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Things which it is forbidden for a woman to do at the time of mourning

If a woman’s husband dies, she remains in ‘iddah whilst mourning. What are the things that a woman should not do during the mourning period?.

Praise be to Allaah.  

It is forbidden for a woman at the time of mourning to do the following: 

1 – To go out of her house, except for a necessary purpose, such as if she is sick and needs to go to the hospital, in which case she should go during the day; or in the case of emergencies such as if her house is about to fall down and there is the fear that it may collapse on top of her; or in the case of fire; and so on. 

The scholars said: she may go out during the day for necessary purposes, but at night she should not go out unless it is essential. 

2 – To wear perfume, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade the grieving woman to put on perfume except when she purifies herself following her period, in which case she may applies a little azfaar (a kind of perfume) after her period ends, to take away the traces of menstruation. 

3 – To wear beautiful clothes that are considered to be adornments, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade that. Rather she should wear ordinary clothes such as the kind that she usually wears inside her house, without making herself look beautiful. 

4 – She should not put on kohl, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade that. If she needs to use it, she should use the kind of kohl whose colour is not obvious, putting it on at night and removing it during the day. 

5 – She should not wear any jewellery, because if she is forbidden to wear beautiful clothes, it is more appropriate that jewellery should not be allowed. 

It is permissible for her to speak to men and to speak on the telephone, and to allow people to enter the house who are permitted to do so according to sharee’ah, and to go out onto the roof of the house during the night and during the day. She does not have to do ghusl every week as some of the common folk think, or to undo her hair every week. 

Similarly she does not have to – indeed it is prescribed for her not to – go out when her ‘iddah ends with something to give in charity to the first person she meets. This is an act of bid’ah (innovation). 

70 Su’aalan fi Ahkaam al-Janaa’iz, p. 53.
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