(Notes from Rabata.org's workshop on Fiqh of Haydh, featuring female scholars from each madh'hab.)
Spiritual Connectivity During Menstruation (Shehnaz Karim)
Allah created everything with meaning - including our menstrual cycles and other uniquely female bodily functions.
Being on our periods does not mean that we are disconnected from Allah or on a “vacation” from worshiping Allah.
There are many ways to worship during menses.
- Strive to be at peace with the idea of menstruation and the rulings about with regards to ritual acts of worship
- Use this time to contemplate our relationship with Allah, reflect on what it means to be connected to Allah outside of specific ritual actions.
- An hour of tafakkur is better than 70 years of worship
- Tafakkur has its own adab
- Reflect on Allah’s blessings upon us; think about your own personal shortcomings; thank Allah for covering our faults and weaknesses - don’t be depressed by your weakness, but thank Allah for His Mercy on us; realize that nothing and no one can harm or benefit us except Allah.
- Use this tafakkur as a means of rejuvenating you spiritually throughout the day. Build and develop an awareness of Allah in your everyday life.
- Connect with Allah’s Name al-Khaaliq: the Creator. He created us with our menstrual cycles for a reason: it is unique to women, it is a part of how the human race procreates. Allah’s name arRahman: comes from ‘rahm,’ the womb - which is connected to our menstrual cycles. Allah has unconditional love and nurtures us accordingly; we, as women, have the unique potential to also have unconditional love and nurturing.
- Allah’s Mercy is also manifested in the rulings surrounding menses: we do not pray or fast, so that we may rest, eat and drink - we are to nurture our bodies.
Shafi’i Fiqh of Menses (Anse Marah Dahman)
Definition of Haydh:
The flow of blood from the vagina, excluding post-partum bleeding and vaginal bleeding due to illness or other medical factors.
Istihaadha: any vaginal bleeding that is not post-partum bleeding or menstrual bleeding. (E.g. bleeding post-IUD-insertion; irregular bleeding due to PCOS.)
Colour: Literally any colour whatsoever. Pink, red, orange, black, brown.
Minimum age: 9 lunar years; no maximum age.
Shortest menstrual cycle: One day and one night (24 hours).
Maximum length of cycle: 15 days and nights.
Minimum period of taharah: 15 days and nights
Prohibitions During Haydh
- Obligatory ghusl (??)
- Touching mus’haf or holding it
- Staying in the masjid
Is my period over?
- Any colour before white discharge at end of period still counts as menstrual blood
- Even if white but has pink bits in it - still your period
- Go by your *usual* cycle - if you are someone who has regular patterns/ times/ cycle
- If not sure, self-swab. (Q-tips, tampon, cotton strip/rag.)
- White or clear discharge indicates end of period
- Any yellow/ beige etc after white discharge is not considered period
- If you tend to have very little discharge in general and are dry for a day, with no bleeding - self swab to check for any potential blood.
- Wait for a MAXIMUM of one day to determine no more blood.
- Some say wait for a maximum of three fardh prayers; if nothing, then do your ghusl and pray.
- Any non-menstrual, non-post-partum bleeding
- Various reasons for it: medical condition, or something like IUD insertion
- Can have various colours/ flows. Can be similar to menstrual blood, or could be totally different.
- Even if it seems like menstrual blood, does not count as menses unless it is taking place within what is normally considered your cycle. (E.g. if your maximum menstrual cycle is 7 days, count it as 7 days - anything after, consider as istihaadhah.)
- You are still considered taahir. You pray, fast, have intercourse, etc.
- Any bleeding that exceeds 15 days is automatically istihaadha
- If you did not pray or fast during days of istihaadha, you MUST make up those prayers and fasting
- If your cycle changes due to a big difference in your life - e.g. IUD, illness - and you aren’t yet sure of new menstrual pattern, then you can take one month as an “experimental” one - keep track of the bleeding and any changes that take place, try to match what is normally part of your cycle (in terms of patterns, consistency, etc). You are not sinful for not praying/fasting days that turn out to be istihaadha but you were originally unsure due to major changes. Just ensure that you make up those prayers and fasts!
- If you bleed again BEFORE 15 days of tahaarah have been completed, it is still considered istihaadha. E.g. spotting during ovulation
- If you bleed again AFTER 15 days of tahaarah, but considered ‘early’ for your period - consider it your period.
- Use a calendar! There are also lots of menstrual apps that allow you to add notes so that you can keep track of details. Or, keep a menstrual journal.
