Please tell me, if Iddat is there to determine the linage of the child that is born after the death of the husband. Why do women who are passed the age of conceiving still observe this barbaric custom.
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Please tell me, if Iddat is there to determine the linage of the child that is born after the death of the husband. Why do women who are passed the age of conceiving still observe this barbaric custom. Also what is the need for the widow not being able to hear the voice of a man, see TV or even read a newspaper. How in the world does anyone get pregnant by watching TV.
Could you please quote the Sura's regarding Iddat. My Mother in Law thinks Iddat is for mourning and for sending the husband's soul to heaven, I think Iddat is only there to determine the linage.
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The issue and significance of iddah
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 234:
234 If any of you die and leave widows behind they shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days: when they have fulfilled their term there is no blame on you if they dispose of themselves in a just and reasonable manner. And Allah is well acquainted with what ye do.
The primary wisdom behind the Divine Command of observing the idda or waiting period of four months and ten days for a widow in Islam is indeed to determine the lineage, and that is precisely why if a widow is deemed pregnant at the time or immediately after her husbands death, regardless of whether it is nine months or only one day, her idda period is until she has delivered her baby.
Al-Muwatta Hadith 29.85
Yahya related from Malik from Hisham ibn 'Urwa from his father that al-Miswar ibn Makhrama told him that Subaya al-Aslamiya gave birth a few nights after the death of her husband. The Messenger of Allah (saws) said to her, "You are free to marry, so marry whomever you wish."
The idda of the widow has absolutely nothing to do with sending her husbands soul to Paradise, for the Holy Quran clearly guides that entry to Paradise is determined by the belief and the deeds of the person who died, and of course, the Mercy of Allah Subhanah.
Your Question: Why do women who are passed the age of conceiving still observe this barbaric custom. Also what is the need for the widow not being able to hear the voice of a man, see TV or even read a newspaper.
Fiqh-us-Sunnah Fiqh 4.23
Umm 'Atiyyah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "A woman should not mourn for any deceased person for more than three days, except in the case of her husband's death, which she may mourn for a period of four months and ten days. Such a woman (in mourning) is not to wear any (brightly) colored dress. She may wear only plain dress. During this period she should not use any adornment or eye makeup, nor wear any perfume, nor dye her hands and feet with henna, nor adorn her hair, except at the end of her menstruation period, when she may use some cleaning or refreshing agents (such as perfume, etc.) to get rid of any offensive smell left over from her period." (Related by Bukhari and Muslim). Accordingly, when a widow mourns, she must not use any adornment, such as jewelry, kohl, silk, perfume, or henna dye on her hands and feet. A widow must observe this waiting period in deference to her late husband's memory and to fulfill her obligations toward him.
The woman observing iddah of her deceased husband in Shariah Law is not prohibited from talking to any non-mehram man if she has a need, nor is she prohibited from reading the newspaper, nor is she prohibited to go out of her house for an emergency or specific needs which none other than her can accomplish or she does not have anyone to do them for her.
As much as the primary wisdom of the prescribed period of iddah in Islam is to determine her lineage, a secondary wisdom is also to allow the widow time to mourn the separation of the one she was bonded to in the sacred relationship of marriage. Islam guides that the widow manifest her solemn grief of the separation of one as close as a husband by not beautifying herself, nor adorning herself with brightly colored or new clothes, nor applying make-up, nor using perfumes, nor applying henna, etc..things she would normally do in happy or joyous times.
The people who say that a woman in idda should confine herself to one room, or wear only white clothes, or is absolutely prohibited to see or hear the voice of a non-mehram man, or is prohibited from seeing a photograph or television, or is prohibited to read a newspaper, etc. have invented these prohibitions without any authority themselves, for these self-invented and self-imposed prohibitions have nothing to do with guidance or with Islam.
Your Question: Why do women who are passed the age of conceiving still observe this barbaric custom
Firstly and foremost, the observance of the prescribed period of iddah for a widow is not a barbaric concept, but a direct Command to the believing woman by the One Who is All-Knowing, All-Wise. As much as the primary wisdom behind the observance of iddah is to determine the lineage, the prescribed period also allows the widow time to come to terms with her grief after the loss of one who was so closely bonded with her in the sacred and sacrosanct bond of marriage.
A woman who has passed the age of conceiving, because of her age would anyways not indulge or be interested in the adornment and beautification of herself, especially after the death of her husband! Such an aged woman, who has probably spent a lifetime with her life-partner, would obviously need time to grieve and come to terms with such a huge and irreparable loss.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,