Unaware of divorce until after 4 months

CategoriesDivorce [623]

Fatwa ID: 01244

Answered by Mufti Abdullah al-Ma’mun


"As Salamu Alaikum”, I just found out today 18th February 2013 that my ex-husband had divorced me since the 16th of November 2012. He informed me today and added so I can calculate my idda, although it has been over four (4) months and 4 menstrual cycles. In fact, I am currently on my fourth cycle. Technically I have ended my idda, but I didn't even know I was on it. He was even discussing reconciling with an uncle of mine (although I have been against their various meetings, since I was the one seeking the end of the marriage due to his abuse to mention a few) and now he's saying he did it 4 months ago. To be honest, I was grateful I didn't have to begin my idda today. Although, I am not 100% sure I am right, with regards to Islamic law. My question is:

  1. Am I right that my idda is complete even though I didn't know I was on it, or do I have to begin my idda today; the day I found out about the divorce? Kindly adjust your response to the day you get back to me, in case I do have to re-do my idda.
  2. Please advise me on how to properly perform my idda. I was out of the country from 16th November, 2012 until 29th December, 2012 and from the airport I went straight to my parents’ house (since they knew about my decision) and have been there since then. I pray Allah reward you for your contributions. Amin."





In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.

In the aforementioned questioned the divorce occurred on the 16th of November 2012 despite you not being aware of it. Hence your Iddah will begin from that day and last for a time span of three menstrual periods. If this date has fallen during your menses then the duration of your Iddah will still be three menstrual periods excluding the one in which you were divorced.

It is mentioned by Allamah Haskafi:

“…and the period of Iddah after the (occurrence of) divorce and after the death (of the husband) is immediate, and the period of Iddah will initiate even if she (the wife) is not aware of it.”

(al-Durr al-Mukhtar p247 Bab al-'Iddah)

(Radd al-Muhtar v12 p392)

There are certain restrictions applicable during the period of Iddah and it is necessary for the woman to adhere to it since these are the basis of Iddah. The most important of these restrictions is that such woman must not marry another man since it is prohibited for her to do so in Shari'ah. It is clearly prohibited to even entertain the thought of discussing marriage with a widow who is still observing the Iddah. Allah Ta'aala says:

“And do not even consider marriage until the duration of Iddah has terminated.”

(al-Quran 02:235)

In Sura Talaaq it is stated that such a woman is restricted from leaving her home and a number of hadiths state that such a woman should remain in mourning and abstain from adorning herself or using such items commonly used for adornment. However if there is a need to leave your home to fulfil a necessity then Shari'ah has permitted that you leave your home for the duration that will suffice in fulfilling that necessity.

Only Allah Knows Best

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham.

About the author