Can a woman travel for Hajj/Umrah during her Iddah?
If a woman has a planned trip such as hajj or umrah and now divorce occurs and a woman now has to start her iddat (wherein the religious trip is within the iddat period). What will be her options then? Will the planned trip have to be delayed?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Upon the husband’s death, or divorce, or the termination of the marriage contract through Khulʿ (divorce at the instance of the wife), or the annulment of the marriage by some other manner, the woman has to remain staying in one house for a specified period of time. Until this period expires, it is not permissible for her to go elsewhere. The act of passing this period is called ʿIddah.
If the ʿIddah, or waiting period, is observed following the death of the husband, it is called ‘The ʿIddah of Death’. If observed following Ṭalāq (divorce), Khulʿ (divorce at the instance of the wife) or for some other reason, it is called ‘The ʿIddah of divorce’. There are some differences in the rules and periods of the two types of ʿIddah.
Iddah of Divorce
When the husband divorces his wife, she will have to spend her ʿIddah in the matrimonial home. She must not leave the house during the day nor at night, nor can she make Nikāḥ with anyone else. Once she completes three Ḥayḍ (menses) periods, her ʿIddah will be complete and she can now stay wherever she wishes. This rule will apply irrespective of whether the man issued one two or three divorces, and irrespective of whether he issued a Ṭalāq Bā’in (irrevocable divorce) or a Ṭalāq Rajʿī (revocable Ṭalāq). The same rule will apply in all cases.
The ʿIddah for divorce is only compulsory on the woman who is divorced after her husband had engaged in sexual intercourse with her or, they did not engage in sexual intercourse but they met in privacy and thereafter her husband divorces her. If they did not meet in privacy and the person divorces her, she does not have to observe the ʿIddah.
If a young girl who had not experienced Ḥayḍ, or an old woman whose Ḥayḍ had terminated is divorced, then their ʿIddah will be three months.
If a woman is pregnant and her husband divorces her, she will have to remain in that house until she delivers her child. When she delivers her child, her ʿIddah will expire even if she delivers her child a few days after being divorced.
If a woman is divorced while she is in her Ḥayḍ (menses), this Ḥayḍ will not be considered. Her ʿIddah will be complete up on the expiry of three Ḥayḍ periods after the Ḥayḍ that she is presently experiencing. However, it should be noted that it is disliked to divorce a woman while she is in her Ḥayḍ.
If she is observing her ʿIddah in the same house wherein the man who issued a Ṭalāq Bā’in (irrevocable divorce) to her is also living, she will have to observe strict Pardah with him..
The maintenance and providing of shelter for a woman while she is observing her ʿIddah of divorce are wājib on the very man who divorced her.
Leaving the Home Due to Necessity
It is compulsory upon the divorcee or widow to complete the ʿIddah in the same home which was her permanent residence at the time of divorce or her husband’s demise. However, if does not have enough money to pay basic needs, shelter and food, she will be excused to leave the house during daytime to work. She should ensure that she adheres to the laws of Ḥijāb and spends the nights at her house. It is also imperative that during the day, she returns home immediately upon being free from her work. Spending any time outside the house over and above that which is necessary is not permissible. 
Many widows and divorced women do not observe the laws of ʿIddah. Going out openly, visiting Bazaars and attending social functions are activities undertaken in absolute disregard to this injunction of the Shariah. That is a major sin.
If a trip like Umrah or Hajj was planned, and it falls during one’s Iddah, the trip will have to be cancelled or delayed until the Iddah is completed.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best.
Mufti Arshad Ali
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net
 Iddah by Mufti Ebrahim Desai