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Iddah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي ; وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي ; وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي ; يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي

‘Iddah’ (pronounced as ‘Iddat’ by Urdu linguists) literally means to keep a count. In Islamic terminology, it is known as ‘the waiting period’ i.e. the period a woman should wait before she can re-marry.

A. ‘Iddah’ for a woman whose husband dies

وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَاجاً يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ أَرْبَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍ وَعَشْراً فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَلا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا فَعَلْنَ فِي أَنفُسِهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ

“And those of you who die and leave wives behind them, they (the wives) shall wait for four months & ten days, then when they have fulfilled their term, there is no sin on you if they dispose of themselves in a just and honourable manner. And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.”

(Aayah No. 234, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter No. 2, Holy Qur’an).

Therefore, a woman whose husband dies should observe ‘Iddah’ for a period of four months and ten days. This is required to be followed even by those women who become widow even before their marriage could be consummated i.e. a case where the husband dies without having made a sexual relation with his wife.

B. ‘Iddah’ for a divorced woman

A woman who is divorced by her husband is supposed to observe ‘Iddah’ for a period of three menstrual cycles. This ruling is established as per following verse of Qur’an:

وَالْمُطَلَّقَاتُ يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ ثَلاثَةَ قُرُوءٍ

“And divorced women shall wait for three menstrual periods….”

(Aayah No. 228, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter No. 02, Holy Qur’an).

However, if the divorce takes place before the marriage is consummated i.e. if the husband divorces his wife before he has had a sexual relation with his wife, then the woman does not have to observe any ‘Iddah’. In such a divorce, the woman has the right to go and marry immediately to anyone if she wishes to, without observing any ‘Iddah’. This is based on following verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَكَحْتُمْ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ فَمَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ عِدَّةٍ تَعْتَدُّونَهَا فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ وَسَرِّحُوهُنَّ سَرَاحاً جَمِيلاً

“O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and then divorce them before you have sexual intercourse with them, no ‘Iddah’ have you to count in respect of them. So give them a present, and set them free in a handsome manner.”

(Aayah No. 49, Surah Al-Ahzab, Chapter No. 33, Holy Qur’an).

However, this does not apply to a woman whose husband dies before consummation of her marriage (as we have already talked about this earlier in Section A of the article).

C. ‘Iddah’ for a woman separated by ‘Al-Khul’

Refer to following two narrations:

Ubadah bin Al-Walid bin Ubadah bin As-Samit narrated from Rubayy bint Mu’awwidh. He said: I said to her, “Tell me your hadith.” She said: I was separated from husband by ‘Khul'; then I came to Uthman (RA) and asked him, “What ‘Iddah’ do I have to observe?” He said, “You do not have to observe any ‘Iddah’ unless you had intercourse with him recently, in which case you should stay with him until you have menstruated.” He said, “In that I am following the ruling of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) concerning Mariam Al-Maghaliyyah, who was married to Thabit bin Qais and was separated by ‘Khul’ from him.”

(Hadith No. 3528, Book of Divorce, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Vol. 4; Hadith No. 2058, Chapters on Divorce, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 3).

and,

It was reported from Nafi, from Ibn Umar (RA), who said, “The waiting period of the woman who asks for a ‘Khul’ is one menstrual cycle.”

(Hadith No. 2230, Book of Divorce, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3).

Based on these narrations, it is inferred that a woman separated from her husband by ‘Al-Khul’ should observe ‘Iddah’ for a period of one menstrual cycle.

D. ‘Iddah’ for a woman who does not have menstruations (i.e. due to medical/health reasons) or is past her age of menstruation (i.e. menopause)

وَاللاَّئِي يَئِسْنَ مِنْ الْمَحِيضِ مِنْ نِسَائِكُمْ إِنْ ارْتَبْتُمْ فَعِدَّتُهُنَّ ثَلاثَةُ أَشْهُرٍ وَاللاَّئِي لَمْ يَحِضْنَ وَأُوْلاتُ الأَحْمَالِ أَجَلُهُنَّ أَنْ يَضَعْنَ حَمْلَهُنَّ وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ يُسْراً

“And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the ‘Iddah’, if you have doubt (about their periods) is three months; and for those who have no courses, their ‘Iddah’ is three months likewise, except in case of death. And for those who are pregnant (divorced or widowed), their ‘Iddah’ is until they lay down their burden; and whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him.”

(Aayah No. 4, Surah At-Talaq, Chapter No. 65, Holy Qur’an).

Based on this, all women who are past their age of menstruation (i.e. into menopause) or women who are not old but do not have menstruations due to any medical/health reasons, their ‘Iddah’ period in case of divorce (or ‘Al-Khul’) shall be three months.

However, in case of ‘Iddah’ because of death of husband, all women should observe it for four months and ten days even if they are of old age and/or has no menstruations.

E. ‘Iddah’ for a pregnant woman

Based on Aayah No. 4, Surah At-Talaq, Chapter No. 65 of Holy Qur’an, mentioned in previous section also, the ‘Iddah’ period of a pregnant woman (whether divorced or widowed) shall be until she delivers her baby. And this is applicable to all cases, whether a woman is observing ‘Iddah’ due to a divorce, or due to ‘Al-Khul’ or due to the death of her husband.

This means that if a pregnant woman becomes a widow (or a divorcee), for example, at 10 o’clock in the morning, and she gives birth to her baby 12 noon (i.e. after 2 hours of start of her ‘Iddah’), her ‘Iddah’ ends after that i.e. after two hours.

This also means that if a woman becomes a widow (or a divorcee), and is pregnant, and shall deliver the baby, let us say, after eight months, her ‘Iddah’ period shall be that much long.

This should be understood very clearly by all of us so as to act accordingly.

F. Where should a woman spend her ‘Iddah’?

F.1. In case of a widow

There are two opinions about this matter:

Opinion 1: Woman should stay in her husband’s house during the period of ‘Iddah’.

This is the view of all four Imams and most of the companions of the Prophet (PBUH). This view is based on following hadith:

Zainab bint Ka’b bin Ujrah narrated that Al-Furay’ah (or Faria’ah) bint Malik bin Sinan – sister of Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (RA) – informed her that she went to Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) to ask him if she could return to her family in Banu Khudrah. Her husband had gone out searching for his runaway slaves, and when he was in Taraf Al-Qadum, he caught up with them and they killed him. She said: So I asked Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) if I could return to my family since my husband had not left me a home that he owned nor any maintenance. She said: So Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said ‘Yes’. Then I left. When I was in the courtyard, or in Masjid, Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) called me, or summoned for me to come back to him and said, “What did you say?” She said: So I repeated the story that I had mentioned to him about the case of my husband. He said, “Stay in your house until what is written reaches its term.” She said: So I observed my ‘Iddah’ there for four months and ten (days). She said: During the time of Uthman (RA), he sent a message to me asking me about that, so I informed him. He followed it and judged accordingly.

(Hadith No. 1204, Chapters on Divorce & Lian, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 2031, Chapters on Divorce, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 3).

Based on these, it is inferred that a woman must stay in house of her husband to complete the period of ‘Iddah’.

Opinion 2: Woman can observe her ‘Iddah’ wherever she wants.

This is the view of Syedna Ali (RA), Ibn Abbas (RA), Aishah (RA) and Jabir bin Abdullah (RA). Their view is based on following:

It was narrated from Ibn Abbas (RA) that this verse (i.e. Aayah No. 240, Surah Al Baqarah, Chapter No. 2 of Holy Qur’an) abrogated the woman’s ‘Iddah’ among her family, and she may observe her ‘Iddah’ wherever she wants. That is the saying of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime: ‘without turning them out’.

(Hadith No. 3561, Book of Divorce, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Vol. 4).

The verse of Qur’an referred to by Ibn Abbas (RA) in hadith above is:

وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَاجاً وَصِيَّةً لأَزْوَاجِهِمْ مَتَاعاً إِلَى الْحَوْلِ غَيْرَ إِخْرَاجٍ فَإِنْ خَرَجْنَ فَلا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي مَا فَعَلْنَ فِي أَنفُسِهِنَّ مِنْ مَعْرُوفٍ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

“And those of you who die & leave behind wives should bequeath for their wives a year’s maintenance without turning them out, but if they leave, there is no sin on you for that which they do of themselves, provided it is honourable. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”

(Aayah No. 240, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter No. 2, Holy Qur’an).

Some say that this verse is abrogated/superceded by the Verse No. 234 of Surah Al-Baqarah which is as follows:

وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَاجاً يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ أَرْبَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍ وَعَشْراً فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَلا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا فَعَلْنَ فِي أَنفُسِهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ

“And those of you who die & leave behind wives behind them, they (the wives) shall wait (as regards their marriage) for four months and ten days, then when they have fulfilled their term, there is no sin on you if they (the wives) dispose of themselves in a just and honourable manner (i.e. they can marry). And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.”

(Aayah No. 234, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter No. 2, Holy Qur’an).

As per my understanding, above mentioned verse (i.e. Aayah No. 234, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter No. 2, Holy Qur’an) and another verse (i.e. Aayah No. 12, Surah An-Nisa’, Chapter No. 4, Holy Qur’an), which is concerning wife’s inheritance from her husband’s wealth, these two verses of Holy Qur’an supercede/abrogate the verse quoted by Ibn Abbas (RA) in context of the waiting period (i.e. the period of ‘Iddah’) and providing the wives with one year’s maintenance.

Therefore, Ibn Abbas’s (RA) view that a woman can observe her ‘Iddah’ wherever she wants, also holds valid.

And Allah knows best.

F.2. In case of a divorce

Case 1. If it is first or second divorce (i.e. revocable divorce)

In case of first or second divorce, the divorced woman has to observe the ‘Iddah’ period in the house of her husband, along with her husband. This is based on Aayah No. 228 of Surah Al-Baqarah (Chapter No. 2, Holy Qur’an) where Allah says that their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period if they wish reconciliation, and Aayah No. 229 of Surah Al-Baqarah (Chapter No. 2, Holy Qur’an) where Allah says that the divorce is twice, after that either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness. There is also a narration to support this ruling which has been reported by Imam Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir as follows:

Ibn Jarir related that Alqamah said: We were with Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA) when a woman came and said, “My husband divorced me one or two periods ago. He then came back to me while I had prepared my water (for taking bath), took off my clothes and closed my door.” Umar (RA) asked Abdullah bin Masoud (RA), “What do you think?” He said, “I think that she is still his wife, as long as she is not allowed to resume praying (i.e. until the third period ends before he takes her back).” Umar (RA) said, “This is my opinion too.”

