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Explanation of “There is no Itikaaf except in the three Masjid..” : Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Uthaymeen, Sheikh Muqbil & Sheikh Yahya


Answered by Shuyookh Ibn Baaz, Muqbil Bin Haadee, Uthaymeen  (Rahimahullaahu ta’ala) & Yahya Al-Hajooree (Hafidahullaah).

itikaf-in-three-masjidsShaykh Ibn Baaz (rahimahAllaah):

Question:
How sound is the hadeeth “There is no i’tikaaf except in the three mosques”? If the hadeeth is saheeh, does that in fact mean that i’tikaaf can only be observed in the three mosques?

Answer:

I’tikaaf is valid in mosques other than the three mosques, but it is essential that the mosque in which i’tikaaf is observed is a mosque in which prayers are held in congregation. If no prayers are held in congregation there, then it is not valid to observe i’tikaaf there. But if a person has vowed to observe i’tikaaf in one of the three mosques then he is obliged to do so in fulfillment of his vow.

Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn Baaz, 15/444.

**  ‘I’tikaaf: retiring to a Masjid for the remembrance of Allaah

Sheikh Muqbil bin Hadee (rahimahullaahu Ta’la):

Question:
What do you say about the hadeeth: ” There is no “I’tikaaf except in three masjids (Haram Mecca, Prophet’s Masjid, Masjid Aqsa)?

Answer:

Some of them (scholars) inform that this narration is from (the speech of) Huthafah. Others say that in the narration Huthafah said to Abdullah bin Mas’ood: “Verily people are praying (making ‘itikaf) between your house and such and such”, and what is apparent is they were in Kufaa. (trans. note: meaning, Huthafah was admonishing Abdullah bin Mas’ood for allowing people to make ‘itikaf in other then the previously mentioned three masjids) Ibn Mas’ood replied: “Maybe they are correct and you have made a mistake.” 

The scholars mention: If this hadeeth (that was mentioned by Huthafah) was reported from the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, Ibn Mas’ood would never have the audacity to reply: “Maybe they are correct and you are wrong” But if the hadeeth (of Huthafah) is in-fact correct, then the meaning of it is; There is no ‘itikaaf better then in these three masjids. Therefore, it would be considered a proof to show the merits and preference of ‘itikaf in these three masjids, just as a proof has come to show the merits and preference of prayer in these masjids. But (if this is not the case) then the verse pertaining to ‘itikaaf is general; {And do not have (sexual) relations with them while you are in ‘itikaaf} surah al Baqarah:187, and there has not come a proof to make it specific for three masjids. (Another thing that places doubt in the authenticity of the hadeeth) is the Idterab (confusion) in it. One narration is reported by way of Huthafah ascribing it to the Messenger – صلى الله عليه وسلم, but yet another time it is mentioned to be from the speech of Huthafah himself. Another thing is the action of the Muslims (salaf). I do know that some brothers (scholars) have written books in this matter (supporting that ‘i’tikaaf is only in the three masjids), but we do not make specific and narrow what Allah has made wide and vast.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah):

Question:
What is the ruling on i’tikaaf in the three mosques: al-Masjid al-Haraam (in Makkah), al-Masjid al-Nabawi (in Madeenah) and al-Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem).

Answer:

I’tikaaf in mosques other than the three mosques – al-Masjid al-Haraam (in Makkah), al-Masjid al-Nabawi (in Madeenah) and al-Masjid al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem) – is prescribed at the appropriate time, and is not limited to the three mosques. It may be observed in those mosques or in others. This is the view of the imams of the Muslims and the imams of the madhhabs that are followed, such as Imam Ahmad, Maalik, al-Shaafa’i, Abu Haneefah and others – may Allaah have mercy on them – because of the words of Allaah:

“And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in I‘tikaaf (i.e. confining oneself in a mosque for prayers and invocations leaving the worldly activities) in the mosques. These are the limits (set) by Allaah, so approach them not. Thus does Allaah make clear His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, revelations, verses, laws, legal and illegal things, Allaah’s set limits, orders, etc.) to mankind that they may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious).
[al-Baqarah 2:187]
And because the word masaajid (mosques) is general in meaning and includes all mosques throughout the world. This sentence appears at the end of the verses on fasting, the ruling of which applies to the whole ummah in all regions. So it is addressed to all those to whom the ruling on fasting is addressed. Hence these rulings end with the words:
“These are the limits (set) by Allaah, so approach them not. Thus does Allaah make clear His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, revelations, verses, laws, legal and illegal things, Allaah’s set limits, orders, etc.) to mankind that they may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious).”
[al-Baqarah 2:187]

It is extremely unlikely that Allaah would address the ummah with words that only include a very few of them.

With regard to the hadeeth of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan (may Allaah be pleased with him): “There is no i’tikaaf except in the three mosques,” even if we assume that this hadeeth is free from faults, it is referring to the most perfect of i’tikaaf, i.e., that which is observed in the three mosques, because of their honoured status and superiority over others. This usage occurs frequently, where the negative is a statement that something is incomplete, not a denial of its validity. For example the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no prayer in the presence of food,” etc. Undoubtedly the basic principle with regard to negative statements is to negate or deny, but if there is evidence to the contrary then that evidence should be followed, as in the hadeeth of Hudhayfah. This is if we assume that it is free of faults. And Allaah knows best.

Fataawa al-Siyaam (p. 493).

Shaykh Abu Abdur-Rahmaan Yahya Bin ‘Alee Al-Hajooree (hafidahullaah):

Question:
Is ‘itikaaf specific for the three Masjid’s, or is it general for all of the Masjids? And how is the condition of the hadeeth of Hudhaifah that has witin it specification (of these three Masjids)?

Answer:

As for it being affirmed, then yes, the Hadeeth of Hudhaifah is affirmed, however they (the people of knowledge) understood it to mean ‘more complete: “there is no ‘Itikaaf except within the three Masjids”, they said (the people of knowledge): there is no ‘Itikaaf more perfect and complete, for the majority of the people of knowledge are on the opinion that ‘Itikaaf if for all of the Masjids. Al-Imaam Al-Bukhaari said – may Allah have mercy upon him: Chapter: ‘Itikaaf is in all of the Masjids, and the statement of Allah glorified and exalted be He:

وَأَنْتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ
(while you are in I’tikâf in the mosques)
[Al-Baqarah: 187]

Sheikh Ibn Baaz’s advice at the Advent of Ramadhan


ramadan-ibn bazThis is what is obligatory upon all the Muslims and their rulers. It is an obligation upon the rulers of the Muslims, the scholars and the general folk…

Question: Noble scholar, what is your advice to Muslims as we prepare to receive this virtuous month?

 Answer: My advice to all the Muslims is to have Taqwaa (fear) of Allaah the Majestic, to receive this great month of theirs with a truthful Tawbah from all sins, to gain understanding of their religion, and study the rulings of fasting and the night prayer due to the saying of the Prophetصلّى اللَّهُ عليه وسلّم:

“Whoever Allaah wants good for, he grants him understanding in the religion.”

Also due to the saying of the Prophet صلّى اللَّهُ عليه وسلّم:
“When the month of Ramadhan arrives, the gates of Jannah are opened and the gates of the Fire are shut, and the Shayateen are chained up.”

Also the saying of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم:

“On the first night of Ramadhan the gates of Jahannam are shut, the gates of Jannah are opened, and the Shayateen are chained up, and a caller calls out:

O seeker of good! Proceed! And O seeker of evil! Refrain!

Allaah frees people from the Fire in Ramadhan, and this happens every night.”

He صلى الله عليه وسلم used to say to his companions,

“The month of Ramadhan has come upon you, a blessed month it is, Allaah bestows His Mercy upon you, absolves sins and responds to Du’a. So show Allaah goodness from yourselves, for indeed the wretched one is the one who is deprived of the mercy of Allaah.”

“Show Allaah goodness from yourselves.” means to hasten to do good deeds, to hurry to practice obedience and stay away from sin.

He صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
“Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhan with Eemaan and hoping for a reward from Allaah, then all his past sins will be forgiven.
And whoever stands for the Night Prayer during Ramadhan with Eemaan, hoping for a reward from Allaah, his past sins will be forgiven.

And whoever stands in Prayer on Laylat-ul-Qadr (the Night of Decree) with Eemaan and hoping for a reward from Allaah, all his past sins will be forgiven.”

He صلى الله عليه وسلم also said:

“Allaah سُبحانه وتعالى said:

“Every deed the child of Adam practices is for him, it has the reward multiplied tenfold to seven hundred fold except fasting, for indeed it (fasting) is for Me and I reward for it, The fasting person leaves his desires, food and drink for My Sake. The fasting person will experience joy on two occasions; one, when he breaks his fast, and the other when he meets his Lord. Indeed the smell of the breath of a fasting person is more pleasant to Allaah than the smell of musk.”

He صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
“When one of you is fasting, he should neither speak with obscene language nor raise his voice. And if anyone insults him or tries to fight with him, he should say: I am fasting.”

He سُبحانه وتعالى says:
“Whoever does not forsake false speech and acting according to it, then Allaah is not in need of him to forsake his food and drink.”

So my advice to all Muslims is to have Taqwah of Allaah and to preserve their fast and protect it from all sorts of sins. It is legislated for them to be keen on practicing good deeds and compete in the various forms of obedience such as charity, reciting the Qur’aan, Tasbeeh, Tahleel, Tamheed and Istighfaar, because this is the month of the Qu’raan:

“The month of Ramadhan in which the Qur’aan was revealed.”

So it is legislated for the believer to strive and put effort in reading the Qur’aan, it is recommended for both men and women to read the Qur’aan in abundance, day and night. Every letter gains a reward, and the reward is multiplied tenfold as has been transmitted by the Prophet, all the while being cautious of sins, and while enjoining truth, advising one another, ordering the good and prohibiting evil.

It is a magnificent month, the reward for good in it is multiplied, and sins in it are magnified. So a believer must strive to carry out what Allaah has obligated and stay clear of what He has prohibited. His care and attention in Ramadhan must be more and greater [than other months].

Likewise it is legislated for the Muslim to strive to perform all sorts of good deeds, such as giving in charity, visiting the sick, following the Janazah, enjoining the ties of kinship, abundantly reading the Qur’aan, Dhikr, Du’a, Tasbeeh, Tahleel, Istighfar and other forms of good acts, hoping for Allaah’s reward and fearing His punishment.

We ask Allaah to grant the Muslims success in practicing all that He loves and is pleased with, and we ask Him to allow us and the rest of the Muslims to fast and stand in prayer with Eemaan and optimism for His reward. We ask Allaah to grant us and all the Muslims, everywhere, understanding in His Deen, and to be steadfast upon it, and to be safe from what causes His anger and punishment. I also ask Him to grant success to all the rulers of the Muslims and their leaders, that He guides them and rectifies their affairs, and that He grants them success in ruling with Allaah’s legislation in all their affairs; in their worship, in their undertakings, in all their affairs. We ask Allaah to grant them success in this, acting upon His, سُبحانه وتعالى’s saying.

{And so judge (you O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) among them by what Allaah has revealed.}

Allaah سُبحانه وتعالى says:
“{Do they then seek the judgment of (the days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgment than Allaah for a people who have firm Faith.}”

Allaah سُبحانه وتعالى also says:
“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم   judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.”

Allaah سُبحانه وتعالى states:
“O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger, and those of you who are in authority. And if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allaah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.”

Allaah سُبحانه وتعالى also says:
{Say: “Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger.}

Allaah سُبحانه وتعالى says:
{And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it).}

This is what is obligatory upon all the Muslims and their rulers. It is an obligation upon the rulers of the Muslims, the scholars and the general folk, that they have Taqwaa of Allaah and submit to His legislation, and that they rule with Allaah’s legislation amongst themselves, because it is the legislation that achieves reform, guidance and a good ending. With it, the pleasure of Allaah is attained, with it, the truth that was legislated by Allaah is attained, and with it oppression is avoided.

We ask Allaah to grant everyone success, guidance, pure intentions and righteous actions, and may the salaat and the Salaam be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.

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