Conditions of I‘tikaaf

Question: What are the conditions of I‘tikaaf (seclusion for worship in a Masjid)? Is Sawm (Fasting) a condition of I‘tikaaf? Is it permissible for a Mu‘takif (one who observes I‘tikaaf) to visit a sick person, accept an invitation, tend to his family’s needs, attend a funeral, or go to work?

Answer: It is prescribed to observe I‘tikaaf in a Masjid (Mosque) in which congregational prayers are held. If the Mu‘takif is one of those for whom Jumu‘ah (Friday) Prayer is obligatory and the period of his I‘tikaaf will include a Friday, it is better for him to stay in a Masjid where Jumu‘ah Prayer is observed. It is not a condition for the Mu‘takif to be fasting. According to the Sunnah (acts, sayings or approvals of the Prophet), the Mu‘takif should not visit the sick during his I‘tikaaf, accept any invitation,tend to his family’s needs, attend any funeral, or go to work outside the Masjid, because it was authentically reported that `Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Sunnah for the Mu‘takif is not to visit a patient, attend a funeral, touch or be intimate with his wife, or go out for anything unless it is an absolute more here.

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