What is the `iddah for a married woman who accepts Islam? Does she have to wait until her divorce from her non-Muslim husband is cleared through the courts before she can re-marry?
Sheikh Nâyif al-Hamad, presiding judge at Rimâh District Court
If a non-Muslim woman married to a non-Muslim man converts to Islam, then her marriage contract is invalid.
Allah says: “A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever even though he may allure you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the Fire, but Allah beckons by His grace to the Garden and forgiveness and makes His signs clear to mankind: that they may receive admonition” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 221]
Allah says: “O ye who believe, when there come to you believing women refugees examine (and test) them: Allah knows best as to their faith: if ye ascertain that they are believers, then send them not back to the unbelievers they are not lawful (wives) for the unbelievers, not are the (unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them. But pay the unbelievers what they have spent (on their dower).” [Sûrah al-Mumtahinah: 10]
If her marriage took place before she converted to Islam and her husband does not convert during her waiting period (`iddah), her marriage contract will be terminated.
The duration of the `iddah in this case is a matter of disagreement among scholars. Some say that it is three menstrual periods, while the others say it is only one menstrual period.
In case she has no menstrual period, it is agreed that her `iddah is three months.
Ibn Taymiyah is of the opinion that her `iddah is one menstrual period to clear her womb from the possibility of any previous pregnancy. He says: “There is disagreement about the unbeliever’s wife’s `iddah. Abu Hanîfah and Mâlik chose that there is no `iddah for her”. [Majmû’ al-Fatâwa (32/337)].
This opinion has some weight to it. Ibn `Abbâs said that the polytheists with respect to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the believers were of two categories; hostile polytheists who were fighting the Muslims and non-hostile polytheists. In case a woman of the hostile polytheist accepted Islam and emigrated to the Muslims, she was not able to get married until she passed one menstrual period, but if her husband accepted Islam and emigrated before she remarried, she returned to him. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (4982)]
The `iddah for the pregnant woman will be until she gives birth. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Sexual intercourse is not allowed with a pregnant woman until she gives birth and with a woman who is not pregnant until she passes one menstrual period.” [Musnad Ahmad(3/28), Sunan Abu Dâwûd (2157), and Mustadrak al-Hâkim (2/212). Al-Hâkim said: “It is authentic according to the conditions of Imam Muslim”.]
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital