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Translation of Malik's Muwatta, Book 19:

I'tikaf in Ramadan

Courtesy of ISL Software, makers of the WinAlim Islamic database.


Section: Mention of Iltikaf


Book 19, Number 19.1.1:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Urwa ibn az-Zubayr from Amra bint Abd ar-Rahman that A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,"When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did itikaf he would bring his head near to me and I would comb it. He would only go into the house to relieve himself."


Book 19, Number 19.1.2:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Amra bint Abd ar-Rahman that when A'isha was doing itikaf she would only ask after sick people if she was walking and not if she was standing still.

Malik said, "A person doing itikaf should not carry out obligations of his, nor leave the mosque for them, nor should he help anyone. He should only leave the mosque to relieve himself. If he were able to go out to do things for people, visiting the sick, praying over the dead and following funeral processions would be the things with the most claim on his coming out."

Malik said, "A person doing itikaf is not doing itikaf until he avoids what some one doing itikaf should avoid, namely, visiting the sick, praying over the dead, and entering houses, except to relieve himself."


Book 19, Number 19.1.3:

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had asked Ibn Shihab whether someone doing itikaf could go into a house to relieve himself, and he said, "Yes, there is no harm in that."

Malik said, "The situation that we are all agreed upon here is that there is no disapproval of anyone doing itikaf in a mosque where jumua is held. The only reason I see for disapproving of doing itikaf in a mosque where jumua is not held is that the man doing itikaf would have to leave the mosque where he was doing itikaf in order to go to jumua, or else not go there at all. If, however, he is doing itikaf in a mosque where jumua is not held, and he does not have to go to jumua in any other mosque, then I see no harm in him doing itikaf there, because Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, says, 'While you are doing itikaf in mosques,' and refers to all mosques in general, without specifying any particular kind."

Malik continued, "Accordingly, it is permissiblefor a man to do itikaf in a mosque where jumua is not held if he does not have to leave it to go to a mosque where jumua is held."

Malik said, "A person doing itikaf should spend the night only in the mosque where he is doing itikaf, except if his tent is in one of the courtyards of the mosque. I have never heard that someone doing itikaf can put up a shelter anywhere except in the mosque itself or in one of the courtyards of the mosque.

Part of what shows that he must spend the night in the mosque is the saying of A'isha, 'When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was doing itikaf, he would only go into the house to relieve himself.' Nor should he do itikaf on the roof of the mosque or in the minaret."

Malik said, "The person who is going to do itikaf should enter the place where he wishes to do itikaf before the sun sets on the night when he wishes to begin his itikaf, so that he is ready to begin the itikaf at the beginning of the night when he is going to start his itikaf. A person doing itikaf should be occupied with his itikaf, and not turn his attention to other things which might occupy him, such as trading or whatever. There is no harm, however, if some one doing itikaf tells some one to do something for him regarding his estate, or the affairs of his family, or tells someone to sell some property of his, or something else that does not occupy him directly. There is no harm in him arranging for someone else to do that for him if it is a simple matter."

Malik said, "I have never heard any of the people of knowledge mentioning any modification as far as how to do itikaf is concerned. Itikaf is an act of ibada like the prayer, fasting, the hajj, and such like acts, whether they are obligatory or voluntary. Anyone who begins doing any of these acts should do them according to what has come down in the sunna. He should not start doing anything in them that the muslims have not done, whether it is a modification that he imposes on others, or one that he begins doing himself. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, practised itikaf, and the muslims know what the sunna of itikaf is."

Malik said, "Itikaf and jiwar are the same, and Itikaf is the same for a village-dweller as it is for a nomad."

Section: Things Without Which Itikaf is Not Possible


Book 19, Number 19.2.4:

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that al-Qasim ibn Muhammad and Nafi, the mawla of Abdullah ibn Umar said, "You cannot do itikaf unless you are fasting, because of what Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, says in His Book, 'And eat and drink until the white thread becomes clear to you from the black thread of dawn, then complete the fast until night-time, and do not have intercourse with them while you are doing itikaf in mosques,' (Sura 2 ayat 187). Allah only mentions itikaf together with fasting."

Malik said, "That is what we go by here."

Section: Leaving Itikaf for the Id


Book 19, Number 19.3.5:

Yahya related to me that Ziyad ibn Abd ar-Rahman said, "Malik related to us from Sumayy, the mawla of Abu Bakr ibn Abd ar-Rahman, that Abu Bakr ibn Abd ar-Rahman was once doing itikaf and he would go out to relieve himself in a closed room under a roofed passage in Khalid ibn Walid's house. Otherwise he did not leave his place of itikaf until he went to pray at the Id with the muslims."


Book 19, Number 19.3.6:

Yahya related to me from Ziyad from Malik that he saw some of the people of knowledge who, when they did itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan, would not go back to their families until they had attended the Id al-Fitr with everybody.

Ziyad said that Malik said, "I heard this from the people of excellence who have passed away, and it is what I like most out of what I have heard about the matter."

Section: Making Up for the Itikaf (Not Done)


Book 19, Number 19.4.7:

Ziyad related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Amra bint Abd ar-Rahman from A'isha that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, once wanted to do itikaf, and when he went off to the place where he wanted to do itikaf he found some tents there, which were A'isha's tent, Hafsa's tent, and Zaynab's tent. When he saw them he asked about them and someone told him that they were the tents of A'isha, Hafsa and Zaynab. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Do you think them devout?" Then he left, and did not do itikaf until Shawwal, when he then did it for ten days.


Book 19, Number 19.4.8:

Malik was asked whether someone who went into a mosque to do itikaf for the last ten days of Ramadan and stayed there for a day or two but then became ill and left the mosque, had to do itikaf for the number of days that were left from the ten, or not, and if he did have to do so, then what month should he do it in, and he replied, "He should make up whatever he has to do of the itikaf when he recovers, whether in Ramadan or otherwise. I have heard that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, once wanted to do itikaf in Ramadan, but then came back without having done so, and then when Ramadan had gone, he did itikaf for ten days in Shawwal.

Some one who does itikaf voluntarily in Ramadan and some one who has to do itikaf are in the same position regarding what is halal for them and what is haram. I have not heard that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ever did itikaf other than voluntarily."

Malik said, that if a woman did itikaf and then menstruated during her itikaf, she went back to her house, and, when she was pure again she returned to the mosque, at whatever time it was that she became pure. She then continued her itikaf from where she left off. This was the same situation as with a woman who had to fast two consecutive months, and who menstruated and then became pure. She then continued the fast from where she had left off and did not delay doing so.


Book 19, Number 19.4.9:

Ziyad related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to go to relieve himself in houses.

Malik said, "Someone doing itikaf should not leave for his parents' funeral or for anything else."

Section: Marriage in Itikaf


Book 19, Number 19.5.9a:

Malik said, "There is no harm in someone who is in itikaf entering into a marriage contract as long as there is no physical relationship. A woman in itikaf may also be betrothed as long as there is no physical relationship. What is haram for someone in itikaf in relation to his womenfolk during the day is haram for him during the night."

Yahya said that Ziyad said that Malik said, "It is not halal for a man to have intercourse with his wife while he is in itikaf, nor for him to take pleasure in her by kissing her, or whatever. However, I have not heard anyone disapproving of a man, or woman, in itikaf getting married as long as there is no physical relationship. Marriage is not disapproved of for someone fasting."

"There is, however, a distinction between the marriage of someone in itikaf and that of someone who is muhrim, in that some one who is muhrim can eat, drink, visit the sick and attend funerals, but cannot put on perfume, whilst a man or woman in itikaf can put on oil and perfume and groom their hair, but cannot attend funerals or pray over the dead or visit the sick. Thus their situations with regard to marriage are different."

"This is the sunna as it has come down to us regarding marriage for those who are muhrim, doing itikaf, or fasting.

Section: Laylat al-Qadr


Book 19, Number 19.6.10:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yazid ibn Abdullah ibn al-Hadi from Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Harith at-Taymi from Abu Salama ibn Abd ar-Rahman that Abu Said al-Khudri said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do itikaf in the middle ten days of Ramadan. One year he was doing itikaf and then, when it came to the night of the twenty-first, which was the night before the morning when he would normally have finished his itikaf, he said, 'Whoever has done i'tikaf with me should continue doing itikaf for the last ten days. I saw a certain night and then I was made to forget it. I saw myself prostrating the following morning in water and clay. Look for it in the last ten days, and look for it on the odd days.' "

Abu Said continued, "The sky poured with rain that night and the mosque had a roof (made of palm fronds) and the mosque was soaked. With my own eyes I saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, leave with traces of water and clay on his forehead and nose, in the morning after the night of the twenty-first."


Book 19, Number 19.6.11:

Ziyad related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa from his father that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Search for Laylat al-Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadan."


Book 19, Number 19.6.12:

Ziyad related to me from Malik from Abdullah ibn Dinar from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said. "Search for Laylat al-Qadr in the last seven days."


Book 19, Number 19.6.13:

Ziyad related to me from Malik from Abu'n Nadr, the mawla of Umar ibn Ubaydullah, that Abdullah ibn Unays al-Juhani said to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "Messenger of Allah, I am a man whose house is a long way away. Tell me one night so that I can stop my journey for it." The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Stop on the twenty-third night of Ramadan."


Book 19, Number 19.6.14:

Ziyad related to me from Malik from Humayd at-Tawil that 'Anas ibn Malik said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out to us in Ramadan and said, 'I was shown a certain night in Ramadan and then two men abused each other and it was taken away. Look for it on the ninth and the seventh and the fifth.' "


Book 19, Number 19.6.15:

Ziyad related to me from Malik from Nafi from Ibn 'Umar that some of the companions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, were shown Laylat al-Qadr in their sleep during the last seven days. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "I see that your visions agree about the last seven days, so whoever is searching for it should do so in the last seven days."


Book 19, Number 19.6.16:

Ziyad related to me from Malik that he had heard a man he trusted of the people of knowledge say, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was shown the lifespans of the people (who had gone) before him, or what Allah willed of that, and it was as if the lives of the people of his community had become too short for them to be able to do as many good actions as others before them had been able to do with their long lives, so Allah gave him Laylat al-Qadr, which is better than a thousand months."


Book 19, Number 19.6.17:

Ziyad related to me from Malik that he had heard that Said ibn al-Musayyab used to say, "Whoever is present at isha on Laylat al-Qadr has taken his portion from it."

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