Rafed English

The Waiting Period in Permanent Marriage

Adopted from the Book : "Temporary Marriage in Islamic Laws" by : "Sachiko Marata"

IV. The Waiting Period ('Idda)

When a woman is divorced or her husband dies, she must wait for a prescribed period of time before she can remarry.

If the woman's husband has died, the waiting period differs according to whether or not she is pregnant; if she is not, she must wait four months and ten days. Such things as her physical maturity, whether or not she has reached menopause, and whether or not the marriage has been consummated are irrelevant. If the woman is pregnant, according to the Sunnis her waiting period terminates when she gives birth to the child; according to the Shi'is, she must wait either four months and ten days or the term of her pregnancy, whichever is longer.1 If a woman's husband should be away on a journey when she hears of his death, according to the Sunni schools her waiting period begins on the date of his death; the Shi'is hold that it begins on the day she receives the news.2
The waiting period for divorce differs according to circumstances and the views of the different schools. A woman with whom the marriage has not been consummated has no waiting period. A girl less than nine years old has no waiting period according to the Hanbalis and the Shi'is; but the Malikis and Shafi'is hold that if she was mature enough to participate in sexual relations, she must wait three months; the Hanafis hold that in any case her waiting period is three months. A woman who has gone through menopause must wait three months in the view of the Sunni schools, but the Shi'is say that she has no waiting period. A woman who menstruates and who is not pregnant must wait either three tuhrs (periods of purification after menstruation) according to the Shi'is, Malikis, and Shafi'is, or three menstrual periods according to the Hanafis and Hanbalis. A woman who is old enough to menstruate but who does not or who is in the state of mustaraha must wait three months. A woman who is pregnant must wait until she has delivered her child.3

1. Ibid., 62-63; Riyad, II, 187.

2. Sharh al-lum'a, VI, 65-66; Riyad, II, 188.

3. Fiqh, IV, 540-52; Sharh al-lum'a, VI, 57-65; Riyad, II,183-86.

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