Answered by: Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
With the likelihood of Masjids being closed throughout Ramadan due to COVID-19 if a person wanted to do i’tikaf at home, would he get the same reward as doing it in the Masjid?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
There are three conditions for the Itikaf to be considered valid. They are:
- The Itikaf is done is such a Masjid where the five daily prayers with the congregation take place.
- The intention is made to stay in the Masjid.
- To be free from major impurities such as janabah, menstruation blood and nifaas (post-natal bleeding). (Ilmul Fiqh p.46 v.3)
With regards to your question, ideally, the Itikaf should be done in a Sharee Masjid where the five daily prayers are being performed. However, during the current lockdown if a man was to perform Itikaf at home in a particular room which he has designated for the prayers, then there is scope for it to be allowed and InshAllah he will receive the reward as if he had done the Itikaf in a Masjid.
Mufti Abdur Rahim Lajpuri (RA) has said that it is permissible to perform itikaf in a Musallah where most of the prayers are held in the congregation and InshAllah one will be rewarded for his action by Allah (SWA). (Fatawa Rahimiyah p.209 v.5)
Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi (RA) has written that the Salah being performed in congregation is not a condition in that particular Masjid or Musallah where the Itikaf is being performed. (Ahsanul Fatawa p.507 v.4)
In the current climate, due to the necessity, the homes can be considered as a Musallah, therefore, allowing the men to observe the Itikaf at home.
Allah (SWA) in the Holy Quran instructed the Banu Israeel to make their homes into a place of worship when Firawn had prohibited them to hold prayers in their temples.
We revealed to Musa (AS) and his brother: “Build for your people houses to dwell in Egypt, and make your houses a Qiblah (places of worship) and establish the prayer and give glad tidings to the believers.” (Surah Yunus v.87)
However, if a person does decide to do Itikaf in a designated area at home the rules of Itikaf will not be strictly applied. It will be more like an optional Itikaf. In other words, it will be permissible for him to leave his designated room to go to the kitchen or dining room and eat etc… (Masail Itikaf p.42)
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham