Assalamualaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatooh,
In Ramadhan many youngsters are ready to go in Jamaat in the last 10 days of the month, but they are being told by certain Ulama that it is more important for them to sit in I’tikaaf, i.e. they are being told both expressly & impliedly that the most important Amal of the time in the last 10 days of Ramadhan is I’tikaaf.
This advice of I’tikaaf being the most important Amal of the time is given despite the fact that the Masjids in question already have several people, sometimes up to 50 or 60 in I’tikaaf. In other words the Sunnat-e-Muakhiddah ala Kifayah obligation has already been fulfilled.
Many elders & scholars involved in the effort of Dawat & Tabligh, based on these advices of the Ulama, sit in I’tikaaf, which leaves a considerable shortfall of sufficiently qualified & responsible elders to run youngsters’ Jamats in Ramadhan. The youngsters then go out and their well being is not adequately catered for and their tarbiyah is not done.
It is not always feasible to tell them to spend 10 days after Ramadhan as this is the season when their hearts are soft and they are willing to spend time in Jamat.
Furthermore, whilst a very small percentage of the population perform the noble act of I’tikaaf, Mufti Saheb will no doubt be acutely aware that the majority of the Ummah do not perform Salah & some are even on the border of kufr based on this fact alone & other instances of Istikhfaf regarding matters of Deen.
If the going out of elders in Jamats is ceased in the last 10 days of Ramadhan the impact on Irtidad & lack of Deen generally will undoubtedly be significant.
We have met persons in Ramadhan in Gusht who do not even fast. Alhumdulillah, through meeting these brothers, and by the fadhl of Allah alone, they formulate an intention to start fasting.
Based on the aforementioned issues raised, our question is as follows:
Similarly, if a youngster, new to the Masjid, expresses a desire to sit in I’tikaaf, can the Jamat brothers tashkeel him to go in Jamat instead, based on the fact that the Sunnah Muakhiddah ala Kifayah obligation has already been fulfilled & this youngster’s I’tikaaf will now be considered as Nafl?