Praise be to Allaah.
I‘tikaaf means staying in the mosque to worship Allah, and
it is something that is done only in the mosques and is not valid if done
Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: I‘tikaaf
observed anywhere but in a mosque is not valid if the person observing
i‘tikaaf is a man. We do not know of any difference among the scholars
concerning this. The basic principle with regard to that is the verse in
which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “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” [al-Baqarah 2:187]. So it is something that
is only for the mosques. If it were valid to preserve i‘tikaaf anywhere
else, the prohibition on intimacy would not have been mentioned only with
regard to the mosques, because intimacy is forbidden during i‘tikaaf in all
cases. According to the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah, she said: “The Messenger of
Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to put his head into
(my room) when he was in the mosque, and I would comb his hair. He did not
enter the house except for some need when he was observing i‘tikaaf.”
Al-Daaraqutni narrated with his isnaad from al-Zuhri, from ‘Urwah and Sa‘eed
ibn al-Musayyab from ‘Aa’ishah in a hadeeth: The Sunnah is for the person
who is observing i‘tikaaf not to go out except for necessary purposes, and
there is no i‘tikaaf except in a mosque where prayers are offered in
congregation (jamaa ‘ah).
End quote from al-Mughni, 3/65
With regard to this separate place, it does not seem that it
is part of the mosque that is built for prayer, so it is not valid to
observe i‘tikaaf there. The guideline in defining what is included in the
rooms of the mosque and what is not included is as follows:
If the room that is connected
to the mosque was built to be a mosque, i.e., the builder of the mosque
intended it to be part of the mosque in which prayers are offered, then it
comes under the same rulings as the mosque and it is permissible to observe
i‘tikaaf there, and women who are menstruating or bleeding following
childbirth (nifaas) should not be allowed to enter it.
But if it was intended to be extra space for teaching or
holding meetings, or as accommodation for the imam or muezzin, and not as a
place for prayer, it does not come under the same rulings as a mosque in
If the intention of the one who
built the mosque is not known, then the basic principle is that whatever is
within the wall of the mosque and has a door into the mosque comes under the
same rulings as the mosque.
The courtyard that is enclosed
within the wall of the mosque comes under the same rulings as the mosque.
Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The walls of
the mosque, both inside and outside, comes under the same rulings as the
mosque and it is obligatory to protect them and respect their sanctity. The
same applies to its roof, the well inside it, and its courtyard. Al-Shaafa‘i
and his companions (may Allah have mercy on them) stated that it is valid to
observe i‘tikaaf in its courtyard or on its roof, and the prayer of one who
follows an imam who is inside the mosque in these places is valid.
End quote from al-Majmoo‘, 2/207
It says in Mataalib Ooli al-Nuha (2/234): Also
included as part of the mosque are its roof and its enclosed courtyard.
Al-Qaadi said: If it has a wall and gate, then they are like the mosque,
because they are part of it and belong to it. If it is not enclosed, then it
does not come under the same rulings as the mosque. Also part of the mosque
is the minaret, if it or its door is in the mosque; but if it or its gate is
outside, even if they are close, and the person who is observing i‘tikaaf
goes out to them to give the adhaan, his i‘tikaaf is rendered invalid. End
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was
asked: With regard to a room that is inside the mosque, is it permissible to
observe i‘tikaaf in it? He replied: That depends. The one who studies the
words of the fuqaha’ in general will say that it is part of the mosque,
because they say that the room that is enclosed by the walls of the mosque
are part of the mosque. But the one who thinks that it was not built as part
of the mosque and that it is a room for the imam, will regard it as being
like the houses of the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him),
because the houses of the Messenger had doors that opened into the mosque,
but despite that they were houses and the Messenger (blessings and peace of
Allah be upon him) did not go out to them [i.e., during i‘tikaaf]. So to be
on the safe side, the one who is observing i‘tikaaf should not do it there.
But the custom of people nowadays is that rooms that are in the mosques are
regarded as being part of the mosque.
End quote from Sharh al-Kaafi
See also the answer to questions no.
34499 for more information.
And Allah knows best.