Literally: To flow,
Legally: The periodic flow of dark (possibly painful) blood from the uterus after
Allah says: "They ask you concerning women's menses.''2 Also, Aisha narrated that
the prophe said about menstruation: "This is something which Allah has written
upon the daughters of Adam.''3
The minimum age for menstruation is nine lunar years4. If a woman sees blood before
this age (nine full years) by an interval less than the duration of a menstrual period and
its purity5 then this blood is considered as menstruation, otherwise, it is blood that
nullifies wudu and does not fail under the rules of menstruation. According to Imam
AI-Shafi'i, unlike other scholars, there is no maximum age for the end of menstruation
(menopause). Thus a woman can have a menstrual period until death. However,
normally a woman does not menstruate after the age of sixty two.
The minimum duration of a menstrual period is a 24 hr period of the usual continuous
menstrual bleeding.6 (there being no interval of purity in between). The maximum
duration is. fifteen days and nights. ,If it continues, then it is istihada. The average
duration is six of seven days and nights7 Hamnah bint Jahesh, who used to menstruate
without having any interval of purity, narrated that the Prophet said to her: "Verily
3AI-Bukhari, Vol. 1, The Book of Menses, Chapter !/290.
4 The lunar year is 354 days.
6 Accordingly, if a menopausal woman sees intermittent blood during fifteen days
which does not add up to the amount of usual continuous bleeding of menstruation for
one day and one night then this blood is considered as istihada.
7 This information concerning menstruation and postnatal bleeding has been derived by
Imam AI-Shafi'i through induction. Hence, anything which does not have a ruling in
Shali'a, nor in language, should be referred to con. on convention,
it is a way of Shaytan (to confuse you), so allow yourself a menstrual period of six or
seven days as Allah has instructed you, then perform ghusl, then act as though you
have become pure and pray twenty four nights or twenty three nights and days and. fast
and pray (during this time) as is your due and continue to do this, following the normal
cycle of menstruation and purity that women experience.''1
The minimum interval of purity between two menstrual periods is fifteen days and
nights. There is no maximum limit to the number of days between menstrual purities.
Thus, a woman may spend a lifetime without menstruating. There is no limit for the
number of days between menstrual and postnatal periods, therefore if a woman has
finished her postnatal bleeding then sees blood the next day, it could be menstruation.
Generally, the number of days between two menstrual periods (the purity duration) is
related to the number of days of menstruation, i.e. if menstruation lasts for six days, the
interval of purity would be twenty four days.
sees blood on the thirteenth day after being clean, this blood is considered
istihada because the minimal duration of purity is fifteen days. She will follow the
rules of istihada on the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth days of purity. If she
continues to see blood until the sixteenth day or longer, then this blood is
regarded as menstruation because the duration has exceeded fifteen days (the
minimal duration of purity).
this blood is menstruation because the sum of four and six is ten which is less
than the maximum duration of menstruation, therefore the six days she
considered herself pure were of menstruation. She follows the rules of
menstruation during the following five days. But if the second bleeding exceeds
these five days, it will be considered istihada because the sum of four and six and
five is fifteen which is the maximum duration of menstruation. Anything longer
than that is istihada. The cases of istihada will be explained later in this chapter.
The beginning of purity can be identified by seeing 'a white pad' (white vaginal
discharge) for it was narrated that: "The women used to send to Aisha ' their cotton
pads with yellowish discharge and she would say: 'Do not rush till you see the
whiteness of the cotton pad,' referring to purity from menstruation. \u201c\u20192
Murky or yellowish discharge is considered menstrual flow as long as it is during the days of menstruation and before seeing white discharge (this is true whether the woman is inexperienced3 or experienced with unusual menstruation). But if it occurs
1 A1-Tirmithi, Vol. 1, The Chapters of Purification, Chapter 95/128.
2 A1-Bukhari,Vol. 1, The Book of Menses, Chapter 19.
3 An inexperienced woman is one who is menstruating for the first time
Literally: Giving birth.
Legally: It is any bleeding within fifteen days of giving birth.
If the onset of bleeding is after fifteen days (of giving birth) then it is considered
menstruation. A woman who sees no blood after childbirth should pray (since she has
no idea whether or when' she might bleed). If however she begins to bleed ten days
after giving birth then these ten days are considered of the postnatal period and any
fasting she did during them should be made up when she is pure. This is true for a
woman giving birth for the first time (inexperienced) but having had such an experience
previously .she neither prays nor fasts immediately after (subsequent deliveries)but
waits for the same thing to happen. Experience is gained after one occurrence and one
should always refer to the last experience.
Giving birth includes the miscarriage of an embryo and the blood that follows this is
considered postnatal bleeding2. The blood that accompanies the delivery of the baby or
comes before it is not postnatal blood but is regarded as istihada. Hence, a woman
prays and fasts until the complete delivery of the baby, blood clot, or embryo.
Postnatal bleeding may last a moment, generally forty days, and at most sixty
Therefore, if a woman bleeds for 38 days then is pure for 10-days then bleeds again,
this blood could be menstrual or postnatal bleeding depending on its properties. If it
turns out to be menstruation, her fasting during the ten days of purity is valid and she
need not re-do it. But if it turns out to be postnatal bleeding she must re-fast everyday
she fasted (during the ten days) because the sum of 38 and 10 is 48 which is less than
sixty days (the maximum duration of postnatal bleeding). If the postnatal bleeding
exceeds 60 days then it is the same as menstruation when it exceeds 15 days, and she
should refer to her experience and to the minimum and general duration.
1. Performing ghusl whether with the intention Of worship (e.g. the ghusl of Friday) or
lifting hadath. Ghusl recommended for the purpose of cleanliness like ghusl for
ihram and Eid ghusl and any other type of ghusl, which does not require the state of
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