What Are the Rules Surrounding the Waiting Period for a Woman Whose Husband Has Passed Away?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadh Salman

Question: My mum is observing her waiting period at the moment after my dad passed away. She is passed the child bearing age. We have heard that she must stay at her house for four months and ten days and only venture out for the most necessary of things- e.g. relating to her income or if she became very unwell.

But we have also heard that there is nothing wrong with going out for a few hours like to the park to help freshen, ease her mind. Can going to the park for your mental/physical/spiritual health be deemed ‘necessary’?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I would like to express my condolences to you on the loss of your father. May he be granted all that is good in the next-life.

Regarding your questions:

1. The waiting-period (idda) of a woman who is widowed is four months and ten days.

2. It is permissible for a woman who is widowed to exit her home during the waiting period during the day-time for her needs and also for certain portions of the night. ‘Needs’ is not be understood as a reference to simply the ‘most necessary of things’ but more generally to potentially include mental and physical health.

In the Hanafi school, the only thing deemed impermissible for a widowed woman observing her waiting period in regard to exiting her home was her spending the majority of the night in other than her home.

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

في تحفة الفقهاء: وأما المتوفى عنها زوجها فلا بأس بأن تخرج بالنهار في حوائجها ولا تبيت في غير منزلها، الذي تعتد فيه لان نفقتها عليها، فتحتاج إلى الخروج لاصلاح أمرها وعن محمد: لا بأس بأن تبيت في غير بيتها أقل من نصف الليل لان البيتوتة عبارة عن السكون في المكان أكثر الليل في العرف

في الميحط البرهاني: المعتدة من الطلاق لا تخرج من بيتها ليلاً ولا نهاراً، أما المتوفى عنها زوجها، فلا بأس بأن تخرج بالنهار لحاجتها، ولا تبيت في غير منزلها

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