Law of I’tikaf for Women in Islam – Is It Allowed?
I’tikaf is an activity where someone stays in the mosque for doing a worship, muhasabah and other things to get closer to Allah Ta’ala. Actually, I’tikaf can be done anytime. But it is more important prayers on the night of Lailatul qadar, dua the last 10 days of Ramadan.
In a saheeh hadith, it is explained that the Prophet Muhammad saw said
: “I have done I’tikaf on the first 10 days of Ramadan. I wanted to find the night of Lailatul Qadar at that night. Then I did I’tikaf on the middle of the month, I came and there was saying to me that the Lailatul Qadar was in the last ten days. Anyone who wants to do I’tikaf among you, then do I’tikaf.” Then there were companions who did I’tikaf with him. (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
Abdullah bin Umar r.a said :
“Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam always did I’tikaf on the last ten days of Ramadan.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
According to Jumhur Ulama, the law of I’tikaf is sunnah muakkad or sunnah that is preferred. Because I’tikaf has been exampled by the Prophet. And as Muslims, we should make the Prophets as our role models.
“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (Q.S. Al-Ahzab : 21)
Law of I’tikaf for Women in Islam
According to the most Ulama, the law of I’tikaf for women in the mosque is sunnah. This is based on hadith that explained that the wife of the Prophet have done I’tikaf.
From ‘Aisyah r.a. that :
“The Prophet shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam always did I’tikaf on the last ten days of Ramadan until he died, then his wives do I’tikaf after his death.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
From ‘Aisyah r.a., she said :
“The Prophet shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam always did I’tikaf on the last ten days of Ramadan. I built a tent for him. Then he did Subuh prayer and came into that tent. Hafshah asked a permission to ‘Aisyah to build a tent, ‘Aisyah allowed her.
When Zainab bint Jahsy saw the Prophet shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam did I’tikaf in the tent, she asked to build a tent, then formed another tent.
When in Subh again, the Prophet shallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam saw many tents, then he asked, “What is this? He was informed and said, “What goodness do you want from this?” He left I’tikaf this month and he changed with I’tikaf on the ten days of Shawwal.” (Narrated by Bukhari)
Women may do I’tikaf in the mosque with three terms, they are :
- Get a permission from the husband
A woman that has married is a responsibility of her husband. For that, when she come out from the house, she should ask a permission from her husband.
From Abu Hurairah r.a., the Prophet Muhammad saw said :
“Not allowed for a woman fasting while her husband in the house except with his permission. And it is not allowed for her to ask a permission in her house except with his permission.” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)
Musthafa ar-Ruhaibani said :
“A wife is prohibited to come out without a permission of her husband, except an emergency reason. Such as buy foods, because there is no one who deliver foods for her.” (Mathalib Ulin Nuha)
See also : Muslims wife duties for her husband
2. In a state of purity (Not haidh or nifas)
There are differences of opinion about the law of haidh women do I’tikaf in the mosque. But the majority of Ulama forbid haidh woman to enter the mosque. Ulama from madhhab Hanafi and Maliki gave the absolute prohibition. Likewise, Ulama Syafi’i and Hambali said, a haidh woman should not stay in mosque except just passing by.
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That opinion is based on by hadith :
“Let haidh women go away from the mosque.” (Narrated by Bukhari number 324)
“I do not make halal the mosque for junub person and not for haidh women.” (Narrated by Abu Daud and Baihaqi)
“O you who have believed, do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying or in a state of janabah, except those passing through [a place of prayer], until you have washed [your whole body].” (Q.S. An-Nisa : 43)
“In the past, women did I’tikaf. If they were haidh, the Messenger of Allah saw ordered to leave the mosque.” (Ibn Qudamah in al-Mughni)
3. Be able to take care self-righteous
Th third term for women who want to do I’tikaf must be able to take care her honor. Do not let her intention of worship changed into a slander. For taking care self-righteous, women should be able to dress according to sharia, do not wear excessive jewelry and lowered the view.
“And not expose their adornment.” (Q.S. An-Nur : 31)
“And to wrap [a portion of] their head covers over their chests.” (Q.S. An-Nur : 31)
“And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance.” (Q.S. Al-Ahzab : 33)
See also : How to dress up for Muslim woman
The Opinion of Islam Theologian
These are some opinions of Ulama about the law Law of I’tikaf for Women on Ramadan.
- Madhhab Syafi’i
According to imam Syafi’i, the law of I’tikaf of women in the mosque is makruh. This is because a women who come out from the house at risk is seen by men and allow the occurrence of slander.
From Ummu Salamah r.a, the Messenger of Allah saw said : “The best mosque for women is inside their house.” (Narrated by Ahmad)
“The prayer of a woman in her home is more important than her prayer in the door of her home, and the prayer of a woman in a special room is more important than in other parts of her home.” (Narrated by Abu Dawud)
- Madhhab Hanafiyah
Ulama Hanafiyah argued that women were allowed I’tikaf in the mosque with the term, she must be accompanied by her husband.
- Ibn Hajar
According to Ibn Hajar, the law of I’tikaf for women in the mosque is allowed, but she must be able to cover her private and keep her view from men who are not her mahram.
“If a woman want to do I’tikaf in the mosque, then she has to cover herself (from men’s view). Required for a woman to stay in mosque as long as that place is not disturbing those who pray.” (Fath Al-Bari)
- Ibnul Mundzir
According to Ibnul Mundzir about I’tikaf for women in mosque is mubah, after she gets a permission from her husband. A wife must obey the decision of her husband, even if the wife has been sitting in the mosque and then she was told to go home, then the wife must obey.
In conclusion, a woman may do I’tikaf in the mosque as long as she gets a permission from her husband and she can take care her honor. I’tikaf must be attempted for worship to Allah swt. However, it is still more important for women to keep in their home.
Moreover, women as wives have a responsibility to their children and prepare the needs of husband. So, that woman must do her obligation first. Except, if she is free, she may do i’tikaf in mosque. However, the prayer of women at home is more important than in the mosque.
Thus the explanation about the law of I’tikaf for women in Islam. Hopefully, it will be useful for you. Thank you.