Waiting Period (idda) for Non-Menstruating Women Prior to Menopause
Can you explain to me what the judgement is for the woman whose husband has divorced her, but she has no menstrual period nor is she in menopause? I would like to know specifically the length of time of her iddah. Is it three consecutive months?
If you have any information please list your source. I have been told that her iddah is not over till she reaches the age of 64. Is this true? I would like to know the judgement from each of the four major madhabs.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
The waiting period (idda) for a female who does not experience menstruation due to childhood (saghira), who is on menopause (a’yisa) and who has reached the age of puberty (baliga) without experiencing menstruation, will be three consecutive Islamic months.
Allah Most High Says:
“Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same).” (Surah al-Talaq, V.4)
If the women experienced menstruation for three days or more, and then her menstruation stopped, the original ruling for her is that she will have to wait until she starts menstruating again or she reaches the age of menopause (iyaas). This is according to the Hanafi and Shafi’i schools (Radd al-Muhtar, 3/508)
According to the Maliki and Hanbali schools, the preferred opinion is that she will wait until one year is complete. (See: al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuh, 7185)
The age of menopause according to the Hanafi Fuqaha is thirty years for a woman who never experienced menstruation, and fifty five years for the one who did experience menstruation, but stopped for some reason.
However, due to immense difficulty and hardship incurred by acting upon this ruling, the fuqaha have given a dispensation, in that the Maliki opinion of one year can be followed.
Imam Ibn Abidin, the great Hanafi jurist quotes al-Zahidi as saying:
“Some of our scholars used to issue a Fatwa in this issue according to the opinion of Imam Malik, because of need.” (Radd al-Muhtar, 3/509)
Many contemporary scholars have also given the same ruling. However, the following points need to be taken into consideration before acting upon this ruling:
1) The woman should first resort to medication. If all attempts fail, then she can act upon this ruling of one year.
2) This ruling should be passed by a Maliki judge. However, if this is difficult, then it will permissible even without the judgment.
3) If menstruation appears during this period of one year, then the Idda of three menstruations should be observed. (Imdad al-Fatawa, 2/431 & Ahsan al-Fatawa, 5/435)
In conclusion, a woman who does not menstruate due to illness should first resort to medication. If all attempts fail, then she can re-marry after the period of one year is over.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK