The beginning of the menstrual flow is a sign of puberty among human females. The minimum period of menstruation is one day and one night and the maximum is fifteen days (It should be remembered that human individuals have variations in this respect).
After delivering females bleed for some time. Bleeding may stop soon after delivery or it may continue up to a maximum of 40 days. It is called puerperium (nifaas).
Menstrual and Puerperal Flows: Do’s and Don’ts
- During these unclean days all forms of salat, whether obligatory (fard] or optional [nafil] are prohibited. Similarly, prostration by way of thanksgiving and prostration at recitation of designated Ayats is also prohibited. Hadrat Ayesha (RadhiAllahu Anha) was asked whether such women should make up their missed fasts and prayers. She replied that a menstruating woman shall make up the missed fasts but we are not enjoined to make up the missed salats [i.e. they are waived] (Muslim, Abu Dawood).
- During these days fasting [siyam] whether obligatory or optional, shall be skipped. But their making up later is obligatory.
- During these days circumambulation of the Ka’bah is prohibited. Once Hadrat Ayesha had to perform Hajj. She began menstruating. The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) instructed her to perform all the rites except circumambulation of the Ka’bah which could be performed after getting clean.
- During these days women can neither touch the Mus’haf nor recite the holy Quran. However, some jurists have made an exception to this rule. They say a woman can recite portions of the Quran orally so that she does not forget them. Similarly, female teachers and students engaged in the study of the Quran can do so by wearing hand gloves. There is no harm in it.
- They should neither enter the mosque nor sit there, unless it is absolutely necessary. The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that the mosque is not halal for menstruating women and the unclean men (Abu Dawood).
- Sexual intercourse with menstruating women is prohibited. Allah (Ta’ala) has ordained:
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنْ الْمَحِيضِ قُلْ هُوَ أَذًى فَاعْتَزِلُوا النِّسَاءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ وَلا تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّى يَطْهُرْنَ
فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْنَ فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمْ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ (البقرة : 222)
(Translation of meaning) [“They question thee [O Muhammad] concerning the state of menstruation. Say: It is an affliction; so let women be alone at such times and do not engage in sexual intercourse with them until they are cleansed. And when they purified themselves, then go unto them as Allah hath enjoined upon you. Truly Allah loveth those who turn unto Him, and loveth those who care for cleanliness” (Al-Baqarah: 222)].
- It is Haram to pronounce divorce to a woman during a menstrual period. However, if one does so, talaq will take place but the divorcer will be the wrong-doer and sinner.
In addition to normal menstrual flow women may suffer from abnormal or irregular flow which may be due to some affliction or disorder. It may occur before puberty, after the onset of menstruation and even after menopause. It does not make women impure. They are fit for performing all forms of worship as other pure women do. But they are required to undertake fresh ablution for salat of each time and use a pad to absorb secretions during the performance of salat.
Getting Purified of Canonical Pollution
Canonical pollution [najasat-i-hukmiyyah] is of two types: One is called the minor impurity or pollution [hadath-i-Asghar] for instance, urination and defecation. One can get cleansed of such pollution by simple performance of ablution. The other type is called the major impurity or pollution [hadath-i-akbar] for instance, getting impure or polluted by sexual intercourse. For purification from these two types of najasat water is the medium but if water is not available or the use of water is harmful one has to perform tayammum.
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