(Ref. Tafsir by Imam Ibn Kathir).

This should be understood from the fact that Allah gives a chance/option to the husband & wife during the waiting period of first and/or second divorce to rethink about the decision and reconcile.

Case 2. If it is third divorce (i.e. irrevocable divorce)

A woman observing ‘Iddah’ for her third divorce (i.e. irrevocable divorce) is allowed to spend her ‘Iddah’ period at a place other than her husband’s house. This ruling is based on following:

فَإِنْ طَلَّقَهَا فَلا تَحِلُّ لَهُ مِنْ بَعْدُ حَتَّى تَنكِحَ زَوْجاً غَيْرَهُ

“And if he has divorced her (the third time), then she is not lawful unto him thereafter until she has married another husband….”

(Aayah No. 230, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter No. 2, Holy Qur’an).

In context of this, there is a famous hadith which narrates us the ruling of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) of a similar case for Fatima bint Qais (RA):

Abu Salamah narrated that Fatimah bint Qais, sister of Ad-Dahak bin Qais, told him that Abu Hafs bin Al-Mughirah Al-Makhzumi divorced her three times, then he went to Yemen. His people said to her, “You are not entitled to maintenance from us.” Khalid bin Al-Walid (RA) came with a group of people to Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) in the house of Maimunah (RA) and said, “Abu Hafs has divorced his wife three times; is she entitled to maintenance?” Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “She is not entitled to maintenance, but she has to observe ‘Iddah’.” And he sent word to her, saying, “Do not be hasty in making a decision concerning yourself.” He told her to move to (the house of) Umm Sharik, then he sent word, saying, “Umm Sharik is visited by the first Muhajirin. Go to Ibn Umm Maktum, the blind man, for if you take off your ‘Khimar’ (i.e. the head cover), he will not see you.” So she went and stayed there, and when her ‘Iddah’ was over, Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) married her to Usamah bin Zaid bin Haarithah (RA).

(Hadith No. 3700 (1480), Book of Divorce, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 4).

G. A woman observing ‘Iddah’ should not adorn herself during the period of ‘Iddah’.

It is not allowed for a woman to do adornments etc. during her period of ‘Iddah’. This is authenticated by following hadith:

Narrated Umm Atiyya: “We were forbidden to mourn for more than three days for a dead person except for a husband, for whom a wife should mourn for four months and ten days. (While in mourning period) we were not allowed to put kohl in our eyes, nor perfume ourselves, nor wear dyed clothes, except a garment of ‘Asb’. But it was permissible for us that when one of us became clean from her menses and took a bath, she could use a piece of certain kind of incense. And it was forbidden for us to follow funeral processions.”

(Hadith No. 5341, Book of Divorce, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7).

H. Can a woman observing ‘Iddah’ go out of her house for some work?

Refer to following hadith:

Jabir bin Abdullah (RA) said: My maternal aunt was divorced and she wanted to harvest her date palms. A man rebuked her for going out, so she went to the Prophet (PBUH), and he said, “No, go out and harvest your date palms, for perhaps you will give charity or do an act of kindness.”

(Hadith No. 3721 (1483), Book of Divorce, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 4).

Therefore, a woman observing ‘Iddah’ is allowed to go out for works where she is required to go out. These works could be related to her family, her children and even her personal works. For example: she could be the solo bread-earner for her children, and as such shall require going for work. Such cases are permitted.

However, unnecessary going out, like going to meet relatives just as routine, attending marriages & other functions among relatives and other similar outings etc. are not permitted for a woman in ‘Iddah’.

I. ‘Iddah’ rulings for slave women

I.1. For a divorced slave woman

In his ‘Muwatta’, Imam Malik quoted verdicts of Uthman (RA), Zaid bin Thabit (RA) and Abdullah bin Umar (RA), that a male slave has right to divorce two times only, and waiting period of a female slave will be two menstrual cycles only. Therefore, divorce relies on husband’s status of him being free or slave, while waiting period depends on woman’s status of her being free or a slave.

I.2. For an ‘Umm-al-Walad’ when her master dies

After death of her master, the female slave becomes free. If she is ‘Umm-al-Walad’, she should observe ‘Iddah’ period similar to that of a free woman i.e. four months and ten days. A female slave who gives birth to a child by her master is called ‘Umm-al-Walad’.

Concluding Remarks

There might be many reasons with Allah for ordaining the requirement of ‘Iddah’, for His wisdom is infinite. However, our careful study can help us understand some reasons, Be-izn-Allah, which can explain why ‘Iddah’ is ordained for us.

Firstly, it is required to establish the state of the womb i.e. to ascertain whether the woman has conceived prior to that or not. That’s why the period of ‘Iddah’ in almost all cases is calculated on the basis of menstrual cycles.

The second reason could be understood in terms of the mourning period for a woman. Refer to the hadith of Umm Atiyya reported in Sahih Bukhari and mentioned above in Section G of this article; it clearly states that a woman is allowed to mourn for her deceased husband for a period of four months and ten days. We should understand that the relation of husband-wife is one of the closest relations on this earth. Allah develops a strong bond of love and affection in this relationship. The death of husband (or parting with husband through divorce) is a sort of setback and a shocking event for the woman; the pain of such a shock is immense. Therefore, the ‘Iddah’ serves as a period of consolation; the woman gets some time to get back to normal from the pain of getting away from her husband; she gets time to make up her mind to take decisions for future course of action related to her life. This reason can be understood by the obligation of ‘Iddah’ ordained upon the women who are of old age and past their age of menstruation.

Along with the reasons explained above, the biggest reason for us to respect the requirement of ‘Iddah’ should be that it is an instruction from Allah; and for a Muslim, this reason alone should be enough to accept and observe this requirement.

All Muslim women should observe ‘Iddah’ piously. Its observance should not be influenced by modern thought-process which tends to misguide us on the basis of woman’s age or her status in the family or status of her children in society etc. Rather, this should be observed with utmost sincerity, devotion and as a mark of respect to the word of our Creator.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path…Ameen.

.سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُون َ ; وَسَلامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ ; وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

54 comments

  1. I want to know if a husband and wife were not living together cuz of a fight for over a yr and did not have intercourse either and then got divorced. Does any iddah apply on the girl?

    • Salam alaikum,

      Yes, even then Iddah should be observed. Only in a case where the husband-wife have never engaged in sexual relation (even once), and if divorce takes place for such a couple, then no Iddah is required.

      And Allah knows best.

  2. Salam. mera sawal hai k mera khula ka case chal raha hai. meri shadi ko ek saal ho gaya lekin husband k sath sexual intercourse nahi hua ek dafa bhi. Waise physical contact tha kissing touching etc. divorce k baad iddat wajib hogi ya nahi.
    please guide me well.

    • Wa alaikum As Salam warahmatallah,

      If divorce takes place and there had been no sexual relation between husband-wife, then there is no Iddah prescribed on the woman. It is clearly mentioned in Aayah No. 49 of Surah Al-Ahzab of Holy Qur’an.

      And Allah knows best.

  3. assalamu alaikum brother, i jus want to knw what is the iddah period for a woman if she had taken khula? 1 menstrual cycle or 3mentrual cycle? Plz do reply,

    • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah,

      I have already explained this matter in the subject article. However, I shall repeat it in brief for your sake.

      It was reported from Nafi, from Ibn Umar (RA), who said, “The waiting period of the woman who asks for a ‘Khul’ is one menstrual cycle.” – (Hadith No. 2230, Book of Divorce, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3).

      Based on this hadith, it is inferred that Iddah for a woman separated by Al-Khul should be one menstrual cycle. This view is maintained by all, more particularly by followers of Shafi’ view.

      However, followers of Hanafi view do not agree with this view, and according to them even for Al-Khul case Iddah should be 3 menstrual cycles.

      I personally favour the first view i.e. one menstrual cycle for woman separated by Al-Khul.

      And Allah knows best.

  4. assalamu alaikum, jazakallahu khaira for ur reply. Will u plz tel what a woman can do during her iddah? I mean whether she can speak on phone? Can she see sky? Can she apply henna (mehendi) on her nail? Can she go to job?(based on islamic parda) can she speak with her jija(sister’s husband)? Pls tel wat she can do and wat she cannot do during her iddah period?. Once again jazakallahu khaira.

  5. Assalamu alaikum, jazakallahu khaira for ur reply. Wil u plz tel me wat a girl can do and she cannot do during her iddah period? I mean can she apply henna? Can she go to job? Can she see sky? Pls do reply,

    • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah,

      If you read the article careflly, all such questions have been answered in detail along with authentic references about what a woman is allowed to and what she is not allowed to do during her Iddah period. I request you to read the subject article (“Iddah”) carefully. Insha’Allah all yoru queries shall be answered. However, if some doubts remain even after going through the article, feel free to write back.

      Jazak Allah.

  6. Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatahu. I’m extremely sorry for disturbing u again and again. I read the article of iddah carefully, i got the answer for some of my questions. But stil i’m confused. I took khula last week, 99% of moulana said to observe 3menstrual cycle as my iddah. As per the hadith its only one menstrual cycle. Now i’m fully confused which one is correct? upto date here in my town every girl who has taken khula has observed iddah of 3menstrual cycle. How can i explain this to our jamaat? I cant argue with them. Whatever they say we must follow. I dont knw whether they are right or wrong. Pls reply for last time. Jazakallahu khaira.

    • Wa alaikum As Sala Warahmatallah Wabarakatuhu,

      Don’t be sorry for that; you are absolutely free to ask as many times as you want.

      As is clear from the hadith, the ‘Iddah’ period of the woman who is separated through ‘Al-Khul’ is one menstrual cycle. If still Maulanas of your place do not agree to that, it is their mistake. And it is so sorry that because of ignorance of our scholars, the common man has to suffer.

      If you ask me about what you sould do, my answer will be that you should stick to Sunnah i.e. observe ‘Iddah’ for one menstrual cycle. If someone objects to it, you can show the hadith to them in support of your action. When we do something correctly as per Qur’an and Sunnah, and when we have supporting evidence/reference along with us, Allah gives us the courage to face our critics/opponents. So, do not be afraid of your elders/Maulanas etc. Do what is correct. But do ensure that you do not take this matter with your elders and scholars of your area in a direspectful manner; avoid disaccord. Tell all of them respectfully that you shall do so on the basis of this hadith. And leave the rest to Allah.

      May Allah help you.

      And Allah knows best.

      • Salaam,
        A woman separated from her husband by ‘Al-Khul’ should observe ‘Iddah’ for a period of one menstrual cycle.
        If the woman gets her monthly period after one week of Khula.. is the iddah time over with it or is it till the next cycle ? pls clarify because I am unable to find this answer anywhere and I dont know whom to ask?
        Fi Aman Allah

        • Wa alaikum Salam Warahmatallah,

          If you read the subject article carefully, you will find that your query is already answered there. Let me repeat it for the sake of clarification. Please refer to following two ahadith:

          1. Ubadah bin Al-Walid bin Ubadah bin As-Samit narrated from Rubayy bint Mu’awwidh. He said: I said to her, “Tell me your hadith.” She said: I was separated from husband by ‘Khul’; then I came to Uthman (RA) and asked him, “What ‘Iddah’ do I have to observe?” He said, “You do not have to observe any ‘Iddah’ unless you had intercourse with him recently, in which case you should stay with him until you have menstruated.” He said, “In that I am following the ruling of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) concerning Mariam Al-Maghaliyyah, who was married to Thabit bin Qais and was separated by ‘Khul’ from him.” – (Hadith No. 3528, Book of Divorce, Sunan An-Nasa’i, Vol. 4; Hadith No. 2058, Chapters on Divorce, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 3).

          and,

          2. It was reported from Nafi, from Ibn Umar (RA), who said, “The waiting period of the woman who asks for a ‘Khul’ is one menstrual cycle.” – (Hadith No. 2230, Book of Divorce, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 3).

          The second hadith sets a general rule that Iddah period of a woman separated by Al-Khul is one menstrual cycle. And the first narration tells us that in such a case, the woman shall observe Iddah period till she menstruates. Once she completes menstruation cycle, gets clean/pure, her Iddah period gets over.

          However, people who stick to Hanafi view, they consider three months Iddah period even for case of Al-Khul.

          I personally favour the earlier view.

          And Allah knows best.

          I hope this answers your query. Feel free tow rite back in case doubts persist.

          • Assalaamalaikum.. Thank you for the clarification. Dua mein zarur yaad rakhiyega mere ammi abba k achhi sehat k liye aur mere aage Ki zindagi k liye.
            Allahhafiz

          • Wa alaikum Salam Warahmatallah Sister,

            All praise is for Allah alone. May Allah grant health to your parents. May Allah give you a happy life full of Iman.

            Jazak Allah.

          • asalaam o alaikum,

            I was wondering if you dont have to observe iddah for khul because you have been seperated for a long time then what about if you are divorced. If you have been seperated for years, living in different countries and then get divorced, do you still have to observe iddah for 3 months.

            plz remember us in our prayers.
            Jazak Allah Khair

          • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah,

            Even if you are separated for years, once you get official/formal divorce or separation by Al-Khul, the prescribed Iddah period should be observed.

            And Allah knows best.

  7. Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wa barkatahu. Jazaakallahu khairan kaseeran kaseeraa. Pls pray, allah should give me courage to face the critics. In sha allah i wil follow as per the hadith. Thanks alot for your guidance. May allah bestow his blessings on u and elevate ur positions in both the worlds. Aameen

    • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah Wabarakatuhu,

      All praise is for Allah alone. May Allah give you the courage and confidence to follow the right path and face the critics. May Allah help you!

      Whenever you need any advice (in future also) from Islamic point of view, please feel free to write to this platform.

      Jazak Allah khair for your duas; Aameen to all your duas.

  8. Assalamu alaikum. As u knw i’m observing iddah. Its very difficult to spend my time inside home. Can i watch tv? Like islamic channels peace tv?. N one more thing we have two houses in one compound. Can i go move from one house to other during day time? Is it permissable for me to talk to moulana on phone? Pls guide me in this regard. Jazakallahu khaira.

    • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah,

      It is not recommended to move from house to another during your Iddah period. Moving out of your Iddah place/house is allowed only when something really unavoidable asks for it or emergency sort of condition is faced with; under normal circumstances, woman observing Iddah should not go out of her place/house of Iddah.

      If you want to learn Islam, I don’t think there should be any harm in doing so over television. And Allah knows best.

      Avoid talking on phone with non-mahram males during Iddah, even if it is with any Moulana.

      And Allah knows best.

  9. sir wat is the logic of staying at home during iddat period..y is women refrained from pursuing her normal course in case of matrimonial breakdown..plz clear ..

    • Salam alaikum,

      There are many reasons which we can understand in ou limited wisdom; Allah’s wisdom is infinite and He must have many more reasons which we might not be able to understand. Let me list down some of the reasons which we can udnerstand:

      1. In case of a divorce, the woman is required to spend her Iddah at the home of her husband. Allah does not like divorce. Therefore, He wants the couples to give one more final chance to re-think about their decision. Allah says that teh previous husband (who ahs given the divorce) has more right to take the woman back in hi Nikah than others. Therefore, if she spends her Iddah at home along with her husband, they can sort out their problems and re-think about theirdecision of divorce. Hence, it is a motivational act. Becaus eof this, when the woman is divorced irrevocably (i.e. the thrid time), she doesn’t have to spend her Iddah at her husband’s home.

      2. Woman observing Iddah aftr death of her husband or even after irrevocable divorce is preferably asked to spend it at home. This Iddah period is considered as a mourning period for the woman who has lost her husband to death or has been divorced irrevocably. The Prophet (PBUH) said that no one should mourn for the dead for more than 3 days except for a wife whose Iddah period is he rmourning period. This allows the woman to come out of the great loss gradually. It i not natural for a woman who has lost a husband to behave normal immediately. She needs time to realize, accept and digest the bitter truth, and gather the courage to lead her life without her husband from that moment onwards. Iddah period gives her his time.

      3. Woman is required to spend her Iddah at home in order to confirm the pregnancy if any. If the woman had conceived at the time of death of her husband, then it is essential for the woman to stay at home and not meet other people for a specified time period. This shall save her dignity from malicious blames, if any. If shee keeps goign out normally after Iddah and her pregnancy gets obvious, let us say, after 2-3 months of death of her husband, there is a chance that people might start accusing her of adultery. Therefore, the stay at home ensures that such a situation is not encountered. It safeguards the modesty of the woman.

      These are some of the reasons which we can understan behind the the rulings of Iddah. However, the biggest reason for a Muslim to understand is that it is a Command from Almighty Allah, and hence that should be enough for us to follow it.

      And Allah knows best.

  10. Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatahu.
    My mother-in-law has just become a widow. She was working in a school as a teacher and her husband was retired and staying with her. This place of her work is away from her native place. Due to illness of her husband, she got him to the place where they had built their home and she was getting him treated. this lasted only for one week. he expired in the hospital on 29 Jul 14. Now my questions:
    1. She is 58 Years old. what will be her iddah period?
    2. Where does she spend her iddah period. In the house where she works or the house they have built?
    3. My wife is the only child of her parents and she wants to take her with us to my place of residence which is in another city, fearing she will get into depression if left alone.
    please advice at the earliest.

    • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah Wabarakatuhu,

      Apologies for delayed response as I was away and was unable to attend the queries of readers. Here is the response to your queries:

      1. She should observe Iddah for a period of 4 months and 10 days.

      2. She can spend Iddah in either of her houses; she can even spend Iddah with her daughter.

      And Allah knows best.

  11. Assalamualaikum. I have a qns. Im currently serving my iddah period of my 2nd talaq. Im currently staying on our matrimonial home but my husband is staying at his mums house. Im nt allowed at his mother house is there any fault on my part that I dont go there to stay with my husband. My husband also say that his mum does nt allow him to spend the iddah period with me so he cannot come home. Is this permissible n and if its not is there any fault on his part?

    • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah,

      A woman should spend her Iddah (unless it is Iddah for third irrevocable divorce) along with husband in his place. Your husband should be conveyed this ruling of Islam.

      If he is not following, then there should be no fault on you Insha’Allah.

      And Allah knows best.

  12. Assalaam o alaikum, I got married in Pakistan over two years ago and have been seperated from my husband just after a few weeks of marriage. In my marriage certificate I was given the right to divorce my husband without any restrictions or conditions to this right. I am not sure how I can exercise this right and the iddah time that I have to observe. Please help me with this since I am unable to live with my husband because I fear for my life with him and he is not giving me divorce either even though I have been threated with divorce from day one of my marriage.
    Jaza kalla Khair

    • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah,

      Kindly contact Qazi/Mufti of your place to take action in this matter. If your husband is not giving you divorce, nor is he fulfilling his obligations towards you, an official complaint may be lodegd with Qazi. He can send a notice to the man. And if judges that no response/action has been taken by the man in appropriate time, then he may declare the divorce.

      And Allah knows best.

  13. Salaam!my husband divorced me when i was on post natal bleeding those the divorce count and if it counts how do i count my idda?

    • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah sister,

      The ruling regarding such a case in Islam is as follows:

      A Muslim man should not pronounce divorce to his wife if the wife is experiencing her menstrual bleeding (or post-natal bleeding, as in your case). Divorce should be given when the woman is in clean state. SO, this is a mistake committed by your husband.

