A widow has certain rights in Islam, and she is also required to assume some obligations, whether her husband dies before or after consummating the marriage. As for her rights, they are the entire dower, and her share in the inheritance. She must wait for the end of the `iddah before considering remarriage, and she is forbidden to marry any of the deceased husband’s ascendants (father or grandfather) or descendants (son or grandson). As for the pension, it is to be divided according to the law regulating it and is not considered a part of the inheritance. However, if the recipient of the pension is not designated, then it is recommended to divide it in the same way as the inheritance is divided.
Tackling this issue, Al-Azhar House of Fatwa stated the following:
“According to the Shari`ah (Islamic Law), a widow who has been married through a valid contract must reckon four months and ten days as `iddah. In this respect, Almighty Allah 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). It makes no difference in such a case whether or not the wife and husband have consummated the marriage. It does not matter also whether or not the wife has reached puberty, for the `iddah in this case is only a way to show mourning for losing the grace of marriage through death.
If the husband dies in the beginning of the (lunar) month [say within the first four days of the new month], the period of the `iddah is to be counted by lunar months even if some of these months are less than thirty days. However, if the husband dies after a considerable part of the month has passed, the `iddah is to be reckoned as 130 days. This is the opinion adopted by Imam Abu Hanifah. However, Abu Hanifah’s two disciples, namely Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan Ash-Shaybani, said that the three middle months are to be counted according to the appearance of the new moon. As for the first incomplete month, it is to be counted as thirty days and then ten days are to be added to complete the `iddah. Thus, a widow must reckon four months and ten days as the prescribed `iddah, whether or not marriage has been consummated.
As for the dower, the widow mentioned here, whose husband has died after concluding a valid marriage contract and before consummating marriage, is to receive the whole dower—the portion paid in advance and that postponed. As for the latter portion, the postponed one, she is to receive it from the inheritance.
With regard to inheritance, this widow has the right to receive her prescribed share of inheritance as long as there is no legal impediment. Her due share is one-fourth of the estate in case the husband has no children from another wife, or one-eighth in case he has children. This is to be done after she receives her dower in full. As the marriage contract is concluded, each of the spouses is to inherit
from the other after his/her death, whether death takes place after or before marriage consummation.
As regards pension, it is subject to other regulations. If the deceased has not designated who will receive it, then it should be divided in the same manner the estate is divided.
It is worth mentioning here that the deceased’s son is forbidden to marry this woman, for she is considered his stepmother once his father concludes the marriage contract. Almighty Allah says, “And marry not those women whom your fathers married, except what hath already happened (of that nature) in the past. Lo! It was ever lewdness and abomination, and an evil way.” (An-Nisaa’: 22) This ruling applies to marriage in general even if no intercourse happens between the spouses, which is the case of marriage without consummation.”