave the masjid for any other purpose. Now, we shall, insha-Allâh, explain details of each of these needs.

CALL OF NATURE

(a)  The person performing I’tikâf  can leave the rnasjid to attend the call of nature, that is, to urinate of defaecate. In so far as urinating is concerned, he must go to the place nearest the masjid where it is possible to urinate. In regard to defaecation, if a toilet has been built attached to the masjid, and if it is possible to defaecate therein, then he must go there. It is not permissi­ble to go to another place. However, if a person cannot defaecate due to his nature or because of extreme difficulty at any place besides his home, then it is permissible forlim to go to his house for this purpose, even if a toilet is available near the triasjid. (Shâmi)

If a person does not have this difficulty, then he should utilise the toilet of the masjid. If such a person leaves the masjid toilet and goes to his house, then his I’tikâf  is rendered void according to some ‘‘Ulamâ. (Shâmi)

(b)  If the masjid does not have any toilet, or if it is not possible to attend the call of nature therein, or in the case of extreme difficulty, then in such events it is permissible to go home to attend the call of nature, notwith­standing the distance of such home. (Shâmi)

(c)  If the home of a friend or a relative is present near the masjid, it is not necessary to go to his friend’s or relative’s home to attend the call of nature. Despite this, one is permitted to go to one’s home even if it is situated at a distance in comparison to the home of such a friend or a relative. (Shâmi)

(d)  If a person owns two houses then he should go to the nearer one to attend the call of nature. If he goes to the further home then his I’tikâf  is rendered void according to some ‘ulama. (Alamgiri)

(e)  If the toilet is occupied, then it is permissible to wait until it is vacant. But it is not permissible to remain even for one moment once the need is fulfilled. If one remains then, I’tikâf  is rendered void. (Barjandi)

(f)  It is permissible to make Salâm to someone or to reply to a Salâm or to talk briefly in the house or on the way to the toilet and on return, provided that one does not stop for such brief talk. (Mirqat)

(g)  It is not necessary to walk briskly on the way to the toilet or on return. It is permissible also to walk slowly. (Âlamghiri)

(h)  On the way to the toilet to attend to the call of nature, one must not stop at the instance of another. One must while walking indicate to such other person that one is in a state of I’tikâf. One can not stop for this purpose. If one stopped for some time at the instance of another, then his I’tikâf  is rendered void. This applies to the extent that if a debtor has on the road stopped the person performing I’tikâf then according to Imâm Abû Hanifah Rahmatullâh ‘alayhi the I’tikaf is rendered void. The I’tikâf is not rendered void by virtue of his necessity according to Imâm Abû Yusuf and Imâm Muhammad Rahmatullâh ‘alayhi. Imâm Sarakasi Rahmatullâh ‘alayhi has on the basis of ease and facility manifested a preference for the view point of the latter two. (Mabsut) However, precaution demands that one must not stop on the road under any circumstances.

(i)   It is permissible to smoke a cigarette upon leaving to visit the toilet provided that one does not have to stop for this purpose.

(j)  If any person who has gone to his house for the purpose of attending to the call of nature, then it is permissible for him to make wudu therein, after attending to the call of nature. (Majma‑ul‑Anhar)

(k)  Istinjah is included in the term “attending to call of nature”. Hence, if a person suffers from the disease of urine drops, he can go outside for the purpose only of Istinjah for this reason, the jurists have set forth Istinjah as a separate ground of necessity entitling a person to leave apart from the ground of “attending to the call of nature.” (Shâmi)

(l)   While in I’tikâf  to be in state of wudhu is Mustahab [desirable] and not wâjib [compulsory]. To read books of Tafsîr and jurisprudence in the state of wudhu is also mustahab. (Fatâwa Mehmoodiya vol. 3 p. 117/2)

(m) While in I’tikâf one can inquire from vistors about those who are absent. (ibid.)

GHUSL

It is permissible for the person performing I’tikaf to leave the masjid for the purpose of Ghusl of Janabah in the event of emission of semen.

