Discuss the concept of iddat under Muslim Law.
What is iddat and explain for how much time wife
has to observe this period after dissolution of her marriage?
Muslim law is a personal law and all the Muslims in India are governed by this law. If any Muslim male and female wants to perform a valid marriage then they can perform it only according to the rules of Muslim personal law. This law prescribes certain conditions and after fulfilling these conditions only, parties can perform a valid marriage.
According to Muslim personal law if either due to death are by divorce the marriage of the parties get dissolved then after The dissolution of marriage the wife has to observe the iddat period.
Now the question arises “what is a iddat period?”
This term has been defined by Ameer Ali and he said, “it is an interval which the women is bound to observe between the termination, by death or divorce of one matrimonial alliance and the commencement of another.”
Basically it is a period during which wife has to remain alone after the dissolution of marriage. It does not matter whether, the marriage has been dissolved either by divorce or because of death of husband. According to Muslim law, it is mandatory for a woman to observe iddat period and in this period she cannot marry with another person. But she can marry after the expiry of this period.
The main objective of this period is to determine whether the woman is pregnant or not. Basically with the observance of this period, we check the practicality of a child. If a woman is pregnant then it is clear that she is pregnant by the former husband. By observing the iddat period, the confusion regarding paternity of child can be removed.
According to Muslim law, if marriage is dissolved by death, the iddat period commences from the date of death and wife has to observe this period for 4 months and 10 days. But if she is pregnant, the period of iddat will be until delivery of child or 4 months and 10 days whichever will be longer.
But the period of iddat in case of divorce is three courses if wife is subject to menstruation, but if she is not subject to menstruation period then in such a case, it will be for three lunar months. According to Muslim law, if wife is pregnant at the time of divorce, the iddat period lasts until delivery of child whether it is less or more than 3 months.
According to Muslim law, if a marriage has not been consummated by the parties, then in case of death, it is necessary to observe iddat period but in case of divorce, there is no need to observe iddat period.
According to Muslim law, the wife cannot marry another person until completion of this period and husband is also restricted to marry fifth wife until the completion of divorced wife’s iddat period but he is bound to maintain the wife during iddat period.
Moreover, if any of the party dies before the expiration of this period than another party is entitled to inherit from the property of formal party in the capacity of a wife or husband. But this is only in a case, where divorce has not become irrevocable before the death of deceased. But if divorce is pronounced in death- illness and husband dies before the completion of wife’s iddat period then wife is entitled to inherit from him even if a divorce has become irrevocable prior to his death.