What Is the Fiqh of Interaction of a Widow in Her Waiting Period?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


What are the requirements for a young widow whose husband has passed away? I know most of the general conditions. Is she allowed to speak to her husband’s brothers?

They are the ones who support her as well as her father-in-law. Many people have said she could not speak to non-mahram. From what I have read, that rule is only for divorced people.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are in good faith and health.

It is sad to hear of your husband’s demise, إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ

Allah (Most High) forgives him completely, fills his grave with light and makes his children a means for continuous charity (sadaqa jariya), Amin.

Yes, it would be allowed for her to speak to her brothers-in-law within the sharia limit to do so, for example, where there is a need. Also, maintaining family kinship after the waiting period (idda) is complete.

Fiqh of Widow

When a woman becomes a widow, she will have to spend four months and ten days, known as a waiting period (idda). The waiting period (idda) will have to be carried out in the house, which was considered her place of residence at the time of her death. She may leave the house during the day to maintain her necessary livelihood.

During these four months, she will mourn the loss of her husband by doing the following:

  • by not wearing beautiful clothing
  • adorning herself with jewelry,
  • abstaining from perfume,
  • applying any antimony (kohl), or henna
  • dressing with any oil, unless there is a need

With regards to the woman in the waiting period (idda) who has been widowed, who is mature and Muslim, she is to mourn. Mourning is to refrain from wearing perfumes, adornment, oil, and kohl except for a valid excuse. She must not dye herself with henna, or wear clothes colored with dye or saffron. [Maydani, Al-Lubab Fi-Sharh al-Kitab]

Taking Care of Widow’s Family

It is also well-known that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was an excellent son-in-law. ‘Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) said, I never envied any wife of the messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) as I envied Khadija (Allah be pleased with her). She passed away before the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) married me.

That is why I used to hear the messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) mention her. Allah commanded the messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) to congratulate her with a house made of cane (in Jannah).

Whenever the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) would slaughter a sheep, he would send sufficient provision to her associates (her friends/his in-laws). [Bukhari]

Helping the Widow is Jihad in the Way of Allah

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reported the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “One who lends effort to the widows and the poor is like one waging jihad in the way of Allah, or one who regularly prays at night and fasts during the day.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

Maintaining Family Ties

It is also reported on the authority of Anas (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “He who desires abundance in his sustenance and his life prolonged should maintain good family ties.” [Bukhari]

We can learn from the prophets’ examples and find many historical references on how important it is to maintain family ties, especially in the case of a widow, especially with children.

Check these links:
widow Archives – SeekersGuidance
What Is the Waiting Period for a Widow? – SeekersGuidance

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SeekersAcademy (seekersguidance.org)

I pray this helps with your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied within UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

He started his early education in UK. He went onto complete hifz of Qur’an in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in UK where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then travelled to Karachi, Pakistan.

He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for a number of years. He has taught hifz of the Qur’an, Tajwid, Fiqh and many other Islamic sciences to both children and adults onsite and online extensively in UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences.

He currently resides in UK with his wife. His personal interest is love of books and gardening.