Answered by Muftī Khālid Saifullāh Al-Raḥmānī
Translated and formatted into English by Yūsuf Badāt
What is the ruling for the one making iʿitikāf (spiritual retreat in the mosque) during Ramaḍān and leaving the masjid prayer hall area? Please provide some details!
In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Kind.
Jazāk Allāh Khayr/ Thank you for your question.
It is not appropriate to leave the place of iʿitikāf without a need or necessity. According to Imam Abū Ḥanīfah (may God have mercy on him), the iʿitikāf is spoilt or void by leaving, even for a moment, without a pressing need or necessity. According to Imam Abū Yūsuf and Imam Muḥammad (may God have mercy on them) the iʿitikāf will only be void if one leaves the masjid space for more than half a day. (See: Badāʿi Al-Ṣanāʿi).
The iʿitikāf in the blessed month of Ramaḍān is sunnah (a prophetic practice) and there is also a variance of opinion amongst jurists regarding it either being nafl (optional) or wājib (necessary) after commencing. Since nafl iʿitikāf has flexibility in leaving the masjid without necessity, the verdict of Imam Abū Yūsuf and Imam Muḥammad can be adhered to and practiced in the Ramaḍān iʿitikāf of the last ten days, when required. (See: Al-Durr Al-Mukhtār)
During the Ramaḍān iʿitikāf of the last ten days, one may leave the masjid prayer hall for a need or necessity. A necessity can refer to things such as the following:
- To relieve oneself for the call of nature
- To get food if there is no one that can deliver the food
- To attend congregational Friday [Jumuʿah] prayers if not offered in the masjid where one is performing iʿitikāf
When leaving for a necessity, one should limit the time spent outside the masjid prayer hall for only the duration required to fulfill such necessity. (See: Radd Al-Muḥtār)
It is not appropriate to leave the masjid, during the sunnah Ramaḍān iʿitikāf for the following reasons such as:
- Visiting the sick
- Funeral prayers
- To attend a lecture or workshop outside the masjid
(See: Radd Al-Muḥtār)
And Allāh Knows Best