1. Itekaf: can it be performed for one day? what time it should start and what time to finish.
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One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Dear Brother in Islam,
As salamu alaikum.
I shall be grateful if you please answer following questions:
1. Itekaf: can it be performed for one day? what time it should start and what time to finish
2. If I do say only faraj prayers and skip sunnah prayer, shall I commit any sin
3. In the middle of prayer, if I have doubt whether I have completed three raakat or four rakaat what should I do
My allah bless you.
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Itikaaf for one day
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Q-1: Itekaf: can it be performed for one day? what time it should start and what time to finish
The literal meaning of the Arabic term Itikaaf would mean to be steadfast or stick with concentration on one particular thing. When the term itikaaf is used in the Islamic context, it would mean to seclude oneself for a period of time with the sole intention to remember and worship Allah Subhanah.
The Prophet (saws) would perform itikaaf for ten days every Ramadan. In the year that he (saws) died, he (saws) performed it for twenty days.
Related by Bukhari, Abu Dawud, and Ibn-Majah.
It was the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws) to perform the itikaaf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadan, and in the year he (saws) died, it is reported that he (saws) performed the itikaaf for twenty days.
The absolute majority of the scholars and jurists in Islam are of the opinion that although it is best to follow the Sunnah and perform the itikaaf for at least ten days, they hold it absolutely permissible for the believers to perform the itikaaf for any period one wishes or intends, even for a day or a night, or a part of a day or a night.
Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 3.150
Topic: The beginning and ending of itikaaf
The voluntary itikaaf does not have any specific time period. Whenever a person enters the mosque and makes the intention of becoming closer to Allah by staying there, he will be performing itikaaf until he leaves.
Q-2: If I do say only faraj prayers and skip sunnah prayer, shall I commit any sin
Please allow us to clarify the difference between Fard, Sunnah and Nafl prayers:
Fard prayers: These are the five obligatory prayers at their appointed times of the day. If one prays them, he will earn a huge reward from Allah Subhanah; and if one does not pray them, there will be a severe accounting and punishment.
Nafl prayers: These are the voluntary or extra prayers. If one prays them, he will earn a huge reward from Allah Subhanah; and if one does not pray them, there is no sin.
Sunnah prayers: These are the Nafl or voluntary prayers which were prayed by the Messenger of Allah (saws), and thus they become his (saws) Sunnah for us. If one prays them, he will earn a huge reward from Allah Subhanah; and if one does not pray them, there is no sin. The most that can be said of one who does not pray the Sunnah prayers is that he lost a great opportunity to earn huge rewards from Allah Subhanah.
Q-3: In the middle of prayer, if I have doubt whether I have completed three raakat or four rakaat what should I do
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.505 Narrated by Abu Huraira
The Prophet (saws) said, "When the call for the prayer (adhaan) is pronounced, the Shaytaan takes to his heels, passing wind with noise. When the call for the prayer is finished, he comes back. And when the Iqama is pronounced, he again takes to his heels, and after its completion, he returns again to interfere between the (praying) person and his heart, saying to him, 'Remember this or that thing,' till the person forgets whether he has offered three or four Rakahs: so if one forgets whether he has prayed three or four Rakat, he should perform two prostrations of Sahoo (i.e. forgetfulness)."
Abdurrahman ibn 'Auf reported that he heard the Prophet (saws) say: "If one of you has some doubt during his salah and he does not know if he prayed one rakah or two, he should take it to have been just one. If he does not know if he prayed two rakahs or three, he should take it to have been just two. If he does not know if he prayed three rakah or four, he should take it to have been just three. [In all such cases] at the end of his prayer, while sitting, he should make two prostrations (sajdah-sahoo) before the taslim."
Related by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmidhi.
If one doubts that one has offered three or four rakahs, one should take the lesser of the two counts (ie. three rakahs), offer the fourth rakah in the prayer, and just before one makes the tasleem to signal the end of prayer, one should perform the two prostrations of sahoo or forgetfulness.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,