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What Are the Rulings of ʿIdda (Waiting Period)?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I had applied for Khula from my husband. Will there be a penalty if I have broken any rules of iddat? If so, whaf would it be? And would I have to restart the iddat properly all over again? Or would it remain of the same length but with the penalties required to make up for my mistakes uptill now? Also, when I received the news of my Khula, what should have I done? And I have had one normal period after that one…a week after finishing that, I again started bleeding, which is continuing uptill now, today is the 12th day…I had my ultrasound done which showed an ovarian cyst, which could be the cause of the out-of-turn period….so would it be counted as my second period or not? Also, can people visit me at my place? If not men, then just women? Can I host just women guests at home for dinner , etc.? Can I watch T.V and perform other normal daily activities while at home?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Thank you for your questions.

There are a number of issue here. To summarise the answers to your questions we can say: there is no penalty for not having observed the rules of the ʿidda, but you must repent for what has passed. According to the Hanafi school, you are required to remain at home, but may leave the house for essential needs – such was visiting a doctor and work according to the Hanafi school. The Maliki school, however, has a dispensation which you could take; it allows ladies to leave home even without ‘need’. More details of it can be found here.
Also, Your ʿidda began with the period directly after the one you received your khulʿ in, as that period is not counted.

The bleeding you saw a week after the ending of the first full period of your ʿidda ʿis dysfunctional bleeding, and not a period by the standards of the Shariʿa. The last few days could be a period, but to determine that you have to provide certain details which we shall discuss below,

The Rulings of ʿIdda (Waiting Period)

The divorce that ensues from a khulʿ (the ending of a marriage at the request of the wife in exchange of a settlement) differs slightly from a normal divorce in its rulings. A lady in such a situation is expected to not wear any jewellery, perfume and other such fineries. The reason is that the marriage – however it may have been – was a blessing from Allah, and an opportunity for both spouses to gain the benefits of intimacy, and protection of one’s religion from temptations. With it ending, a blessing has left one’s life.

Those people who she is permitted to be alone with – such as her mahrams, female friends and colleagues – may visit her at home at any time. She can continue with her normal daily activities within the home, and it is advisable for her to surround herself with people who will remind her of Allah, His favours upon her, and how one’s purpose in life is to worship Him through the myriad of means He has provided us. (Maydani, al-Lubab)

The ex-husband should continue to provide for her financially, unless what it considered ‘gross disobedience’ (nushūz) has occurred, in which case he is not obliged to support her.

Violating these limits the Shariʿa has placed requires one to repent, and ask forgiveness from Allah. There is nothing else, however, which one must do as an expiation..

Refusing to Wrong

As an aside, one of the worst things someone who has come out of a marriage can do is to keep the company of someone who will speak ill of the ex-spouse, or make one recount the woes of the marriage. Not only does this lead to backbiting and other sins, but – because one is usually deeply troubled emotionally at the time – falling into this will fill one’s heart with resentment for the ex-spouse.

This resentment, which may be natural to a certain degree for some people in that situation, usually leads to wrong actions. Many a time, through talks like this, a man is convinced not to provide any financial support for her or their children, despite being able to, which ends up being ẓulm on his part. Or, the lady is ends up poisoning the hearts of the children against the father – whether directly or indirectly; and this affects their relationship with him because they do not know better. This is ẓulm on her part.

Those who are kept safe from such actions are truly blessed by Allah. The lofty way of Islam is to know that all that happens to one is ultimately what is best for one, and to prayfor the person one is no longer married to, and that Allah reward one for the trial and that He gives something better in return. This prayer ultimately brings one blessings in life, instead of years of resentment and grudges.

The Duration of the ʿIdda

Generally, the length of the ʿidda is three menstrual cycles. However, if a lady has no distinguishable menstrual cycle for various reasons, such as the menopause, for example, then her ʿidda is three months starting from the day the divorce was issued. If she did not now that she had been divorced and some, or all of the ʿidda passed without her observing its rules she is excused, and not sinful. The ʿIdda of a pregnant woman after divorce ends upon childbirth, whether it is a week after the divorce for nine months after. (Maydani, al-Lubab).

Divorcing During the Menstrual Cycle.

For a man to divorce his wife during her menstrual cycle is a sin – yet the divorce is valid; and he is obliged to take her back as his wife if the divorce was revocable. He must then wait for that period and the following period to end and then decide to remain in the marriage or to end it with another divorce. This very clear from the wording of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim.

However, this is not the case if she divorces herself after being given a choice by him, or if the marriage end via a khulʿ during her menstrual cycle: they are both valid and neither is sinful (Ibn ʿAbidin, Radd al-Muhtar). The ʿidda in this case does not begin with the period she was given the khulʿ in; rather it starts with the following menstrual cycle. Therefore, in your case, seeing as he agreed to the khulʿ in January during your menstrual cycle, your ʿidda started when the next menstrual cycle started.

In the Shariʿa a menstrual cycle a minimum of three days, and a maximum of ten days. There must also be a minimum of fifteen days of purity between one period and the next. Every lady is required to document her menstrual habit – which is the number of days she her last period lasted for, and she must document roughly where in the month it occurred, as well as the number of days of purity between her last two proper periods.

In order to determine the ruling which applies to the blood you have been seeing you would have to provide these details; or you could consult with a reliable local scholar – whatever works best for you.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah bless you with the best of both worlds.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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