How Long Should One Wait to Get Married After a Death in the Family?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu,

Is there any ruling on how long to wait before having a celebration (such as getting married) after a death in the family?

Answer: Wa alaykum asalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu

Marriage with the correct intention is a noble act of worship. May Allah facilitate this major step in your life and make it means for you and your future spouse to gain closeness to Allah.

With the exception of a widow, there is no waiting period for marriage after the passing of a relative in the Sacred Law. There are narrations from some of the companions and pious predecessors who married shortly after and, at times, the same day of the passing of their wives. It would thus be permissible for you to marry even prior to the passing of 40 days.

Nonetheless, in sensitive situations such as these, one should not merely be in search of what is permissible. Rather, the feelings and emotions of close family should be considered. As far as possible, try to get the approval of those close to you or practice patience for a short while. Don’t jeopardize such family ties only to have the wedding take place five weeks earlier.

And Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Is There a Waiting Period for a Male to Remarry After His Wife Has Passed Away? How Should One Deal With the Sadness Regarding This Loss?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

Is there a waiting period for a male to remarry after his wife has passed away and if so, how long should he wait? Is there any advice to give him when he is feeling a strong loss and is lonely?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

I’m sorry to hear of your loss. May Allah grant you steadfastness and a tremendous reward for your contentment with the Divine Decree.

No, there is not a specific, legal waiting period (`idda) for the husband because one of the primary reasons for its legislation is to ensure that lineage is preserved, namely by giving the woman a certain time period to show signs of pregnancy.

However, he does have to “wait” with respect to marriage in some instances, such as in the case of divorce and wanting to marry his wife’s sister, the details of which and other similar cases can be found in the works of law.

As for the woman, her waiting period is decisively established in the Qur’an. Allah Most High says, “Divorced women must wait for three monthly periods before remarrying” [2.228] and, “If any of you die and leave widows, the widows should wait for four months and ten nights before remarrying.” [2.234] [For further details, please see: Basic Rulings and Length of the Waiting Period (`idda)]

Trials are turbulent and distressing times, but those who realise that it is Allah Most High who is in charge, and it is He who is running the affairs of His creation, seek submission and contentment over objection and complaint, knowing that a mighty reward and a Divine Promise shall soon be fulfilled.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “What an extraordinary thing the business of the believer is! All of it is good for him. And that only applies to the believer. If good fortune is his lot, he is grateful and it is good for him. If something harmful happens to him, he is steadfast and that is good for him too.” [Muslim]

Please see: Imam Khalid Latif on “Losing Someone Close To You and: Is There a Reward for Losing a Loved One?

And also: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and: What Exactly Is Patience?

And Allah alone knows best.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Distorting Islamic tradition in our responses to the Chapel Hill shooting – Sh Hamza Yusuf

hamza-yusuf.pngOn behalf of the board, faculty, staff, and students of Zaytuna College, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the parents, family, and friends of the three beautiful young Muslims—Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha—who were tragically and callously murdered last week in North Carolina. I had met Suzanne Barakat, Deah’s sister, some years ago when she attended a Rihla program in Maryland. Since the murders, she has represented her family in an exemplary manner on different programs on national television, voicing her love and her great loss with dignity and intelligence.

Unfortunately, some of the reaction in the Muslim community has been to see the death of the three young Muslims who were killed as somehow fortunate for them, with one imam going so far as to say in his Friday sermon that he “envied these martyrs” who were now in Paradise. This is a complete distortion of the Islamic tradition’s understanding of unjust violence and it plays into the disturbing and inaccurate narrative that Muslims love death. A perverse death cult in the tradition of the Hashashin (from where we get our English word “assassin”) has emerged today among a small minority of heterodox Muslims. In these trying times, it is important that we remember that all life is precious and that grief, as displayed and articulated by Suzanne Barakat, is not only natural but prophetic.

Our Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, grieved. He cried out of sadness when his son, Ibrahim, died. He did not say, “I’m happy for him.” Instead, he said, “The eye weeps, and the heart grieves, but we say only what pleases our Lord.” This is the natural and prophetic response to tragedy. Furthermore, the year the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, lost his beloved wife, Khadijah, and his protector and uncle, Abu Talib, is known in the biographical literature as the “Year of Depression.” Feeling grief over the loss of those beloved to us is human nature.

Our Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, told us not to wish for death but to ask for a long life that enables one to serve God through devotion and serve God’s creation through charity, kindness, and productive labor. This is exactly what these three young people were doing. They met their Lord in the best of states despite the terror inflicted on their young and innocent souls.

Our prayers are with their families at this difficult time. We hope that the wrongful loss of their lives becomes a catalyst for positive change on many fronts. We hope that all Americans begin to better understand the deep prejudice being perpetrated under the guise of patriotism—a prejudice ironically against patriotic American Muslim citizens who love their country and want to give back to a land that has provided them with great opportunities in education, work, and service.

“Growing up in America has been such a blessing,” Yusor Abu-Salha said in an interview months before her tragic death. “It doesn’t matter where you come from. There are so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions—but here, we’re all one.”

We have a window of opportunity now to educate people about who these three young people were and what they were committed to in their lives: feeding and medically serving the homeless, helping refugees, displaying the best neighborly qualities, and most of all living a true and accurate life of devotion, prayer, and charity.

Sincerely, with tears and condolences,
Hamza Yusuf
Zaytuna College