I have heard that for a women, after the death of her husband, is it not permitted for her to contact any other male person directly or even talk to him on the phone. I have heard many other things as well regarding the restrictions that are imposed upon a widow, some of which seem to me to be quite strange and severe. Please clarify these matters for me.
Sheikh `Abd al-`Azîz b. Bâz
The widow who is observing her `iddah - the waiting period following the death of her husband – is required to adhere to some special conditions.
She has to stay in the house that was her residence at the time that her husband died until the end of her `iddah. The duration of the `iddah is four months and ten days, unless she is pregnant, in which case her `iddah will be until she gives birth.
Allah says: “For those who are pregnant, their waiting period is until they deliver their burdens.” [Sûrah al-Talâq: 4]
She may not go out of the house except for necessities such as going to the hospital due to illness or in order to purchase what she needs from the marketplace, like food, if there is no one available to make those purchases for her.
In case something happens to the house itself, she may go to live elsewhere. She may also leave her house if she has no one to keep her company and she fears for herself. In such situations, she may go to another house in consideration of her needs.
The woman while observing `iddah may not wear beautiful clothes. It makes no difference whether those clothes are yellow, green, or any other color. She must wear clothes that are not beautiful, regardless of whether those clothes are black, green, or some other color. What matters is that the clothes are not beautiful, because this is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded.
Also, the woman may not wear jewelry like gold, silver, pearls, and diamonds in any form, including rings, chains bracelets, and armlets.
She may not wear perfume of any type. However, she may use incense only on the occasion of attaining purity from her menses. She may not use henna, saffron or perfume. She may not use saffron in her clothes or for her coffee, as it is a type of perfume.
Also, she should avoid using antimony in her eyes or applying any type of cosmetics to her face. She may apply nothing to her face that might beautify it in a provocative way, though normal beauty care with the use of soap and water is permitted. However, antimony that beautifies the eyes and all other kinds of cosmetics must be strictly avoided.
With respect to the notions that some common people have concocted – that the woman in `iddah may not talk to anyone or use the telephone, or wash except once a week, or that she may not walk in her house barefoot or under the moonlight, and other similar fictions – they are all quite baseless.
She may walk around in her house with or without her shoes, do her own things in her house, cook food for herself and her guests, walk under the moonlight on the roof of the house or in the garden of her house, wash whenever she likes, talk to whomever she wants in a reasonable, modest manner, and shake hands with woman and her close male relatives (but not with non-mahram men). She may remove her head covering when there are no strangers present.
The woman in `iddah may not be approached by anyone for marriage. Talk of marriage may be hinted at indirectly, but no direct proposals are allowed.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital