Truly, Islam acknowledges the rights of a husband on his wife even after death. Among the purposes of `Iddah is the unceasing dutifulness to the husband even if he is dead. There are certain regulations for this period that a woman who seeks Allah’s pleasure should observe including abstaining from wearing perfumes and going out of her home except in certain cases.

You know that the widowed woman whom her husband dies while leaving her pregnant, her waiting period ends with the delivery of her baby. Allah Almighty says, “…And for those with child, their period shall be till they bring forth their burden…” (At-Talaq: 4) If the widowed woman is not pregnant, her waiting period ends after completing four months and ten days. Allah Almighty says, “Such of you as die and leave behind them wives, they (the wives) shall wait, keeping themselves apart, four months and ten days…” (Al-Baqarah: 234)

Regarding whether a widow is permitted to go out or not, we’d quote the following fatwa issued by the prominent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi:

“Such a woman (a widow in her waiting period), however, is permitted to go out to fulfill a need such as seeking medication or buying necessary stuff if there is no other person to do that. She is also permitted to go for work if she is a career woman, working as a teacher, a doctor, a nurse or the like. In all these cases, being in `Iddah she is allowed to go out of her house, as we know, she is not going out for socialization.”