If ones husband leaves the fold of Islam and dies whilst the ex-wife is observing the Iddah period, does the Iddah period of the ex-wife change and does she inherit from the ex-husbands estate? 

Q. A husband committed apostasy-left the fold of Islam. His now ex-wife was observing Iddah. During the period of Iddah, the ex-husband passed away. Does the Iddah period of the ex-wife change? Does she inherit from the ex-husband?

A. In the enquired case, the marriage between husband and wife immediately terminated (Faskhun Aajil) when the husband committed apostasy (Irtidaad) and left the fold of Islam. (Shaami 3/193)

In the case of the husband committing apostasy and leaving the fold of Islam, the ex-wife will observe the Iddah period of three menstrual cycles if she experiences menses or three lunar months if she does not experience menses or till birth if she is pregnant. (Shaami 3/194)

If the ex-husband (apostate) dies during the Iddah period of the ex-wife as in the enquired case, the Iddah period of the wife will not change. She will complete the Iddah period as she had commenced it i.e. three menstrual cycles/three Months or until birth respectively.

Furthermore, the surviving Muslim heirs of the deceased (apostate) will inherit from his earnings prior to committing apostasy and leaving the fold of Islam. The ex-wife of the deceased (apostate) will also qualify as an heir and inherit from the deceased (apostate) on condition that she had been observing the Iddah period when the ex-husband (apostate) passed away as in the enquired case. Any earnings of the deceased (apostate) gained after committing apostasy, will form part of the National treasury or will be distributed amongst the poor and needy. (Al-Lubaab Fi Sharhil Kitaab 4/149/150)

Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa