The widow is a woman who is destined to lose her husband who supports and provides for her. She is a woman who suffers really hard. This suffering is not only financial, but most of the time it is emotional and psychological suffering. She loses her husband, her lover and the father of her children and becomes responsible for her children and plays the role of the father and the mother together. Maybe there isn’t much talk about the widows and their obstacles in life, in this article, we will highlight the rights of the widows in Islam and how Islam keeps the widow’s rights.
The Financial Rights:
When the husband dies, the widow has many financial rights. She has the right to inherit him and it is not permissible for anyone to take her inheritance without her acceptance. If the husband doesn’t leave for her enough money to fulfill her needs and the children’s need, the society has to support her and charity becomes a must for her as Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) said,
The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid (warrior) who fights for Allah’s Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day.” [Al Bukhari].
According to The Sharee‘ah (Islamic Law), a widow is indeed entitled to a share of the inheritance from the property which belonged to her deceased husband. The wife’s share is one-fourth if her husband leaves no child, but if he leaves a child she gets an eighth. Allah said in the Holy Quran,
And for the wives is one fourth if you leave no child. But if you leave a child, then for them is an eighth of what you leave.[Quran.com/4/12].
Islam also grants the widow the right to having a house and a shelter for her and the children. If the husband doesn’t leave a house, a proper amount of money is taken from his property to provide a house for the widow and the children as she is in a special need for a house more than any other inheritor.
The Right of Remarrying:
Considering the Sharee’ah (Islamic Law) perspective on the widow’s remarriage
Islam considers human nature, hence, it permits the marriage of the widow and sets a specific period for her ‘Iddah’ (waiting period), which is four months and ten days or until delivery for pregnant women. Allah Almighty said,
And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind – they, [the wives, shall] wait four months and ten [days]. And when they have fulfilled their term, then there is no blame upon you for what they do with themselves in an acceptable manner. And Allah is [fully] Acquainted with what you do.” [Quran.com/2/234].
It is permissible to a wife to remarry in Islam after her Iddah (waiting period) ends in order to maintain her chastity or to fill the emotional and the psychological emptiness due to the absence of the husband especially if she is young and has children who need a father. She has to choose the husband who will be kind and merciful to her children and be able to deal with them in a way that puts him in the place of their father. However, if she decides not to get married again and chooses to consider the interests of her children only, she is granted a great reward. The Widow who devotes herself to looking after the orphans will accompany the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in Paradise as he said,
I and the one who looks after an orphan will be like this in Paradise,” showing his middle and index fingers and separating them” [Al Bukhari].
To sum up, the widow is a woman who is destined to lose her husband who supports and provides for her. She needs a long time to adapt to her new life, for once the husband dies, she feels too weak and unable to make a decision or bear any responsibility. As time passes, she adapts to the new situation, particularly when those around her help her develop confidence in herself and her abilities. Islam keeps the financial, emotional and psychological rights of the widow and necessitates that the Muslim society should take proper care of her and her children.