Book of I'tikaf

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 36. Book of I'tikaf

I: I'tikaf during the last ten nights and i'tikaf being done in all mosques

going by the words of Allah Almighty, "But do not have sexual intercourse with them while you are in retreat in the mosques. These are Allah's limits, so do not go near them. Thus does Allah make His Signs clear to people so that perhaps they will be godfearing." (2:187)

1921. It is related that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do i'tikaf during the last ten nights of Ramadan."

1922. It is related from 'A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did i'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan up until the time he died. Then his wives did i'tikaf after him.

1923. It is related from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do i'tikaf during the middle ten days of Ramadan. One year he was doing i'tikaf and then, when it came to the night of the twenty-first, which was the night before the morning when he would have normally have finished his i'tikaf, he said, "Those who have done i'tikaf with me should continue doing i'tikaf for the last ten days. I was shown this night in a dream and then I was made to forget it. I saw myself prostating the following morning in water and mud. Look for it during the last ten days, and look for it on the odd nights.' It rained that night and the mosque, which had a roof, leaked. With my own eyes I saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with the marks of water and mud on his forehead on the morning of the twenty-first." (Muwatta, Book 19, 9)

II: A menstruating woman can comb the hair of someone doing i'tikaf

1924. It is related that 'A'isha said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to lean his head in to me while he was in i'tikaf in the mosque and I would comb it while I was menstruating."

III: Someone doing i'tikaf may not enter his house except for a specific need

1925. It is related that 'A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to put his head in to me while he was in the mosque and I would comb it. He used to not to enter the house while he was doing i'tikaf except to relieve himself." (Muwatta, Book 19, 1)

IV: Ghusl for someone doing i'tikaf

1926. It is related that 'A'isha said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to embrace me while I was menstruating. He would put his head out of the mosque while he was doing i'tikaf and I would wash it while I was menstruating."

V: I'tikaf at night

1927. It is related from Ibn 'Umar that 'Umar asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "I vowed during the time of Jahiliyya to do i'tikaf for one night in the Masjid al-Haram." He said, "Fulfil your vow."

VI: The i'tikaf of women

1928. It is related that 'A'isha said, ""The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do i'tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan and I used to set up a tent for him and he would pray Subh and then go into it." Hafsa asked 'A'isha for permission to set up a tent and she gave her permission and she set up a tent. When Zaynab bint Jahsh saw it, she pitched another tent. In the morning the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw the tents and said, "What is this?" He was informed and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Do you think that they intended piety by these tents?" So he left i'tikaf that month and then did i'tikaf for ten days in Shawwal.

VII: Tents in the mosque

1929. It is related from 'A'isha that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wanted to do i'tikaf. When he went to the place where he wanted to do i'tikaf there were some tents: the tent of 'A'isha, the tent of Hafsa, and the tent of Zaynab. He said, "Do you say they intended piety by them?" Then he left without doing i'tikaf, doing i'tikaf for ten days in Shawwal instead. (Muwatta, Book 19, 7)

VIII: Can someone doing i'tikaf go to the door of the mosque if he needs to?

1930. It is related from 'Ali ibn al-Husayn that Safiyya, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, reported to him that she went to visit the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he was doing i'tikaf in the mosque during the last ten days of Ramadan. She spoke to him for a while and then got up to return home. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, got up and accompanied her to the door of the mosque near the door of Umm Salama. Two men of the Ansar passed by and greeted the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,  who said to them, '"Don't be hasty! It is Safiyya bint Huyayy." They said, "Glory be to Allah, Messenger of Allah." (What he said) having affected them strongly. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Shaytan gets to everywhere in a man that his blood gets to and I feared that he might cast something into your hearts."

IX: I'tikaf and the Prophet coming out on the morning of the twentieth

1931. It is related that Abu Salama ibn 'Abdu'r-Rahman said, "I asked Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, 'Did you hear the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, mention the Night of Power?' He said, 'Yes, we did i'tikaf with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, during the middle ten days of Ramadan. He said, 'We came out on the morning of the twentieth.' He said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, addressed us on the morning of the twentieth, saying. "I was shown the Night of Power and then I forgot it, so search for it during the last ten on the odd nights. I saw myself prostrating in water and mud. Those who have been doing i'tikaf with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, should continue." The people returned to the mosque and we did not see the slightest whisp of a cloud in the sky.' He said, 'A cloud came and it rained. The iqama for the prayer was given and I saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prostrating in the water and mud so that I could see the mud on his forehead and nose.'"

