Question: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah Shaykh. Can women intend i’itikaf in their home at their place of prayer before every prayer?
It is recommended for both men and ladies to have a personal prayer space (musalla) in their homes. This space does not need not be an entire room, but even a single spot where prayers and the like may be performed with consistency is sufficient.
Of course, the basis is that a man prays the prescribed prayers in congregation at the local mosque. When this is unreasonably difficult or a person has a genuine excuse to stay home, such as illness, he can pray in congregation with a member of his family.
With respect to ladies, they may also intend a spiritual retreat (i‘tikaf) each time they enter their prayer space and they shall, God-willing, get the reward of pure worship by merely remaining in that place, even without further activity. As for men, they may only intend a spiritual retreat in the mosque.
Generally, it is praiseworthy to make an intention for a spiritual retreat whenever one enters a mosque — applicable to both men and ladies — because its minimum duration is just a single moment, and the reward of worship whilst in a spiritual retreat is far greater.
And Allah knows best.
قال ابن عابدين في ردّ المحتار على الدرّ المختار ما نصّه: «(قوله في مسجد بيتها) وهو المعد لصلاتها الذي يندب لها ولكل أحد اتخاذه كما في البزازية نهر ومقتضاه أنه يندب للرجل أيضا أن يخصص موضعا من بيته لصلاته النافلة أما الفريضة والاعتكاف فهو في المسجد كما لا يخفى» اهــ
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