1. When the husband divorces his wife or their nikâh is annulled through khula’, zihâr, ’îlâ’ or any other way, or the husband passes away – then in all these cases the woman has to remain in a house for a certain period of time. As long as this period does not expire, she cannot go to any other place nor can she marry another person. Once this period expires, she can do whatever she wishes. This period of waiting is known as ‘iddah.
2. When the husband divorces his wife, she will have to live in that very house where she received the divorce until the end of three hayd periods. She must not leave that house during the day nor at night. Nor can she make nikâh with anyone else. Once she completes three hayd periods, her ‘iddah will be complete and she can now go wherever she wishes. This rule will apply irrespective of whether the man issued one divorce, two or three divorces. And irrespective of whether he issued a talâqul bâ’in or a talâqur raj’î. The same rule will apply in all cases.
3. If a young girl who has not commenced experiencing hayd, or an old woman whose hayd has terminated is divorced, then their ‘iddah will be three months. They must observe the ‘iddah for three months and thereafter they can do whatever they wish.
4. A young girl who has not commenced experiencing hayd as yet was divorced. She therefore commenced her ‘iddah on the basis that it will be three months. However, after a month or two she began experiencing hayd. Her ‘iddah will now be calculated from the time that her hayd commences. She will therefore have to remain in ‘iddah until the completion of three hayd periods. Her ‘iddah will not be complete until the completion of three hayd periods.
5. If a woman is pregnant and her husband divorces her, she will have to remain in that house until she delivers her child. This is her ‘iddah. When she delivers her child, her ‘iddah will expire. Even if she delivers her child a few days after being divorced, her ‘iddah will expire.
6. If a woman is divorced while she is in her hayd, this hayd will not be considered. Her ‘iddah will only be complete on the expiry of three additional hayd periods after the hayd that she is presently experiencing.
7. The ‘iddah for divorce is only compulsory on the woman who is divorced after her husband had engaged in sexual intercourse with her or, they did not engage in sexual intercourse but they met in privacy and solitude and thereafter her husband divorces her. This is irrespective of whether they met in such a way that the total mahr becomes wâjib or in such a way that the total mahr does not become wâjib. In both cases, she will have to observe the ‘iddah.
If they did not meet in privacy and solitude and the person divorces her; she does not have to observe the ‘iddah.
8. A person mistakenly engaged in sexual intercourse with another woman thinking her to be his wife. Thereafter it became known that she was not his wife. This woman will also have to observe the ‘iddah. As long as she does not complete her ‘iddah, she cannot even engage in sexual intercourse with her actual husband nor can she permit him to do so. If they engage in sexual intercourse, both of them will be sinning. The ‘iddah of such a woman is the same as that mentioned above. If the woman falls pregnant (due to the intercourse with that man), she will have to observe the ‘iddah until she delivers the child. This child will not be illegitimate. His lineage will be correct – he will be attributed to the person who had engaged in sexual intercourse with this woman.
9. A person married a woman illegally, e.g. he marries a woman and later he learns that her husband is alive and that he (i.e. her husband) had not divorced her. Alternatively, this person and this woman come to know that they had drank the milk of the same woman when they were infants. The rule in this regard is that if the man had engaged in sexual intercourse with her, and after learning the truth, they were separated, she will still have to observe the ‘iddah. From the moment the man repents and chooses to separate this wife, her ‘iddah will commence. If they did not engage in sexual intercourse, ‘iddah will not be wâjib. In fact, if they had met in privacy and solitude, even then the ‘iddah will not be wajib. ‘Iddah will only be wâjib when they engage in sexual intercourse.
10. Feeding and clothing the woman while she is observing her ‘iddah is wâjib on the very person who divorced her. This will be explained in detail in a later chapter – ’Inshâ’ Allah.
11. A person issued a talâqul bâ’in or three divorces to his wife. Thereafter, while she was in her ‘iddah, he mistakenly engaged in sexual intercourse with her. Because of this, one additional ‘iddah becomes wâjib on her. She will have to observe the ‘iddah for an additional three hayd periods. On the completion of these three additional hayd periods, both her ‘iddahs will be completed.
12. A person issued a talâqul bâ’in and he is also living in the house in which the woman is observing her ‘iddah. She will have to observe strict purdah with him.