The wisdom behind the waiting period, we’d like to explain that `Iddah or a woman’s post marital waiting period, is the period in which a woman waits before she may remarry to verify that she is not pregnant, or out of mourning for her deceased husband.
Wisdom of Its Legitimacy:
1- To discern whether the woman is pregnant or not.
2-Shari`ah has ordained the period of `Iddah to avoid any confusion of lineage which may result from the woman’s pressing need of marriage.
3- The period a woman spends in `Iddah whether short or otherwise sheds light on the seriousness of marriage and how far it is a sacred bond.
4- It allows the man and the woman to think twice before breaking up the family tie, especially in cases where divorce is revocable.
Elaborating more on the wisdom behind `iddah, we would like to furnish you with the following fatwa issued by Dr. `Abdel-Fattah Idrees, professor of Comparative Jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University:
“A woman is asked to observe `iddah (waiting period) even if she is sure that she is not pregnant. Some people claim that there is no need for `iddah so long as it can be confirmed by the modern medical means that a woman is not pregnant. Such a group of people have got themselves into a very dangerous abyss. Muslim jurists have noted that a Muslim woman is commanded both in the Qur’an and Sunnah to observe a waiting period after she is divorced or widowed. The majority of jurists go further to say that once there happens a khalwah (privacy) between the husband and a wife, `iddah becomes obligatory. In the Qur’an, we read: ‘Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart, three (monthly) courses.’ (Al-Baqarah: 228) Also, ‘Such of you as die and leave behind them wives, they (the wives) shall wait, keeping themselves apart, four months and ten days. And when they reach the term (prescribed for them) then there is no sin for you in aught that they may do with themselves in decency. Allah is Informed of what you do.’ (Al-Baqarah: 234) In another place, we read: ‘And for such of your women as despair of menstruation, if you doubt, their period (of waiting) shall be three months along with those who have it not. And for those with child, their period shall be till they bring forth their burden. And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah, He maketh his course easy for him.’ (At-Talaq: 4)
In trying to grasp the wisdom behind this waiting period, scholars only manage to understand part of this wisdom, not all aspects of it. In case of revocable divorce, the wisdom is giving a chance for any attempts of reconciliation between the husband and wife. In case of irrevocable divorce, the `iddah serves as a period for ascertaining that the woman is not pregnant in order to prevent mixing of lineage. Again, in case of the death of the husband, `iddah serves as a period of showing grief and sadness for the late husband and safeguarding the woman’s fame from being subject to gossips.
However, it goes above all that the main wisdom behind `iddah is that Muslims show obedience to the commands of their Lord and surrender to His will, for He knows them better than they know themselves. It is the trait of believers to surrender to the will of their Lord and accept His commandments once they receive it. Almighty Allah says: ‘The saying of (all true) believers when they appeal unto Allah and His messenger to judge between them is only that they say: We hear and we obey. And such are the successful.’ (An-Nur:51)”