If a woman is divorced by her husband and her husband dies during or after her iddah, will she inherit his property?. How much she will inherit? Please explain.
According to the Islamic Shari’ah divorce is not considered final until the Iddah period elapses. The husband can take back his decision any time before that time. He is also bound to keep the wife in his home and to provide for her. The Holy Qur’an says:
(Revocable) divorce can be pronounced twice. Then a woman should either be retained according to the custom or should be allowed to go with kindness. (2:228)
Because the entirety of social life is based on the sacred relationship of matrimony, the Shari’ah does not allow doing away with this sacred relationship in one go. It requires the husband to divorce his wife between two menstrual periods once and then keep her at his house and so that the partner can reunite if a favorable situation arises. It is only after the completion of the Iddah that the relationship is considered ended. The directive of ‘ a woman should either be retained according to the custom or should be allowed to go with kindness’ is applied after the passing of the Iddah period.
Therefore for the revocable divorce the relationship does not end only with the pronouncement of the divorce rather with the completion of the Iddah. The wife enjoys all rights of provision and lodging till this time. Similarly she is eligible heir to the wealth for the husband could have taken her back and for the divorce is not finally implemented. She receives full share prescribed for the widows i.e. if the husband has no offspring then the wife receives one fourth of the whole inheritance. If the couple has children then the wife will get one eighth of the total worth (4:12).
However, in case the husband has used the right to divorce his wife the third time he no longer enjoys the right to take his decision back. There is no chance of reunion and the husband is not bound to keep her in his home. He only pays for the provision for the wife is not able to remarry until the completion of the Iddah period. This entails that, this time the divorce is final right after the husband pronounces it and the woman is no longer considered his wife and consequently she is not considered as a heir to his inheritance if he dies even before the completion of the Iddah period.
I hope this helps.
Tariq Mahmmod Hashmi
October 22, 2004