What is Itikaf? Law, Intentions and Best Time to Carry Out Iktikaf

What Is Iktikaf – Approaching the month of Ramadan like this, it would be better if we improve our good deeds so that we can get multiple rewards. Actually, these good practices can be carried out at any time, not necessarily in the month of Ramadan. However, these practices will be more important if they are carried out during the month of Ramadan, especially on the nights of the last ten days of Ramadan or during Lailatul Qadar.

One of the good practices that can be carried out during the month of Ramadan is I’tikaf. This I’tikaf is highly recommended and even often carried out by the Prophet Muhammad SAW in the mosque.

Then, what is I’tikaf? What is the law in Islam? Can I’tikaf worship be carried out at home, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic as it is today?

Well, so that Sinaumed’s can understand things about the I’tikaf. Let’s look at the following reviews!

Definition of I’tikaf

Etymologically, the word “I’tikaf” means ‘ to settle on something and to refrain from staying with Him ‘. Meanwhile, according to the understanding of the Shari’a meaning, “I’tikaf” means ‘ to remain silent in the jami mosque’ with the intention of worshiping Allah SWT ‘.

In this I’tikaf, we will sit “alone” with Allah SWT and always make dhikr by asking for His forgiveness and mercy. So, I’tikaf is not just being silent, but also while reciting dhikr or Asmaul Husna.

The virtue of this i’tikaf worship activity is very great, especially if it is done on the night of Lailatul Qadar. In a hadith, Rasulullah SAW once said that i’tikaf activities in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan are like i’tikaf with Him.

The hadith reads:

“Whoever wants to perform I’tikaf with me, then perform I’tikaf in the last ten nights. (Reported by Ibn Hibban)

Apart from that, the Quran also often teaches about this i’tikaf worship. One of the reasons is:

Which mean,

“ And We have commanded Ibrahim and Ismail: ‘Clean My house for those who thawad, who perform I’tikaf, who bow down’ and who prostrate. ‘” (Al-Baqarah: 125)



How is the Law of Implementing I’tikaf?

The scholars have agreed that this i’tikaf activity is sunnah. This is because Rasulullah SAW does it every year to get closer to Allah SWT and ask Him for a reward.

The law regarding i’tikaf worship is based on the words of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, namely,

Which mean,

“Indeed I did I’tikaf in the first ten days of Ramadan to seek the night of glory (Lailatul Qadar), then I did I’tikaf in the middle of the ten days of Ramadan, then Jibril came to me and announced that the night of glory was in the last ten days of Ramadan. Whoever wants to perform I’tikaf, let him perform I’tikaf (to look for that night). So the companions also performed I’tikaf with Him. ” (HR Muslim: 1167)

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However, the sunnah “status” in i’tikaf can change to be obligatory if previously there was someone who vowed to do i’tikaf. This is based on the words of the Prophet Muhammad SAW,

Which mean,

“Whoever vows to obey Allah, he is obliged to fulfill it. ” (Narrated by Bukhari: 6318)

What is the intention to carry out I’tikaf?

As with other worship, i’tikaf must also be started with the intention first. The prayer of intention for i’tikaf is as follows,

Nawaitu an a`takifa fi hadzal masjidil ma dumtu fih 

Which mean:

“I intend to do i’tikaf in the mosque as long as I am in it”

As for other prayer intentions that can also be used (quoted from the Book of Al-Majmu by Imam An-Nawawi),

Nawaitul i`tikafa fi hadzal masjidil lillahi ta`ala

Which mean:

“I intend to do i’tikaf in the mosque because of Allah SWT”



Where Can I’tikaf Be Done?

I’tikaf is recommended to be performed in any mosque, with a number of conditions in that mosque there are prayers in the congregation of men.

Why is there such a condition? Ibn Qudamah said that “ Congregational prayers are obligatory (for men). If a man who wants to perform i’tikaf does not stay in a mosque where congregational prayers are not enforced, two negative impacts can occur, namely,

  • leaving congregational prayers which are obligatory,
  • constantly leaving the place of i’tikaf even though like this could have been avoided. 

If something like this happens, then this is tantamount to not i’tikaf. Even though the purpose of i’tikaf is to stay in order to perform worship to Allah .

Is it permissible to carry out I’tikaf at home?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many worship activities were recommended to be carried out at home. In fact, many performed the Tarawih and Eid prayers last year at home to avoid the possibility of contracting the Covid-19 virus.

