Mourning for the Dead

Bahishti Zewar, Fiqh, Part 4-Nikah (Marriage) in Islam / Thursday, September 16th, 2010

1. When a woman has been issued with a talâqur raj’î, her ‘iddah is that she cannot leave her home until the expiry of the period of ‘iddah nor can she marry anyone in this period. It is permissible for her to beautify and adorn herself.
As for the woman who has been issued three talâqs, one talâqul bâ’in, or her nikâh has broken in some other way – the ruling in all these cases is that such a woman cannot leave her home until the expiry of her ‘iddah, she cannot marry anyone in this period nor can she beautify or adorn herself. All these things are harâm upon her. Abstaining from this self-beautification and remaining in a dishevelled and unkempt manner is known as mourning.

2. As long as the ‘iddah is not completed, it is harâm to carry out the following acts:
(a) to apply perfume
(b) to scent clothing
(c) to wear jewellery and ornaments
(d) to wear or suspend flowers (eg. from the hair)
(e) to apply surmah (antimony)
(f) to redden the mouth by eating betel leaves
(g) to rub tooth powder (with the intention of colouring the teeth)
(h) to apply oil to the head
(i) to comb the hair
(j) to apply henna
(k) to wear beautiful clothes
(l) to wear silk, dyed or colourful clothes.

However, if the clothes are not colourful, it will be permissible to wear them irrespective of what colour they may be. The condition is that they must not be clothes that are used to beautify oneself.

3. If a woman who is in mourning experiences a headache and therefore feels it necessary to apply oil on her head, she may do so as long as the oil is free of any fragrance. It is also permissible to apply surmah if it is applied as a medication. However, this surmah will have to be applied at night and removed the following morning. It is also permissible to massage the head or to have a bath. When necessary, it is also permissible to comb the hair, e.g. after massaging the head or in order to remove some lice that may have fallen onto the head. However, she should not allow her hair to hang down over her face or forehead in a stylish way nor should she use a very fine comb which causes the hair to become smooth and glossy. Instead, she should use a comb with large teeth so that no beauty may become apparent.

4. Mourning the death of the husband is only wâjib on a woman who is mature and not on an immature girl. All the above restrictions and prohibitions are permissible for an immature girl. However, she is still prohibited from leaving the home or entering into another marriage.

5. Mourning is not wâjib on a woman who had entered into an invalid marriage, whose nikâh was not performed in the proper manner and was therefore separated from her husband or her husband passed away.

6. It is not permissible for a woman to mourn the death of anyone apart from her husband’s death. However, if her husband does not stop her, it will be permissible to mourn the death of one of her close relatives for up to three days and not more. It is absolutely harâm to mourn for more than three days. If her husband prevents her from mourning even for three days, she cannot do so for these three days as well.

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