This is subject to the explanation that if such a person can make Ghusl whilst remaining in the masjid, for example, by sitting in some big tub and performing Ghusl in a manner that the water does not fall in the masjid then it is not permissible for him to go outside.

However, if this is not possible or there is extreme difficulty then he may go outside for Ghusl of Janabah. (Fath‑ul‑Qadir) If there is a Ghusl Khanah in the masjid, then he must perform Ghusl there. However, if there is no Ghusl Khana in the masjid, or it is not possible to make Ghusl therein for some reason, or if there is extreme hardship, then one can perform Ghusl in one’s home.

Apart from Ghusl of Janabah, it is not permissible to leave the masjid for any other Ghusl. It is not permissible to leave the masjid for the purpose of Jurnu’ah Ghusl or a Ghusl to cool oneself. If one has left the masjid for this purpose then I’tikâf  is rendered void. However, if one wishes to make Jumu’ah Ghusl or cool oneself, then he must adopt such a course that the water does not drip into the masjid. For example, he must sit in some tub and bathe himself, or make Ghusl at the corner of the masjid in such a way that the water drips outside the masjid.

EATING

If a person has another available to bring food and water for him to the masjid, then it is not permissible for such a person performing I’tikâf  to leave the masjid for the purpose of fetching food. If, however, he does not have available any person to bring food and water, then it is permissible for him to leave the masjid to bring food (al‑Bahr‑ur‑Raiq). However, the food must be brought to the masjid and eaten therein. (Kifayat‑ul‑Mufti)

Such a person moreover must bear in mind that he must leave the masjid at a time when he is able to receive the food. But if he has to wait for some reason to receive the food, there is no objection.

ADHÂN

(a)  If a mu’adhin is performing  I’tikâf and he has to leave the masjid for the purpose of giving Adhân, then it is permissible for him to go outside. But he must not remain there after giving the Adhân.

(b)  If a person is not a mu’adhin but he wishes to give Adhân for a particular time, then it is permissible for him to leave the masjid for the purpose of giving Adhân. (Mabsut)

(c)  If the door of the minaret of the masjid is situated within the masjid, then it is absolutely permissible for the person performing I’tikâf  to climb the minaret because it will constitute part of the masjid. However, if the door of the masjid is outside the masjid itself, then apart from the need to give Adhân, the person performing ’ltikaf is not permitted to climb such a minaret. (Shâmi)

(d)  It is preferable that I’tikâf  be made in such a masjid where  Jumu’ah Salâh is performed so that it is not necessary to go outside for Jumu’ah. However, if no Jum’ah Salâh is said in a particular masjid and only five times Salâh is said therein, then it is permissible to perform I’tikâf in such a muffid. (Âlamghiri)

(e)  In such a situation, it is permissible to go to another masjid to perform Jum’ah Salâh. However, one must leave for this purpose at such a time that, in his estimation, upon reaching the Jam’i Masjid, he will be able to perform the four rakâh sunnah and thereafter, witness immediately the commencement of the khutbah. (ibid.)

(f) If the person performing I’tikâf has gone to a certain masjid to perform Jum’ah, then he may perform sunnah prayers after completing the fard in that masjid. However, he cannot remain (in the masjid) thereafter. (Ibid). If he remains for a period exceeding necessity then his I’tikâf is not rendered void because he has remained in a masjid. (Badai)

(g) If a person goes to a Jam’i Masjid to perform Jum’ah and thereafter remains there and completes the remaining period of I’tikâf, then his I’tikâf will remain valid. This act is, however, makrûh. (Âlamgiri)

One can make I’tikâf in one masjid and lead tarawîh in another provided when sitting for I’tikâf this intention was made. (Âlamqiri vol. 1, p. 199)

TRANSFER OF MASJID

It is necessary for every person performing I’tikâf to complete his I’tikâf in the masjid where he commenced it. However, if he is faced with such an extreme difficulty and hardship that it is not possible for him to complete the I’tikâf in such a masjid, for example, because such a masjid may collapse, or he is removed therefrom under compulsion, or there is a strong danger to life or property by staying there (in the masjid), then it is permissible to move to another masjid and complete the I’tikâf  there. If one has left for this purpose, the ’ltikaf will not be rendered void, provided that upon leaving one does not wait or remain on the road but proceeds directly to the other masjid. (Âlamgiri)

JANAZAH SALÂH AND VISITING THE SICK

(a) Generally it is not permissible for the person performing I’tikâf to leave the masjid to participate in Janazah Salâh or to visit the sick. However, if one left to attend the call of nature, and incidentally, on the road enquired of some person’s health or participated in a Janazah Salâh, then the I’tikâf is not rendered void. (Badai)

Moreover, one can visit or enquire of the sick whilst one is walking on. Consequently, Hadrat ’Aishah (R.A.) has said that the Rasululla Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam enquired of the sick whilst walking on, and he did not change his way for the purpose. (Abû Dawûd). In regard to Janazah Salâh it is a condition that one does not stop at all after the Salâh itself. (Mirqat).

(b) Apart from this, if a person makes a condition at the time of the intention of the I’tikâf itself to the effect that if he wishes during the course of the I’tikâfto visit a certain sick person, or participate in Janazah Salâh, or attend a certain Islâmic or religious gathering, he will do so, then in such a situation it is permissible to leave the masjid for these purposes, and his I’tikâf will not thereby be rendered void. However, in this manner, his I’tikâf will become a nafl one, and will not remain Masnun.

FACTORS THAT RENDER I’TIKÂF VOID

I’tikâf is rendered void by the following factors:

 Apart from the necessities mentioned above, I’tikâf is rendered void if the person performing I’tikâf leaves the hudud of the masjid for any other purpose although such leaving is for one moment (Hidâyah). It is clear that one will be said to have left the masjid when the feet (of the person performing I’tikâf) have been put outside in such a manner that according to custom one will be said to have left the masjid. Hence, if only the head is outside the masjid, then I’tikâf shall not thereby be rendered void. (Al‑Bahr‑ur‑Raiq).  

Similarly, if a person performing I’tikâf leaves for a valid Shar’î necessity, but after completing such a necessity, he waits or stays outside (the masjid) even for one moment, then the I’tikâf is thereby rendered void. (Shâmi)   

If one leaves the masjid without a valid Shar’î reason or need, whether intentionally, in forgetfulness or by mistake, then in such situations the I’tikâf  is rendered void. However, one will not sin for rendering the I’tikâf void if the leaving is due to mistake or forgetfulness. (ibid.)   

The I’tikâf  will also be rendered void if a person under mistaken belief enters a part of the area of the masjid thinking that it falls within the hudud of the masjid, whereas in fact it is excluded there from. Hence, one must properly ascertain the hudud of the masjid before commencing I’tikâf.   

Since fasting is a condition for I’tikâf, if the fast breaks then I’tikâf is rendered void accordingly, irrespective whether such fast was broken for a valid reason or not, or intentionally or by mistake. In each of these cases, I’tikâf is rendered void. The meaning of breaking fast by mistake is that a person whilst remembering that he is fasting does some involuntary act which is opposed to the requirement of fasting; for example, the person continued eating until the rise of dawn, or made Iftar before the setting of the sun under the mistaken belief taht the time for Iftar had passed; or whilst gargling water entered the gullet by mistake althought the person remembered that he was fasting. In all these situations, the fast is broken and I’tikâf is correspondingly rendered void.

However, if a person forgot that he was fasting and in such state of forgetfulness ate, and drank something, then both his fast and I’tikâf are not rendered void. (Shâmi)

I’tikâf is also rendered void by sexual intercourse whether done inten­tionally or by mistake, and whether done during the day or night, inside the masjid or outside, and whether emission results or not. In all these situa­tions, I’tikâf is rendered void.   

Kissing and cuddling is not permissible during the course of I’tikâf if this causes emission, then I’tikâf is rendered void. However, if no emision results then notwithstanding its illegality, the’ltikaf is not rendered void. (Hidâyah)

SITUATIONS IN WHICH IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO BREAK I’TIKÂF

It is permissible to break I’tikâf in the following situations:

If such a disease emerges during the course of I’tikâf which is not possible to cure except by leaving the masjid, then it is permissible to break the I’tikâf.   

It is permissible to break I’tikâf and go outside (the masjid) in order to save a person who is drowning or burning or to prevent a fire. (Shâmi)   

It is permissible to break I’tikâf because of extreme disease which has afflicted one’s parents, wife or children.   

It is permissible to break I’tikâf if one is compelled to go outside (the masjid), for example, if a warrant of arrest is issued by the government.   

If a janazah arrives and there is nobody else to perform the Janazah Salâh, then also it is permissible to break the I’tikâf. (Fath‑ul‑Qadir)

THE CONSEQUENCES OF BREAKING I’TIKÂF: RULES OF QADHA

If the I’tikâf Masnûn is rendered void for any of the reasons set forth above, then it is wâjib to make qadah only of that day in which the ’ltikaf’ was rendered void. It is not wâjib to make qadah of the full ten days. (Shâmi). The procedure of making qadha of this one day is as follows:

If there is time remaining in that Ramadhân, then one must perform I’tikâf  with the niyâh of qadha in that Ramadhân commencing from the setting of the sun of one day until the setting of the sun of the following day. If there is not time in that particular Ramadhân or if it is not possible for any reason to perform I’tikâf therein, then apart from Ramadhân, one can keep fast on any day and perform I’tikâf for one day. On the other hand, if one makes qadah the following Ramadhân this also will be valid. However, there is no guarantee of life and accordingly one must make qadah as quickly as possible.

If the I’tikaf Masnun is rendered void, it is not necessary to leave themasjid. But one can continue the I’tikâf for the remainder of the last ten days with niyyah of nafl. In this way, the sunnah al‑Mu’akkadah will not be fulfilled but thawab will be obtained for the nafl I’tikaf. On the other hand, if the I’tikâf was rendered void due to some involuntary mistake, then it is not inconceivable that Allâh Ta’âla may bestow in His infinite mercy the reward of the Masnun I’tikâf of the last ten days. Hence, it is preferable in the case of the breaking of the I’tikâf is broken and to commence a permissible to leave on the day that I’tikaf is broken and to commence a nafl I’tikâf with nafl niyyah the following day.

THE ADAB OF I’TIKAF

In view of the fact that the purpose of I’tikâf  it to withdraw oneself from worldly affairs and devote oneself entirely to the remembrance of Allâh, therefore, one must during the course of I’tikâf avoid unnecessary talk and work. Whatever time one finds, one must spend in performing qadha salâh, nawafil (Salâh), tilawah al‑Qur’ân, and other ‘ibâdahdhikr and tasbihat. Moreover, the learning and teaching of‘ ilm of dîn, lectures and nasiliat and study of Islâmic books is not only permissible but also a cause of obtaining thawab.

PERMISSIBLE ACTS [MUBAHAT] IN I’TIKAF

The following acts are permissible in the state of I’tikâf

Eating and drinking. 

Necessary transactions of purchase and sale relating to the necessities of life. However, it is not permissible to make the masjid a centre of trade as such. (Qazi Khan)   

Sleeping. 

Haircut provided the hair does not fall in the masjid.  

Talking and conversation, but it is necessary to avoid unnecessary talk. (Shâmi)   

To contract a Nikâh or other transactions. (al‑Bahr)   

To change clothes, apply scent and oil. (Kulasatul Fatâwa)   

To assist a sick person in the masjid, apply bandage or show him a medicine. (Fatâwa Darul Uloom)   

To give lessons on the Qur’an or ’ilm of Din. (Shâmi)  

To wash and sew clothes provided that when washing the person remains within the masjid and the water falls outside the masjid. This ruling also applies in the case of washing pots or utensils.  

To pass wind in the masjid at the time of necessity. (Shâmi)

Moreover, all those actions are permissible in I’tikâf which are not makrûh or render I’tikâf void, and which actions in themselves are halâl.

MAKRUHAT OF I’TIKÂF

The following matters are makrûh in the state of I’tikâf:

To adopt complete silence because the adoption of complete silence in the Sharî’ah does not constitute I’tikâf. If one adopts silence with the intention that such silence is I’tikâf, then he will receive the sin of bid’ah. However, there is no objection if one does not regard silence as ibâdah and endeavours to remain silent in order to avoid sin. However, whenever a necessity arises, one must not avoid or abstain from talk. (Durre‑Mukhtâr)   

To indulge in unnecessary and vain talk; some conversation is permissi­ble in accordance with necessity, but it is obligatory to avoid making the masjid a place of vanities and unnecessary talk. (Minhatul Kaliq)   

To bring goods of trade and throw them in the masjid.   

To enclose such area of the masjid for the purpose of I’tikâf  that other persons performing I’tikâf or Salâh are caused difficulty or hardship.   

To charge a fee for writing, or sewing clothes, or teaching on the part of the person performing I’tikâf has been considered as makrûh by the jurists (Al‑Bahr). However, if a person cannot earn to provide for himself for the fasts of the days of I’tikâf without charging such fee, then it is permissible for him to do so on the analogy of sale. (And Allâh knows best).   

While performing the sunnah to indulge in a makrûh is not correct.

I’TIKÂF MANDHUR

The second type of I’tikâf is I’tikâf Mandhur”, that is, that I’tikâf  which a person has made obligatory upon himself by taking a vow [nadhr].

Having regard to the fact that this particular form of I’tikâf is rare in occurrence, only the necessary rules have been set out below. For details, one should refer to the books or jurisprudence or a Mufti.

CATEGORIES OF NADHR AND THEIR LEGAL EFFECT

There are two categories of Nadhr:

(i) Nadhr Mu’ayyan, and
(ii) Nadhr Ghayr Mu’ayyan.

(i) Nadhr Muayyan: this means that the Niyyah of I’tikâf is made for specific day or days or month; for example, a person makes Nadhr that he will perform I’tikâf  in the last ten days of Sha’ban. However, if for some reason he cannot keep fasts in these days, then he must make qadah in other days. (Shâmi)

(ii) Nadhr Ghayr Muayyan: this means that no specific month or day is fixed for the performance of I’tikâf; for example, a person makes Nadhr that he will perform I’tikâf for three days. Hence, it will be permissible for him to perform I’tikâf in all those days in which it is valid to keep fasts, and accordingly, his Nadhr will be fulfilled if he performs I’tikâf in such days.

NAFL I’TIKAF

The third type of I’tikâf is Nafl I’tikâf. This form of I’tikâf is not subject to time, fasting, day, night ‑ on the contrary, a person will receive the reward of I’tikâf if he enters themasjid with the intention of I’tikâf at any time and for whatever period.   

In the last ten days of Ramadhân, if a person performs I’tikâf with the requisite intention for less than ten days, then such I’tikâf will be Nafl I’tikâf.   

If a person goes to the masjid for the purpose of Salâh and at the time of entering (the masjid) formulates an intention to the effect that he will remain in I’tikâf for whatever time he spends in he masjid, then such person will receive the reward of I’tikâf.   

Nafl I’tikâf remains in force for the period that the person is in the masjid. Upon leaving or emerging from the masjid, this I’tikâf ends.

The person performing Nafl I’tikaf should complete I’tikâf for the period or days that he intended to undergo in I’tikâf.  However, if he leaves the masjid for some reason prior to completion of the intended period, then he will receive reward for the period he remained in the masjid. For the remaining (that is, uncompleted) period, he is not obliged (that is, it is not wâjib upon him) to make qadah. (Shâmi).   

If a person, for example, made intention to perform I’tikâf for three days and thereafter upon entering the masjid, he commits an act which breaks his I’tikâf, then in such event his I’tikâf is completed, that is, he will receive the reward for the period he spent in the masjid prior to breaking of his I’tikâf, and furthermore, no qada’ is wâjib upon him (for the uncom­pleted period). In this event, he may leave the masjid if he wishes, or remain therein by making a new intention of I’tikâf. In such a situation, it is preferable that he completes the period for which he had made the intention of I’tikâf.

I’TIKÂF  OF WOMEN

The fadilah of I’tikâf  is not confined to men; women also can take advantage of it. However, women should not perform I’tikâf in the masjid. Their I’tikâf  is only possible in the house. The procedure is as follows:

Women should sit for I’tikâf in that place in the house which has been set aside for Salâh and ‘Ibadah. If no such place has been previously set aside, then a place must be so set aside prior to the commencement of I’tikâf, and I’tikâf must accordingly be performed therein. (Shâmi)

If no specific place has been built or set aside in the house for Salâh, and it is not possible for some reason to so build or set aside a place therein, then in such event a woman may at her discretion demarcate any place within the house and perform I’tikâf there. (Âlamghiri)  

It is necessary for a married woman to obtain the consent of her husband for the purpose of performing I’tikâf. It is not permissible for a woman to perform I’tikâf without the permission of her husband. (Shâmi)

However, husbands should not without reason deprive their wives of performing I’tikâf by refusing consent. On the contrary, they should grant consent.   

If a woman has commenced I’tikâf with the permission of her husband and thereafter he endeavours to prohibit or prevent her from completing same, then he cannot do so. If he succeeds in preventing her, then the woman is not obliged to complete I’tikâf. (Alamghiri)   

It is necessary for a woman to be free from menstruation and Nifâs in order to perform I’tikâf ‑ that is, she cannot perform I’tikâf in a stage of menstruation and Nifâs.  

Consequently, a woman should, prior to the commencement of Masnun I’tikâf, determine whether the date of her menstruation will coincide with the period of I’tikâf. If the menstruation is expected to occur towards the end of the last ten days of Ramadhân, then she must not perform Masnun I’tikâf. However, she may perform Nafl I’tikâf for the period until the arrival of her menstruation.   

If a woman has commenced I’tikâf, and thereafter menstruation com­mences during the duration of I’tikâf, then it is wâjib upon her to imme­diately abandon I’tikâf, as soon as her menstruation commences. In such a situation it is wâjib upon her to make qada I’tikâf of only the day in which she abandoned the I’tikâf (as a result of the intervention of menstruation). The procedure of such qadah is as follows:

After the woman becomes pure of such menstruation, she keeps fast on any day and performs I’tikâf. If the days remain in Ramadhân, then she may make qadha in Ramadhân in which case the fast of Ramadhân will be sufficient. However, if Ramadhân has terminated at the time of her becom­ing pure from such menstruation, then she must thereafter specifically keep fastqadha I’tikâf for one day. (Commentary to Behesti Zewar)

 The place within the home demarcated by a woman for the purpose of I’tikâf will for the duration thereof fall within the hukm of the masjid. It is not permissible for her to move from such place without a Shar’î necessity. She cannot leave such place and enter any other portion or area of the home. If she does so, her I’tikâf will break. The rules applicable to men relating to moving from the place of I’tikâf are also applicable to women. For those needs and necessities in relation to which it is permissible for men to leave the masjid, it is similarly permissi­ble for women to leave the place ofI’tikâf  for such needs and necessities. (not Janazah). For those works in relation to which it is permissible for men to leave themasjid, it is similarly permissible for women to leave the place of I’tikâf for such works. Accordingly, women should, prior to commencing I’tikâf, thoroughly acquaint themselves with the rules relating to I’tikâf Masnun which have been discussed earlier under the heading “I’tikâf Masnun”.  

During the I’tikâf, women may, whilst sitting in their place of I’tikâf indulge in sewing and knitting. They can advise and guide others in regard to matters affecting the home. However, they cannot leave the place demarcated for I’tikâf. Moreover, it is preferable if they concentrate during the I’tikâf on Dhikr, TasbihatTilawat al‑Qur’an and ‘Ibadat. They should not spend too much time on other matters.