Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen on Attending Classes While in I’tikaaf (Seclusion in the Masjid)

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…

Some people may feel it is inappropriate to attend a class about Islaam while performing i’tikaaf (seclusion in the masjid), which is commonly done in the last ten nights of Ramadhaan.

Our shaykh, the great scholar, Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have Mercy on him) posed and answered the following question:

*ﻭﻫﻞ ﻳﻨﺎﻓﻲ ﺭﻭﺡ ﺍﻻ‌ﻋﺘﻜﺎﻑ ﺃﻥ ﻳﺸﺘﻐﻞ ﺍﻟﻤﻌﺘﻜﻒ ﻓﻲ ﻃﻠﺐ ﺍﻟﻌﻠﻢ؟*

 Does it go against the spirit of i’tikaaf to occupy oneself with seeking knowledge?

*ﺍﻟﺠﻮﺍﺏ: ﻻ‌ ﺷﻚ ﺃﻥ ﻃﻠﺐ ﺍﻟﻌﻠﻢ ﻣﻦ ﻃﺎﻋﺔ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ، ﻟﻜﻦ ﺍﻻ‌ﻋﺘﻜﺎﻑ ﻳﻜﻮﻥ ﻟﻠﻄﺎﻋﺎﺕ ﺍﻟﺨﺎﺻﺔ، ﻛﺎﻟﺼﻼ‌ﺓ، ﻭﺍﻟﺬﻛﺮ، ﻭﻗﺮﺍﺀﺓ ﺍﻟﻘﺮﺁﻥ، ﻭﻣﺎ ﺃﺷﺒﻪ ﺫﻟﻚ، ﻭﻻ‌ ﺑﺄﺱ ﺃﻥ ﻳَﺤﻀﺮ ﺍﻟﻤﻌﺘﻜﻒ ﺩﺭﺳﺎً ﺃﻭ ﺩﺭﺳﻴﻦ ﻓﻲ ﻳﻮﻡ ﺃﻭ ﻟﻴﻠﺔ؛ ﻷ‌ﻥ ﻫﺬﺍ ﻻ‌ ﻳﺆﺛﺮ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺍﻻ‌ﻋﺘﻜﺎﻑ، ﻟﻜﻦ ﻣﺠﺎﻟﺲ ﺍﻟﻌﻠﻢ ﺇﻥ ﺩﺍﻣﺖ، ﻭﺻﺎﺭ ﻳﻄﺎﻟﻊ ﺩﺭﻭﺳﻪ، ﻭﻳﺤﻀﺮ ﺍﻟﺠﻠﺴﺎﺕ ﺍﻟﻜﺜﻴﺮﺓ ﺍﻟﺘﻲ ﺗﺸﻐﻠﻪ ﻋﻦ ﺍﻟﻌﺒﺎﺩﺓ ﺍﻟﺨﺎﺻﺔ، ﻓﻬﺬﺍ ﻻ‌ ﺷﻚ ﺃﻥ ﻓﻲ ﺍﻋﺘﻜﺎﻓﻪ ﻧﻘﺼﺎً، ﻭﻻ‌ ﺃﻗﻮﻝ ﺇﻥ ﻫﺬﺍ ﻳﻨﺎﻓﻲ ﺍﻻ‌ﻋﺘﻜﺎﻑ.* 

The answer: No doubt that seeking knowledge is an act of obedience to Allaah. However, i’tikaaf has more to do with specific acts of obdedience, such as prayer, remembrance, recitation of Quran, etc. There is no problem if the one performing i’tikaaf attends a lesson or two during the day or night, as this does not affect the (validity of) i’tikaaf.

However, if the classes are continuous, and he begins reviewing (and focusing heavily on) his lessons, attending many sittings that distract him from his (more) personal acts of (private) worship, then no doubt, his i’tikaaf would be deficient. However, I do not hold that this invalidates his i’tikaaf.

Source: ash-Sharh al-Mumti’, his explanation of Zaad al-Mustaqni’ (6/501). [Arabic source online]

Translated by: Moosaa Richardson

5 thoughts on “Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen on Attending Classes While in I’tikaaf (Seclusion in the Masjid)

  1. السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته أستاذ

    How about the sermons that are held by some speakers in masājid during the last ten nights.

    There is speech of Sh Al Albani رحمه الله on talks between rak’aat but how about after the taraweeh is over?
    (A bit off topic)

    بارك الله فيك

    • وعليك السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

      Speaking (formally, like with a public address) before or after Taraaweeh is permissible, like speaking before or after any prayer, except before Jumu’ah when it is forbidden specifically. And Allaah knows best.

  2. Assalamu alaykum

    If a person who is in I’thikaaf or someone who stays in the masjid for seeking ilm goes outside to fulfill his worldly needs such as for food, purchasing etc., but he returns to it within a short period of time & he does this three or more times in a day, does everytime when he enters the masjid, he has to offer tahhiyathul masjid before sitting ?

    • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. The scholars say that a brief exit and return, with the intention to remain in the masjid, is allowed without being required to pray another 2 rak’ahs. See this small collection of fatwaas on the topic (in Arabic):

      However, remember the point of being in i’tikaaf is worship, so if he were to pray each time he entered (aside from the prohibited times of prayer), that would be better for his goal of i’tikaaf and more loyal to the letter of the order of the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace), when he said: (إذا دخل أحدكم المسجد فلا يجلس حتى يصلي ركعتين), which means: “Whenever one of you enters a masjid, let him not sit down until after praying two rak’ahs.” (Bukhaaree and Muslim) And Allaah knows best.

  3. Jazakallahu khayran for the clarification

    (aside from the prohibited times of prayer)
    Does tahiyyathul masjid also included in this prohibition ? If a person enters the masjid during this time, what should he do then ?

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