Date : 22-07-2010

Question :

Is the Iddah of the divorced woman similar to that of the widowed, and how long is it?


The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.


Iddah (Waiting period a woman must observe after the death of her husband or after a divorce, during which she may not marry another man) differs according to the situation of the woman observing it:


1-If a woman is pregnant when she is widowed or divorced, the Iddah lasts until she gives birth. The evidence on this is that Allah the Almighty says {What means}: " for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens:' {At-Talaq, 4}. Another evidence is that  Al-Miswar b. Makhrama said that some nights after her husband’s death Subai’a al-Aslamiya gave birth to a child. Then she went to the Prophet and asked permission to marry. He gave her permission and she married. {Related by Bukhari}.


2-If a woman isn`t pregnant when she is widowed, the Iddah is four months and ten days since Allah says {What means}: " If any of you die and leave widows behind, they shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days" {Al-Baqarah,234}.


3-If a woman isn`t pregnant when she is divorced, the Iddah, if she isn`t menopausal, is three monthly periods according to the Shafie and Hanbali schools, and this was adopted by the Jordanian Personal Status Law. This is attested to in the following verse: "Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods." {Al-Baqarah, 228}. However, if she is menopausal, the Iddah is three months since Allah says {What means}: " Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months." {At-Talaq, 4}. And Allah the Almighty knows best.