According to Nahdlatul Ulama, i’tikaf worship activities can be carried out at home, especially in a room set aside for prayer. Based on the views of Imam Abu Hanifah and the old opinion of Imam Syafi’i, it is permissible and valid for both men and women to perform i’tikaf in a room in the house that is devoted to prayer. (reported on https://baznas.go.id/ )

According to his view, “If sunnah prayers are the most important thing to do at home, then i’tikaf at home should be able to be done.”

Therefore, if Sinaumed’s wants to perform i’tikaf worship, it’s okay to do it at home, especially in a special room for prayer.

However, if Sinaumed’s wants to perform the i’tikaf worship at the mosque, don’t forget to always pay attention to the health protocol and keep your distance .




When is the appropriate time for I’tikaf?

This i’tikaf worship can be done at any time, starting from the time it starts and ends it.

However, it would be advisable to do it in the last ten days of Ramadan, namely during Lailatul Qadar. It was the best time.

In fact, there is an authentic hadith regarding the best time for the i’tikaf, namely,

“That the Prophet SAW always performed I’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan until Allah passed him away. Then His wives performed I’tikaf after His death.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim from Aisyah radhiyallahu ‘anha)

When someone performs I’tikaf in the month of Ramadan, the worship activities can be ended when the month of Ramadan ends, that is, when the sun sets on the night of ‘Eid.

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Can Women Perform I’tikaf?

Of course you can. As the Prophet Muhammad SAW who allowed his wife to do I’tikaf. Aisyah radhiyallahu ‘anha said:

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – يَعْتَكِفُ فِى كُلِّ رَمَضَانَ ، وَإِذَا صَلَّى الْغَدَاةَ دَخَلَ مَكَانَهُ الَّذِى اعْتَكَفَ فِيهِ – قَالَ – فَاسْتَأْذَنَتْهُ عَائِشَةُ

Which mean:

“Rasulullah SAW used to perform I’tikaf in the month of Ramadan. When finished from the morning prayer, he entered the special place of his i’tikaf. He (Yahya bin Sa’id) said: Then Aisyah radhiyallahu ‘anha asked permission to be able to do I’tikaf with Him, so He allowed it.”

Then, Aisyah radhiyallahu ‘anha also said that:

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – يَعْتَكِفُ فِى كُلِّ رَمَضَانَ ، وَإِذَا صَلَّى الْغَدَاةَ دَخَلَ مَكَانَهُ الَّذِى اعْتَكَفَ فِيهِ – قَالَ – فَاسْتَأْذَنَتْهُ عَائِشَةُ

Which mean:

“The Prophet Muhammad SAW performed I’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan until his death, then His wives also performed I’tikaf after His departure.”

So, based on this hadith it is clear that women are allowed to perform i’tikaf worship, especially in mosques, with the following conditions:

  1. Have asked the husband’s permission
  2. Do not cause slander (temptation for men)

So, women who want to carry out i’tikaf in the mosque are advised to completely cover their private parts completely and not need to use fragrances.



Things to Avoid When I’tikaf

I’tikaf is one of the acts of worship for Allah SWT, therefore we must keep ourselves busy doing dhikr or praying to Him for forgiveness. Well, here are some things to avoid when carrying out i’tikaf,

  • Joke with friends
  • Chatting about things that are not useful because it can disturb the concentration of other people who are carrying out i’tikaf
  • Being alone with the opposite sex
  • Sleep
  • Leaving the mosque without any urgent need

However, if a mu’takif (person who performs i’tikaf) has an urgent need, for example wanting to relieve himself, eat, drink, seek medical treatment, of course he may leave the place of i’tikaf.

Wisdom and Benefits of I’tikaf

I’tikaf worship activities certainly have many lessons and benefits for those who carry them out. Especially if it is done in the last ten days of Ramadan, according to the hadith that has been explained previously.

The wisdom of i’tikaf is to revive the sunnah of Rasulullah SAW and revive the heart of mu’takif by always carrying out obedience and worship to Allah SWT.

Meanwhile, the benefits of i’tikaf activities include:

  • Bringing peace, serenity, and light that illuminates the heart.
  • Bringing various kinds of goodness from Allah SWT.
  • To reflect on the past and think about things to do tomorrow.
  • Free from sins (if done on Lailatul Qadar)
  • Get mercy from Allah SWT.
  • Become a person who is loved by SWT.

Well, that’s an explanation of i’tikaf worship. Soon, the month of Ramadan will come. As good Muslims, let’s intend to carry out this i’tikaf worship so that our practices can be accepted by Allah SWT later in the last day…

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Shaykh Abdullah bin Abdur Rahman Al-Jibrin. Fiqh I’tikaf: The Law and Its Virtue . Al-Sofwa Foundation.