Author-Murtuza Gadyali


In Islam, Iddat or Iddah refer to the "waiting period" mostly observed by women after their husband’s demise or after taking divorce from him. The period of iddat is observed to safeguard the woman against defamation, slander, or ill-repute. A woman with a dead husband should observe iddat for four months and ten days and during this period she is not allowed to marry any other man. The Iddat period begins just after the husband's death or whenever she receives any information about her husband's demise. Legally, the term Iddat is defined in the Muslim Women (Protection On Right On Divorce) Act, 1986.[1]

The origin of the iddat took place in the regime of the prophet Mohammed, in the regime of the prophet Mohammed a man (mard) dies in the result, so at that point of time prophet Mohammed had guided the woman to observe iddat with certain rule and regulation. From that period the iddat is been performed by every woman to forget the agony of the husband.


Islamic scholars consider this directive to be a balance between mourning of the husband’s death and protecting the widow from the criticism that she might be objected to from remarrying very quickly after her husband’s death[2]. This is also to find out whether a woman is pregnant or not for four and a half months is half the period of the pregnancy.

Sa’id bin Musayyib and Abu AL-Aliya stated that the wisdom behind making the iddah of the widow four months and ten nights is that the womb might contain a fetus and when the woman waits in this period it will become clear that she is pregnant or not[3]. Another directive of the Quran also clarifies that during this waiting period, the women should not be turned out of her house nor come in direct contact with any man regardless of blood relations.


  1. The woman who is observing iddat should take the allowance from the community head (called as raza na saheb) or from our His Holiness. It is done to get blessings from them so that the iddat period is also done without any obstruction.

  2. The iddat begins at the time of sunset known as ‘magrib’ and they should take bath (gusul) before magrib and when the magrib begins they have to pray ‘namaz’ and begin the iddat.

  3. The woman after taking the bath (gusul) should wear ‘ahad’ cloths (white cloths).

  4. The woman when begins iddat she has to observe it for four months and ten days and on the 10th day a the time of sunset (magrib) she has to pray namaz and end the iddat.

  5. Prophet Mohammed says that: a woman who is observing iddat shall not apply or use any kind of perfumes, shall not apply ‘surmah’ (kajal) in their eyes, shall not apply mehndi, shall not apply any kind of color on their head, shall not comb their head without any purpose, shall not wear any ornaments and colorful dresses.

These things shall only be done by a woman whose husband is dead. This should not be performed by the woman who is observing Talak ul iddat. Certain things which a woman has to practice when she is observing iddat for her dead husband are:-.

  1. From our earlier His Holiness the custom has begun that a woman who is observing iddat shall wear white cloths, read Quran al-Majid, read Adeeyat Mubarak, and many other things.

  2. A woman who is observing iddat can not meet any male adult or child who is not in any blood relation with her, she can only meet a male with whom she is having blood relations. If she met any male who is not in the blood relation or even if she sees the sky then her iddat is broken and she has to observe iddat from the beginning.

  3. If a woman is pregnant and her husband is dead then that woman shall observe iddat for four months and ten days if she gives birth to the child in this period, or she has to perform iddat until she gives birth to the child.

  4. The woman has to observe the iddat period in a single house, if she has to change the house during her iddat period for any reason, then she has to observe the iddat from the beginning.

  5. A man can observe iddat of her wife’s mother, even if he has not cohabited with her.

  6. A man can observe the iddat of her wife’s mother even if the mother’s relation with his wife is of stepmother.

  7. A man observes iddat for a woman who is not his biological mother but related to him as his step-mother.

  8. At the time of completion of the iddat period, The woman has to grief for her husband and donate any item or anything to grant sorry from the god (Allah Subhanahu).


Iddat-ul-talak has been stated in the Quran thrice. Iddat ul Talak can be observed in two ways that are if a woman is going through menstruation then the time for iddat is of three menstruation period and if the woman is not going through menstruation then the time of observing iddat is three lunar months.


  1. The first menstruation period is the situation in which the man gives talak to his wife.

  2. After then when she gets periods until the end of her period which makes her pure (paak), that is read as the second menstruation period of iddat.

  3. After that when she gets her periods for the second time and ends the period and gets pure (paak) that is considered as third menstruation period of iddat.

  4. And then whenever she starts to get periods for the third time, that is considered as the end of the third menstruation period of iddat, and her Talak ul Iddat is complete. The man cannot go back and a resiled relationship cannot be bounded if the period of Talak ul Sunnah is complete.


  1. The husband is bound to support his wife during the period of iddat.[4]

  2. The wife cannot marry another person until the iddat is brought to an end, and if the husband has four wives including the divorced one, he cannot marry the fifth wife until the divorce wife iddat period is completed.

  3. If the prompt dover is not been paid it becomes immediately payable to the divorced wife.[5]

  4. As the case may be if either of the party dies before the iddat period the another is entitled to inherit from either in their capacity and before the death of the deceased divorce has not become irrevocable.

  5. In the death illness, if divorce is pronounced, and before the wife's iddat husband dies, the wife will inherit even if the divorce has become irrevocable.


As discussed above, a woman has to suffer a lot whenever she is observing iddat. Especially when the iddat is performed after the death of her husband. During the Iddat observation, if the woman is the only bread earner of the house her sufferings become more commanding as taking care of her children becomes a difficult task. So in my view, the restrictions made have to be generalized and lessened to not cause any more discomfort to the women already suffering from the grief and pain of losing her husband. The basic aim of Iddat is to protect the right of the child present in the mother’s womb and to discover his paternity. I believe all the other religions should also observe the Iddat period. As iddat can not only protect the rights of an unborn child but also acts as a period of inspection for a separated or divorced couple.


1.Choudhury, A., 2020. Muslim Women (Protection Of Rights On Divorce) Act 1986 - Legal Articles In India. [online] Legal Articles in India. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 July 2020].

2.Pandey, A., 2020. Iddat Under The Muslim Law - Is It Legal? Legal Provisions And More. [online] iPleaders. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 July 2020].

3.Wajibad. 2020. Surah Al-Baqarah |سورة البقرة |Part Five. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 July 2020]. 2020. Syed Saib Vs Meeram Bee On 28 October, 1909. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 July 2020]. 2020. Status Of Unpaid Dower Under Muslim Law: A Critical Analysis. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 July 2020].

158 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Publisher: Shuvasmita Nanda

Qr No- C/1,Railway Colony,Barbil,Keonjhar Odisha-758036


VAIDHA is featured in TOP 100  

Indian Law Blogs on the web by Feedspot.




Mail us at:


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.