12th January 2024




A call has gone to the Federal Government (FG) and all state governments to give female employees four and a half months leave when their husbands die. The call was made on Friday, 12th January, 2024 by the Executive Director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola.


His full statement reads :


“Our attention has been drawn to the predicament of widows nationwide regarding the way they are treated by their employers immediately after their husbands die. It is common knowledge that the Nigerian government does not recognize or give any particular succour to working women whose husbands die. More often than not, they are left at the mercy of their employers who may or may not give them one or two days off duty.



“This is heartless to say the least. A woman who loses her husband to the wicked hands of death is going through a harrowing experience. Losing her husband to the cold hands of death is a tragic landmark in a woman’s life. She needs sympathy, companionship and plenty of time to rest. Her life needs replanning, re-engineering and reorientation. The least her employer can do for her is to give her time for all that. 



“This is why the Glorious Qur’an in chapter 2 verse 234 stipulates a recovery or waiting period of four months and ten days for Muslim women whose husbands just died. The fact that the command comes from the Glorious Qur’an makes it a fundamental human right enjoined by Allah. It is Allah-given. It is divine, not human. Therefore, no individual homo sapien, institution or government should oppose or deny it.



“This period is called ‘iddah in Islam. A new Muslim widow must observe the ‘iddah not only for her to recover but also for her and her husband’s family to ascertain if she has been pregnant before the husband died. She is expected to remain indoors throughout the period.



“As always, MURIC remains committed to the welfare of Nigerians, particularly vulnerable ones like women and children. We appeal to both the FG and state governments to consider the case of widows on compassionate ground.



“We could have demanded the widows’ leave for Muslim widows alone because it is the Glorious Qur’an that commands it. But then the issue of equal rights come in and a human rights group like MURIC cannot afford to be selective while demanding Allah-given fundamental human rights for women. Why would a Christian widow be denied a relief enjoyed by a Muslim widow when both are hit by the same calamity?



“We therefore demand a four and a half months leave for all widows working in federal, state and private establishments. We note with immense pleasure that even men now enjoy paternity leave. 



“This widows’ leave therefore becomes a question of good conscience for states that have already granted paternity leave to men. For if men enjoy paternity leave when their wives deliver new babies, it stands both logic and good conscience on their heads if we fail to extend similar relief to distressed and twice vulnerable widows.”



“MURIC charges Islamic organizations and individual Islamic scholars to begin the lobby on the corridors of state governments practicing Shari’ah. They have no alibi for not implementing this Shari’ah-compliant policy for widows.”






Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Executive Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).


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