Friday, February 29, 2008

Lessons of Life - Part Two: 'Iddah

Since I've only got approximately one week left of mourning ('Iddah), I think it is apt to write a little about my journey throughout the period of confinement: 4 months and 10 days.

Please note that the period of my confinement, due to the lost of a husband through death, is 4 months and 10 days, unlike those who have undergone divorce: 3 months or 3 cycles of menses.

Spend a moment to pause and reflect on why there is this difference in time period. Surely, there must be a valid reason behind each proclamation.

As I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts, there are five main elements that I have to abide to while in 'Iddah:

  • I cannot marry another.
  • I cannot leave the house to pursue unimportant matters, including social visits.
  • I can only accept male visitors in the house while my muhrim is around.
  • I cannot go back home (Malaysia) during this confinement period.
  • I cannot don any attractive clothing or apply make-up as to avoid fitnah (Al-Ehdad).
Let me also make myself clear that in interpreting what has been passed on by our Lord and apostle, there are many different opinions that may differ from what I practice. I have received various comments and viewpoints about what 'Iddah entails through liberal modern eyes, yet I choose to conform to what I have been taught and what I feel comfortable doing. Although I admit I may not have strictly followed everything I had initially highlighted, I did try as best I could to keep to them.
A woman in 'Iddah is sought to confine herself to her home, limiting social interaction and unnecessary mingling, simply to protect herself against censure. Abstaining from social functions is one point I find most complicated because not everyone agrees or understands this. On numerous occasions, despite my casual explanation, I was invited over to friends' for social visits. I was even cynically leered once for not visiting. I actually did visit others, but only close friends and not when there is a crowd. Why was I expected to be there? More interestingly, let me explain why I shouldn't.

Having gone through 4 months of my 'Iddah period now, I understand why the period of grieve was necessary. A woman is made so feminine; emotional and sensitive that a devastating news such as a death of a spouse would definitely shake her down to the roots. Thus, the period Allah has set for her to grieve (note: grieving period for other family members is limited to 3 days - nothing more!) is a long enough period for her to adjust her life and get back on her feet.

For instance, take me - a person most people consider very strong (??!). I still cry thinking of the lost of my dear husband. I do not cry of regret, but I cry of sadness and disbelief; to actually think that he has left me - for real! Every time I bump into an ex-student, colleague, friend or acquaintance while I'm out running an errand, and they extend their condolences, I'd be spending the next hour or two feeling nostalgic and sad.

This morning, as I crossed the street after exiting the library, I met my ex-landlord - Mr. Majeed. I told him of my late husband's departure and immediately, his eyes became misty. We only lived nextdoor to him for three months, but he sort of had a bonding with my late husband. It was difficult to find people who could not get along with the late Mr. D, I must say. After bidding farewell to Mr. Majeed, I turned and walked in the opposite direction with my cheeks streaked with tears.

Being totally independent in this foreign land, without close relatives or chummies, I run my confinement days with minimal contact with the outside world. Yes, I go out shopping when the need arises, to work, and to some friends' houses for discussions or friendly goodbyes. But I do not accept invitations with crowds around. That would be categorised as unnecessary.

To some, I have been like a recluse - hiding in my house when the outside world is blooming away (well, not so much during winter though...). I know most people mean well but my situation does not permit me to accept such invitations. My apologies... Please understand that I still find it difficult meeting people - because I no longer have my late husband next to me. If people cannot agree with my stand, then perhaps just try to understand me - try fitting into my shoes, even though our sizes may vary.

Upon saying all these, I am now making plans for next week (and the week after, and the week after - Easter hols: hurrah!!). Once the 'Iddah period is lifted, I need to embrace myself and march straight ahead. I have my children's well-being and future to think of. Although a little anxious at times, I am confident that the Almighty has got it all planned out for us - all for the best. Hence, with constant prayers, including those from family and friends, our passage will InsyaAllah be clearly paved out.
So, hold your horses - give me some space. I am not making any serious decisions just yet. Come April - when the weather's all sunny, who knows what new ideas and possibilities will come, and which doors will open... It will then be a new episode altogether, InsyaAllah.


Anonymous said...

from yr blogs.. i found a strong heart. be continously strong. tears are meant to heal our own heart.

Anonymous said...

from yr blogs.. i found a strong heart. be continously strong. tears are meant to heal our own heart.

rad said...

Sorry 4 d long silence.
Take all the time you need to do whatever you want too -provided you let us in the secret hehe..
Kdg2 kena dengar ckp org,
kdg2 kena pedulikan aje apa depa ckp.
Yg penting, you know what's best for u n kids, insyaAllah.
Semoga d dan anak2 diberikan limpah rahmatNya sentiasa.

Anonymous said...

My hubby passed on couple of years ago.People say time will heal.But still it hurts me a lot till now.Fully understand what u r going thru.


Umi Kalthum Ngah said...

Assalamualaikum warahmatullah,

Dearest D,

You made this entry the same day I did mine..just when I was feeling nostalgic...our brains must have connected somehow..

But of course, my experience is nothing... compared to yours...

April..Spring...Daffodils...symbol of hope and a new beginning...Subhanallah!

May Allah bless you and your children...Amin


duyong said...

Dear D,

I like your attitude dear. Your sadness is a special feeling accorded to you alone.Tapi kami yang membaca tulisan mu dan memahami kerana pernah melalui pengalaman yang serupa juga merasakannya.
The pain will go, kata orang.Mungkin benar,mungkin tidak.

Well...macam yang D kata, the Almighty has it all planned out!

Take care, D.

Kak Lady said...

d...memang benar d...sukar untuk melalui segalanya bila bersendirian...lebih2 lagi di negara yang mana adat dan agama mereka jauh berbeza. Tapi d seorang yang tabah...dan semoga apabila habisnya waktu Iddah ini d akan meneruskan kehidupan seperti sediakala bersama must go on...

Semoga...perjalanan hidup d bersama anak2 selepas ini berada dlm lindungan Allah...Insyaallah...

wizcakes said...

I believe in crying D, I cry occasionally, it serves as a therapy for me of sort. If crying relieves you, then just let the tears flow, it is only natural. And the world will be ready whenever you are.

Pakcik's name is razmi kut, not sure. Been calling him Pakcik all this while. His wife is Amy.

Anonymous said...

I have so much respect for you. Good luck to you and your kids.

juwaidah said...


You know yourself and your kids better. Don't bother too much about what other people are saying. Ada yang memahami, ada yang tidak.. Yang penting, you and your family are happy.

Hope to visit you sometime in Spring. Have to plan carefully coz I'm now a bit 'patah kaki' without my car.. Sold it last week.. huhuhu :(

sYaNa said...

D :o)

this journey belongs to you & your family. insyaAllah, each step you take is with His guidance. like you said, He has it all planned out :o) all the best :o)

al-amiNJ said...

Assalaamu'alaikum D. Sikap D yang tidak mempedulikan kata-kata orang-orang yang tidak mengetahui (la ya'lamun) dan mengamalkan apa yang suruh oleh syara' adalah sikap yang terpuji. Teruskan D dan teguhkan hati. Sekiranya kita taat kepada Allah (dalam perkara 'iddah) dengan taqwa kepada Allah, nanti Allah akan jadikan bagi kita jalan keluar (yaj'ala Allahu lana makhroja) dari kesedihan ini.
My du'a for you and your children is may Allah make for you / grant you makhroja and nasr(aid). Aamiin. Wassalamu'alaikun.

k.d said...

Kak D, take care and keep well.

azuradec said...

Youre such an inspiration D. I know these kinds of statements (esp. when made from afar, sound so silly) but reading what you wrote (and this is not the first entry) makes me think abt ways in which we, (other things being beyond control) are in control of ourselves/practices (or should be), superficials aside.

Anonymous said...


I can understand the conflict between observing Iddah vs. modern psychology - get out and see the world, life has to go on ... etc etc. For those who really understand Iddah, they will respect your position of excluding yourself from the crowd, I personally think it's better that way, emotionally.

Keep up your strong front, crying is a teraphy, it is perfectly fine to cry. May Allah have mercy on your late husband, and be rewarded with Jannah, insyaAllah.

I have misty eye reading your entry!

Wassalam dari California.

anggerik merah said...


do take care.

idham said...

waz here. read twice. God bless....


MA & Brood said...

Dear D

I would like to share with you a website which I stumbled upon many years ago - a beautiful eulogy from a bereaved parent to his departed son.

Betapa berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul. Orang lain hanya boleh bercakap, yang menghadapi mengalaminya ialah diri sendiri - therefore I feel that you don't have to justify/explain your actions/decisions to anyone but yourself.

Take care.


IBU said...

Take care D :) Happiness awaiting, I'm sure.

D said...

Imagine the power of soft drops of water healing the heart... Subhanallah. Thank you.

glad you came by. Been busy with work I hope? Let you in the secret? No secrets dear, just trying to lead a life more peacefully. Thank you for your prayers!

Anonymous @ Rania,
I'm sorry about your loss - you must know more than I do. We heal in our own ways, with Him helping us. My wishes for you...

umi kalthum ngah,
yes, we must have some connection somewhere!! Let me share you Emily Dickinson's words on hope:

Hope is a strange invention-
A Patent of the Heart-
In unremitting action
Yet never wearing out.

thank you for your thoughtful words. You see, as Thomas Fuller once said: "If it were not for hopes, the heart would break." I can't let my heart break because I need it it to help my children through their lives.

ajzie said...

Take care n semoga dipermudahkan segala urusan.

D said...

kak lady,
I have no doubt, Allah akan lindungi kami... Thanks Kak Lady!

yes, as another fellow blogger said, the tears heal the heart - InsyaAllah.

Oh, pakcik tu!!! Yup, know them for sure!

Anonymous @Liyas,
Respect for me? I'm just another soul living her life. Thank you for your wishes.

No, I do not bother much about others, of course. Just reflecting and sharing - that's what all this is about. Alamak... no car? Hope you're managing fine.

exactly so... He has it all planned out!

you are too generous with your words but I appreciate your kind du'as. Thank you.

I'm still here (ie: still alive and kicking!) - thank you dear.

azuradec dearest,
me an inspiration? never thought i am capable of being one. I'm merely pausing to reflect. You take care!

Anonymous from California (mysterious one!),
Your words of encouragement do help in desperate times. Thank you sis!

anggerik merah,
To not take care of oneself would mean not measuring up to His expectations. Hope all's well on your end!

many thanks.

ma & brood,
thank you for sharing that link - it's good to read and share other's grieve. Appreciate that a lot.

happiness awaits those who seek them(God permits). Death may take away some but it makes us wiser too, InsyaAllah.

Restless said...

Kak D,

Alhamdulillah. Submitted already. Waiting for the review. Takut!

Kak Elle said...

d read twice and I understand:)take care and hugs.

juwaidah said...

Happy mother's day to you!! :)

Nadia said...

Kak D,

Love this entry as well as the previous one.


(i knew your name and face sounded and looked familiar,you were in F5 when I was in F1 -same school-..I got to know K Bina through FB :P)