How Are The 3 Lunar Months Counted For ʿIddah?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

If the woman was divorced on the 1st of the month, then all agree that she will count her 3 months by the sighting of the crescent (hilāl). Therefore, her ʿiddah can be 90, 89, or 88 days.

If she was divorced on any other day, then there is a difference of opinion regarding how to calculate the 3 lunar months:

  1. Imām Abū Ḥanīfah is of the view that it would be 90 days flat.
  2. Ṣāḥibayn are of the view that the second and the third month will be calculated based on the sighting of the moon. As for the first month which was shorter than a full month, then after the third month’s moon, she will add the amount of days remaining to make up thirty (30) days.

For instance, if she was divorced (D) on the 10th Muharram (M), then she would count Ṣafar (S) and Rabī’-ul-Awwal (R1) according to the sighting of the moon. [In our example below, Ṣafar had 29 days while Rabī’-ul-Awwal had 30] Thereafter, in Rabī’-ul-Aakhir (R2), she will wait 10 more days to make it a total of 30 with the first month,

This ruling and difference of opinion applies to many other situations. For instance, the ʿiddah of a widow is 4 months 10 days. So, if the husband died on the first, then all agree that the 4 months will be counted based on moon sighting, and then 10 days added. 

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If he died any other day, Imām Abū Ḥanīfah says 30 x 4 + 10 = 130 days flat.

While Ṣāḥibayn would count the 2nd, 3rd and 4th month by moon sighting, then make up the remainder days of the 1st month and then add 10 days in the end. 

And Allāh Taʿālā knows best.


Fatāwā Qāḍī Khan [on the margin of Hindiyyah] 1/549-550.

Ḥāshiyah Sindhī on Durr Mukhtār 6/299.

Raddul Muḥtār 10/280-281

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