The Difference in Iddah for Widowed and Divorced Women

by Saif min Suyufillah


The Qur’an does not grant the widow the same exception as the divorcee. If the marriage is terminated before it was consummated — whether by divorce or by the death of the husband — why does the widow have to undergo a waiting period of four months and ten days, but the divorcee is free to marry as soon as she likes? Why are these two women not treated equally?


Case of a Widow:

Definition of Grief:

Grief is the psychological-emotional experience following a loss of any kind (relationship, status, job, house, game, income, etc), and bereavement is a specific type of grief related to someone dying.

The Grief process for a Widow:

Dr. Mary R. Donahue states,

Mourning a loved one is an intensely painful process, but it is a process. The pain eventually recedes, making room for a new, satisfying way of life. The grief process includes the following stages:

Shock. Initial reactions may involve numbness and disbelief as well as overwhelming sadness.

Emotional expression. Once the initial paralysis has worn off, the bereaved person may need to cry for hours on end or talk about the loss to whomever will listen.

Acceptance/adjustment. The widow begins to face the fact that her husband is no longer in her life. She reassesses her personal goals and values, and starts to think about the changes she needs to make now that she is on her own.

Rebuilding. She slowly begins to nourish new interests and friendships…and to realize that life can still be enjoyable and fulfilling.

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She further states,

They (widows) may be paralyzed by overwhelming emotions or unable to carry out basic activities—such as buying groceries or paying the bills—weeks or months after the loss.

As an important note,she says,

Don’t get pushed into sexual contact if you’re not ready. When you are ready, remember that times have changes…learn about—and practice—safe sex..

If you have some intelligence without any prejudice,you could easily understand that a woman having her husband died,would be dealing with grief and bereavement.The special tip advised for such women is that they should not get pushed into any such relationship when they are not comfortable.

They would be suffering from special type of grief that is bereavement.

Case of a divorced woman:

The case of a divorced woman would be totally different.Analyze the most common factors of divorce.


There would be more relief than bereavement if such a person is no longer her partner.


Allah knows the grief of a widow and the relief of a suffering wife (as in most cases) who is divorced.For the psychological emotional differences of both the conditions and the difference of consequences,there is a also a difference between the Iddah of these two types of women.

The widow is granted more time to recover and the divorced has to wait for shorter time to go for a better option.