What is a woman’s ‘iddah period following her husband’s death?

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The woman whose husband has died must observe mourning for her husband for four months (lunar) and ten days, and until giving birth if she is pregnant.

Allah, may He be exalted, says what could be translated as:
“And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind – they, [the wives, shall] wait four months and ten [days]. And when they have fulfilled their term, then there is no blame upon you for what they do with themselves in an acceptable manner. And Allah is [fully] Acquainted with what you do” [al-Baqarah 2:234].

What is meant by mourning is refraining from marriage, adornment, perfume, and not going out of the house by day except in the case of need, and not going out by night except in the case of urgent necessity.

Al-Bukhaari (4923) and Muslim (2740) narrated that Umm ‘Atiyyah said: We were forbidden to mourn for anyone who dies for more than three days, except in the case of a husband, (for whom the mourning period is) four months and ten days, during which we should not apply kohl or perfume, or wear any dyed garment, except a garment made of ‘asb (coarse, partially dyed cloth). A concession was granted to us when our menses ended, and when doing ghusl, we could use a little costmary or azfaar (types of incense). And we were forbidden to follow funeral processions.


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