The Reason For Six Or Nine Months Wait Before Counting the ʿIddah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The reason the fuqahā’ mention to wait for a period of 6 months before one starts to count the ʿiddah by lunar months, is to ensure that the woman in not pregnant. They say that by that semester it would have been clearly visible if she was pregnant. So, 6 months for istibrā’ and 3 months for ʿiddah.

Others say that she will wait for 9 months as this is the regular period of a full pregnancy. Once she does not give birth or see a ḥayḍ, then she will wait 3 more months making it 12 in total, or in other words 1 year.

Some scholars mentioned that the qiyās is to wait for 2 years as this is the maximum a foetus can live in the womb, according to the Aḥnāf which is based on a statement of ʿĀ’ishah رضي الله عنها.[1]

رضي الله عنها : ما تزيد المرأة في الحمل على سنتين قدر ما يتحول ظل عود المغزل قالت عائشة

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However, the opinion on waiting for a year and exiting the ʿiddah is narrated from ʿUmar رضي الله عنه  

عبد الرزاق عن بن جريج قال أخبرني يحيى بن سعيد أنه سمع بن المسيب يقول قال عمر بن الخطاب أيما رجل طلق امرأته فحاضت حيضة أو حيضتين ثم قعدت فلتجلس تسعة أشهر حتى يستبين حملها فإن لم يستبن حملها في التسعة أشهر فلتعتد ثلاثة أشهر بعد التسعة التي قعدت من المحيض.  

The opinion of 9 months being the time for exiting the ʿiddah is narrated from Ibn ʿUmar . رضي الله عنهما

 .عبد الرزاق عن الثوري عن يحيى بن سعيد عن بن عمر قال إذا حاضت حيضة أو حيضتين ثم ارتفعت حيضتها فإنها تعتد تسعة أشهر ثم قد خلت.  

[1] The longest pregnancy on “record” is 375 days. A Chinese woman claimed that she was pregnant for 17 months. That would be the new “recorded” record. But some doctors doubt her.

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