I'ddah - A Woman's Waiting Period
  • Question:

    Please explain the rules and conditions of I'ddah and importance of abiding by them.


    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question.

    I’ddah is that duration of time, a divorced or widowed woman observes, in which she does not marry, nor does she entertain proposals of marriage.

    It is wajib (mandatory) for a divorcee and widowed woman to observe the I'ddah.

    “Divorced women shall keep themselves waiting (for the duration of the I’ddah)” (Qur’an 2:228)

    The I’ddah will be for the duration as described below:

    • A divorcee who experiences menstruation will observe I’ddah for the duration of three menstrual cycles. (See Qur’an 2:228)
    • If the divorcee does not experience menses, her waiting period will be three months. (See Qur’an 65:4)
    • The pregnant divorcee will remain in I’ddah until she delivers her baby. (See Qur’an 65:4)
    • The I’ddah of a widow is four months and ten days. (See Qur’an 2:234)
    During the I’ddah period, she is to go about her normal activities of daily life apart from the following:
    • She should not apply perfume or adornments such as kohl, make-up etc.
    • She should not adorn herself with striking beautiful attractive clothes etc.
    • Refrain from accepting or offering a marriage proposal.
    • Leaving the house wherein I’ddah is performed should only be for necessity and not leisure.

    (See: Mukhtaṣar al Quduri and Fatawa Hindiyyah)

    The I'ddah should be observed in the marital home where her husband issued her the divorce or where she lived with her husband before his passing. If her safety and chastity are at stake there, then she may observe it elsewhere, where there is safety. (Dur al Mukhtar)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah Institute
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