What Can a Woman Do During Her Waiting Period?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I have been told that if a woman enters her waiting period after the death of her husband she cannot leave her home until this period is completed.

I wanted to know if leaving the home refers to seclusion (not going out of the home at all during the whole period) or to her not being able to change her residence (shifting to another home)?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Thank you for writing to us.

Iddah refers to the waiting period a lady has to observe after the passing on of her husband or being divorced. She has to remain in the home of seperation for either three clean periods in the case of divorce and four months ten days in the case of her husband’s death. The reason for this iddah is both logical and ritual. Logical, in that during this period a lady would ascertain with certainty that she is not pregnant and ritual in that it’s an obligation she offers to her Lord, Allah subhana wa ta’ala.

During the iddah, the most common rule is that a lady should not leave home unless there’s necessity (darurah) or, at times need (hajah). Similarly, relocating to a different home to spend one’s iddah is by default not allowed. However, if circumstances require it, it would be permitted.

The questioner should feel free to write to us once again explaining her situation, if she is uncertain whether the situation of the mu’taddah warrants moving home or not.

May Allah bless and protect, Amin.

[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.

What Are the Rulings of ʿIdda (Waiting Period)?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I had applied for Khula from my husband. Will there be a penalty if I have broken any rules of iddat? If so, whaf would it be? And would I have to restart the iddat properly all over again? Or would it remain of the same length but with the penalties required to make up for my mistakes uptill now? Also, when I received the news of my Khula, what should have I done? And I have had one normal period after that one…a week after finishing that, I again started bleeding, which is continuing uptill now, today is the 12th day…I had my ultrasound done which showed an ovarian cyst, which could be the cause of the out-of-turn period….so would it be counted as my second period or not? Also, can people visit me at my place? If not men, then just women? Can I host just women guests at home for dinner , etc.? Can I watch T.V and perform other normal daily activities while at home?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Thank you for your questions.

There are a number of issue here. To summarise the answers to your questions we can say: there is no penalty for not having observed the rules of the ʿidda, but you must repent for what has passed. According to the Hanafi school, you are required to remain at home, but may leave the house for essential needs – such was visiting a doctor and work according to the Hanafi school. The Maliki school, however, has a dispensation which you could take; it allows ladies to leave home even without ‘need’. More details of it can be found here.
Also, Your ʿidda began with the period directly after the one you received your khulʿ in, as that period is not counted.

The bleeding you saw a week after the ending of the first full period of your ʿidda ʿis dysfunctional bleeding, and not a period by the standards of the Shariʿa. The last few days could be a period, but to determine that you have to provide certain details which we shall discuss below,

The Rulings of ʿIdda (Waiting Period)

The divorce that ensues from a khulʿ (the ending of a marriage at the request of the wife in exchange of a settlement) differs slightly from a normal divorce in its rulings. A lady in such a situation is expected to not wear any jewellery, perfume and other such fineries. The reason is that the marriage – however it may have been – was a blessing from Allah, and an opportunity for both spouses to gain the benefits of intimacy, and protection of one’s religion from temptations. With it ending, a blessing has left one’s life.

Those people who she is permitted to be alone with – such as her mahrams, female friends and colleagues – may visit her at home at any time. She can continue with her normal daily activities within the home, and it is advisable for her to surround herself with people who will remind her of Allah, His favours upon her, and how one’s purpose in life is to worship Him through the myriad of means He has provided us. (Maydani, al-Lubab)

The ex-husband should continue to provide for her financially, unless what it considered ‘gross disobedience’ (nushūz) has occurred, in which case he is not obliged to support her.

Violating these limits the Shariʿa has placed requires one to repent, and ask forgiveness from Allah. There is nothing else, however, which one must do as an expiation..

Refusing to Wrong

As an aside, one of the worst things someone who has come out of a marriage can do is to keep the company of someone who will speak ill of the ex-spouse, or make one recount the woes of the marriage. Not only does this lead to backbiting and other sins, but – because one is usually deeply troubled emotionally at the time – falling into this will fill one’s heart with resentment for the ex-spouse.

This resentment, which may be natural to a certain degree for some people in that situation, usually leads to wrong actions. Many a time, through talks like this, a man is convinced not to provide any financial support for her or their children, despite being able to, which ends up being ẓulm on his part. Or, the lady is ends up poisoning the hearts of the children against the father – whether directly or indirectly; and this affects their relationship with him because they do not know better. This is ẓulm on her part.

Those who are kept safe from such actions are truly blessed by Allah. The lofty way of Islam is to know that all that happens to one is ultimately what is best for one, and to prayfor the person one is no longer married to, and that Allah reward one for the trial and that He gives something better in return. This prayer ultimately brings one blessings in life, instead of years of resentment and grudges.

The Duration of the ʿIdda

Generally, the length of the ʿidda is three menstrual cycles. However, if a lady has no distinguishable menstrual cycle for various reasons, such as the menopause, for example, then her ʿidda is three months starting from the day the divorce was issued. If she did not now that she had been divorced and some, or all of the ʿidda passed without her observing its rules she is excused, and not sinful. The ʿIdda of a pregnant woman after divorce ends upon childbirth, whether it is a week after the divorce for nine months after. (Maydani, al-Lubab).

Divorcing During the Menstrual Cycle.

For a man to divorce his wife during her menstrual cycle is a sin – yet the divorce is valid; and he is obliged to take her back as his wife if the divorce was revocable. He must then wait for that period and the following period to end and then decide to remain in the marriage or to end it with another divorce. This very clear from the wording of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim.

However, this is not the case if she divorces herself after being given a choice by him, or if the marriage end via a khulʿ during her menstrual cycle: they are both valid and neither is sinful (Ibn ʿAbidin, Radd al-Muhtar). The ʿidda in this case does not begin with the period she was given the khulʿ in; rather it starts with the following menstrual cycle. Therefore, in your case, seeing as he agreed to the khulʿ in January during your menstrual cycle, your ʿidda started when the next menstrual cycle started.

In the Shariʿa a menstrual cycle a minimum of three days, and a maximum of ten days. There must also be a minimum of fifteen days of purity between one period and the next. Every lady is required to document her menstrual habit – which is the number of days she her last period lasted for, and she must document roughly where in the month it occurred, as well as the number of days of purity between her last two proper periods.

In order to determine the ruling which applies to the blood you have been seeing you would have to provide these details; or you could consult with a reliable local scholar – whatever works best for you.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

What Is the Waiting Period for a Menopausal Woman? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What is the idda (waiting period) for a monopausal widow according to the shafii madhab? What are the legitimate reasons she may go out/speak to non mahram men?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. I hope you’re well insha’Allah. The question suggests someone in your family may have recently passed away. If so, I offer my deepest consolation you and the family.

Waiting period for a widow

The waiting period for a widow, regardless of pre/post menopause, is four lunar months and ten days.

A divorced woman is not permitted to speak to non-mehram men during the ‘idda period, unless out of necessity.

[Mughni al Muhtaj, ‘Iyanat al Talibin]

For further details please also refer to the answer below:

What Is the Waiting Period for a Widow (Shafi’i)?

I hope this clarifies things insha’Allah.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

What Is the Waiting Period for a Menopausal Woman? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What is the waiting period for a menopausal woman?

Answer:Wa’alaykum assalam. I hope you’re well insha’Allah.

The waiting period for a menopausal woman is three complete lunar months.

If she is divorced in the middle of a month, she observes the ‘idda for the remaining days of that month, then two whole lunar months, then whatever days remain from the first month, counting the broken month as 30 days (not 29 days).

For example, if a woman was divorced on the 10 of Muharram, she observes the ‘idda for the rest of the month (up to 29/30 days), then continues for the next two lunar months (Safar and Rabi’ al Awwal), then finally completes the remaining days (9/10 days) from Muharram (in Rabi’ al Thani), completing the days up to 30 (irrespective of whether Muharram was actually 29/30 days).

A divorced woman is not permitted to speak to non-mehram men during the ‘idda period, unless out of necessity.

[Mughni al Muhtaj, ‘Iyanat al Talibin]

I hope this clarifies things insha’Allah

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

What Is the Waiting Period for a Widow?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalam alaykum

We have been told that our mother cannot go out of the house during the waiting period, nor can she be seen by anyone who is not her mahram. How true is this?

Answer: Assalam alaykum,

Jazakum Allah khayr for your question. Our deepest condolences to your family, especially your mother, during this time of bereavement. May Allah lighten your grief and grant you all ease. May Allah also reward you for desiring to find out the proper course of action.

Allah has given us guidance for all occasions. In regards the waiting period, He Most High tells us in the Qur’an (2:234), “If any of you die and leave widows behind, they shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days.”

For this reason, the schools of law state that the ‘idda period for a widow is four months and ten days, irrespective of whether the marriage was consummated or not, or whether the widow is past child bearing age or not. The exception to this is a widow who is pregnant, in which case the ‘idda period terminates upon the birth of the child.

The widow must stay in her house during this period. The exception is if she has a need to go out and has no one who can fulfill her needs. Needs include, to buy food or other essentials, or to go out to work if she has no one that financially provides for her.

