(1) I’tikaf of Nathr is an I’tikaf undertaken as a result of a vow made to Allah Ta’ala.
(2) The validity of Nathr I’tikaf requires the verbal expression of the Niyyat or intention. It is, therefore, essential to verbally say, for example:
“I am undertaking (or making) I’tikaf for Allah Ta’ala for three days”,,
or any other similar statement in which it is declared that I’tikaf has been undertaken or is presently being undertaken. The expression of an intention should not relate to the future, e.g. “It is my intention to perform I’tikaf”, etc.
For the purpose of Nathr I’tikaf only a niyyat in the mind/heart is not sufficient.
(3) Saum (fasting) is a condition for the validity of Nathr I’tikaf. Nathr I’tikaf without fasting is not valid even if one vows to observe I’tikaf without fasting.
(4) There are two types of Nathr I’tikaf: Nathr Muayyan and Nathr Ghair Muayyan. Nathr Muayyan I’tikaf is an I’tikaf, the observance of which, one vowed to keep on specific days, e.g. on the 13th, 14th and 15th of Muharram. If one failed to observe the I’tikaf on the particular days stipulated in the niyyat, the I’tikaf has to be discharged at another time, i.e. qadha will have to be made of the I’tikaf.
Nathr Ghair Muayyan I’tikaf is an I’tikaf, the observance of which is not pledged for any specific day/s. one merely vows to observe I’tikaf for two days (for example). Such an I’tikaf may be executed at any time of one’s choice.
(5) If in the niyyat the number of days is expressed in the plural, e.g. ‘I shall observe I’tikaf of two days (three or four days etc.), and no specific meaning was given to the word ‘days’, then the word ‘day’ will mean 24 hours. Thus, I’tikaf of the days as well as the nights will be obligatory.
When expressing the niyyat, if the intention is to observe I’tikaf only during the day and not during the night, only the days will become wajib.
If it is specified in the niyyat that I’tikaf of only the nights will be observed, then such I’tikaf is not obligatory.
(6) Similarly, if in the niyyat the term ‘nights’ was used, e.g. ‘I have made obligatory on me an I’tikaf of three nights’., and by the term 1 nights’ no particular meaning was intended nor specified, then I’tikaf of both the night and day will be Wajib.
(7) If the vow was for an I’tikaf of one day only, then It will mean the day commencing from Subah-Sadiq until sunset. However, if the Intention was a 24 hour period, then ‘one day’ will mean from one sunset to another sunset, i.e. 24 hours – night and day.
(8) If the Intention is to observe I’tikaf of only one day (i.e. minus the night), one should enter the Musjid just prior to Subah-sadiq and leave at any time after sunset.
(9) If the intention is to observe I’tikaf for 24 hours or for several days with nights included, one should enter the Musjid before sunset and leave at any time after sunset of the last day of the I’tikaf.
(10) When Nathr (vow) is made to observe I’tikaf for several days (i.e. days including nights – 24 hour period), it will be wajib to execute the days of the I’tikaf consecutively – one after the other without interruption. However, if at the time of the niyyat it is specified that the I’tikaf will be interspersed, then it will be permissible to spread the number of days of the Nathr I’tikaf over a period. It will then not be Wajib to observe the I’tikaf in consecutive order of days.
(11) In a Nathr I’tikaf in which the nights have not been included in the niyyat, it will be permissible to intersperse the days of the I’tikaf. Consecutive order in this case is not iv7ijib.
(12) A Nathr Muayyan I’tikaf (in which a specific month or particular days have been specified for the I’tikaf may be executed even before the specified period.
(13) If it is expressed in the vow that the Nathr I’tikaf will be undertaken in Musjidul Haram, it will be permissible to observe it in any Musjid.
(14) Nathr I’tikaf may be discharged even with the Saum of Ramadhan. Thus, if a vow was taken to observe I’tikaf during Ramadhan (i.e. other than the I’tikaf of the last 10 days), then such I’tikaf will be valid and the fasting of Ramadhan will suffice for the I’tikaf.
(15) Nathr I’tikaf will be valid with any type of Wajib fasting even if the Saum is qadha or Kaffarah fasting. Thus, if one is keeping Qadha fasts, one may observe a Nathr I’tikaf on such days.
(16) Nathr I’tikaf will not be valid with Nafl fasting. Thus if one intends Nathr I’tikaf after having commenced a Nafl Saum, the Nathr I’tikaf will not be valid.
(17) The minimum period for a wajib I’tikaf is one day, i.e. from Subah Sadiq to sunset.