Aug 29, 2012

Regulations related to Menses

By Arty


“And they ask you about menstruation. Say, "It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves." (Surah Baqarah 2:222)

Sister Amina Elahi, in her tafseer of this ayah, explained that this ayah was a sign of Allah’s mercy towards women. Indeed, women during their menses often experience painful cramps, emotional outbursts, sluggishness, irritation, sadness, and many other symptoms. Allah (subhannahu wa ta’ala) is asking the men to leave women alone in these difficult times. Women do not have to satisfy their husband’s sexual needs during this time (1). In addition, women in Islam do not establish the prayer nor do they fast during their menses. The topic of menstruation is one that scholars have paid a great deal of attention to, and devoted separate chapters and books on. It’s a complex topic that has resulted in scholars having differing opinions about it. Yet, at the same time, it is a topic which no Muslim woman should be ignorant of, because it is directly linked to how she worships Her Creator. Below are just a few basic points that all Muslim women must know regarding their menses:

1. How do I know if I’m experiencing menstrual blood or not?

This is a complex issue for many sisters, who sometimes experience spotting or non menstrual bleeding, and wonder if they can still fast or make their prayers. Menstrual blood, according to the Sunnah, has certain characteristics by which it is known.

a. It is dark, intensely red blood, and is known to come at regular intervals, which each woman knows.

“When it is menstrual blood, which is dark blood that is recognizable, then stop praying.” (2)

b. It has an unpleasant odour.

A woman asked the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salaam) about the bath which is taken after finishing from the menses. The Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, told her what to do and said: ‘Purify yourself with a piece of cloth, scented with musk’. (3)

Thus, a sister can tell, either by previous normal periods or by the look and smell of the blood, if it is from menses or not. If it is her menses, she should not pray nor fast until her period ends. If, however, she’s experiencing spotting or bleeding that is not part of her menses, she should keep herself clean from the blood with a pad or liner and make ablution for each prayer. Indeed, spotting did not prevent the women at the time of the prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, from praying as per the following hadith:

“One of the wives of Allah’s Messenger, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, joined him in I’tikaf and she noticed blood and yellowish discharge (from her private parts) and put a dish under her when she prayed.” (4)

2. What is allowed during my menses?

a. I can still connect with Allah (Subhannahu wa ta’ala)

Not establishing the prayer does not mean that Muslim women are disconnected from their creator. It just means that they pray differently during that time. Indeed, women can still supplicate and make dua to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) during their menses. Al Bukhaari, Ibn Jareer, Ibn al-Mundhir, and Dawood al Zaahiri took the following hadeeth as evidence that it is permissible for one who is junub (under major impurity) to remember Allaah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and to recite the Qur’aan:

“Aisha Radiallahu anha said: The Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, used to remember Allah in all situations.” (5)

b. I can still be affectionate towards my spouse without engaging in intercourse as per the hadith in which the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, said:

“Do everything except intercourse” (6)

We also see the affection a husband and wife can have with each other during her menses in another hadith narrated by Aisha (radiallahu anha):

‘The Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, used to lean on my lap and recite Qur’an while I was on my menses’ (7).

This is such a beautiful hadith in which we see that a spouse ought to remain close and affectionate towards his wife even if there is no intercourse. It shows that the man doesn’t just see his wife as a sexual object, and values her company and closeness at all times.

c. It is recommended that I keep certain clothes just for menstruation

The Mothers of the Believers and the female believers at the time of the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, used to have separate garments for use during their menses. It is not obligatory, but a good example to follow. It also helps your spouse know indirectly that you have started your menses.

Umm Salamah, radiallahu anha, narrates:

“While I was lying with the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, under a woolen sheet, I got my menses. I slipped away and put on the clothes for menses. The Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, said, “Have you got your menses?” I replied, ‘Yes’. He called me and I slept with him under the woolen sheet.” (8)

3. What is not allowed during my menses?

a. Salah and Fasting

In part of a long narration, the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, said:

Is it not true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?’ (9)

Also, in another hadith narrated by ‘Aisha (radiallahu anha):

“The Prophet salallahu alayhi wa salaam said to me: ‘Give up your prayer when your menses begin and when it has finished wash the blood off your body (take a bath) and start praying.” (10)

b. Performing Tawaf around the Ka’bah

If a sister gets her menses during Hajj or Umrah, she may assume Ihram as usual and perform all the ritual acts, except the Tawaf around the Ka’bah and the two rakahs of prayer afterwards. She can wait until her menses ends to complete the Tawaf.

‘Aisha narrated:

We set out with the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa salaam) for Hajj and when we reached Sarif I got my menses. When the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, came to me, I was weeping. He asked, ‘Why are you weeping?’. I said, ‘I wish if I had not performed Hajj this year.’ He asked, ‘May be that you got your menses?’ I replied, ‘Yes’. He then said, ‘This is a thing which Allah has ordained for all daughters of Adam. So do what all the pilgrims do except that you do not perform the Tawaf round the Ka’bah till you are clean.’ (11)

c. Touching Qur’an

"Do not touch the Qur'an unless you are in a state of purity." (12)

d. Sitting or staying in the musallah (praying area) of the masjid.

