The hadith narrates five things a woman that is recently widowed should do and five things she should not do.
- The widowed woman should stay in her marital home after the passing of her husband until the end of her Iddah. The duration of Iddah is four months and ten days.
Allah SwT says:
“And for those who are pregnant their Iddah is until they lay down their burden.”
So therefore in case the woman is pregnant, then her Iddah will end after she delivers her baby.
She is not allowed to leave her marital home expect it is totally necessary, such as buying food that she needs for the family or for herself, provided there is no one else to do that for her. If she is all alone in the house and fears for her safety, then it is okay for her to leave the house if there is a need to do so.
- She should avoid wearing colorful and beautiful clothes until after the end of her Iddah
- She should also not wear jewelries until after the end of her Iddah
- She should not also wear perfumes except when she bathes to purify herself after menstruation. In this case she may wear a little perfume
- She should avoid beautification on her face or any kind of cosmetic that is used on the face that may attract people such as kohl
The above mentioned are the five things which a recently widowed woman should not engage in according to what is recorded in the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Salalahu alaihi wa salam)
However, there are so many prohibitions heaped on a recently widowed woman without any Islamic basis. Most of these come from customs and traditions and they are nothing but fabrications. Some of these include:
- she should not take a bath more than once a week
- she should not speak to anyone or speak on the phone
- she should not walk barefooted in the house, or go outside in the moonlight as well as other similar myths.
However, if she should speak to anyone in person or on the phone, she should speak in a manner that is not suspicious. She may also take off her head coves while in her house, provided there are no non-mahrams present. She should not consider any marriage proposal while in her Iddah and no one should propose to her in this period.