May a woman in idaat leave her home to tend to her business that gives employment to a number of people and is her source of income?
Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlah wa barakatuHu
Regarding waiting periods, they vary by circumstance; such as, a waiting period after a woman’s husband’s passing or after a divorce, irrevocable or revocable. It is not permissible for a woman in a waiting period to go out from her house. An exception to this is her going out for a need. The criterion is: “every woman in a waiting period whose financial support is not mandated, while there is no one to fulfill her needs, may go out.” (Mughni al-Muhtaj, 5:106)
Accordingly, it is permissible for a woman in a waiting period after an irrevocable divorce to go out. In this situation, her doing so is established by the hadith of Jabir. He, Allah be well pleased with him, said: “My maternal aunt was divorced and desired that she pick (tajudd) her dates. A man rebuked her for going out. She went to the Prophet who said to her, ‘you should harvest your dates; for then you may spend in charity or do a good work.’”
Imam Muslim narrated it in his Sahih. And Abu Dawud related it with the wording: “Go out so that you may harvest your dates.” Ibn al-Mulaqqin mentioned: “The meaning of ‘tajudd’ is to cut. And, the meaning of ‘jidad’ (used for dates) is ‘hisad’ (used for crops).” (al-Badr al-Munir, 8:255)
Imam Nawawi said:
“This narration is evidence that a woman in a waiting period from an irrevocable divorce may go out for her needs. The view of Malik, Thawri, Layth, Shafi’i, Ahmad, and others, is that it is permissible for her to go out during the day for needs. Similarly, they consider it permissible for a woman in a waiting period from her husband’s passing to also go out. Abu Hanifah agreed with them on that, while he maintained that an irrevocably divorced woman may not go out during the night or day.” (Sharh Sahih Muslim, 10:108)
Thus, it is permissible for a woman in a waiting period from her husband’s passing to leave her house during the day to see to her needs, analogous to the case of a woman in a waiting period from an irrevocable divorce. Imam Nawawi mentioned:
“She may go out during the waiting period from her husband’s passing, similarly from an irrevocable divorce, during the day for purchasing food, yarn, etc. Likewise, [she may go out] at night to a neighbor lady’s house for [spinning] yarn, conversation, etc. This is with the condition that she returns to spend the night in her own house.” (Mughni al-Muhtaj, 5:107)
The evidence supporting her going out at night to a neighbor lady is what Bayhaqi related on the authority of Mujahid:
“Men were martyred at Uhud [Allah be pleased with them]. Consequently, their women were widowed. The women resided adjacent to each other. They came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger, verily we feel lonely at night, so we sleep over with each other. Then, when morning comes, we return to our homes.’ The Prophet replied, ‘Hold conversation amongst yourselves as you desire. However, when you want to sleep, then each woman shall return to her own house.’” (al-Sunan al-Kubra, 7:436)
Note: In Mughni al-Muhtaj it comes: “Regarding whom it is obligatory to financially support from the revocably divorced, or the mustabra’ah, or the irrevocably divorced, or the pregnant, she may not go out…” This is the wording found in the Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah edition vol. 5:106; and the Dar al-Marifah edition, 3:529; and the Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi edition, 3:403. Regarding the particle ‘or’ between ‘the irrevocably divorced or pregnant,’ it is correct to omit it; like what comes in Bujayrimi’s marginalia on Khatib 4:52 and Sharwani’s on Tuhfah 8:262. I asked our much respected shaykh and teacher, Ml. Taha Karaan, regarding this detail, and he confirmed that it is proper to omit it. Accordingly, it should be, “Regarding who it is obligatory to financially support from the revocably divorced, or the mustabra’ah, or the pregnant/irrevocably divorced, she may not go out…”
Ibn al-Qarahdaghi mentioned:
“It is permissible for the pregnant/irrevocably divorced woman to go out for cotton or food, while she is being financially provided for, without a necessity or husband’s permission. This is according to Ibn Hajar. According to Ramli and Khatib, it is not permissible because she is being financially provided for.” (al-Manhal al-Naddakh, 294)
In conclusion, when financial support is not obligated, like for a woman in a waiting period after her husband’s passing or after an irrevocable divorce, and there is no one to see to it, then she may go out during the day to do so. Also, she may go out at night for socialization with a neighbor lady. There is a difference of opinion regarding a pregnant/irrevocably divorced woman’s going out. Ibn Hajar says it is permissible, while Ramli and Khatib maintain that it is not.
And Allah knows best.
Answered by Shaykh Yaqub Abdurrahman