Question # 364: Assalamu alaikkum. My question is, during iddah of a demised husband can a women watch News on Tv, look photo? and is it good to see family members like mahrams? Even just looking by a man will it break iddah? What are the important things to follow during iddah of a demised husband? suppose if we see a man should we follow iddah from 1st? what are main activities break iddah?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: It is allowed for a woman who is divorced/ widowed to communicate with her mahrams (Non-Marriageable kin) since this is permissible for her, whether in `iddah, or not. Moreover, conversation with non-mahrams is allowed in Islam in general [during ‘iddah] if this is conducted appropriately and within the limits of Islamic permissibility such as for accepting condolences and answering inquiries about her situation after such a calamity.

The people who say that a woman in ‘iddah should confine herself to one room, or wear only white clothes, or is absolutely prohibited to see or hear the voice of a non-mahram man, or is prohibited from seeing a photograph or television, or is prohibited to see news or read a newspaper, etc. have invented these prohibitions without any authority themselves; these self-invented and self-imposed prohibitions have nothing to do with guidance or with Islam. The only matters prohibited during ‘iddah are: leaving her house (except for a necessary purpose), wearing perfumes, beautiful clothes, jewelry, and putting on kohl. Finally, if a woman does not observe mourning then she is sinning, and she has to repent and seek forgiveness from Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).

Long Answer: The following ayat pertain to ‘iddah in the Qur’an:

  • And those of you who die and leave wives behind them, they (the wives) shall wait (as regards their marriage) for four months and ten days, then when they have fulfilled their term, there is no sin on you if they (the wives) dispose of themselves in a just and honorable manner (i.e. they can marry). And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do. (Soorah Al-Baqarah, 2:234)
  • O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and then divorce them before you have sexual intercourse with them, no ‘Iddah [divorce prescribed period] have you to count in respect of them (Soorah al-Ahzaab, 33:49)
  • O Prophet! When you divorce women, divorce them at their ‘iddah (prescribed periods) and count (accurately) their ‘Iddah (periods). And fear Allah your Lord (O Muslims) (Soorah al-Talaaq 65:1)

The `iddah for women who menstruate is three courses. For those who have “lost hope” of menstruating [post-menopausal women] and those who have not yet begun to menstruate, the `iddah is three months. The `iddah of a pregnant woman is that she be relieved of her burden [through birth or miscarriage]. As for the woman whose husband has passed away, her `iddah is four months and ten days. (AMJAonline Jurisprudence Section) [In other words,] `iddah is a waiting period which a woman observes in her husband`s house because he divorced her or he passed away. She does this in compliance with Allah`s command in this regard, and to make sure that she isn`t pregnant or to mourn husband.

It is forbidden for a woman at the time of mourning [(during `iddah)] to do the following:

  • To go out of her house, except for a necessary purpose, such as if she is sick and needs to go to the hospital, in which case she should go during the day; or in the case of emergencies such as if her house is about to fall down and there is the fear that it may collapse on top of her; or in the case of fire; and so on. The scholars said: she may go out during the day for necessary purposes, but at night she should not go out unless it is essential.
  • To wear perfume, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade the grieving woman to put on perfume except when she purifies herself following her period, in which case she may applies a little azfaar (a kind of perfume) after her period ends, to take away the traces of menstruation.
  • To wear beautiful clothes that are considered to be adornments, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade that. Rather she should wear ordinary clothes such as the kind that she usually wears inside her house, without making herself look beautiful.
  • She should not put on kohl, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade that. If she needs to use it, she should use the kind of kohl whose color is not obvious, putting it on at night and removing it during the day.
  • She should not wear any jewelry, because if she is forbidden to wear beautiful clothes, it is more appropriate that jewelry should not be allowed.

It is permissible for her to speak to men and to speak on the telephone, and to allow people to enter the house who are permitted to do so according to shari’ah, and to go out onto the roof of the house during the night and during the day. She does not have to do ghusl every week as some of the common folk think, or to undo her hair every week. Similarly, she does not have to – indeed it is prescribed for her not to – go out when her `iddah ends with something to give in charity to the first person she meets. This is an act of bid’ah (innovation). (Islamqa.info)

Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah, Member of the Fatwa Committee of Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America, states that “…Conversations between people of the opposite gender are allowed in Islam in general [during `iddah] if this done appropriately and within the limits of Islamic permissibility…” According to General Iftaa Department – Jordan: “…She is only allowed to mix with her Mahrams (Non-Marriageable kin) since it is permissible for a woman, whether in her `iddah, or not, to mix with her … Mahrams. However, she is allowed to accept condolences, and answer inquiries about her situation after such a calamity.”

[Further,] the people who say that a woman in `iddah should confine herself to one room, or wear only white clothes, or is absolutely prohibited to see or hear the voice of a non-mahram man, or is prohibited from seeing a photograph or television, or is prohibited to read a newspaper, etc. have invented these prohibitions without any authority themselves, for these self-invented and self-imposed prohibitions have nothing to do with guidance or with Islam. (Islamhelpline.net)

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah: …If a woman deliberately does not observe mourning then she is sinning, and she has to repent and seek forgiveness… So long as she did not observe mourning during the appointed time due to ignorance or for some other reason, then she does not have to offer expiation, but she has to repent and seek forgiveness, and recite a lot of dhikr.

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam