Can a person observe the Sunnah I’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadaan without keeping a fast due to sickness or illness? 

Q. Is it possible for a person to sit for Sunnah I’tikaaf in the last ten days of Ramadaan without fasting because of sickness or illness or old age? If not, what happens in the case of a person breaking the fast whilst in I’tikaaf?

A. One of the conditions for a Sunnah I’tikaaf to be valid in the last ten days of Ramaadan is to observe the I’tikaaf whilst observing the fasts of Ramadaan. Hence, if a person is not fasting due to sickness, illness or old age, such a person will not be able to observe a valid Sunnah I’tikaaf. However, such a person may make an intention to observe Nafl I’tikaaf. (Al-Barur-Raa’iq 2/323)

Furthermore, if a person was observing the fast whilst observing a Sunnah I’tikaaf, and he broke the fast due to sickness, illness etc. or in the case of a female, her I’tikaaf broke due to experiencing Haidh (menstruation), Qadha of the day in which the fast was broken will be necessary i.e. Qadha of one day only of observing I’tikaaf whilst observing the fast will be necessary. The Qadha of one day etc. of I’tikaaf may be observed during or after the Month of Ramaadan (Ahsanul Fataawa 4/511/522)

Note: In the case of the Sunnah I’tikaaf being nullified, even though a person may not be able to continue with a valid Sunnah I’tikaaf, a person may continue observing I’tikaaf with a Nafl intention of I’tikaaf.

Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa