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  • General Guidelines - 'Iddah (Waiting period) for Widows

    GENERAL GUIDELINES – ‘IDDAH (PERIOD OF WAITING) FOR WIDOWS

    ‘Iddah (period of waiting) is the period a married woman must observe after the death of her husband or after a divorce.

    Wisdom of Its Legitimacy


    1- To discern whether
    the woman is pregnant or not.
    2- Shari`ah has ordained the period of `Iddah to avoid any confusion of lineage which may result from the woman's pressing need of marriage.
    3- The period a woman spends in `Iddah whether short or otherwise sheds light on the seriousness of marriage and how far it is a sacred bond.

    Duration

    The ‘iddah of a  Muslim woman who is not pregnant lasts for four months and 10 days from the death of her husband [Al-Baqarah 2:234]                                                                    If the Woman is pregnant, the waiting period is until she gives birth. [At-Talaaq 65:4]

    Rulings Pertaining to `Iddah:

    ·         If she is pregnant then her ‘iddah lasts until the pregnancy ends and she delivers, whether that is a long time or a short one There is no need to calculate according to the number of months. Even if she delivers the child a few hours after her husband’s death, her ‘iddah will be complete.

    ·         This ‘iddah is applicable irrespective of whether sexual intercourse had taken place or not, whether they had met in privacy or not, and whether she experiences haydh or not. The same rule will apply in all cases. That is, she will have to observe the ‘iddah for four months and ten days

    ·         If the husband passed away on the first day of the lunar calendar and his wife was not pregnant, her ‘iddah will be four months and ten days. If he did not pass away on the first day, she must calculate each month as 30 days and after the completion of four months and 10 days her ‘iddah will be complete.

    ·         While a person was ill, he issued a talaaqul baa’in (final talaaq) to his wife. Before she could complete the ‘iddah of talâq, her husband passed away. In such a case we will have to see which of the two ‘iddahs (‘iddah after talâq or ‘iddah after death) will take longer to complete. She will have to observe the ‘iddah that will take longer to complete.

    It should  be noted that it is not permissible to ignore a shar’iah ruling on the basis that there may be an alternative way of achieving the purpose behind it. No one has the right to say: “If the reason for the ‘iddah is to establish whether the woman is pregnant or not, modern  technology and medicine enables us to know that at the beginning of pregnancy, so there is no need for a woman to wait for this length of time.” He does to have the right to say that because the reason mentioned is something that the scholars have worked out, but it may be wrong, or it may be only part of the reason and not the entire reason. So it is not permissible to ignore the definitive command on which there is consensus, for a derived reason which may be wrong.

    Things which are forbidden for a widow during ‘iddah

    The woman in ‘iddah must pay attention to the following things: 

          1.   She should stay in the house in which she and her husband use to live if possible. 2.   She should avoid beautiful or bright clothes.                                                       3.   She should avoid perfume, unless when she is purifying herself following her menses.                                                                                                                     4.    She should not wear jewellery of gold, silver, diamonds and the like.             5.    She should not use eye liner, henna, or any type of cosmetic.                                  6.    She should not get engaged or married during the time of ‘Iddah

    Note:         It is permissible for the woman who is in ‘iddah to go out in case of necessity, such as to go to the hospital for treatment. Similarly, it is permissible for her to go out to teach and seek knowledge, because that is one of the most important needs; she has to avoid adornment, perfume and all things that forbidden during the waiting period (‘iddah) Otherwise she should stay home.

    Innovation ( bid’ah) in the ‘iddah

    Due to the cultural and ignorance, there are so many things that have been innovated when women are in their ‘iddah which are against the teaching of Qur’aan and Sunnah and makes more difficulty for them. Among these things are:

    -          When a lady bereaving of her husband, relatives put her in a miserable situation, force her to stay in a small room, sleep on the floor and cover all mirrors in the house.

    -          Many women during their ‘iddah  dress on the worst/dirty clothes or wearing black clothes for the whole period of ‘iddah

    -          Some of them not combing their hair or cut their nails and reduce their state of purity

    -          They force them not  come out of their houses,  even if in case of necessity.

    -          Prepare food (feast) and invite people to it on the occasion of end of the woman’s ‘iddah following her husband’s death

    -          In certain places there is a custom of observing the ‘iddah for a full year after the death of the husband

     

    These are the things that happened in the past, but unfortunately some people till these days carry out, which are out of our true religion.  May Allaah make us easy to understand our deen, Amiyn

     

     

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