Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 3, Zakaat and Fasting, Fiqh 3.149C.

Section : The opinion of the jurists concerning the mosques in which the i’tikaf is to be performed.

There is a difference of opinion among the jurists concerning what mosques are acceptable for i’tikaf. According to Abu Hanifah, Ahmad, Ishaq, and Abu Thaur, i’tikaf is valid in any mosque in which the five prayers are held and which has a congregation. This is based on the hadith of the Prophet: “Every mosque that has a caller to prayer and an imam is acceptable for i’tikaf.” This is related by ad-Daraqutni, but the hadith is mursal and weak and cannot be used as a proof.

Malik, ash-Shafi, and Dawud say that it is acceptable in any mosque, as there is no proof that restricts it to any particular mosques. The Shaf’iyyah say it is better to perform i’tikaf in a congregational mosque, as the Prophet, upon whom be peace, performed i’tikaf in such a mosque, and because the nwnber of those who attend the prayers in such a mosque is greater. If the period of i’tikaf includes the time for the Friday prayer, then one must perform it in the congregational mosque in order not to miss the Friday prayer.

The person making i’tikaf may make the call to prayer if the place from whence the call is made is either the door of the mosque or its interior courtyard. He may also go to the roof of the mosque, as all of that is considered part of the mosque. If the place for the call to prayer is outside of the mosque, and the mu’takif makes the call, he will void his i’tikaf. The exterior courtyard is considered part of the mosque according to the Hanafiyyah and Shaf’iyyah and one narration from Ahmad. According to Malik and another narration, it is not part of the mosque and the person making i’tikaf should not go there.

Most scholars say that it is not correct for a woman to make i’tikaf in the mosque in her house (that is, the special place of her house where she performs her prayers) because the mosque in her house usually does not fall in the category of mosques and can be sold. There is no difference of opinion on this point. The wives of the Prophet always performed their i’tikaf in the Prophet’s mosque.