Calculation and Rules of the ‘Iddah


As-salaamu alaykum Respected Ulama, I am a bit confused as regards the duration of the Iddah periods. It seems to vary in different circumstances. Can you please elaborate on the calculations and rulings of the ‘Iddah periods? Shukran
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

1. Calculation of the ‘Iddah

1.1. The ‘iddah following ṭalāq is calculated in terms of the menstrual cycle in the following manner:

1.1.1. The menstrual cycle consists of a bleeding period (ḥayd), and a clean period (ṭuhr).

1.1.2. In the calculation of the ‘iddah it is the clean period (ṭuhr) rather than the bleeding period (ṭuhr) that is given consideration.

1.1.3. Three clean periods constitute the ‘iddah waiting period. The ‘iddah will thus end with the onset of menses after the third clean period.

1.1.4. Ṭaläq should be given during a clean period. Issuing ṭalāq during menses is against the Sunnah.

1.2. When ṭalāq is given in a clean period, that same clean period counts as the first of the three clean periods which make up the ‘iddah, even if there is only a day or less left of the clean period. The remainder of the ‘iddah will then run as follows:

1.2.1. The first clean period will be followed by a bleeding period.

1.2.2. This first bleeding period will be followed by a second clean period.

1.2.3. The second clean period will be followed by a second bleeding period.

1.2.4. The second period will be followed by the third clean period.

1.2.5. When this third clean period ends and the third bleeding period begins, the ‘iddah expires.

1.3. If ṭalāq is issued during menses, the ‘iddah will begin immediately. However, the first of the three clean periods will only be calculated from the time the bleeding stops. The full ‘iddah will then consist of—

1.3.1. a few days of menses initially;

1.3.2. followed by the first clean period;

1.3.3. followed by a bleeding period;

1.3.4. followed by the second clean period;

1.3.5. followed by a bleeding period;

1.3.6. followed by the third clean period.

1.3.7. When bleeding starts after this third clean period the ‘iddah ends.


2. Irregularity in menses

2.1. You mention 3 situations of your menses becoming irregular:

2.1.1. Where your menses get delayed by almost two weeks.

2.1.2. Where it comes back after just two weeks

2.1.3. Where it goes up to 10 days.

2.2. In situation 2.1.1 the delay of your menses by two weeks will simply mean that your ‘iddah will be longer by two weeks. It does not affect your ‘iddah in any other way besides making it longer.

2.3. In situation 2.1.2, what must be considered is that the clean period (ṭuhr) cannot be less than 15 days. Thus, if menses return after 15 days, that will constitute a valid and effective ṭuhr. If bleeding restarts after a mere 14 days, the 15th day will still be calculated as part of the ṭuhr, despite the bleeding

2.4. If bleeding in a particular month suddenly goes up to 10 days, all 10 days will be considered as ḥayḍ, but the ‘iddah will remain unaffected otherwise.

2.5. You may use medication prescribed by a qualified physician to regularize your menstrual cycle.


3. Living arrangements during ‘iddah

3.1. As a rule the ‘iddah is spent in the marital home, but the couple are for all practical purposes strangers from one another.

3.2. As such, the husband is ideally expected to vacate the premises and reside somewhere else for as long as the ‘iddah runs.

3.3. If it is possible to partition the house in such that the couple have separate domestic amenities (toilet, bathroom, and kitchen) then the husband may continue living at the same premises.

3.4. If the house is also inhabited by a third adult person on account of whose presence in the house the couple restrained from having privacy with one another, the husband may continue occupying the premises. This person should either be a female, or alternatively a male who is a mahram of the wife.


4. Prohibitions during ‘iddah

4.1. During the ‘iddah, the wife is not allowed to leave the house.

4.2. It is the duty of the husband to maintain her after the ṭalāq up to the expiry of the ‘iddah.

4.3. Only if he fails in this duty, and she has no other means of subsistence, may she go out to earn a living.

4.4. If it happens to be the third ṭalāq is advisable, though not obligatory, for the wife to abstain from any form of adornment such as makeup, perfume and jewelry.

4.5. If the third ṭalāq has been given there is no way in which the couple can immediately resume their married life.

4.6. If only the first or second ṭalāq has been given, the couple may resume their married life by the husband pronouncing to his wife that he takes her back into marriage.

4.7. Merely being intimate with one another will not have the effect of restituting marriage between the couple.

والله تعالى أعلم

And Allah knows best.

(Date Issued: 24-04-2017)


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