The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani

Question & Answer » Iddah (waiting period)

1 Question: Is it permissible for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman who is still married to a non-Muslim man? Is there an ‘idda period for her when she separates from her non-Muslim husband? What is the period of that ‘idda? Is it permissible to have sexual relations with her during the time when she is in the ‘idda from her non-Muslim husband? If she embraces Islam, how long will her ‘idda be, if she intends to marry a Muslim man?
Answer: It is not permissible to marry her while she is married to a non-Muslim in a marriage which is recognized by them because she is a married woman. It is permissible to marry her temporarily after her divorce and after the completion of the ‘idda from her non-Muslim husband. (The period of her ‘idda is not different from the ‘idda of a Muslim woman.) Therefore, it is not permissible before the completion of the ‘idda.
If she becomes a Muslim after having had sexual relations with her non-Muslim husband and the husband has not embraced Islam, it is precuationarily obligatory for a Muslim not to marry her until after the completion of her ‘idda. But if she became a Muslim without having ever established sexual relations with her non-Muslim husband, then their marriage will be annulled immediately and there is no ‘idda in such a case.
2 Question: Is it obligatory to inform the man who wants to marry a woman from the Ahlul Kitab or a Muslim woman that she has not yet observed the waiting period (‘idda) of a divorce of a previous marriage, or that she is still in the ‘idda [during which marriage is forbidden for her]?
Answer: It is not obligatory.
3 Question: A Muslim man who is married to a Muslim woman migrated from his country. After a longthy stay in the West country, he wants to embark on temporary marriage with a woman from Ahlul Kitab just a few days after divorcing his Muslim wife. Is this permissible for him, espeually when his Muslim wife is still in her waiting period (al-‘idda)?
Answer: The temporary marriage mentioned in the question is considered invalid because the wife who is in the waiting period of a revocable divorce is still considered as a wife. It has just been mentioned that to temporary marry an Ahlul Kitab woman while one has a Muslim wife is not permissible [as a matter of compulsary precaution].
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