Rules on Iddat

←Back to Fatwas on Iddat

RULES ON IDDAT AND MOURNING

(Beheshti Zewar)

Iddah After Talaq

1. When the husband divorces his wife or their nikâh is annulled through khula’, zihâr, ’îlâ’ or any other way, or the husband passes away – then in all these cases the woman has to remain in a house for a certain period of time. As long as this period does not expire, she cannot go to any other place nor can she marry another person. Once this period expires, she can do whatever she wishes. This period of waiting is known as ‘iddah.

2. When the husband divorces his wife, she will have to live in that very house where she received the divorce until the end of three hayd periods. She must not leave that house during the day nor at night. Nor can she make nikâh with anyone else. Once she completes three hayd periods, her ‘iddah will be complete and she can now go wherever she wishes. This rule will apply irrespective of whether the man issued one divorce, two or three divorces. And irrespective of whether he issued a talâqul bâ’in or a talâqur raj’î. The same rule will apply in all cases.

3. If a young girl who has not commenced experiencing hayd, or an old woman whose hayd has terminated is divorced, then their ‘iddah will be three months. They must observe the ‘iddah for three months and thereafter they can do whatever they wish.

4. A young girl who has not commenced experiencing hayd as yet was divorced. She therefore commenced her ‘iddah on the basis that it will be three months. However, after a month or two she began experiencing hayd. Her ‘iddah will now be calculated from the time that her hayd commences. She will therefore have to remain in ‘iddah until the completion of three hayd periods. Her ‘iddah will not be complete until the completion of three hayd periods.

5. If a woman is pregnant and her husband divorces her, she will have to remain in that house until she delivers her child. This is her ‘iddah. When she delivers her child, her ‘iddah will expire. Even if she delivers her child a few days after being divorced, her ‘iddah will expire.

6. If a woman is divorced while she is in her hayd, this hayd will not be considered. Her ‘iddah will only be complete on the expiry of three additional hayd periods after the hayd that she is presently experiencing.

7. The ‘iddah for divorce is only compulsory on the woman who is divorced after her husband had engaged in sexual intercourse with her or, they did not engage in sexual intercourse but they met in privacy and solitude and thereafter her husband divorces her. This is irrespective of whether they met in such a way that the total mahr becomes wâjib or in such a way that the total mahr does not become wâjib. In both cases, she will have to observe the ‘iddah. If they did not meet in privacy and solitude and the person divorces her; she does not have to observe the ‘iddah.

8. A person mistakenly engaged in sexual intercourse with another woman thinking her to be his wife. Thereafter it became known that she was not his wife. This woman will also have to observe the ‘iddah. As long as she does not complete her ‘iddah, she cannot even engage in sexual intercourse with her actual husband nor can she permit him to do so. If they engage in sexual intercourse, both of them will be sinning. The ‘iddah of such a woman is the same as that mentioned above. If the woman falls pregnant (due to the intercourse with that man), she will have to observe the ‘iddah until she delivers the child. This child will not be illegitimate. His lineage will be correct – he will be attributed to the person who had engaged in sexual intercourse with this woman.

9. A person married a woman illegally, e.g. he marries a woman and later he learns that her husband is alive and that he (i.e. her husband) had not divorced her. Alternatively, this person and this woman come to know that they had drank the milk of the same woman when they were infants. The rule in this regard is that if the man had engaged in sexual intercourse with her, and after learning the truth, they were separated, she will still have to observe the ‘iddah. From the moment the man repents and chooses to separate this wife, her ‘iddah will commence. If they did not engage in sexual intercourse, ‘iddah will not be wâjib. In fact, if they had met in privacy and solitude, even then the ‘iddah will not be wajib. ‘Iddah will only be wâjib when they engage in sexual intercourse.

10. Feeding and clothing the woman while she is observing her ‘iddah is wâjib on the very person who divorced her. This will be explained in detail in a later chapter – ’Inshâ’ Allah.

11. A person issued a talâqul bâ’in or three divorces to his wife. Thereafter, while she was in her ‘iddah, he mistakenly engaged in sexual intercourse with her. Because of this, one additional ‘iddah becomes wâjib on her. She will have to observe the ‘iddah for an additional three hayd periods. On the completion of these three additional hayd periods, both her ‘iddahs will be completed.

12. A person issued a talâqul bâ’in and he is also living in the house in which the woman is observing her ‘iddah. She will have to observe strict purdah with him.

 

Iddah After the Death of the Husband

1. A woman’s husband passed away. She must now observe the ‘iddah for four months and ten days. She must live in the house in which she was staying at the time of her husband’s death. It is not permissible for her to go out of that house. However, if a woman is very poor and does not have the resources to lead a normal life, and she takes up a job of cooking for someone or takes up some other similar job, it will be permissible for her to leave her house. However, she will have to spend the night in her home.

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 hayd 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.

However, if the woman was pregnant at the time of her husband’s death, her ‘iddah will be complete the moment she gives birth to the child. 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.

2. The woman who is observing her ‘iddah can live in any part of the house. The custom of setting aside a specific place and setting aside a specific bed for mourning, and remaining there in mourning and refusing to come out of that place is all nonsense and meaningless. Customs of this sort should be given up.

3. The husband was an immature child. At the time when he passed away, his wife was pregnant. Even in this case her ‘iddah will be until she delivers the baby. However, this child is illegitimate. It will not be attributed to the husband.

4. 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.

The same rule applies to the ‘iddah after divorce. That is, if the woman does not experience hayd nor is she pregnant, and her husband divorces her on the first day of the lunar calendar, she must calculate three months according to the lunar calendar. This is irrespective of whether the months are of 29 days or 30 days. If she was not divorced on the first day, she must calculate 30 days for each month until she completes three months.

5. A person’s nikâh was performed in an unlawful manner, e.g. the marriage was performed without any witnesses. Alternatively, a woman married her brother-in-law while her sister was still married to him. Thereafter, the husband passed away. Such a woman whose nikâh was not valid must not observe the ‘iddah of four months and 10 days. Instead, she must observe the ‘iddah of three hayd periods after her husband’s death. If she does not experience any hayd, she must observe the ‘iddah for three months. If she is pregnant, then until she delivers the child.

6. While a person was ill, he issued a talâqul bâ’in 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. If the husband issued a talâqur raj’î and he passed away prior to his wife completing her ‘iddah, it will be necessary on such a woman to observe the ‘iddah for death. (i.e. four months and 10 days).

7. A woman’s husband passed away but she did not receive the news of his death. She only received the news after four months and 10 days. In such a case her ‘iddah will be complete. It is not necessary to observe the ‘iddah from the time one receives the news. Similarly, if the husband divorces his wife and she does not know of this until after some time. When she is informed of this the ‘iddah which she would have had to observe had already expired. Her ‘iddah is also complete and there is no need to observe the ‘iddah now.

8. A woman had left her house for some work or to visit her neighbour. While she was away, her husband passed away. She should immediately return from that place and remain in the house in which she had been living all along (with her husband).

9. When a woman is observing the ‘iddah after the death of her husband, she is not entitled to receive any food, clothing, etc. She must spend her own money for this purpose.

10. In certain places there is a custom of observing the ‘iddah for a full year after the death of the husband. This is absolutely harâm.

 

Mourning for the Dead

1. When a woman has been issued with a talâqur raj’î, her ‘iddah is that she cannot leave her home until the expiry of the period of ‘iddah nor can she marry anyone in this period. It is permissible for her to beautify and adorn herself.

As for the woman who has been issued three talâqs, one talâqul bâ’in, or her nikâh has broken in some other way – the ruling in all these cases is that such a woman cannot leave her home until the expiry of her‘iddah, she cannot marry anyone in this period nor can she beautify or adorn herself. All these things are harâm upon her. Abstaining from this self-beautification and remaining in a dishevelled and unkempt manner is known as mourning.

2. As long as the ‘iddah is not completed, it is harâm to carry out the following acts:

(a) to apply perfume

(b) to scent clothing

(c) to wear jewellery and ornaments

(d) to wear or suspend flowers (eg. from the hair)

(e) to apply surmah (antimony)

(f) to redden the mouth by eating betel leaves

(g) to rub tooth powder (with the intention of colouring the teeth)

(h) to apply oil to the head

(i) to comb the hair

(j) to apply henna

(k) to wear beautiful clothes

(l) to wear silk, dyed or colourful clothes.

However, if the clothes are not colourful, it will be permissible to wear them irrespective of what colour they may be. The condition is that they must not be clothes that are used to beautify oneself.

3. If a woman who is in mourning experiences a headache and therefore feels it necessary to apply oil on her head, she may do so as long as the oil is free of any fragrance. It is also permissible to apply surmah if it is applied as a medication. However, this surmah will have to be applied at night and removed the following morning. It is also permissible to massage the head or to have a bath. When necessary, it is also permissible to comb the hair, e.g. after massaging the head or in order to remove some lice that may have fallen onto the head. However, she should not allow her hair to hang down over her face or forehead in a stylish way nor should she use a very fine comb which causes the hair to become smooth and glossy. Instead, she should use a comb with large teeth so that no beauty may become apparent.

4. Mourning the death of the husband is only wâjib on a woman who is mature and not on an immature girl. All the above restrictions and prohibitions are permissible for an immature girl. However, she is still prohibited from leaving the home or entering into another marriage.

5. Mourning is not wâjib on a woman who had entered into an invalid marriage, whose nikâh was not performed in the proper manner and was therefore separated from her husband or her husband passed away.

6. It is not permissible for a woman to mourn the death of anyone apart from her husband’s death. However, if her husband does not stop her, it will be permissible to mourn the death of one of her close relatives for up to three days and not more. It is absolutely harâm to mourn for more than three days. If her husband prevents her from mourning even for three days, she cannot do so for these three days as well.

←Back to Fatwas on Iddat