- Do a fresh wudhu for every fardh salah. Then you can pray as much as you want with that wudhu, within that time period (e.g. sunan, qiyaam), until you nullify your wudhu through ‘normal’ means.
- If your period ends while you are somewhere that you have no access to showers for ghusl, you can do tayammum instead of ghusl, and then do wudhu if you have access to a sink - so that you can catch a prayer on time. (If you are not home, but at a mall, it is time for salah, your period definitely ended - do tayammum, then do wudhu in the bathroom sink, and pray.)
Hanafi Fiqh (Farzana Chowdhury)
Haydh: Blood which flows from the womb of a mature female, that is not the result of illness, pregnancy, and not post-menopausal.
Earliest age: 9
Minimum duration: 3 days (72 hours)
Maximum duration: 10 days (240 hours)
Colours: Red, yellow, black, green, muddy/ earth-toned.
Starts: When blood leaves the vagina and exits the labia minora even if it hasn’t exited the labia majora. If you put a tampon and blood comes out, BUT there has been no blood *outside* the vagina, haydh has not started.
- Any coloured discharge during days of haydh counts as menstruation, until the white discharge of tahaara.
- Even if you have a ‘dry day’ during your cycle, if still within the 10 day menstruation limit, it still counts as menstruation - you still don’t pray.
- Minimum time duration of tahaarah is 15 days
- No maximum duration of tahaarah, even if for many months or years
Understanding/determining a regular cycle
- Determined by number of days of normal bleeding and duration of purity from previous month
- Use a calendar/app!
- Your cycle can change. Keep track of previous month!
- If you have a roughly regular cycle and then end up bleeding extraneously beyond that, the days past your previous longest cycle are now considered istihaadha. E.g. for three months your cycle has been 4-6 days, in the fourth month, you bleed for 10 days - from day 7 and onwards, those days are now considered istihaadha and not haydh.
- No salah.
- No sajdah shukr or tilaawah.
- If praying a fardh and then period starts, the salah is invalidated and no need to make up. If praying a sunnah or naafilah, then salah is invalidated and it must be made up later.
- If bleeding begins at the end of a prayer time and you haven’t prayed it yet, you are not obliged to make up that prayer.
- No fasting
- All obligatory fasts (from Ramadan) must be made up
- If bleeding begins while fasting, the fast is invalidated and it must be made up - this applies to both obligatory or voluntary fasting
- If you stop bleeding before Fajr, in the night of Ramadan,after 10 days have passed, even if it’s one single minute before Fajr, you must fast that upcoming day.
- If you stop bleeding during the day of Ramadan, the fast doesn’t count, but you must uphold the conditions of fasting.
- If you stop bleeding before Fajr, in the night of Ramadan, *before* 10 days have passed - and have enough time to do ghusl and say takbir of Fajr - then you fast that day.
- If you stop bleeding before Fajr, in the night of Ramadan, *before* 10 days have passed - but do NOT have time to do ghusl - then you must behave like a fasting person, but the fast does not count, and you must make it up.
- Cannot touch the mus’haf
- Permissible to touch the mus’haf with a cloth etc. - any covering/ barrier that is not attached to the mus’haf
- Not permissible to touch the mus’haf with any part of your garment (e.g. portion of sleeve, from your dress). Gloves don’t count.
- Not allowed to recite Qur’an, not even a single ayah
- Permissible to recite a verse as part of du’a, as long as the ayah itself contains words indicative of du’a - permissible to recite Surah Fatiha as du’a
- If a teacher of Qur’an, can spell out each word slowly but cannot recite the ayaat
- Permissible to do dhikr, salawaat on RasulAllah
- Tawaaf is not allowed
- Not allowed to enter the masjid
- A musalla that is not a masjid, is permissible to enter
- No sex
- Navel to knee must be covered in front of spouse
- Permissible to have sex without doing ghusl first IF the period lasted full 10 days/nights; and if prayer time ended in which she was obligated to pray, but did not (she is sinful for not praying tho).
- If menstrual cycle changes to become shorter than previous one, even though she does ghusl and prays and fasts etc. she cannot have sex until the duration of previous cycle has been met.
End of haydh
- White/clear discharge
- If, within 10 days, after doing ghusl and starting to pray, you bleed again - delay your next ghusl until the end of the Mustahabb time of next salah. E.g. you shower and pray Dhuhr, then find more blood - wait until end of Mustahabb time of Asr, check for white/clear discharge. Then do ghusl and pray. If still bleeding, is considered haydh still (until 10 days have passed).
- You don’t have to take out braids for menstrual ghusl as long as water reaches roots of hair.
- If in state of janaabah when your period starts, you’re not obligated to do ghusl for it until your period is over
- Makruh for menstruating woman to do ghusl for deceased person
- If menstruating and hear verse of prostration, you don’t do sajdah tilaawah
- Mustahabb to do wudhu, sit in your usual prayer place, and do dhikr during that time
- Blood outside of menstruation, less than three days or more than ten days
- Nullifies wudhu
- If you’re bleeding constantly such that you can’t do wudhu or pray without still bleeding, you are considered ma’dhur.
- Ma’dhur does one wudhu for each prayer, can pray and read Qur’an etc during the duration of that prayer time
- Excused amount of blood on a ma’dhur’s clothing is equal to or less than 4 cm
- Makruh tahrimi for someone to pray in clothing with more blood than that
- Constant yellow discharge breaks wudhu
- Condition for continuation of being ma’dhur is that there is blood at least once during every subsequent prayer time
- No longer ma’dhur if one entire prayer time has passed and you have not bled at all
- If one has continual dysfunctional uterine bleeding and no longer knows the regular number of days for her menstrual cycle, she takes three days at the estimated time of her cycle and does not pray, fast, etc. Those three days are considered to be absolutely menstruation.
For the next seven days after that, must take a ghusl for each salah. With each prayer, she will also pray a makeup of the previous prayer, in case she was in a state of menstruation without knowing it (during the time of the previous prayer). For the next 20 days after that, a new wudhu for each prayer is required, but she is considered to be in absolute state of purity.
- If one knows the regular number of days of her cycle, but forgets the TIME of it: she prays for X number of days with fresh wudhu for each prayer. The next 26 days, must do a ghusl for each prayer, plus makeup for previous prayer.
Hanbali Fiqh (Dr Haifaa Younis)
Haydh: The natural, free flowing blood from the womb of a healthy female, during a known and regular time.
- Reading Qur’an by moving the lips. Exception: if you are already haafidhah; if you are in the process of becoming haafidhah; if you are a teacher.
- Touching the mus’haf without a barrier. WITH a barrier (gloves etc) is permissible
- Staying in the masjid. Newer fatawah: Permissible if you can guarantee that you are not going to soil the masjid itself with your blood.
- Divorce during menstruation is not valid and does not count
- Bulugh (puberty) - first menstrual cycles mean you are now legally Shar’an an adult
- Ghusl at the end of menstruation
- Divorce becomes permissible as soon as haydh ends, even before ghusl takes place
- Making up missed obligatory fasts after period is over
- Marks the the beginning of ‘iddah
Minimum age: 9 years
- If a girl bleeds before age 9, it does not count as haydh
Maximum age: Menopause.
- Generally between the ages of 50 and 60
Colours: Black, red, yellow, brownish/ grey
Minimum duration of haydh: 24 hours (one day and one night)
Maximum duration of haydh: 15 days
Minimum duration of tahaarah: 13 days
A man came to Ali ibn Abi Talib and said, “My wife has three periods in the month. Is that possible?”
Ali said: “Are you sure this is what she has?”
He said: “Yes.”
Ali turned to his companions and asked, “Is this man trustworthy?” They said, “Yes.”
Ali said: “Yes, she can have three periods in the month.”
(Narrated by Bukhari)
Potentially, could have a one or two day period that recurs every 13 days.
Is it over?
- Blood has ended, with or without white discharge - complete dryness OR white discharge
- 3 opinions about what ‘white discharge’ means: 1) the pad/tampon comes out white/clean when you swab/ wipe; 2) actual white discharge; 3) bleeding has ended.
- Cycle can change with age/ factors such as travel, birth control etc
- The first time your cycle changes, go by your normal cycle - the extra days are istihaadha.
- If the change becomes consistent for three months, this now establishes a new regular pattern, and the extra days DO count as menstruation.
- If period changes to become shorter, then it is considered to end when the bleeding ends/ usual signs of end of period.
- “Dry days” between the usual days of period/within 15 days: 2 opinions.
1) All of it is considered your period (minority opinion within Hanaabila)
2) Take ghusl when the bleeding stops, pray etc. then stop when bleeding begins again. Add the bleeding days together, any days of bleeding that exceed 15 days is now considered istihaadha.
- For first time period: First 24 hours are considered her period, until 3 months have passed and a regular cycle has been established.
- Birth control and other medical to delay or decrease periods etc. are all considered permissible as long as not harmful for you
- Regarding regular discharge post-menses: older fataawah said it breaks wudhu; newer fataawah say no, does not invalidate wudhu.
- Intimacy allowed as long as there is a covering/barrier between the two spouses/ navel to knee should be covered.
- If in tawaaf and you have vaginal discharge, it is recommended to do leave and do wudhu and come back; but permissible to simply continue the tawaaf.
- If period begins before Tawaaf al-Ifaadha - wait until the day you have to leave, then perform it.
- If period begins within a salah/ salah time, you do not have to make up the prayer.
- Any non-menstrual and non-post-partum vaginal bleeding
- Continuous blood flow
- Often differentiated from menstrual blood by being fresher/ brighter red; menstrual blood is usually dark, thick, has a stronger smell, often clots.
- Bleeding during pregnancy is NOT period
- Any blood post-miscarriage (if the fetus had any evidence of ‘human creation’) is considered nifaas.
- Very early miscarriage, only clotting - not nifaas. Considered istihaadha.
Maliki Fiqh (Mona Elzankaly)
Haydh: All blood, yellow or watery pus/discharge, or murky brown discharge that exits on its own from the vagina of a woman who could normally become pregnant.
- It must come from the vagina - not anus or urethra
- It has to exit on its own - e.g. not due to pap smear
- Bleeding before age 9 or after age 70 is not considered menstruation
- Between ages 9 and 13, and between age 50 and 70, women are consulted to see if it’s seen as menstruation
- Between ages 13 and 50, definitely considered menstruation
Women are divided into 3 categories:
- Beginner - her cycle has just begun, first time
- Experienced - has had at least one cycle
- Pregnant. Even if a pregnant woman bleeds, one day of blood is seen as a day of menstruation.
Minimum duration of period: One drop of blood - even one drop in the day, the entire day is considered menstruation.
- Beginner: 15 days
- Experienced: Depends on her previous longest cycle she’s ever had, plus 3 more days. Absolute maximum is 15 days. E.g. Regular cycle is 5 days. Maximum one can go to for current cycle is 8 days (5+3).
- Pregnant: Within first two months, same as an experienced woman. After third month to sixth month, up to twenty days. After sixth month, up to thirty days.
One day = from Maghrib to Maghrib.
No maximum days of tahaarah; 15 days minimum between cycles.
If one has a cycle where you bleed for X number of days, then dry for X number of days - you do ghusl, pray and fast on the dry days; then you stop when bleeding begins again. Add up all the days of bleeding to get the total number of days for your cycle - they cannot exceed 15 days. Once it exceeds 15 days, any blood afterwards is istihaadha. For a new cycle to begin, there must be 15 consecutive days of tahaarah.
E.g. A’s cycle is 5 days. Then it stops for 3 days. Then it she bleeds again for another 5 days.
She must do ghusl, pray and fast etc. for the 3 dry days. They do NOT count towards the 15 days of tahaarah. For the next 5 days of bleeding, only 3 of those days are considered haydh (due to maximum per that cycle); the next 2 days are istihaadhah. Those 2 days are considered part of the minimum 15 days of tahaarah.
The adding of extra 3 days to previous longest cycle is called “istidh’haar.”
End of period:
- Thick white or clear discharge
- Dryness (no bleeding
- Reaching maximum cycle days
- Check at the beginning of each prayer time to see if bleeding has ended
- Disliked to get up before Fajr to check - used to be practise of Bani Isra’eel - but check *at* Fajr time
- If you check at Dhuhr time and you still have blood, then check at Asr and you are clean - you will pray both Dhuhr and Asr; same for Maghrib and Isha
- If there is bleeding for less than half a prayer day (e.g. occasional spotting), it breaks the wudhu and you must make fresh wudhu
- If there is bleeding for more than half a prayer day (regular bleeding/flow), it does not break wudhu but recommended to renew it
- If it is constant, then it does not break wudhu and you don’t need to renew wudhu
Prohibitions of menstruation:
- Touching the mus’haf. Exceptions: She can recite from memory (or a book that has translation or commentary of the Qur’an); if a student of Qur’an or a teacher, may touch the mus’haf with that specific intention in mind.
- Sajdah Tilaawah and Sajdah Shukr
- Entering the masjid and even passing through it (unless life or death situation)
- Talaq - impermissible to do but valid once issued
- Intercourse - must cover from navel to the knees, cannot touch private parts
- Discharge from yeast infection does not nullify wudhu