After the death of a spouse, you might start considering sharing your life and love with someone else. Mwereti Kanjo approaches religious leaders in Malawi for their opinion on the matter.Ã‚Â
It can be difficult to decide when the right time to take this step could be considering that you live in a society which is judgemental, one driven by rules and expectations. This decision was much easier in the past when tradition bound women for some time until they were given the go ahead from the husbandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s family.
Such traditions include kulowa kufa practiced in the lower shire where a man from the husbandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s family used to sleep with the widow as part of the process of setting her free. But with the coming of the HIV and Aids pandemic, such traditions have been discouraged. So just how does a woman make this decision today?
Reverend Zacc Kawalala of Word Alive International Ministries says to his knowledge, there is no prescription in the Bible as to when a woman is ready to remarry after the death of a spouse. He says, like in case of divorce, in the death of a spouse there is pain from separation which needs emotional healing to get over. The important thing is for a woman to heal before getting into another marriage to avoid taking baggage from one relationship to another.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is no prescription, you cannot have a rule on when someone should love again. There are memories and feelings of being left alone that are involved. There is emotional programming which involves emotional healing. There was a bond between the wife and the dead spouse that must be mourned and grieved.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What is required is that the woman goes through bereavement counselling to help her heal. Some scholars though have suggested that two years is long enough a period to allow someone to heal and move on without taking any load from one marriage to the next,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Kawalala.
National coordinator of the Islamic information bureau, Sheikh Dinala Chabulika says in Islam the law is plain and clear. A widow is to wait for four months and 10 days before she finds herself in another marriage.
According to Chabulika, the religion is strict on this period of time because it is within these four months that it can be determined whether the widow was left pregnant by her dead spouse or not.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is to avoid misunderstanding on whose pregnancy it is in cases where she is found to be expectant. Anyone who gets married before these four months and 10 days elapse is committing a sin before God which is very much discouraged,Ã¢â‚¬Â points out Chabulika.
When it is all said and done, it is important to know that it must be a personal decision. You must not be forced to get married nor must you be forced not to get married. It is your life, learn to live it as your own.