Is there any age criterion for a female to do I’itikaaf. As I want to do I’itikaaf but I was told not to do before marriage. And what is the best time of a year to do I’itikaaf.
Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
Thank you for your question.
I have not come across a reference regarding a restriction of age or marriage for the validity of a woman’s I’etikaf. Once a woman reaches the age of puberty, I’etikaf would be permissible for her.
Ramadan would be the best time of year for I’etikaf.
It is worthy to note that according to the Hanafi school, it is preferred for women to do I’itikaf in the masjid of their homes (at the designated prayer space or room in one’s home). It is permissible, however considered makruh tanzihi (mildly disliked) in the Hanafi school for women to perform I’itikaaf in the masjid. (See Dur Al Mukhtaar and Badai Al Sanai)
The references for the Hanafi position are narrations similar to the following:
Umm Salama (r) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “The best mosque for a woman is the inner part of her home.” (Musnad Ahmad & Tabrani)
The masjid of her home takes the verdict of a masjid. (Badai Al Sanai)
The Maliki, Shafie and Hanbali schools deem I’itikaf at home invalid. (See Al Sharh Al Saghir, Al Majmoo, Al Mughni, Al Fiqh Al Islami Wa Adillatuhu & Fiqh Ala Madahib Al Arba’ah)
Ibn Masood (r) said, “I’itikaf is only valid in a masjid where congregation takes place” (Tabrani)
“… while you are staying in mosques for I‘itikaf (Qur’an 2:187)
It should be noted that if women are performing I’itikaf in the masjid, proper arrangements for curtains, seclusion and modesty are to be undertaken. (See Al Mughni)
And Allah knows best.
Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
Hadith of the Day Imam
Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah Institute