Every pregnant woman is required to observe the ‘iddah period till birth

In the name of Allah,


When a pregnant lady who is widowed or divorced gives birth, whether she is a free person, a slave, or a kitabi, that is her ‘iddah. Even if it is a minute after the divorce or death, this is agreed upon. This applies to all by the words of the Almighty,


“The term of those who are pregnant is when they lay down their burdens.” (Translation 65:4). If she has twins, she cannot be deemed legitimate until the second child is born[i].


Click to know What is ‘Iddah and what is the wisdom behind it?

According to some scholars and companions, since Allah mandated that the pregnant woman wait until she delivers or for four months and ten days in case her husband passed away, it follows that if the woman is also pregnant at the time of the husband’s death, she is still compelled to fulfill the two requirements as well.


They argued that the expectant widow should take the lengthier term into account, either until she delivers or until four months and ten days have passed. They believe that joining them is preferable to choose one of them over the others. When four months and ten days have passed and she has not given birth, it is believed that her Iddah will continue until she gives birth. If she gives birth before the four months and ten days have passed, however, she must wait to complete the four months and ten days. Ali and Ibn ‘Abbas[ii] (May Allah be pleased with them) are cited as having held this opinion. Ibn ‘Abbaas (R.A.) possibly recanted, according to another claim.


Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Salamah said, “A man came to Ibn `Abbas while Abu Hurayrah was sitting with him and said, `Give me your verdict regarding a lady who delivered a baby forty days after the death of her husband.’ Ibn Abbas said,` Her `Iddah period lasts until the end of the longest among the two prescribed periods.’ I recited,

(For those who are pregnant, their prescribed period is until they deliver their burdens;) Abu Hurayrah said, `I agree with my cousin (Abu Salamah).’ Then Ibn Abbas sent his slave Kurayb to Umm Salamah to ask her. She replied, `The husband of Subay`ah Al-Aslamiyyah was killed while she was pregnant, and she delivered a baby forty days after his death. Then she received a marriage proposal and Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) married her to somebody. Abu As-Sanabil was one of those who proposed to her.[iii]


Imam al Qurtubi said,


This viewpoint would be beneficial if it weren’t contradicted by the hadith of Subay’ah al-Aslamiyyah. She told the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) that she had given birth a few days after her husband passed away, and he advised her to get married. It is transmitted in the Ṣaḥīḥ. Therefore, the Hadith clearly states that this judgment applies to both widows and divorced women who are pregnant, and the widow’s waiting period (four months and ten days) is only for those who are not pregnant. This is supported by Ibn Mas’ud’s opinion.


It was narrated from ‘Alqamah bin Qais that Ibn Mas’ud said:

“Whoever wants, I will meet and debate with him and invoke the curse of Allah upon those who lie. The Verse: ‘And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their ‘Iddah (prescribed period) is until they lay down their burden.’ was only revealed after the Verse about women whose husbands die. ‘When a woman whose husband has died gives birth, it becomes permissible for her to marry.'” This is the wording of Maimun (one of the narrators)[iv].


Imam As-Shafii mentions in Al Risaala,


This demonstrates that the ‘iddah—whether in the case of death or divorce to be fulfilled by the expiration of the necessary months—was intended to [bind] women who are not pregnant; however, the ‘iddah is dropped if they are pregnant[v].


Imam As-Shawkani said,


However, the reality is that a pregnant woman’s Iddah terminates when she gives birth, regardless of whether her husband dies or she gets a divorce. This is because of the evidence we have already presented. These texts (of the Shariah) include varying interpretations that clarify the intended meaning[vi].


May peace and blessings be on the Prophet Muhammad.


Compiled from the Sources:

[i] The Risala Ibn Abi Zayd Al Qaywarani’s Manual of Islamic Law, Translated by Aisha Bewley page 563

[ii] Abū ‘Abdullāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Abī Bakr ibn Farḥ al-Anṣārī al- Khazrajī al-Andalusī al-Qurṭubī translated by Aisha Bewley, Vol. 2, Page 518

[iii] Grade: Sahih (Darussalam) Reference : Sunan an-Nasa’i 3512

See Tafsir ibn Katheer Soorah AtTalaq- verse 4

[iv] Grade: Sahih (Darussalam) Reference: Sunan an-Nasa’i 3522

[v] Al Imam Muhammad ibn Idris al-Sha’fii al-RISALA FI USUL AL-FIQH Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence page 168

[vi] Shawkani, Muhammad bin Aliy, (2019). Comprehensive Islamic jurisprudence, According to the Quraan and authentic Sunnah, trans: Abu Aisha Murtadha Salahuddin. Malaysia: Dakwah Corner Bookstore. Page 377


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