..but the menstruating women should keep away from the musallah” (13)

A sister may, however, pass through or collect something from it as per the following hadith narrated by Aisha radiallahu anha:

‘The Messenger of Allah salallahu alayhi wa salaam said to me: ‘Get the mat from the mosque.’ I said: ‘I am menstruating!’ Upon this he remarked: ‘Your menstruation is not in your hand.’ (14)

e. Intercourse

“ keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you.” (Surah Baqarah 2:222)

f. Divorce

It is prohibited to divorce ones wife while she is on her menses. When Ibn ‘Umar (radiallahu anhu) divorced his wife while she was on her period, his father, ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, radiallahu anhu, went to the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, to inform him to check on the permissibility of this. The Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam, said to him:

‘Order him to take her back and keep her until she is clean...’ (15)

4. What should I look for to confirm the end of my menses?

First, a sister should not be in a hurry for her menses to end by looking too much for the yellowish discharge.

‘The women used to send to Aisha containers in which were pieces of cloth with yellowish discharge and she would say ‘Do not be hasty, until you see the white discharge.’ (16)

Rather, she should wait for the usual number of days of her period and not be in a hurry. She should not consider herself purified as soon as she observes dryness; rather she should wait for the yellowish or white discharge confirming the end of her menses.

5. What to do when the end of the menses is confirmed?

Once the end of her menses is confirmed, the Muslim woman can now perform the complete bath, also called Ghusl, and she should also clean her private parts with a scented cloth as per the hadith referred earlier (3). She can then resume praying, fasting, and the other activities that were forbidden to her during her menses.

One can’t help but see Allah’s mercy towards women. Imagine having to perform salah or fast when cramping and feeling uncomfortable. Imagine having to satisfy your husband’s sexual needs when all you want to do is curl up and go to sleep. Imagine having to make up all the salah you missed during your menses? Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is the most Merciful. Can you feel His compassion for us women? Alhamdulillah!

I urge myself first and all my sisters in Islam to learn more about the regulations pertaining to her life during her menses. This is not an option for us, but a must, since knowing what to do, and what not to do, during our menses greatly impacts our worship.

Saleem, Amr Abdul-Mun’im. “Important Lessons for Muslim Women”. Dar-us-Salam, 2005.
Ismail, Yasmin. “A hand through the door for my new sister.” Dar Al-Khair, 2001.
(1) amina elahi fahm-ul-quran
(2) Abu Dawood #286
(3) Bukhari #311
(4) Bukhari #307
(5) Bukhaari#1/213
(6) Muslim #592
(7) Bukhari #296
(8) Bukhari#297
(9) Bukhari#301
(10) Bukhari #554
(11) Bukhari#302
(12) Related by Imam Malik in his Muwatta, and deemed sound by early and late hadith authorities, such as Imam Nawawi in his Majmu`
(13) Bukhari #132
(14) Muslim#587
(15) Bukhari #178
(16) Bukhari (1/213)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Please post in the comments sections below! :)


Asalamu alaikum, I enjoyed reading this topic as it pertains what every woman should know? Jazakhair lla. Please I would like to ask if you are on contraceptive how can u differentiate between the two bloods. Secondly, number of days usually increases,how many am I to add before ghusul. Some say 3 some say up to 15days.

Salamalaykum and jazakAllah khayr for this informative piece. I have a question though, based on my previous reading on the subject.

It says in some articles, as here as well, that women can not sit and linger in the musallah/prayer area... but it says they can do other ibaadah at the Haram in Makkah, except tawaf and the two nawafils after that. The entire area except the Ka'aba, is a prayer area... can women not sit there? Also in Medinah, the women who can't pray from my previous experience and memory of it, were allowed to sit and do dhikr. That too is a prayer area. So based on all these examples, how do we say that she is not allowed to sit in the prayer area? Can we have this explained with accordance to the above examples please?

JazakAllah khayr for your time and response, insha'Allah.

~ Wa salaam alaykum.

Jazakallah for ur article.
very much helpful.

Alhamdulillah. Wa iyyakum.

Wa Aleikum salaam wa rahmatullah sister Hayaah. Jazzaki Allahu Khayran for your questions. I have asked a qualified imam and was told that if the Masjid area is not intended as part of the Masjid, but as a place where people station or leave their things then it does not carry the ruling of Masjid. Thus, it is permissible for the menstruating woman and person of Junub to sit there and at the same time there is no objection to pray in those areas either if there is a need, i.e. the musallah area is filled up. The hadith is clear that menstruating woman are not to make tawaf and the other hadith is also verified that menstruating women should keep away from the musallah area so to be on the safe side, it is better to avoid sitting in the musallah area. And Allah knows best.

Wa Aleikum salaam wa rahmatullah sister Fatima. Alhamdulillah. Jazzaki Allahu khayran for your nice comments. According to the opinion of Ibn Uthaymeen, the prophet peace be upon him did not specify a number of days for the menstrual cycle, so in this state, a woman should not pray until she becomes clean. Thus when the blood continues, the woman should continue in that state until she becomes clean then she can perform Ghusl and pray. And if in the following month, her period is shorter than that, then she should make Ghusl when she becomes clean, even if it was not the same number of days as the previous period. I pray this is helpful insha'Allah. Also as for the difference between spotting due to contraceptive and bleeding due to periods, you can go to this link insha'Allah for more clarification:
And in everything, Allah is the most Knowledgeable.
Wa salaam

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