Behaviour of Woman in iddah

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

thanks for your helpful article, but can you provide for me textual evidence which clearly proscribes the appearance and behaviour of a widow in her idda, or are you quoting fiqh. I am an American muslim, fluent in Arabic and living in Cairo and this is a frustrating topic here, Jazak Allahu Kairan--


(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)




Behaviour of Woman in iddah

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person,  no grave, no prophet,  no imam,  no dai,  nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 234 (part):If those of you who die and leave wives behind,  they should abstain (from marriage) for a period of four months and ten days.    Then,  when their waiting term expires,  they are free to do whatever they choose for themselves,  provided that it is decent;  you shall not be answerable for this.   Allah is fully aware of what all of you do.


The above waiting period of mourning of four months and ten days is an obligatory duty on every believing woman whose husband dies,  and it is definitely a practice of all the believing woman,  who sincerely believe in Allah and the Last Day.  There is slight exception for a widow who is pregnant at the time of the death of her husband… her waiting period or iddah is until she delivers the baby… be it the next day or until after nine months!


Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 4.23

It is not permissible for a believing woman to mourn at the death of anyone for more than three days, except in the case of her husband's death, when she is to mourn for four months and ten days, which is a legally prescribed period of waiting or "iddah". Muslim, Al-Bukhari, Ahmad, and Abu Dawood  report from Umm 'Atiyyah, that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: "A woman should not mourn for any deceased person for more than three days, except in the case of her husband's death, which she may mourn for a period of four months and ten days. Such a woman (in mourning) is not to wear any (brightly) colored dress. She may wear only plain dress. During this period she should not use any adornment or eye makeup, nor wear any perfume, nor dye her hands and feet with henna, nor comb her hair, except at the end of her menstruation period, when she may use some cleaning or refreshing agents (such as perfume, etc. ) to get rid of any offensive smell left over from her period."  Accordingly, when a widow mourns, she must not use any adornment, such as jewelry, kohl, silk, perfume, or henna dye on her hands and feet. A widow must observe this waiting period in deference to her late husband's memory and to fulfill her obligations toward him.


The rules for observing this waiting period or ‘iddah’ and period of mourning are as follows:

The widow should not wear fashionable or attractive clothing;  neither apply perfume;  nor apply make-up, etc.   She must be dressed in plain,  simple and humble clothing for the period of the ‘iddah’.

She should not leave the house unless there is an emergency or a basic need,  which no one can do for her.  Example:  she may go to a hospital if ill,  or she may go out to get her food and necessities if there is no one to get it for her, etc.

She should be in a genuine state of mourning,  remember Allah much,  and pray and supplicate Allah Subhanah for her deceased partner and herself.  


There is no particular clothing,  or a particular color of clothing that she needs to wear like only black,  or only white, etc.  Any basic, simple, humble and plain clothing will suffice.   Neither is there any restriction that she cannot see the moon,  or the mirror, etc.  which some people try to enforce on the widow in the name of Islam.  These have absolutely no basis or evidence from the guidance of Allah and His  Messenger (saws).  Most importantly she should not meet socially or otherwise with the non-mehram males.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your Brother in Islam,






Copyright © 2022 Wister All rights reserved

Privacy  |  Feedback  |  About Wister  |  Volunteer Wister  |  Ask a Question  |  Widget