Chapter on ‘Itikaaf (Spiritual Retreat)
It is very recommended during the last ten days of Ramadhan to make itikaaf. Imam Shafi considered the 21st to the be night of lait al-qard. The next night he preferred was the 23rd night.
‘Itikaaf must take place in a masjid which is a land that has been endowed for the sake of prayer. It is even better to do it in a masjid where the Friday prayer is prayed.
It is not valid for a women to do ‘itikaaf in a portion of her house where she prays. However, this is allowed according to the old school of Imam Shafi. Mainly, because it is not a masjid.
There are three masjids which have a special rank: Mecca, Madinah, and Aqsa. If you make a vow to make spiritual retreat in one of them, then you must fulfill it by making it in that masjid. Spiritual retreat in Masjid al-Haraam can take place of the other two. If you make a vow to make a retreat in Aqsa, then you could fulfill your vow by making seclusion in Masjid al-Haraam.
The soundest opinion in terms of length of the ‘itikaaf is that such that you are in the masjid even for a moment then it suffices. In the Hanafi madhab, the shortest time is 24 hours and this is a weak opinion in our school. As before, the best is to make a vow about making ‘itikaaf just before entering the masjid and then making the intention for the retreat.
Intercourse invalidates the retreat. One would have to exit the masjid if that happened. Ejaculation that occurs after intimate contact would also invalidate the seclusion. However, a wet dream would not.
One does not need to be fasting in order to make seclusion. One can make it only for the night will not fasting.
Intention is a condition for retreat. If you make an intention for retreat without making a time distinction in it, the you will need to renew your intention if you leave the masjid. If you make intention for a time period, and during that period you have to leave to fulfill a need then you will not need to renew your intention otherwise you will need to .
One must be Muslim, free from menstruation, and be same.
If one passes out on ‘itikaaf, that time one is passed out goes towards the the time of ‘itiakaaf.
If you make a vow to make continuous retreat for 10 days,
If you make a vow to make continuous retreat except if I needed to leave for a need, then it is valid.
Retreat is not invalidated by taking out some of one’s limbs or leaving for a needing, these do not invalidate.
Leaving if you are sick does not invalidate. The same is true when one’s menstruation sets in.
Leaving forgetfully does not harm. Leaving to make the call to prayer in a place for it to be heard by other does not harm.
Suhuur would suffice in the place of an intention if one is aware of what one is doing and why one is doing it and not just aimlessly eating.
Sh. said At-taqreerat contains more rulings compared to bigger books even like the text of Minhaaj al-Talibeen.
There are opinions in other madhabs to make retreat in other than a masjid but such an opinion does not exist in the Shafi madhab.
Sh has memorized the poem Al-Zubad but says you can also memorize Nihayat At-Tadreeb which is easier for the memory. However the former has more commentaries.