She is also permitted to visit a neighbor who lives very close by in the evenings in order to have female company, on the condition that

1. She stays the normal amount of time she would normally stay at the neighbor’s house
2. She does not stay there for the majority of the night
3. She returns to and sleeps at home

(Fath al-Mu’in, Yaqut al-Nafis)

If the above proves difficult, one may follow the Maliki position, which permits a woman in her waiting period to leave the house during the daytime, even without a need, such as for social reasons and events, whilst returning in the evening. For more specific details on the Maliki opinion, you may refer to this answer here.

I hope this clarifies things insha Allah. May Allah grant your mother’s husband abundant mercy, and bring comfort to your hearts.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

What Are the Rulings of the Waiting Period (‘Idda)? [Video]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What are the rulings of the waiting period (‘idda)?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

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

What Are the Rules Surrounding the Waiting Period for a Woman Whose Husband Has Passed Away?

Answered by Ustadh Salman

Question: My mum is observing her waiting period at the moment after my dad passed away. She is passed the child bearing age. We have heard that she must stay at her house for four months and ten days and only venture out for the most necessary of things- e.g. relating to her income or if she became very unwell.

But we have also heard that there is nothing wrong with going out for a few hours like to the park to help freshen, ease her mind. Can going to the park for your mental/physical/spiritual health be deemed ‘necessary’?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I would like to express my condolences to you on the loss of your father. May he be granted all that is good in the next-life.

Regarding your questions:

1. The waiting-period (idda) of a woman who is widowed is four months and ten days.

2. It is permissible for a woman who is widowed to exit her home during the waiting period during the day-time for her needs and also for certain portions of the night. ‘Needs’ is not be understood as a reference to simply the ‘most necessary of things’ but more generally to potentially include mental and physical health.

In the Hanafi school, the only thing deemed impermissible for a widowed woman observing her waiting period in regard to exiting her home was her spending the majority of the night in other than her home.


Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

في تحفة الفقهاء: وأما المتوفى عنها زوجها فلا بأس بأن تخرج بالنهار في حوائجها ولا تبيت في غير منزلها، الذي تعتد فيه لان نفقتها عليها، فتحتاج إلى الخروج لاصلاح أمرها وعن محمد: لا بأس بأن تبيت في غير بيتها أقل من نصف الليل لان البيتوتة عبارة عن السكون في المكان أكثر الليل في العرف

في الميحط البرهاني: المعتدة من الطلاق لا تخرج من بيتها ليلاً ولا نهاراً، أما المتوفى عنها زوجها، فلا بأس بأن تخرج بالنهار لحاجتها، ولا تبيت في غير منزلها

Is the Waiting Period After a Khul' Really One Menstrual Cycle?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: I recently came across a post on another website that said that the period of waiting (iddah) after a khul’ is one menstrual cycle to ensure there is no pregnancy whereas for a divorce there are three. Is it possible to get this ruling according to both Hanafi and Shafi’i school?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
According to the majority of scholars, including those of the Hanafi and Shafi`i schools, the waiting period after a khul` is the same as the waiting period for a divorced woman. [Ibn Qudama, Mughni; Mawsili, ikhtiyar; Nawawi, Majmu`]
The position that the waiting period after khul` is one menstrual cycle is a minority opinion. It was one of two opinions ascribed to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and adopted by both Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya. [Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu` al-Fatawa; Ibn Qayyim; Zad al-Ma`ad]
Recently, a number of scholars have adopted and promoted this minority position despite the fact that the relied-upon position of the four schools is to the contrary. If someone followed this position in the past, it would have sufficed him or her as they were relying on scholarly authority and the position in question has some basis in our tradition. However, for future reference it would be more cautious to follow the opinion of the majority.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

When Can One Propose to a Divorcee?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: There is a girl in our community that was divorced about a month and a half ago. My family is interested for her hand in marriage for my brother. When will it be appropriate for us to initiate the talks with the girl’s family?


Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

It is not permitted to express one’s interest (ta`ridh) in marriage to a divorced woman whilst she is in her waiting period (`idda). [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Allah Most High says, “And do not resolve on the knot of marriage until the book has reached its term” [Qur’an, 2:235]

The wisdom being that it gives the couple time for reconsideration (if revocable) and reflection, particularly as the former husband continues to financially support her during this time, and also shows the seriousness of divorce and its implications. But when the waiting period (`idda) is over and the former husband and wife are legally unrelated, one may initiate talk with the woman.

Please also see: Basic Rulings and Length of the Waiting Period (`idda)

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani