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what is the rule on iddah for an old widow?


1. What is the ruling on Iddah (period of mourning) for an eighty years old widow?
2. Is there any specify days of mourning for the passing away of one’s father?


Salamun Alaykum

Thank you for your query.

  1. There are 2 types of Iddah, the Iddah after the death of the husband and the Iddah after Talaq(divorce).
  1. Iddah after death: a woman has to perform the Iddah for 4 months and 10 days.
  2. Iddah after Talaq(divorce): since the mentioned case is 80 years old woman who do not have a menstrual cycle, so there is no Iddah for her to perform otherwise those women who have their menstrual cycle have to perform Iddah for the period of time mentioned in the below rulings.
  1. It varies upon the traditions. Some do it for 40 days and some less than that. We do not have any specific days for this.

Ruling regarding Iddah according to Ayatullah al-Udhma Sayyid Ali Sistany:

Ruling 2535. If a woman whose husband has died is not pregnant, she must observe ʿiddah for four lunar months and ten days. This means that she must refrain from marrying another man during this period, even if she is a minor (Saghīrah), postmenopausal, a temporary wife (mutʿah), a disbeliever (kāfirah), or a woman who has been given a revocable divorce (al-mutallaqah al-rijʿiyyah) and is observing ʿiddah, or her husband had not had sexual intercourse with her, even if her husband is a child or is insane. If she is pregnant, she must observe ʿiddah until she gives birth. However, if the child is born before the passing of four lunar months and ten days, then she must wait until four lunar months and ten days have passed after the death of her husband. This ʿiddah is known as the ʿiddah of a widow (ʿiddat al-wafāt).

Ruling 2529. If a husband divorces his wife with whom he has had sexual intercourse and who has completed nine lunar years and is not postmenopausal, she must observe ʿiddah after the divorce. The ʿiddah of a woman for whom there is a gap of less than three months between two of her menstruation cycles is as follows: after her husband has divorced her during a time when she was clear of [of Hayd and nifās], she must wait long enough for her to experience hayd once more and to become clear of it, and when she experiences Hayd for a third time, her ʿiddah comes to an end and she can marry again. However, if her husband divorces her before having sexual intercourse with her, there is no ʿiddah, meaning that she can marry immediately after her divorce unless the semen of her husband has entered her vagina, in which case she must observe ʿiddah.

Ruling 2530. If a woman does not menstruate even though it is usual for women of her age to menstruate, or, if a woman menstruates but the gap between two of her menstruation cycles is three months or more, then, in the event that her husband divorces her after having had sexual intercourse with her, she must observe ʿiddah for three lunar months after the divorce.

May Allah(swt) grant you success


Syed Haider