      However, even in such case the divorce counts. But the husband should take you back (in his nikah again), and then wait till you get clean/pure, and then wait till you again menstruate, and then when you again become clean; after this, he may keep you as his wife or can then divorce you (this then will be counted as second divorce). This is the solution when a husband commits this mistake. The ruling is established on the basis of narrations related to Ibn Umar (RA) who did so and was asked by the Prophet (PBUH) to take his wife back, then wait until she gets clean, then menstruates again, and then becomes pure again; after this he was given the choice of keeping her or divorcing her.

      This narration can be found in almost all collections of ahadith; one of the reference is Hadith No. 3652 (1471), Book of Divorce, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 4.

      The counting of Iddah period will be as specified.

      I hope this clarifies your query. Please feel free to write back if any doubt persists.

      And Allah knows best.

  14. Assalamu alaikum

    One girl from Maharashtra got married at the age of 16, she is now 23, her husband left her & he didn’t gave divorce. Now it’s been 6 years they are not in touch at all. She is having 6 year old girl. My question – Do her still required divorce & Iddah period. if yes then how much. Do a girl needs to initiate divorce, since girl is getting proposal for marriage. Please advise in lights of Quran & Hadith. Allah Hafiz

    • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah,

      Until the husband gives formal divorce, the girl is still in marriage with him. Yes, of course a girl can initiate a separation; that procedure is called ‘Al-Khul’. But there has to be a genuine reason for a girl to ask for ‘Al-Khul’. The case described by you seems to be a reasonable case for the girl to ask for ‘Al-Khul’ from her husband. If the husband has absconded and is not available to formalize the legal requirements of a divorce, the parents/guardians of the girl can approach the Qazi of their place. After certain procedural steps, Qazi can announce legal divorce in such cases.

      Even in such a case, the girl will have to observe Iddah as prescribed.

      And Allah knows best.

      • Assalaamwaleikum,

        I was married on sept16 2012, but my husband has absconded me from feb14,2013. Since den I waited for him for reconcilation but it was waste. I started working to afford my life. Apart from this, when my inlaws were called up by the jamaat of my town they never turned up, postponed a several times and cheated. Finally the jamaat provided Khulaa today. Pls let me know is it conpulsory to leave my job during iddah? Coz I LL have to resign d job in that case..

        • Wa alaikum Salam Warahmatallah,

          As you have been separated by Al-Khul, so your Iddah period shall be one month only (refer to the hadith mentioned in subject article about this matter). Therefore, your management should not have problem in providing you one month’s leave. Please talk to them about it; explain to them about your matter; pray to Allah for help; Insha’Allah all shall be well.

          If your local scholars insist on Iddah period of three months, then also you should talk to your employer’s management to grant you as much leave as they can. In case, you still can’t get full leave and you face leaving/losing the job, then you can still work while being in Iddah. But make sure, do you genuinely need to work? If yes, then you may. But if it just for the sake of career growth, then you should think twice.

          Pray to Allah for help. Insha’Allah all will be well.

          And Allah knows best.

          • Assalamwaleikum,

            I m grateful for your reply. But I want to clarify.. My father is not working anymore, I hv two brothers, elder brother is MashaAllah in a good job & younger brother is still studying on loan. Moreover my elder brother is married too, in this situation I m worried about leaving my job. I dnt want to b dependent on Bhai.Already he is taking care of the whole family. I already had a gap in my resume as I had left the job after marriage, so it will b difficult for another job after resigning again. The jamaat here didnt comment about iddat . Kindly clarify. And wht r d dos and donts for a womanin iddah.

          • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah,

            If you feel and are confident of the fact that your job is essential for your survival (you have to assess it with clean niyyah; do not consider your career growth while assessing this), then your course of action should be like this:

            First of all, if your case of separation is of Al-Khul, your Iddah period should be one month (refer to the subject article where I have quoted the hadith in support of this ruling). So, you can talk to your Employers about one month leave, which every organization can give easily. That shall solve your problem, Insha’Allah.

            As for other do(s) and don’t(s) of Iddah, please read the subject article thoroughly, your queries about Iddah shall be answered there, Insha’Allah. Feel free to write back in case any doubt persists.

            Jazak Allah.

            And Allah knows best.

  15. Jazak Allah Khair. Appreciate your instant reply. As per this case once Divorce is confirm by Khul or Qazi then what will be Iddah period will it be 3 menustral cycle or 1 menustral cycle. Please assist in the lights of Quran & Hadith . Once again Jazak Allah. Allah bless you for a great job. Allah Hafiz.

    • If separation takes place due to ‘Al-Khul’, then Iddah period should be one month (the same has been explained with references of ahadith in subject article). However, people of Hanafi view differ on this, and follow 3 months in case of ‘Al-Khul’ also. As long as both views are substantiated with authentic references from Qur’an and Sunnah, both should be respected. My personal view is that Iddah for ‘Al-Khul’ should be 1 month and for a normal divorce should be 3 months.

      And Allah knows best.

  16. JazakAllah for repy & your view. 1 last question. Do we have any ayat in Quran which refers to something similar like stating that if husband & wife are not in touch for long years then Talaaq becomes automatically or there is no Iddah period. I don’t know what quotation it is, however I would like to know if there is any kind of similar quotation in Quran & what exactly Quran says about it. Thanks for your support Almighty bless you. Allah Hafiz.

    • Salam alaikum,

      Talaq doesn’t become effective unless the husband pronounces or gives it in writing to the wife. So, even if a woman stays away from her husband for as many years, she still will be under the Nikah of her husband.

      May be some people who told you about this matter got confused with the matter of ‘Ila’, which is mentioned in Qur’an, and base don this some scholars hold a view point that this much period is the limit for a husband to stay away from husband. You may please refer to another article titled “Husband-Wife relationship” which is available at our website. Section 10.2 of that article explains this matter in detail. Insha’Allah that shall clarify the doubts.

      Feel free to write back if any doubt persists.

      And Allah knows best.

  17. Aselamualeykum werahmetulahi weberekatu Pls include me in your mail list

    • Wa alaikum Salam Warahmatallah Wabarakatuhu,

      Your email id has been added to our mailing list; Insha’Allah from now on you shall receive updates about new articles in your mailbox.

      Jazak Allah.

  18. Assalaam o Alaikum, can you please tell me what the iddah period is after talaq-i-tafwid?
    Jazakallah khair

    • Wa alaikum Salam Warahmatallah,

      It is safest to stick to Allah’s word to conclude about any matter where there is a chance of more than one view. Therefore, as per my personal view, following verse should be followed to decide Iddah period for a woman divorced through Talaq-e-Tafwid:

      “And divorced women shall wait for three menstrual periods….” – (Aayah No. 228, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter No. 02, Holy Qur’an).

      And Allah knows best.

  19. Assalaa Mu Alaikum Wa Rahma Tullah.
    My mum is currently undergoing Iddah due to the passing of my father, however I just wanted to ask, would my mother come out of Iddah on the 10th day of the 4 months and 10 days, or would she come out on the 11 day?
    Jazak Allah

    • Wa alaikum As Salam Warahmatallah Wabarakatuhu,

      She should complete 4 months and ten days, thereby meaning that she will be out of Iddah period on 11th day.

      And Allah knows best.

  20. If a woman asked for a divorce from a husband who married her for two weeks then left for a year and lives abroad with another white woman without giving her any maintenance n not communicating with her, if he sends a text agreeing to what the wife wanted I.e a divorce, is it khulu? And how long is she supposed to observe iddat when the ex husband won’t even send maintenance for her iddat not even a cent? When he is a well off man? And when they had gotten married he wanted it to be mut’aa but they just delayed the divorce? Is she still supposed to observe iddat?

    • Salam alaikum,

      First of all, when you say that it was a Muta’a marriage, then let me clarify that such marriage is prohibited in Islam. There are several ahadith to confirm this. Let me quote one for you:

      It was narrated that Ibn Umar (RA) said: When Umar bin Khattab (RA) was appointed Caliph, he addressed the people and said, “Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) permitted temporary marriage (i.e. Muta’a) for us three times, then he forbade it. By Allah, if I hear of any married person entering a temporary marriage, I will stone him to death, unless he can bring me four witnesses who will testify that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) allowed it after he forbade it.” – Hadith No. 1963, Chapters on Marriage, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 3.

      Therefore, no question arises about divorce or Iddah for such a marriage which is invalid from Islamic point of view.

      And Allah knows best.

  21. can i see my aunt, who is in the period of iddah,??? Iam her sister’s son. But my grand father got married to two wives, my mother is belongs to one while my aunt belongs to the other… Please give me a satisfying reply accordind to hadith and Quran… And if u can show me some prooves. Jazakallah

    • Salam alaikum,

      Your aunt and your mother are from same father, though from different mothers. Therefore, your aunt is the sister of your mother. She is forbidden to you in marriage; you are a mahram to her. This is based on the ruling explained in Verse No. 23 of Surah An-Nisa (Chapter No. 4 of Qur’an) which tells us that mother’s sisters are forbidden for a man in marriage.

      As far as seeing her or not is concerned, it is totally different matter. Iddah period has got nothing to do with the woman being seen or not. Rather, it is a waiting period during which she can not marry; she cannot even take marriage proposals during the Iddah period. If required by necessity, the woman observing Iddah is allowed to go out of house.

      And Allah knows best.

      I hope this answers your query. Feel free to write back if any doubt persists.

  22. I have been questioned by my family members and friends to show in which chapter or verse of the Holy Quran it states that the wife after the death of her husband should wear light colour cloths and not beautify herself. I know the period of Iddah (4 months and 10 days) has been mentioned in Surah 2 Al Baqarah / Part 2

    Please I would like to have a quick reply

    Jazakallah

    • Salam alaikum,

      This is not mentioned in Qur’an, rather is derived from following narration:

      Narrated Umm Atiyya: “We were forbidden to mourn for more than three days for a dead person except for a husband, for whom a wife should mourn for four months and ten days. (While in mourning period) we were not allowed to put kohl in our eyes, nor perfume ourselves, nor wear dyed clothes, except a garment of ‘Asb’. But it was permissible for us that when one of us became clean from her menses and took a bath, she could use a piece of certain kind of incense. And it was forbidden for us to follow funeral processions.”
      (Hadith No. 5341, Book of Divorce, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 7).

      And Allah knows best.

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