The Qur’an has stipulated a waiting period which women must observe before they can remarry. This waiting period must be observed after they are divorced, or if their husbands have died. In the Qur’an, this is called Iddah or Iddat (العدة). However, there is one exception to this requirement in Qur’an 33:49:
Transliteration: Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo itha nakahtumu almuminati thumma tallaqtumoohunna min qabli an tamassoohunna fama lakum AAalayhinna min AAiddatin taAAtaddoonaha famattiAAoohunna wasarrihoohunna sarahan jameelan
Yusuf Ali: O ye who believe! If ye wed believing women and divorce them before ye have touched them, then there is no period that ye should reckon. But content them and release them handsomely.
From the verse above it is understood that Iddah (stipulated waiting period) is required if sexual contact has occurred within the marriage. If a woman is not touched by her husband, she should not have to observe any waiting period at all.
After the mention of women who have not had their marriage consummated, the Qur’an goes further – discussing the women who need to observe the ‘iddah, and the span of time required. We see in Qur’an 65.4:
Transliteration: Waalla-ee ya-isna mina almaheedi min nisa-ikum ini irtabtum faAAiddatuhunna thalathatu ashhurin waalla-ee lam yahidna waolatu al-ahmali ajaluhunna an yadaAAna hamlahunna waman yattaqi Allaha yajAAal lahu min amrihi yusran
Yusuf Ali: Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.