Adornment During ‘Iddah Period


During the ‘Iddah period after a woman’s husband passes away, how it is for woman to use perfume? Furthermore, what else is a woman not allowed to do during this period?


During the ‘Iddah (waiting period) after a mature (Baligh) woman’s husband has passed away, she cannot use perfume or wear flashy/bright clothing because it is required by Islamic law for her to be in mourning during this period. She should refrain from beautifying herself in these ways. Additionally, she should not wear decorated clothing, as these are considered forms of adornment so during ‘Iddah period it is impermissible and sinful for a woman to do the above-mentioned things/actions.

Allah سبحانه وتعالىٰ says in the Holy Quran:

وَ الَّذِیْنَ یُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَ یَذَرُوْنَ اَزْوَاجًا یَّتَرَبَّصْنَ بِاَنْفُسِهِنَّ اَرْبَعَةَ اَشْهُرٍ وَّ عَشْرًاۚ

Translation taken from Kanz Ul Iman:

“And those amongst you who die leaving wives behind, they (i.e. the widows) should restrain themselves for four months and ten days (in accordance to the lunar calendar).”

(Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, Parah 2 Verse 234).

In the Tafseer Ma’alim al-Tanzeel it is mentioned regarding this Holy Verse:

أي يعتددن بترك الزينة والطيب والنقلة على فراق أزواجهن هذه المدة إلا أن يكن حوامل فعدتهن بوضع الحمل۔۔۔يجب عليها الإحداد في عدة الوفاة، وهي أن تمتنع من الزينة والطيب۔۔۔ولا تلبس الثوب المصبوغ للزينة كالأحمر والأخضر الناضر والأصفر


“That is, they (the widows) should spend this period (four months and ten days) abstaining from adornment, perfumes, and leaving the home, mourning the separation from their husbands, unless they are pregnant in which case their iddah lasts until childbirth… During the iddah after the husband’s death, mourning is obligatory on the woman, which means abstaining from adornment and perfumes… She should not wear clothes dyed ornamentally, like red, bright green, or yellow.”

(Tafsir Ma’alim al-Tanzil, Volume 1, Page 289, Published by Al-Maktabah Al-Wahidiyyah, Peshawar.)


It is narrated in Sunan Abi Dawud from Umm Salamah رضی اللہ عنہا that she said:

دخل علي رسول اللہ صلى اللہ عليه وسلم حين توفي أبو سلمة وقد جعلت علي صبرا،قال صلى اللہ عليه وسلم: ما هذا يا أم سلمة؟ ، قلت: إنما هو صبر ليس فيه طيب. فقال صلى اللہ عليه وسلم: ” إنه يشب الوجه فلا تجعليه إلا بالليل، وتنزعيه بالنهار، ولا تمتشطي بالطيب ولا بالحناء فإنه خضاب


“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ came to me when Abu Salamah رضی اللہ عنہ had passed away, and I had put Ailow (a paste of aromatic woods). He said: ‘What is this, O Umm Salamah?’ I said: ‘It is only Ailow; I do not have any perfume on.’ He said: ‘It changes the color of the face so take it off, and only put it at night, and take it off during the day. And do not comb (your hair) with perfumed oil or henna, for it is dye (khadab).”

(Sunan Abi Dawud, Book of Divorce, Vol 2, Page 503, Hadith Number 2305, Published by Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya, Beirut)

It is mentioned in Mabsoot Sarakhsi and Badai’ al-Sanai’ (3/330):

واللفظ للاول:الاصل ان المتوفی عنھا زوجھا لزمھا الحداد فی عدتھا۔۔۔ و صفۃ الحداد ان لا تتطیب،ولاتدھن،ولا تلبس الحلی، ولا الثوب المصبوغ بالعصفرو الزعفران؛لان المقصود من ھذا کلہ التزین


“The principle is that when her husband dies, the woman is obligated to observe mourning during her iddah period… The nature of mourning is that she should not wear perfume, oils, jewelry, or clothes dyed with saffron or safflower, because the purpose of all these things is adornment (while adornment is not allowed during the mourning period).”

(Al-Mabsut by Al-Sarakhsi, Book of Divorce, Chapter on Clothing and Perfume, Volume 1, Page 719, Published by Maktabah Hanafiyyah Quetta.)

In Fatawa Ridwiyyah, the eminent Imam Ahmad Raza Khan علیہ الرحمۃ states: “The following things are not permissible for a woman during ‘Iddah: all types of cosmetics, even mehndi on the pinky finger; kohl; perfume; silk clothes; floral jewelry; any kind of fragrance on the body or clothes; styling the hair in braids; and if necessary, only using a wide-toothed comb to loosely comb the hair without styling. Clothes dyed yellow, red, or any color that implies beautification are not permissible, even if simple and void of ornamentation. All kinds of beautification are not permissible until the completion of ‘Iddah.”

(Fatawa Ridawiyyah, Volume 13, Page 331, Published by Raza Foundation, Lahore.)

Sadr Ul Shariah, Mufti Amjad Ali Aazmi علیہ الرحمۃ, who passed away in 1367 A.H., writes in Bahar-e-Shariat:

“The meaning of mourning is to abandon adornment, that is, all types of jewelry, gold, silver, gems etc., and not to wear any type or color of silk clothing, even if it is black, and to not use any fragrance on the body or clothes, nor use oil, even if there is no fragrance in it, like olive oil. And to not style the hair in braids, and to not apply black kohl. Likewise, to not apply white fragrant kohl, or mehndi, or clothes dyed with saffron, fustic or red color, is prohibited. Abandoning all these things is obligatory. Similarly, colors like pink, yellow, orange and various embellishing colors [on clothes] should be avoided. Clothes whose color has faded such that wearing it is not beautifying anymore can be worn. Likewise, there is no issue with wearing black clothes, as long as they are not silk.”

(Bahar-e-Shariat, Vol. 2, Part 8, p. 242, published by Maktaba al-Madina, Karachi)


Answered by: Mufti Sajid Attari

Translated by: Shaheer Attari

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