Basic Rulings and Length of the Waiting Period (`idda)

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: What is the iddat requirement for a 61 year old female?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

The answer to your question depends on whether she was divorced or widowed, as well as other considerations. The following constitutes a basic presentation of key rulings related to the waiting period (`idda), as well as its length.

Basic Rulings of the Waiting Period (`idda)

It is an obligation for a woman to undergo the waiting period (`idda) after being divorced (assuming the marriage was consummated) or after being widowed (regardless of consummation).

During this time, another man may not marry her nor make a proposal of marriage.

The divorced wife is entitled to financial support and housing from her husband during the waiting period, while there is no financial support owed to the widowed wife.

With respect to other details, such as remaining in the house and abstaining from adornment, please see the following answer:

What Are the Differences in the Waiting Period of a Woman Due to Irrevocable Divorce and Due to the Death of Her Husband?

Length of the Waiting Period (`idda)

The length of the waiting period depends on the specific circumstances in question, based on the following:

(1) Three complete menstrual cycles: for a divorced woman who undergoes menstruation and is not pregnant;

(2) Three lunar months: for a divorced woman in menopause;

(3) Four lunar months and ten days: for a widowed woman that is not pregnant;

(4) Until she gives birth: for a pregnant woman, regardless of whether the marriage ended by death of the husband or divorce.

[Mawsili, Ikhtiyar; Maydani, Lubab]

Finally, it is advisable for the woman to consult a local scholar for more details and/or to deal with particular considerations.

And Allah knows best.


Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani