Iddat: (Waiting period): the reasons for

Q265 :After a relative of mine was divorced, she had a new proposal. Because of certain circumstances, the man who has put in the proposal is in a hurry to get the marriage officially recorded. The problem is that she has not yet finished her waiting period. Since the waiting period is intended for establishing whether the divorcee is pregnant or not, is it permissible for her to establish that fact through pregnancy tests"? If she determines that she is not pregnant, can she go ahead with the marriage, before the waiting period is over?

A265 : While it is true that an important purpose of waiting period is to establish whether a woman is pregnant or not, it is by no means the only purpose. In this particular point, there is a difference between the waiting period of a widow and that of a divorcee. In the case of a widow, the waiting period is longer in order to be absolutely certain whether there is a pregnancy or not. Moreover, the waiting period shows that the widow values here past relationship with her deceased husband. She does not immediately join with another man. In the case of a divorcee, there are certain rules of paramount important. To start with, the waiting period is not calculated by months or days, but by periods of menstruation or cleanliness from it. If the woman is not pregnant, her waiting period extends for three menstrual periods. If she is too old or too young to have the periods, then she waits for three months. If she is pregnant, her waiting extends until she has given birth. Whichever is the length of a woman's waiting period, she stays during that time in her husband's home. He is not allowed to turn her out and she need not leave. She is entitled to full maintenance by her husband throughout this period. He has the right to have the marriage resumed if both agree on that. In this case, they need not have a new marriage contract or have a fresh dower. This is a very important factor. [Added: This provides scope for reconciliation, which must not be taken away.] When a woman is in her waiting period, she may not receive a new proposal by anyone. Nor is a man allowed to promise marriage to a woman who is in her waiting period. All that he can do is to give an implicit hint. On this basis, the answer to your particular question is that a doctor's opinion may establish that a divorcee is not pregnant, but that is not sufficient for her to have a new marriage. The rights which her first husband continues to have during her waiting period cannot be easily dispensed with. Even if he agrees to her new marriage, the rules cannot be changed.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )