Fatwa ID: 05018
Answered by: Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
My ex-husband was adulterous with no remorse. We had been separated for a year and when I requested a divorce, he had given talaq in written form. I have three divorce papers with signatures and witnesses.
Is the Iddat period applicable to me as I am not pregnant and have been separated for more than a year prior to divorce? If so what would the iddat requirement be?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Iddah is a right of the Shariah and is something, which is obligatory for all Muslim sisters. There are many rules which are attached with the iddah; some are connected with the husband such as he has to provide his divorced wife with food and living accommodations during the period and some are connected with the wife such as she is not allowed to leave the house during this period unless there is a valid Islamic need. The rules of iddah have to be followed by both the husband and wife otherwise they will be considered sinful for discarding a command of Allah (SWA).
A benefit of iddah is that if the husband issued the Talaq in anger or haste and he later regrets his actions, then if he gave one or two Talaq Rajee, he has the option of later taking his wife back during her iddah. Even if he gave her a Talaq Baain, the couple can reconsider their pasts and redo their nikah.
Another wisdom is that it is a means of safeguarding a lineage. Had it not been for this it would have caused many mix-ups regarding the progeny of a child. The iddah is a precautionary way of safeguarding a child’s lineage. (The Concept of Divorce p.197)
Regarding your question, you will still be obliged to observe the iddah even though you and your husband have been living apart for a year. The iddah for a menstruating woman is three menstruation cycles and the iddah for a non-menstruating woman is three months. The iddah will start from the moment the first talaq was given. (Aapke Masaail p.414 v.5)
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham