A blog about nothing and about everything

Death is  inevitable and divorce happens…

According to Islamic law, when either one happens, the divorced female or widow must observe a wait period, known as Iddah, before she can remarry again.  Reasons for the iddah are to a) ensure there is no pregnancy and thus confusion of lineage, b) Reconciliation period for the couple before the divorce becomes final. Some might add c) to give a woman the proper space to mourn her husband.

The period of the iddah is:

  • A widowed woman has a wait period of 4 months and 10 days.
  • A divorced woman has a wait period of 3 menstrual cycles.
  • The wait period of a pregnant woman, whether widow or divorced, ends with the delivery of the baby.
  • A female who was separated from her husband for a while before the divorce was final does not need to follow the Iddah law yet it is recommended as a cautionary measure.
  • A divorced woman where the marriage was not consummated does not require observing the Iddah.
  • Post menopause women:  have to comply with Iddah. Their wait period is three months.

Iddah Etiquettes:

  1. No makeup or jewelry.
  2. Be very sad and grievy looking. (the color black is the cultural color for mourning)
  3. Do not leave the house unless you absolutely must (some claim work is not necessary enough)  …
  4. Going out for a walk to smell some fresh air is not an excuse to leave the house.
  5. If you must leave the house, be back by night-time. Always spend the night at your house…(3-5 in particular are not supported with religious texts: Quran and Hadeeths.)
  6.  Not looking at the moon or at the mirror are old wives’ tales but most likely practiced by a few. It has been added to the list  for entrainment purposes.

What will the neighbors Say? 

It is worrisome when Muslims use social factors to explain Iddah. Sadly, many religious scholars have added that Iddah is a social formality to ensure the female’s safety from being judged for not looking or feeling sad enough. God forbid a woman fails to show sufficient mourning over her dead husband or greave over a husband who has abused and mistreated her. Why is a man not required to show sufficient greave over his deceased wife  

What others see is more important than how you feel!

Questions? Doubts?

Financial Support: How can a female breadwinner observe iddah when she cannot afford to miss work for 4 months or even during an entire pregnancy? This is no longer relevant to only non-Muslim societies but a reality that is inflected in Arab/ Islamic countries due to today’s modern day demands.

 Iddah and Modern Science: How does Iddah comply with modern science when the latter can confirm, through simple lab tests, the state of pregnancy and thus, invalidating reasons behind the iddah?

Female grieving: Some believe that the widower should feel   “broken and feel sad because of cruel separation…”– as one website described – doesn’t this enforce a certain way of mourning and grieving as well stereotype of gender roles?

Male grieving: When a man shows grieve he becomes a saint!                                                                                                                                                                              While women are forced to show a certain way of mourning, men are exempt from it. Some claim that this is not necessary because men need to be taken care of and their needs fulfilled. Their social responsibility demands from them to go to work and earn end’s meat. Once again, women’s needs have become nonexistent in order to satisfy the social outlook towards a man’s death. Also, this reinforces the claim to reexamine the need for the Iddah in light of financial support.  

Pregnancy! A Miracle? : In view of the reasons behind Iddah it becomes questionable why a post menopause widow should adherent to the wait period.   Chances of a pregnancy would be deemed a miracle and there is no reconciliation to consider. So, perhaps the only valid reason for a wait period would be to give her the time and space to mourn and grieve her husband before she may move on. However, is the griever given the proper tools to move on?  It should be put into consideration that people do not show grieve the same way (see the Elizabeth Kübler-Ross five stages of grieve) and forcing a person to grieve in a specific way will only prolong the grieving time. In addition, the wait period, also becomes a period of isolation. This could be deemed very harmful, both physically and mentally, especially if she lives in an apartment building, where there lacks adequate space for a woman to move around for 4 months .  And again, what is the the  role of  modern science?

It almost seems as though a woman is punished for the death of her husband … or entirely blamed for the divorce…

Suggestion: the purpose of Iddah, and the religious texts covering issues of Iddah need to be examined, along with input from science and feminine views

 Is there a Computer in you?                                                                        While researching the topic, I came across a website that a claim a woman’s uterus is like a computer that stores the code of men she mates with. Each sperm or man carries a unique code. When the computer is infested with many codes, they become virus like and infect the whole computer. This is why all prostitutes will eventually suffer from cervical cancer. (Disturbing thought!!! This analogy is not new and has been used many times against women to prove that women, as oppose to men, cannot be promiscuous by nature.  It also reinforces the idea that cancer as a divine punishment rather than an illness.)

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Comments on: "Women and the Wait Period. Is it still Applicable today?" (20)

  1. I can definitely see the purpose of iddah aforetime with regards to pregnancy, but as you noted, that is easily solved today with modern lab tests. I also can see the wisdom in the case of pending divorce as a cooling off period, but the long iddah required for a woman on the death of her husband is one i have severe problems with. I cannot imagine being forcibly locked in the house for four long months just to prove that i am grieving! BTW, if this is not supported with religious texts, where did this rule come from?

    The period of mourning in Islam is three days. After that, we are supposed to move on, i thought. Why are women forced to be “broken and sad” for much longer? It is something no one has ever been able to explain to me. You make an excellent point that people grieve in different ways, and it is totally unhealthy to force us into a box. People say that the woman shouldn’t be isolated because friends and family should visit her frequently. I can honestly tell you that being locked in my house and forced to receive a constant stream of well-meaning visitors would stress me out beyond words! That’s just my personality. Fully agree this is an issue that definitely needs another look in our contemporary age.

  2. Hmm. Well, maybe they did a tad better than us in that respect, BUT the recommendation not to marry widows in general and forbidding men from marrying a twice widowed woman whose husbands had died of natural causes – what a load of crap!! What about a twice-widowed man whose wives had died of natural causes? Was he at fault? Of course not!

    Interesting that there was a waiting period almost identical to the iddah. Okay, i know we can chalk it up to the continuity of the eternal message, but it always makes me question how much of previous regional culture was incorporated just so the boat wasn’t rocked too much. ??

  3. Call me an islamophile. the hadis and sunnah are NOT to be tampered with or told they are outdated. call me a believer in the prophet muhammad (s) if you must.

    and when it comes to things that are clearly and unequivocally stated, mentioned and followed during the time of rasulallah, there should NEVER be any backing down against those who want to “question” or “second guess”.

    • LOL why do you continue to read my blog if you don’t like what i write ??
      and what does believing in the Prophet have to do with this. are you saying that you are a better believer
      If everything is so clear, then why do people have doubts?
      if everything is as clear as black and white then you shouldn’t fear questioning because everything will be revealed at the end.

      if the teachings of a religion does not answer concerns of modern time then there must be something wrong either with the religion itself or the interpretation of those teachings.

      the above is not about questioning Islam but questioning the i (the man made )
      interpretation of Islam. If you believe you have the answers go ahead and share but don’t mock the world by t telling them they are not allowed to question anything

      • 1. believing the prophet has everything to do with this because he laid down the fact that there was an iddah, and aqlso ALLAH (not prophet muhammad) states in the quran:

        Al Baqarah 2:234 If any of you die and leave widows behind, they shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days: When they have fulfilled their term, there is no blame on you if they dispose of themselves in a just and reasonable manner. And Allah is well acquainted with what ye do. (Yusuf Ali)

        discussion is over…

        2. why is there doubt? because people who know little about the issue don’t refer back to what is clearly the quran and sunnah and make questions that were already answered to people who don’t know answers either, and those people have widely held discussions.

        3. if the people of modern times are not willing to go with the teachings then the problem is NOT the teachings, the problem lies squarely with people with muslim names who are unwilling to kill their own nafs. islam MEANS submission to allah’s will. if allah’s will is uncomfortable then by golly put yourself on the bed of nails, the same goes for me too.

  4. Average Joe: the discussion is over for you not for me!
    funny how you fail to address any of the points in the original post.

    Islam claims to fit every time and place. well then prove it . but to say that people have to adapt to the religion is hardly a challenge to a religion.
    why don;t you go ahead and live in a tent and ride horses

    how many people have abused others in the name of Islam. i.e. female genital mutilation !! if no one questioned this action how would people that this practice has nothing to do with Islam

    • 1. the discussion is over when the QURAN MAKES A CLEAR HUKM.
      2. Islam is not meant to be challenge. Islam is meant to challenge people and THEY HAVE TO CHANGE
      3. as far as living in tents and riding horses … yawn… please … just please don’t
      4. i know a lot of things have been done in the name of islam, including FGM. the difference is that the IDDAH TIME IS CLEARLY STATED BY ALLAH. and that is that.

      • if you believe the discussion is over then stop replying!!
        and if it’s so clear why can’t you find a proper reply to the questions and doubts part???
        Generally speaking, if you want people to believe Islam to be the true religion you have to engage in a proper discussion with them and not tell them it just is. No one will take you or your claim seriously!

      • i am talking to someone who claims to be islam as her religion. so why you as a muslim would want to second guess and debate what ALLAH says? The quran is the word of ALLAH. ALLAH STATES UNAMBIGUOUISLY @ 2:234 what is to be done. Let me ask you, what is the confusion in your mind?

        If it’s clear? why can’t i find a proper reply? Sheesh, what part does “ALLAH STATES IN 2:234 that:

        ‘If any of you die and leave widows behind, they shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days: When they have fulfilled their term, there is no blame on you if they dispose of themselves in a just and reasonable manner. And Allah is well acquainted with what ye do. (Yusuf Ali)

        DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND? Haven’t you read the billboard signs, “what part of no, don’t you get?” guess what some people still don’t get it. Allah’s word ideally should be the only answer required. I guess for some even Allah’s words are not enough.

  5. Joe, if God did’t want us to think for ourselves, he wouldn’t have granted us brains. not using it should be blasphemous !!!

    “what is the confusion in your mind?”
    HELLOOOOO this is what the post is about!!! God doesn’t make mistakes and everything is there for a reason but God also gives us permission to think and question for ourselves. so if something DOESN’T make sense, i have a right to question it and seek answers…
    true Islam is NOT about blind faith. This part is left to the fanatics who have used God’s holy words to hurt others

    why don’t you answer my questions instead of hiding behind what you claim is God’s interpretation.
    LOL you have NO skill or talent to engage in a discussion whatsoever!!
    and before you say anything if you were as devout as you claim you are then you have an obligation to have a good discussion with others especially about matters of faith of faith…

    i am done here trying to engage in a conversation with you

    • Demah said:

      You are right, Islam is NOT about blind faith. Even from the Quran we know that people have questioned God for centuries – it’s human nature and it’s our right. Questions don’t threaten faith if you want to understand.

      As far as the points you make about The Wait Period, I have to agree that they do not apply to modern age. The Quran and Hadith are not always entirely clear and explicit to give people the freedom to interpret and practice their faith with less restriction and to give room for change that agrees with the time and place. Also, there are times when things are mentioned explicitly; however, other beliefs within the faith may give you the freedom to practice otherwise. For God knows each persons intentions and he may forgive.

      Personally as an independent woman who works to earn a living, if I were married and widowed or divorced I would not be able to leave my job for that whole wait period. Regardless of what people may think of me shouldn’t be an issue for me or for others because it ultimately comes down to God knows my reasons and intentions and he is the one to judge NOT the people.

      As far as what people do in the name of Islam mixing religion with backward cultural traditions or make-belief or herendous acts, this is not Islam it’s humans doing what they want to do.

      I know my comment doesn’t really give you any answers but I just wanted to express the way I look at it.

      Thanks for the discussion!

  6. I can truly understand what women in iddah go through. An aunt of mine was forced to do this lately and it was really sad to see her cry and wear white clothes and close all windows, not look at moon or sky or even breathe outside air…It is just disgisting to see how women are force to do all this….Its things like this that make me say, I’m ashamed to be a follower of Islam…

    • That must have been tough on your aunt. Hope she is doing better.
      As far as i know, wearing all white, closing all windows and not looking at the moon has nothing to do with Islam whatsoever . This would bring us to another issue: Are some Muslims blind followers or do they look for the source to obtain accurate information. It seems as though most belong to the later.

      • Demah said:

        Many people sadly follow religion mixed with traditions that don’t make sense.

        The widowers I’ve seen that want to stay home for The Wait would only leave the house for necessaties: getting groceries, going to work, going to their medical appointments, etc. In doing so, they would wear hijab attire that isn’t flashy and they wouldn’t put makeup or strong purfume on.

        Wearing all white or all black, not looking at the moon/sun, not looking in the mirror are all teachings that are NOT in the Islamic faith.

        The widowed or divorced women I know even would have family and friends over to keep them company. There is nothing that says the woman has to make herself miserable or force herself to be sad during that time.

  7. i really wish someone would do some research about the iddah period for post menopausal women. if there is no iddah period for a woman after delivering a baby, even if she delivers it the day after her husbands’ death, then why should there be an iddah period for a post menopausal woman?
    if Allah says so, should i be widowed, i’d wait out the stipulated time at home, though i would not be happy about it. but grieve? for a man who’s abused me for 40 years? tears? i’ll be heaving a sigh of relief, if not actually breaking out into song & dance. i’d find it very difficult to be that big a hypocrite for the sake of society, when Allah knows the truth.
    also, i know a few women about my age [62] who’ve gone into depression because they couldn’t go out & be with friends, & hence were extremely lonely. friends, even though they might empathise & be sympathetic, don’t always have the time to go visiting for four months.

  8. hi
    I agree with you and being a woman i understand that this custom should really be irradicated from islam. It doesnt have any relevance now and we just cannot follow anything like this just because iys mention in quran. As god has given us enough reasoning ability we must raise our voices to erradicate this custom as it is against humanity.

  9. Hello folks, if you wanna lose weight you should type in google – Laerdhat’s weightloss –
    it’s good point to start your fight with fat

  10. sir
    i have doubt that basically we are answering iddah for ibadat but some scholars are interpreting it in scientific ways…then why the difference between iddah after the death of her husband for 4 months and 10 days and after divorce for threes months of menstrual periods?

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