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this is something that has been bothering me for a while and I was hoping someone could answer or educate me on this topic. when a woman's husband dies she must wait 4 months and a couple of days before getting married. I understand that this rule is put out in case the woman is pregnant. However, the woman is not allowed to wear jewelry, perfume or anything that may beautify her in order to show respect to her husband who has passed away. she cannot go out with friends to feel better and can only leave the house for necessity. I don't think this is necessarily bad but what bothers me is that when a mans wife dies, he does not have to show any respect or mourn his wife's passing away. in fact he can marry someone else a day after her passing away. isn't there some kind of respect shown for a wife who's passed? why is a wife worth so much less than a husband? it's starting to seem like a wife is required to love and respect her husband more than he is required to love and respect her.

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    A man can marry someone else even while his wife is alive, so it doesn't make sense for there to be a period after her death when he cannot marry. There is a fundamental difference between a husband and the wife in their relation to the marriage.
    – The Z
    Feb 25 at 1:19
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    thank you for commenting! I understand there’s a difference between a husband and a wife. I also understand that the purpose of iddah is to make sure the woman is not pregnant. but why can’t she go out with friends, dress nicely (in front of mahrams ofc), and do things to get her mind of the death? why does the respect go one way?
    – sal
    Feb 25 at 1:27
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    This concept of women "going out with friends" is kind of strange and Western. Why don't her friends visit her like we're supposed to do with families who lose someone?
    – The Z
    Feb 25 at 1:30
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    thank you for commenting! for going out with friends it would be nothing haram of course! when i say go out with friends I mean like walking in a park together, maybe going to the beach (fully dressed). simple halal activities basically
    – sal
    Feb 25 at 1:54
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    I don’t necessarily think mourning a dead husband is bad. I actually think it’s good to feel emotions when your spouse dies. I’m just wondering why no one mourns when a wife dies. they both make sacrifices for eachother and loved eachother. so it’s kind of hard to believe a man can really get married and celebrate a wedding right after his wife died. I get men can marry multiple but is the wife truly something so easily replaceable? she was a human with feelings and sacrifices. wouldn’t you be sad knowing no one mourned for your mother or sister?
    – sal
    Feb 25 at 11:10

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A husband does have greater right over the wife than the wife has over the husband.

ولهن مثل الذي عليهن بالمعروف وللرجال عليهن درجة

And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. But the men have a degree over them

Quran 2:228

لو كنت آمرا أحدا أن يسجد لأحد لأمرت النساء أن يسجدن لأزواجهن لما جعل الله لهم عليهن من الحق

If I were to command anyone to make prostration before another I would command women to prostrate themselves before their husbands, because of the special right over them given to husbands by Allah.

Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah

And among these rights is that a wife is supposed to mourn the husband for 4 months and 10 days. This means that she can not remarry during this period, nor can she leave her house or adorn herself.

The wife also has some unilateral rights, such as the fact that the husband has to pay her the bride-price (mahr) and then arrange for her food, clothing and accommodation for as long as she is his wife.

A Muslim should accept what Allah has commanded and conferred rather than having reservations about it.

ولا تتمنوا ما فضل الله به بعضكم على بعض

And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others.

Quran 4:32

إنما كان قول المؤمنين إذا دعوا إلى الله ورسوله ليحكم بينهم أن يقولوا سمعنا وأطعنا وأولئك هم المفلحون

The only statement of the [true] believers when they are called to Allah and His Messenger to judge between them is that they say, "We hear and we obey." And those are the successful.

Quran 24:51

As for the wisdom behind iddah and ihdad, scholars have stated that it includes:

  • to practice caution in ensuring that her womb is empty so that there is no confusion about the paternity of any further children born from her. A mistake in paternity harms the rights of the father, husband and the child.

  • to show loyalty to the husband. This does not apply to men, as a man can have multiple wives and concubines simultaneously while a woman can have only one husband at a time.

  • to cut off what leads to haram. Adornment and going out could attract men towards her which could lead to violating the iddah.

  • to express grief on the loss of the blessings of marriage. As the husband was a source of protection, chastity, food, clothing and accommodation for her.

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