Conditions of I’tikaf
Question: What are the conditions of I’tikaf, and is fasting one of them? Is it permissible for the person in I’tikaf to visit a sick person, answer an invitation, fulfill some of his family’s needs, or go to work?
A: I’tikaf is prescribed in a mosque in which the congregational prayer is established.
If the person in I’tikaf is from those upon whom Friday prayers are obligatory and the length of his I’tikaf includes a Friday, then it is better to be in a mosque in which Friday prayers are established.
Fasting is not (a) necessary (part of it). The sunnah is that one does NOT:
- Visit the sick during his I’tikaf
- Accept invitations
- Fulfill the needs of his family
- Witness the funeral (by following it) and
- Go to work outside the mosque.
- Touch a woman (his wife), nor have intercourse with her
- Leave to fulfill a need except what is necessary
This is due to what has been authenticated on the authority of ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said: “The sunnah for he who is in I’tikaf is that he does not visit the sick nor witness a funeral, nor touch a woman (his wife), nor have intercourse with her nor leave to fulfill a need except that which is necessary.”
– The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatawa, Fatawa Ramadan – Volume 2, Page 862, Fatwa No.848