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Iddah and madhab query

Fatwaa ID: 1498

السلام عليكم

Please keep this question confidential.

When my stepmother married my Father, she was Shafii, she is from Indonesia. When she married my Dad, who is from Bangladesh, she started following Hanafi, as she started learning more Deen from my Father. However, since she is living in Indonesia, and after my Father died, she is confused what to do.

1) Should she follow Shafii or Hanafi masklak? All around her, she finds Shafii ppl. During the last years of my Father’s life, about the last 2-3 years, he was bedrest and had dementia.

2) Regarding her iddat, according to Shafii and Hanafi, does she need to do Iddah as a 75+ year old lady who has passed menopause?

3) She had requested to understand the Tafseer of Surah At-Thalaq ( 65: 4th Ayaat). Does this Ayaat say menopause women have different ruling regarding iddah?

I am writing to you since, Mashaa الله, you are a Shafii Mufti. Please make Dua for my Father’s Maghfirah and entrance to Jannatul Firdaus. Aameen

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

May Allaah Ta’aala fill your father’s qabr with Noor and elevate his status in Jannah. May He grant the family Sabr Jameel.

  1. At the outset, it is important to understand that all four legal schools are part of the Ahlus Sunnah. It is permissible to follow any one of the four. One should not change or switch legal schools without a valid reason. Your mother had adopted the Hanafi legal school due to your father as well as the convenience in learning and practicing. In the enquired situation, we understand that the scholars and the community around your stepmother in Indonesia are now Shaafi’ee. It will be easier for her to follow and learn the Shaafi’ee legal school. As such, if she wishes and she sees a need, she may adopt the Shaafi’ee legal school once again.
  2. The ‘iddah of a widow according to both legal schools is four months and ten days if the husband passed away on the first of the Islamic month or 130 days if he passed away on any other day. The ‘iddah must be observed irrespective of the widow’s age. In the enquired situation, your stepmother must observe this ‘iddah. Her ‘iddah commenced from the time your father passed away.
  3. Your mother is observing the ‘iddah of a widow. The verse you have enquired about is regarding a divorcee. That is not applicable to her. They are two different ‘iddahs. Nevertheless, the explanation is as follows: The ‘iddah of a divorcee is three haydh cycles according to the Hanafi legal school or three tuhr cycles according to the Shaafi’ee legal school. If a divorced woman has never yet experienced haydh or she is now menopausal, then in the absence of haydh/tuhr cycles, three months will be regarded as her ‘iddah. Again, this does not apply to your stepmother. Her ‘iddah is that of a widow as stated above. That is not based on haydh/tuhr.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York

12/28/1444 AH – 07/16/2023 CE | 358

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين


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