Is It Permissible to Observe Itikaf at Home to Avoid Coronavirus?

Itikaf is to seclude yourself inside a mosque and focus on worshipping Allah without normal distractions of daily life. It is a commendable act to be performed in any mosque and is especially recommended during the last ten nights of Ramadan since that was the regular established practice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

In order for Itikaf to be valid, a person must be fasting, avoid intimacy and intercourse, and not leave the mosque without a good reason such as going to the toilet, acquiring food, or helping someone with an emergency.

Itikaf is normally only valid for men inside a mosque. However, given the fact that most mosques are closed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it would be encouraged for men to seclude themselves (khalwah) in the designated prayer area of their home for as much time as possible. If they had the intention and the means to perform Itikaf in the mosque, but are unable to due to it being closed, it is hoped that from the mercy of Allah they will get the same reward. Since their seclusion will not be technically considered an Itikaf, the normal rules will not apply.

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