A few masa’il for women intending to sit itikaaf:
Ladies who are aaqil (sound mind), free from haydh (menstruation) and free from nifaas (post natal bleeding) can sit itikaaf, if they are married then husbands permission/consent is required, otherwise parents consent.
Women should perform itikaaf in a room of their home or a privatised area which is veiled from the rest of the household. It should be a clean are where designated salah and worship can be conducted. It can also be in the private residence of other mahram family members.
Women may sit itikaaf in a masjid but the strict condition is that the women’s area must be completely segregated from the mens area with separate access etc and where crossing paths of men & women is practically impossible- so as to avoid fitna. This is rare to find hence the home is the place for ladies to perform itikaaf.
Niyyah is necessary. Please remember niyyah must be done with focus and attention, not an adhoc intention of the future.
It is permissible for women to use medication to delay onset of menstruation until after itikaaf.
Four actions invalidate the itikaaf:
1) to leave the place of itikaaf without a shar’i or tab’i necessity. 2)Cohabitation
3)release of fluids due to kissing, cuddling etc or occurrence of menstruation.
4)breaking of your fast.
A lady may leave her place of itikaaf for a tab’i necessity: eg going to the toilet, performing wudu, arranging food/drink etc. leaving the place of itikaaf to do ghusl is permitted if ghusl has become wajib. If not and you leave to perform masnoon (sunnah) ghusl then this leaving of the place of itikaaf will invalidate the itikaaf. However exiting to do masnoon wudu is permissible. Ie wudu for nafl or sunnah worship (ie other than fard).
A shar’i reason to exit the place of itikaaf is for example wajib ghusl. For women there are not many other shar’i reasons.
It is permissible to speak for necessary reasons. Idle chit chat will invalidate the itikaaf. If you have children, speaking to your husband or them directly etc to check they are ok is fine.
Changing into clean fresh clothes is fine (some women have the notion they must wear the same clothes for 10 days!).
These are some of the essential masa’il in brief. Please ensure you understand the masa’il of itikaaf if you intend to perform.
Allah swt and His Rasool
صلي الله عليه وسلم know best.
By Shaykh Abu Yusha Yasin of The Suyuti Institute