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Divorce and the Waiting Period

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

1. If a man divorces his wife at the end of her period of purity a few days before she menstruates, then do these few days before her menstruation count as a period of purity, or is it necessary for there to be three complete periods of purity regardless of when the divorce was pronounced? Please provide details.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

1. Yes, if a man divorces his wife at the end of her period of purity, its remainder counts towards her waiting period. [h: In such a case, she must wait for] a menstrual period followed by a period of purity followed by another menstrual period followed by another period of purity. When her third period of purity ends and she starts her third menstruation, the mere appearance of [m: menstrual] blood signifies the end of her waiting period.

2. For the purposes of [m: calculating] the waiting period, it makes no difference whether the menstrual cycle is long or short. It is imperative that the conditions of menstruation and purity are fulfilled:

1. the bleeding must last for a day and a night (i.e., twenty-four hours), and

2. the bleeding must not last longer than fifteen days, and

3. the period of purity must last for at least fifteen days.

Based on this, it is possible for a woman’s waiting period to be [m: as short as] thirty-two days and two moments. This happens when:

1. [m: her husband] divorces her at the last moment of her period of purity, in which case it counts as [m: the first] period of purity, and

2. the woman menstruates a minimal menstruation (i.e., one day and one night), and

3. the woman’s period of purity is a minimal period of purity (i.e., fifteen days), and

4. she starts her third menstruation.

The total is two moments (i.e., the moment at the end of her first period of purity and the moment at the beginning of her third menstruation) plus two days (for the two minimal menstruations) plus thirty days (for the two minimal periods of purity).

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