Question: As salaamualaikum, can you please provide some guidelines for a woman intending to sit in I’tikaaf?
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
حامدًا وّمصليًا وّمسلمًا
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
We received your query regarding the rules of a female sitting in I’tikaaf. Our response is as follows:
Before we delve into the rules of I’tikaaf for a woman it is imperative that you understand the meaning of Masnoon I’tikaaf. The rules which apply to Masnoon I’tikaaf for a male in the Masjid will also apply to a female in the room which she has chosen to perform I’tikaaf in.
The I’tikaaf which is performed in the last ten days of Ramadhan is known as Masnoon I’tikaaf. The time for this I’tikaaf commences upon completion of the 20th day of Ramadhan that is, with effect from the setting of the sun, and remains until the sighting of the Shawaal moon (Eid moon). In view of the fact this I’tikaaf commences from the 21st night of Ramadhan – and the night commencing from the setting of the sun – it is therefore necessary for the woman wishing to perform I’tikaaf enter the room in which she will be performing I’tikaaf on the 20th day such time before Maghrib so that the setting of the sun takes place whilst she is in the room.
Leaving the room on the grounds of Shar’ee necessity
By the term Shar’ee necessity, we mean those necessities on the basis of which the Shari’ah has permitted the person performing I’tikaaf to leave the boundary of I’tikaaf. The I’tikaaf is not rendered void if the woman so leaves by virtue of such necessity.
These necessities are as follows:
- The need to urinate or defecate, that is to attend to the call of nature
- The need for Ghusl of Janaabah when it is not possible to make Ghusl in the room.
- The need to make Wudhu when it is not possible to make Wudhu while in the room.
- The need to bring food and drink when another person is not available to do so.
- The need to move to another room in the event of leaking etc.
Apart from these needs, it is not permissible for a woman performing I’tikaaf to leave the boundary for any other purpose.
Rules pertaining to I’tikaaf of a woman:
- The virtues of I’tikaaf are not confined to men – women can also take advantage of it. However, women should not perform I’tikaaf in the Masjid. Their I’tikaaf is only possible in the house. The procedure is as follows:
Women should sit for I’tikaaf at that place in the house which has been set aside for Salaah and Ibaadah. If no such place has been previously set aside, then a place must be set aside prior to the commencement of the I’tikaaf and the I’tikaaf must accordingly be performed therein.
- If no specific place has been built or set aside in the house for Salaah and it is not possible for some reason to 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’tikaaf there.
- It is necessary for a married woman to obtain the consent of her husband for the purpose of performing I’tikaaf. It is not permissible for a woman to perform I’tikaaf without the permission of her husband. However, husbands should not without reason deprive their wives from performing I’tikaaf by refusing consent. On the contrary they should grant consent.
- If a woman has commenced I’tikaaf with the permission of her husband and thereafter he endeavors to prohibit or prevent her from completing the same then he cannot do so. If he succeeds in preventing then the woman is not obliged to complete the I’tikaaf.
- It is necessary for a woman to be free from menstruation and Nifaas in order to perform I’tikaaf i.e. she cannot perform I’tikaaf in the state of menstruation and Nifaas.
- Consequently, a woman should prior to the commencement of Masnoon I’tikaaf determine whether the date of her menstruation will conflict with the I’tikaaf i.e. occur while she is undergoing I’tikaaf. If the menstruation is expected to occur towards the end of the last ten days of Ramadhaan, then she must not perform Masnoon I’tikaaf. However she may perform Nafl I’tikaaf for the period until the arrival of her menstruation.
- If a woman has commenced I’tikaaf and thereafter menstruation commences during the duration of I’tikaaf then it is Waajib upon her to immediately abandon I’tikaaf as soon as her menstruation commences. In such a situation, it is Waajib upon her to make Qadha I’tikaaf of only the day on which she abandoned the I’tikaaf. The procedure of such Qadha is as follows:
After the woman becomes pure of menstruation, she keeps fast on any day and performs I’tikaaf. If the days remain in Ramadhaan then she may make Qadha in Ramadhaan in which case the fast of Ramadhaan will be sufficient. However, if Ramadhaan has terminated at the time of her becoming pure from menstruation then she must thereafter specifically keep fast on a particular day for the purpose of I’tikaaf and perform Qadha I’tikaaf for one day.
- The place within the home demarcated by a woman for the purpose of I’tikaaf will for the duration thereof fall within the ruling of the Masjid. It is not permissible for her to move from such place without a Shar’ee necessity. She cannot leave such place and enter any other portion or area of the home. If she does so, her I’tikaaf will break.
- The rules applicable to men regarding moving from the place of I’tikaaf are also applicable to women. Accordingly, women to should prior to commencing I’tikaaf thoroughly acquaint themselves with the rules relating to Masnoon I’tikaaf which have been discussed earlier.
- During the I’tikaaf, women may while sitting in their place of I’tikaaf indulge in sewing and knitting etc. They can advise and guide others in regard to matters affecting the home. However they cannot leave the place demarcated for I’tikaaf. Moreover it is preferable if they concentrate during the I’tikaaf on Dhikr ,Tasbeeh, Tilawah of the Noble Quraan and Ibaadah. They should not spend too much time on other matters.
We hope the above has shed light on the ruling pertaining to a female sitting in I’tikaaf. If you still have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
And Allaah Ta’ala knows best
20th Ramadhan 1441
14th May 2020
Checked and Approved by:
[Mufti] Muhammad Irshad Motara
 Rules of I’tiikaf – Mufti Taqi Hafidhahullah
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