Woman in ‘Iddah may go out for a need
Fatwa No: 361807

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. First of all, thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my questions about this important issue. I requested my husband to divorce me due to several reasons, including loss of trust due to an emotional affair on his part, both of us growing apart from each other, his strong temper, me feeling disrespected sometimes, as well as being taken for granted and neglected emotionally. He sent me an email stating in English, "I divorce you D..." and I want to make sure that is enough. Also, I am going through my ‘Iddah (post-divorce waiting period) and want to know if I am considered married during this time? And for which of the following am I allowed to leave the house:
1- Because of the divorce I want to start working.
2- My family is Christian, and I usually see them during Thanksgiving, and I do not want to not attend and give them a negative view of Islam.
3- I want to take one or two classes in college to get a better job.
4- I have an appointment with the eye doctor.
5- I want to continue jogging for fitness.
6- I want to continue taking the financial statements to the court for the divorce.
Are there any other rules I should know about during this period? Thank you so much for your time regarding this! May Allah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

It was authentically reported in the hadeeth of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) that it is forbidden for the wife to request a divorce except for a legitimate reason. We have previously underlined those reasons in fatwa 131953. If your husband is having an affair with this woman and he insists upon it, then this is sufficient reason for requesting a divorce because his conduct is impious and dissolute.

A written divorce is considered a metaphor of divorce on account of which divorce takes place if the husband intended it. Please refer to fatwa 174947. If your husband intended issuing the divorce while writing the words of divorce, it counts as a divorce and you are obliged to observe the ʻIddah. It is impermissible for you to go out except for a need. If there is a need, you go out for it during the daytime or, if necessary, at night, but you return to your house to sleep there overnight.

It is obligatory on the husband to provide for his divorced wife during her ʻIddah until it expires. If your husband does not provide for you and you need to go out to earn a living, then there is no harm in that. The same applies to visiting the doctor.

As for going out to take a class in college, then if getting a job depends on taking this class, it is considered a need and you may go out for it. However, if this class only helps you get a better job, then, apparently, it is not a need.

It is impermissible for you to leave the house during the ʻIddah to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family. It is impermissible for the Muslim in general to partake in the celebration of non-Muslim festivals. It is also impermissible for you to leave the house merely to exercise for fitness, as this is not considered a need that allows going out during ‘Iddah.

Finally, Islam commands the husband to live with his wife in kindness. Allah, the Exalted, says (what means): {...and live with them in kindness...} [Quran 4:19] As-Saʻdi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him commented on the verse, saying, "It is incumbent on the husband to live with his wife in kindness, keep good company with her, avoid harming her, and treat her with compassion and respect." There is no doubt that a strong temper in dealing with the wife, neglect, and disrespect contradict the enjoined kindness and good companionship.

Allah knows best.

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