X: A woman with false menstruation doing i'tikaf

1932. It is related that 'A'isha said, "One of the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did i'tikaf along with him when she had false menstruation. She would see red and yellow and sometimes we put a dish underneath her while she was praying."

XI: A woman visiting her husband during his i'tikaf

1933. It is related from 'Ali ibn al-Husayn that Safiyya, the wife of the Prophet, reported...

It is related from 'Ali ibn al-Husayn, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in the mosque with his wives who then left. He said to Safiyya bint Huyayy, 'Don't rush, I will go with you. Her room was in the house of Usama. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went out with her and two men of the Ansar met them. They looked at the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and then passed by. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to them, 'Come on! It is Safiyya bint Huyayy.' They said, 'Glory be to Allah, Messenger of Allah!' He said, 'Shaytan flows through man like his blood. I feared that he would cast something into your hearts.'"

XII: Is it permitted for someone doing i'tikaf to defend himself?

1934. It is related from 'Ali ibn al-Husayn that Safiyya reported...

It is related from 'Ali ibn al-Husayn £ that Safiyya came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he was in i'tikaf. When she returned, he walked with her and a man of the Ansar saw him. When he saw him, he called to him and said, "Come on, it is Safiyya." Perhaps Sufyan said, "This is Safiyya." "Shaytan flows through man like his blood." I asked Sufyan, "Did Safiyya come to him at night?" He answerted, "Could it have been anything other than at night?"

XIII: Someone leaving his i'tikaf in the morning

1935. It is related from Abu Salama from Abu Sa'id...

It is related that Abu Sa'id said, "We did i'tikaf with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, during the middle ten days. On the morning of the twentieth, we moved our belongings and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came to us and said, 'Those who have done i'tikaf with me should return to their place of i'tikaf. I had a vision this night and I saw myself prostrating in water and mud.'" He said that when he had returned to his place of i'tikaf, "The sky opened and it poured with rain. By the One who sent him with the truth, it poured from the end of that day. The mosque had a trellis and I saw the marks of mud and water all over his nose."

XIV: I'tikaf in Shawwal

1936. It is related that 'A'isha said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do i'tikaf every Ramadan. He would enter the place where he did i'tikaf after praying the morning prayer." He said, "'A'isha asked him for permission to do i'tikaf and he gave her permission. She pitched a tent there. Hafsa heard about it and also pitched a tent. Zaynab heard about it and pitched another tent. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, finished in the morning, he saw four tents and said, "What is this?" He was told about them and said, "What made them do this? Is it piety? Remove them so that I do not see them." They were removed. He did not do i'tikaf that Ramadan, doing i'tikaf in the last ten days of Shawwal instead.

XV: Someone thinking that i'tikaf can be done without fasting

1937. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab said, "Messenger of Allah, I vowed in the time of Jahiliyya to do i'tikaf for one night in the Masjid al-Haram." The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to him, "Fulfil your vow." So he did i'tikaf for one night.

XVI: When someone made a vow during the time of Jahiliyya to do i'tikaf and then became Muslim

1938. It is related from Ibn 'Umar that 'Umar vowed during the time of Jahiliyya to do i'tikaf in the Masjid al-Haram." (He said, "I think that he said 'one night.') The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to him, "Fulfil your vow."

XVII: I'tikaf during the middle ten nights of Ramadan

1939. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to do i'tikaf for ten days every Ramadan. The year in which he died he did i'tikaf for twenty days."

XVIII: Someone intending to do i'tikaf and then deciding to leave it

1940. It is related from 'A'isha that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, mentioned that he would do i'tikaf for the last ten nights of Ramadan. 'A'isha asked his permission to do it as well and he gave it to her. Hafsa asked 'A'isha to ask permission for her and she did so. When Zaynab bint Jahsh saw that, she ordered that a tent be set up for her. 'Amra said, "When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had prayed, he went to his tent and saw the other tents. He said, 'What is this?' They said. 'The tents of 'A'isha, Hafsa and Zaynab.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Do they intend piety by this? I am not going to do i'tikaf.' He went back. When the fast was over, he did i'tikaf for ten days in Shawwal."

XIX: Someone doing i'tikaf can put his head into his house to be washed

1941. It is related from 'A'isha that she used to comb the hair of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while she was menstruating and he was in i'tikaf in the mosque. He would lean his head in to her while she was in her room.