ʿIdda (Arabic: العدة) is a specific period during which a woman is not permitted, according to religious law, to marry after divorce or after her husband's death. Idda has different types, durations of which are different. The condition for obligation of idda in all its types except the idda of death is that the woman has had sexual intercourse.
The duration of idda period after divorce is three periods of purity from menses; however, if the woman is pregnant, her idda will be until the time of delivery. The idda of divorce for a woman who is at the age of having menstruation but does not have menstruation is three lunar months. Idda after the husband's death is four months and ten days and if the woman is pregnant, her idda is the longer period, either four months and ten days or the time of delivery. The idda period after temporary marriage is two periods of menstruation and if the woman does not see menses, the idda is forty five days.
One of the rules regarding idda is the prohibition of marriage with a woman who is in idda period. If a man marries a woman in idda period, that woman will become forbidden for him to marry forever; i.e. their marriage will be void and they can never marry each other again. Also, proposing to a woman who is in idda of rij'i divorce is forbidden. Prohibition of wearing make-up for a woman who is in idda of her husband's death is another rule regarding idda.
Definition in Jurisprudence
Idda is a specific period during which the woman is not permitted to marry a man after divorce, the death of her husband, or having sexual intercourse with a man by mistake.
Idda has some types such as idda of death, idda of temporary marriage, idda of sexual intercourse by mistake, and idda of a woman's husband not being found. The durations of these idda periods are different. According to the fatwas of jurists, in all idda periods except the idda of death, the necessary condition for observing the idda is the occurrence of sexual intercourse.
Idda of Divorce
The idda for a woman, who separates from her husband through divorce, is three periods of purity from menses. The Qur'anic proof for this rule is the verse 228 of Qur'an 2: "Divorced women shall wait by themselves for three periods of purity [after menses]"
The idda of divorce for a pregnant woman is until time of delivery. This rule is mentioned in verse 4 of Qur'an 65, "As for those who are pregnant, their term shall be until they deliver."
Women who are at the age of having menstruation but they do not see menses, should observe the idda for three lunar months. This rule too is issued based on verse 4 of Qur'an 65 which says, "As for those of your wives who have ceased having menses—[or] if you have any doubts [concerning its cause, whether it's is age or something else]—their term [of waiting] and of those who have not yet had menses, shall be three months. As for those who are pregnant, their term shall be until they deliver".
Idda of Death
Idda for a woman after her husband dies is four months and ten days. This rule is mentioned in al-Tarabbus Verse (Qur'an 2:234), "As for those of you who die leaving wives, they shall wait by themselves four months and ten days" and there is no difference whether sexual intercourse is taken place or not, and it does not matter whether the marriage contract is permanent or temporary.
However, if the woman is pregnant, her idda is either four months and ten days or until the time of her delivery, whichever is longer.
Idda of Temporary Marriage
Idda of temporary marriage is two menstruation periods after the end of the marriage contract-or after ignoring its remaining time by the husband. If the woman is in menstruation age but does not see menses, she should observe the idda for forty five days.
Idda of Having Sexual Intercourse by Mistake
According to the fatwa of jurists, if a man has sexual intercourse with a woman by mistake thinking that she is his wife, the woman should observe idda for three periods of purity from menses; whether the woman knew that the man was not her husband or not. But, there are different fatwas regarding the situation when the man knows that the woman is not his wife, but the woman did not know that the man was not her husband. Some say that the woman should observe the idda and some others say that it is not necessary.
Idda when a Woman's Husband is not Found
A woman, whose husband is lost and not found after a while and has divorced from him by the permission of the Sharia ruler, should observe the idda similar to the idda after death.
Idda of Adulterer
Jurists say that a woman who has committed adultery and has become pregnant does not need to observe idda; but, they have different fatwas about a woman who has committed adultery but she has not become pregnant. Most fatwas in this regard are that she does not have to observe idda, but, some of them say that based on caution, she has to observe idda as long as seeing menses once.
Idda of Apostasy
According to the fatwa of jurists, when either the man or the woman become apostate after marriage, the marriage will be void. If the man becomes apostate and his parents are Muslim, his separation from his wife becomes definite and the woman should observe the idda of death. But, if the man becomes apostate and his parents are non-Muslim, the woman should observe the idda of divorce and if during the idda, the man becomes Muslim again, the marriage continues.
This section is a general introduction to the rulings of a fiqhi topic.
Some rules of idda based on the fatwas of marja's are as follows:
- Marriage with a woman in the idda is not permissible and it does not matter whether she is in the idda after permanent marriage or temporary marriage or she is in the idda of death.
- If a man marries a woman in the idda of rij'i divorce and has sexual intercourse with her, she will become permanently forbidden for him to marry with; even though, he does not know the rule of marriage during idda or does not know that the woman is in the idda.
- If a man marries a woman in the idda knowing about the prohibition of marriage during the idda, the woman will become permanently forbidden for him to marry with; even through, he has not made sexual intercourse with her.
- Proposing to a woman who is in the idda of rij'i divorce is not permissible.
- The maintenance of a woman who is in the idda of rij'i divorce is upon the husband; but, in the idda of ba'in divorce, only if the woman is pregnant, her maintenance during pregnancy is upon the husband.
- It is not permissible for a man to send the woman whom he has divorced a rij'i divorce out of the house she has been living at the time of divorce. Also, this woman cannot leave the house without the man's permission.
- During the idda of death, performing an action which is considered an act of adornment such as wearing kohl or wearing dressing for adornment is forbidden.
- Committing adultery with a woman who is in the idda of rij'i divorce leads to permanent prohibition of their marriage.
Women Who do not Have Idda
According to rules of jurisprudence, some women should not observe idda. An immature girl and a woman in her menopause are among such women. Also, a woman who has not had a sexual intercourse after marriage does not have idda, unless the end of her marriage is the death of her husband. If an adulterous woman becomes pregnant out of adultery, she should not observe idda; and if she is not pregnant, according to the fatwa of most jurists, she does not have to observe idda.
In some books of hadiths, tafsir, and jurisprudence, different reasons are mentioned for the rule of idda in Islam. In Tafsir-i nimuna, the philosophy of observing the idda of death is considered to be respecting the husband; with this argument that marrying immediately after the death of the husband is against respecting him and also hurts the feelings of his relatives. Also, the philosophy of the idda of divorce is mentioned to be giving the husband the chance to review the divorce.
According to a hadith in Ilal al-sharayi', the reason for the idda duration of four months and ten days is mentioned to be the longest period a woman can bear deprivation from the fulfillment of her sexual desire. Therefore, based on this rule, it is considered obligatory for the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife at least once every four months. Also, having the womb pure and avoiding mixing of different men's sperms are mentioned as other reasons for the rule of idda.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from عده in Farsi WikiShia.