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What Is the (Waiting Period) in Case of Khul?

03 October, 2018
Q Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. A woman, who left her husband four years back due to intolerable circumstances, has been in her married brother’s house (her father and mother died). She is independent and works at a school teacher for daily livings. Now she demands khul, because husband does not give her talaq (divorce) due to money/ goods etc, but he agrees to khul. So, she would like to ask: is it necessary after khul to observe iddah (waiting period) and confine at home for 4 months, though she did not meet her husband for the last 4 years, and will not work anymore during that period (4 months)? In that case, how will she bear daily necessities? Please, give an appropriate answer and solution in the light of the Shari`ah (Qur’an and Sunnah). Thanks


Wa `alaykum as-aalamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- Iddah in the case of separation through khul is, according to the correct scholarly view, one menstrual cycle.

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2- During this period, the woman is allowed to go for her work and practice her daily life normally.

3- The sole restriction is that she is not allowed to marry during this period.

In this regard, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi scholar and lecturer, states,

We advise you and your husband to fear Allah, be mindful of Him, and consider all the Shari`ah rulings regarding your marriage, whether you decide to continue your marriage or to end it. No one of you is allowed to cause harm to his spouse.

Khul, in principle, can only occur at the request of the wife and with the husband’s subsequent agreement.

Iddah is obligatory upon every woman who leaves her husband or whose husband leaves her, whether the cause of such separation is divorce,  or the death of the husband, except the case when the divorce occurs before the marriage has been consummated as in such a case a woman does not have to observe Iddah.

Allah the Almighty says, “O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and then divorce them before you have sexual intercourse with them, no Iddah (waiting period) have you to count in respect of them” (Al-Ahzab 33:49)

With regard to the Iddah following Khul, the correct opinion is that it is one menstrual cycle as indicated by the Sunnah.

It was narrated by Ibn Abbas that the wife of Thabit ibn Qays ended her marriage to her husband by means of Khul at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) commanded her to observe a waiting period of one menstrual cycle. (At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah shower him with His mercy) commented,

The prophetic command to the woman who ended her marriage through Khul to observe a waiting period of one menstrual cycle indicates two rulings:

The first is that she does not have to wait for three menstrual cycles, rather one menstrual cycle is sufficient. Besides being clearly the prophetic injunction in this regard, it was also the view of Uthman ibn Affan, Abd-Allah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ar-Rubayyi bint Muawwadh and her paternal uncle, who was one of the greatest Companions. We do not know of anyone who held a different opinion from among them. Al-Layth ibn Sad narrated that Nafi, the freed slave of Ibn Umar, heard Ar-Rubayyi bint Muawwadh ibn Afra telling Abd-Allah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that she had ended her marriage to her husband by way of Khul at the time of `Uthman ibn Affan and that her paternal uncle came to Uthman ibn Affan saying, “The daughter of Muawwadh ended her marriage by way of Khul today. Should she move [from the marital house]?” Uthman said, “She should move and there is no inheritance between them. She does not have to observe Iddah, but she should not remarry until one menstrual cycle has passed, lest she be pregnant.” Abdullah ibn Umar then said, “Uthman was the best of us and the most knowledgeable.”

This view was also adopted by Ishaq ibn Raahawayh and Imam Ahmad, according to one report narrated from him. It was also the view favored by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah.

Those who supported this view said: This goes in accordance with the principles of the Shari`ah. The Iddah [in the case of divorce] was made three menstrual cycles in order to lengthen the time during which the husband may take back his wife, so that the husband should have enough time to rethink about the matter and be able to take his wife back during this time. But in the case of Khul the wife is not going back and the purpose is simply to find out whether she is pregnant or not. Hence, one menstrual cycle is sufficient.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.