بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah The most Gracious The Most Merciful
And (remember) when We made the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety. And take you (people) the Maqâm (place) of Ibrâhim (Abraham) [or the stone on which Ibrâhim (Abraham) stood while he was building the Ka’bah] as a place of prayer (for some of your prayers, e.g. two Rak’at after the Tawâf of the Ka’bah at Makkah), and We commanded Ibrâhim (Abraham) and Ismâ’il (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I’tikâf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer). (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:125)
Narrated `Aisha: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Saum (the fasts). They are Lîbas [i.e. body cover, or screen, or Sakan, (i.e. you enjoy the pleasure of living with her – as in Verse 7:189) Tafsir At-Tabarî], for you and you are the same for them. Allâh knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned to you (accepted your repentance) and forgave you. So now have sexual relations with them and seek that which Allâh has ordained for you (offspring), and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your Saum (fast) till the nightfall. And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I’tikâf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques. These are the limits (set) by Allâh, so approach them not. Thus does Allâh make clear His Ayât (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, revelations, verses, laws, legal and illegal things, Allâh’s set limits, orders, etc.) to mankind that they may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious – see V.2:2). (Al-Baqarah 2:187)
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: The sunnah for one who is observing i’tikaf (in a mosque) is not to visit a patient, or to attend a funeral, or touch or embrace one’s wife, or go out for anything but necessary purposes. There is no i’tikaf without fasting, and there is no i’tikaf except in a congregational mosque. (Sunan Abi Dawood)
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: I’tikaaf is Sunnah for both men and women, because it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to observe i’tikaaf during Ramadaan, and finally he settled on i’tikaaf during the last ten days, and some of his wives used to observe i’tikaaf with him, then they observed i’tikaaf after he died. The place for i’tikaaf is the mosque in which prayers in congregation are performed.
‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) used to engage himself in I’tikaf (seclusion for prayers) in the mosque during the last ten nights of Ramadan till he passed away; thereafter, his wives followed this practice after him. [Al- Bukhari and Muslim].
A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that when the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) decided to observe i’tikaf, he prayed in the morning and then went to the place of his i’tikaf, and he commanded that a tent should be pitched for him, and it was pitched. He (once) decided to observe i’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. Zainab (the wife of the Holy Prophet) commanded that a tent should be pitched for her. It was pitched accordingly. And some other wives of Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) commanded that tents should be pitched for them too. And they were pitched. When the Messenger of Allah (may peace he upon him) offered the morning prayer, he looked and found (so many) tents. Thereupon he said: What is this virtue that these (ladies) have decided to acquire? He commanded his tent to be struck and abandoned i’tikaf in the month of Ramadan and postponed it to the first ten days of Shawwal.’
It is prescribed to observe i’tikaaf in a mosque in which prayers in congregation are held. If the mu’takif is one of those for whom Jumu’ah is obligatory and the period of his i’tikaaf will include a Friday, it is better for him to stay in a mosque where Jumu’ah prayer is observed.
It is not a condition for him or her to be fasting. The Sunnah is for the mu’takif not to visit any sick person during his i’tikaaf, or to accept any invitation, attend to his family’s needs, attend any funeral or go to work outside the mosque, because it was proven that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The Sunnah for the mu’takif is not to visit any sick person, or attend any funeral, or touch or be intimate with any woman, or go out for any reason except those which cannot be avoided.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2473. Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’