The waiting period of an old woman after the death of her husband
Fatwa No: 145179

Question

assalamualaikum, needed a clarification regarding the iddah period (after death). according certain scholars, it seems iddah period is only for younger women and not for older women. is that right? is the iddah period for younger women not to get married in that period? and the period for older women is not prescribed for 4months 10days? is there any hadith to prove so? please advice. jazakallah

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

A woman whose husband died is obligated to observe a waiting period of four months and 10 days; an old woman is the same like a young woman in this regard; Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “The scholars agreed in a consensus that the waiting period of a free Muslim woman whose husband died and who is not pregnant is 4 months and 10 days whether or not the marriage has been consummated, and whether she is an adult or under the age of puberty as Allaah Says (what means): {And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind-they, [their wives, shall] wait four months and ten [days]}[Quran 2:234], and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said:It is not lawful for a woman who believes in Allaah and the Last Day to mourn for a dead person for more than three days except for a husband, for whom she should mourn for 4 months and 10 days." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The difference of opinion to which you pointed to does not exist at all. Therefore, an old woman also observes a waiting period if her husband dies. Among the wisdom for this waiting period is that a wife shows her loyalty towards her husband, consoles his family and observes his rights. For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 106628.

A woman who observes a waiting period due to the death of her husband, whatever her age may be, is like all other women who observe a waiting period, in the sense that she is not permitted to marry until her waiting period expires; Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “To conclude, a woman in her waiting period is not permitted to marry, according to the consensus of the scholars, whatever the kind of her waiting period may be, as Allaah Says (what means): {And do not determine to undertake a marriage contract until the decreed period reaches its end.}[Quran 2:235]" For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 88684.

Allaah Knows best.

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