A Muslim woman wearing hijab walking around. (Featured image for the article about the waiting period after divorce imposed on Muslim women)
A Muslim woman wearing hijab walking around. (Mikhail Nilov/Pexels)

Here’s What You Don’t Know About the Waiting Period After Divorce

For several years now, Islam has been mistaken as a misogynistic religion that favors men over women. There are many claims that can be made with twisted words to mistake what actually is being said in the Quranic text and the Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). Especially because of imposing the waiting period after divorce on women but not men.

Close ya eyes!

For example, one of the biggest topics that is always up for debate is the act of purdah. 1

As most of us know, there is a set of rules that are supposed to be followed by women when it comes to the hijab. However, what does not get put into the spotlight is the “purdah” which is obligatory for men in societies. In Surah An-Nur (24:30) it is declared:

.قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا۟ مِنْ أَبْصَـٰرِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا۟ فُرُوجَهُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ

˹O Prophet!˺ Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their chastity. That is purer for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do.

Right after this statement, the next ayah states:

وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَـٰرِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَٰنِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِىٓ إِخْوَٰنِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِىٓ أَخَوَٰتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُهُنَّ أَوِ ٱلتَّـٰبِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُو۟لِى ٱلْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ أَوِ ٱلطِّفْلِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا۟ عَلَىٰ عَوْرَٰتِ ٱلنِّسَآءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوٓا۟ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, guard their chastity, and not reveal their adornments except what normally appears. Let them draw their veils over their chests, and not reveal their ˹hidden˺ adornments except to their husbands, their fathers, their fathers-in-law, their sons, their stepsons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, their fellow women, those ˹bondwomen˺ in their possession, male attendants with no desire, or children who are still unaware of women’s nakedness. Let them not stomp their feet, drawing attention to their hidden adornments. Turn to Allah in repentance all together, O believers, so that you may be successful.

Islam leans to protect both men and women equivalently.

The Quran, as not said by most people, mentions men to lower their gaze first and then tells women to protect their chastity.

Aside from such, many other examples are considered to be only told one-sidedly rather than sharing the whole truth.

As a Muslim woman, one of the topics that intrigued me the most was the rules and regulations of divorce and the death of a spouse for both a man and a woman.

Muslim women are generally given a period of time after divorce or the death of their spouse called Iddah. 2

In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:228) it states:

وَالۡمُطَلَّقٰتُ يَتَرَ بَّصۡنَ بِاَنۡفُسِهِنَّ ثَلٰثَةَ قُرُوۡٓءٍ ​ؕ وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَهُنَّ اَنۡ يَّكۡتُمۡنَ مَا خَلَقَ اللّٰهُ فِىۡٓ اَرۡحَامِهِنَّ اِنۡ كُنَّ يُؤۡمِنَّ بِاللّٰهِ وَالۡيَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ​ؕ وَبُعُوۡلَتُهُنَّ اَحَقُّ بِرَدِّهِنَّ فِىۡ ذٰ لِكَ اِنۡ اَرَادُوۡٓا اِصۡلَاحًا ​ؕ وَلَهُنَّ مِثۡلُ الَّذِىۡ عَلَيۡهِنَّ

Divorced women shall keep themselves in waiting for three menstrual courses and it is unlawful for them, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day, to hide whatever Allah might have created in their wombs.

The womb is cleansed from the previous imprint after three menstrual periods, and it’ll be ready to receive a new imprint without injury or harm.

For a non-menstruating woman, the period is 3 lunar months. If the woman turns out to be pregnant, then her waiting period lasts until the birth of the child.

However, there is no such time requirement for a man, why is that so?

This has surprised modern science after discovering semen.

Wait so, no booty call either?

The liquid imprint of a man contains 62 proteins, and it differs from one man to another, just like our fingerprints. It’s like a personal code for each man; a woman’s body carries the computer where the code can be put. If a woman marries another man immediately after the divorce or allows other codes to enter her, it’s like viruses entering the computer. This will cause imbalance, and it’ll bring dangerous infectious diseases. It has been proven scientifically that during the first menstrual period after divorce, the woman removes 32% to 35%; in the second period 67% to 72%; and in the third period 99.9% of the man’s imprint.

The womb is cleansed from the previous imprint after three menstrual periods, and it’ll be ready to receive a new imprint without injury or harm. Therefore, the practice of prostitution, or sleeping with more than one man, causes dangerous diseases due to the mixing of sperm fluid in the womb.

Here’s more of an insight into divorce according to the Five Schools of Islamic Law.

Furthermore, Surah Al- Baqarah, verse 234 states:

وَٱلَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَٰجًۭا يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ أَرْبَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍۢ وَعَشْرًۭا ۖ فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا فَعَلْنَ فِىٓ أَنفُسِهِنَّ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌۭ

As for those of you who die and leave widows behind, let them observe a waiting period of four months and ten days. When they have reached the end of this period, then you are not accountable for what they decide for themselves in a reasonable manner. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.

The time for Iddah for a woman whose husband has passed away tends to be a little longer than for a woman who is divorced. Any grief alters the hormonal change in such a way that allows the “imprint” of a man to settle inside of a woman in a stronger way, hence why it is required the extra month and 10 days (all together 4 months and 10 days).

The reason why men do not have to experience such wait timings is because their bodies are biologically built differently. Islam leans to protect both men and women equivalently.

  1. Purdah is the practice among women in certain Muslim and Hindu societies of living in a separate room or behind a curtain or of dressing in all-enveloping clothes in order to stay out of the sight of men; a state of seclusion or secrecy. ↩︎
  2. Iddah is the period a woman must observe after the death of her husband or after a divorce, during which she may not marry another man. ↩︎