A woman in her waiting period going...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

A woman in her waiting period going out for work


I am a teacher and my husband has passed away. Is it permissible for me to return to work before the waiting period for the death of my husband ends? Please note that it is the beginning of the school year and I am not eligible for any kind of leave.


It is established in Islamic law that a woman in her ‘idda [the period after divorce or the death of a husband] is not to adorn herself, use perfume or engage in any manifestations of joy. Moreover, during this time she must spend the night in the marital house. God Almighty says, “If any of you die and leave widows, the widows should wait for four months and ten nights before remarrying. When they have completed this set time, you will not be blamed for anything they may reasonably choose to do with themselves. God is fully aware of what you do” (Quran 2:234).
It is permissible for a woman in her ‘idda to exit her house during the day or part of the night to run errands and fulfill her needs, but she should spend the night at home. Ibn Qudama said, "A woman in her waiting period, whether a divorcee or a widow, may go out by day to fulfill her needs." Jabir reported that during her waiting period of a thrice pronounced divorce, his aunt [exited her house] to cut down her palm trees. When a man approached her and forbade her from doing so, she went to see the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and related the incident to him. He told her, “Go and cut down your palm trees for you may give out in charity from them or do [an act of] kindness” (al-Nisa`i and Abu Dawud). Mujahid narrated that after the battle of Uhud, the widows of the martyred men gathered in one house. They approached the Prophet and said, "O Messenger of God! We get lonely at night so we spend the night at one house and return to our homes in the morning." The Prophet replied, "Chat together at the house of one of you, but each is to return to her house when it is time to sleep" (Sunan al-Baihaqi).

The Ruling

It is permissible for the inquirer to return to her job during her waiting period provided that she spends the night at the marital house

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