Fiqh of I'tikaaf
I'TIKAAF means to enter the Masjid with the Niyyat of residing therein. (MU'TAKIF: One who makes I'TIKAAF).
PURPOSE OF I'TIKAAF
The basic purpose of I`tikaaf is that the heart gets attached to Allah and, with it, one attains inner composure and serenity; and pre-occupation with the mundane things of life ceases, and focus on the eternal reality develops in its place. And such a state is reached in which all fears, hopes and apprehensions are superseded by love, devotion, and remembrance of Allah. Rasulullah P.B.U.H. always observed I`tikaaf and the Muslims have on a whole adhered to it. It has become a regular feature of the month of Ramadan and a confirmed practice with the devout and the faithful. Aishah (ra) relates that “Rasulullah P.B.U.H regularly observed I`tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan till the end of his life. After him, his wives maintained the tradition”. (Bukhari and Muslim)
REWARD OF I`TIKAF
Ibn Abbas narrates that Rasulullah P.B.U.H said:“Whoever walks to fulfil the needs of his brother, this is better for him than performing I`tikaf for ten years. And whoever performs I`tikaf for (just) one day, seeking Allah’s pleasure, Allah will place three trenches between him and the fire of Hell. Each trench is wider than the distance between the Two Wings (the expanse of the East and West).” (Tabarani & Bayhaqi)
Types of I'tikaaf
1. Wajib - To Vow or pledge to make I'TIKAAF (on a fixed day) for the sake of Allah upon the fulfilment of some wish or desire. The least duration of a WAJIB I'tikaaf is one day and night and it must be accompanied by a fast.
2. Sunnat-ul-Muakkeda - To reside the last ten nights and days of Ramadhaan in the Masjid is SUNNATUL MUAKKADAH ALAL KIFAYAH i.e. If a person from the community fulfils the obligation of I'tikaaf the entire community will be absolved of this sacred duty. Otherwise all the residents will be sinful of neglecting this SUNNAT of our NABI .
3. Mustahab or Nafil - This 1'tikaaf can be for any amount of time, even for a few minutes. No fast (Roza) is conditional for MUSTAHAB or NAFL I'tikaaf.
Conditions of I'tikaaf
Things permitted during I’tikaaf
One is permitted to leave the Musjid
LEAVING THE MUSJID without a valid Shar'ee reason will nullify the I'tikaaf.
Things to do during I'tikaaf
Niyyah for Nafl I’tikaaf I intend making I’tikaaf for Allah till the I remain in the Musjid
Source: The above has beem taken from the famous book Taleemul Haq