I’tikaaf [The Spiritual Retreat] and its Types

Hadrat Sayyidah ‘Aishah Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anha reported that the Holy Prophet Peace and Blessings be Upon Him used to engage in I’tikaaf. i.e. private devotions in the mosque during the last ten nights of Ramadan till he met his Lord. [Sahih Bukhari, Vol 1, Page 271 – Sahih Muslim, Vol 1, Page 371]

Hadrat Anas Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anhu reported that the Holy Prophet Peace and Blessings be Upon Him used to engage in I’tikaaf in the mosque in the last ten days of Ramadan. But, one year he omitted the I’tikaaf so he engaged in I’tikaf during twenty nights the following year. [Sunan Abi Dawood, Vol 1, Page 334]

Important Notes:

1. It is sunnat-e-Mu’akkadah to perform I’itikaf in the mosque in the last ten days of the month of Ramadan, as stated by Hadrat Sheikh ‘Abd al-Haq “Muhaddith-e-Dehlwi”:

According to the Hanafi madhhab, I’itikaf is Sunnat-e-Mu’akkadah as the Holy Prophet always used to perform it till he passed away. [Ashi’ah al-Lam’at Vol. 2 Pg. 118]

2. There are 3 types of I’itikaf:

a) Wajib – if one makes a “Minnat” (vow) of I’itikaf uttering the words of vow. Mere intention will not make I’itikaf wajib. For example, one says, “If my child becomes cured from his illness then I shall perform I’itikaf for three days.” Then to perform I’itikaf for three days with fast is wajib.

b) Sunnat-e-Mu’akkadah – that one should enter the Masjid on the 20th of Ramadhan before sunset, with the intention of I’itikaf and to stay there till the end of Ramadhan i.e. leave the mosque after the Maghrib prayer on the 30th of Ramadan or if the moon for Eid was sighted on the 29th then to leave after the Maghrib prayer of that day. This I’itikaf is “sunnat-e-Kifayah” meaning that if I’itikaf was performed by even one person in a town then the religious duty shal be fulfilled on behalf of everyone. Otherwise, all shall be accountable for neglecting it.

There are many virtues and excellences for such an I’itikaf. Baihaqi has reported on the authority of Hadrat Imam Husain that the Messenger of Allah has stated, “whosoever performs I’itikaf for ten days in the month of Ramadan, it is as though he has performed two ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) and two Hajj (greater pilgrimage).”

c) MustaHab or Sunnat-e-Mu’akkadah – I’itikaf other than the two types mentioned above are “Mustahab” and “Sunnat-e-Ghair Mu’akkadah” [Fatawa-e-‘Alamgiri, Vol 1, Page 197] Read the rest of this entry »


1. It is related by Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) observed I’tikaaf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadaan. In the year he passed away, he observed it for twenty days. (Bukhari)
2. Those who observe (I ‘tikaaf) are prevented from all sins and they obtain reward as if they are rendering all good deeds. (Mishkaat)
3. He who observes the ten days of I’tikaaf during Ramadaan will obtain the reward of two Hajj and two Umrah. (Bayhaqi)

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