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Fatima is Fatima

by : Dr. Ali Shari'ati

Back You are here: Home Books Family The Ritual Ablutions for Women (Taharatu 'N-Nisa')

The Ritual Ablutions for Women (Taharatu 'N-Nisa') - 8. The Muztaribah

Article Index

If a muztaribah sees blood with the three signs for more than three and less than ten days, then it is menstruation.

But if a muztaribah sees blood for more than ten days, then there are a few possibilites:

1. The blood had the three signs during the entire flow, then she should consider six or seven days as menstruation and the remaining days as istihazah.

2. The blood had the three signs during the entire flow but with a difference in intensity of colour, that is, some days it had black colour and some other days it had dark red colour. In this case the flow with black col­our will be considered menstruation and the other will be considered istihazah - if such dark colour was not less than three and not more than ten days.

3. The blood was with the three signs for some days (but not less than three and not more than ten days) and without the signs for some other days, then the flow with the three signs is menstruation and without them is istihazah.

4. If the entire flow was without the three signs or the flow with the three signs was less than three days, then the entire flow will be considered istihazah.


I have already mentioned that menstruation is neither a "curse on the women" nor is it related to the so-called original sin of Eve.

Menstruation is the flow of blood; and blood, ac­cording to the shari'ah, is a najis (unclean) substance and so menstruation is also considered najis. But the impurity of menstruation in no way prevents a woman from liv­ing a normal life with her family and friends.

A person asked Imam ja'far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) about a woman who gives water to a man while she is in her monthly period. The Imam said, "One of the wives of the Prophet (upon whom be peace) was pouring water on him and serving him drink while she was in her monthly period." In another tradition, Im­am Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be upon him) narrates that the Prophet (upon whom be peace) said to one of his wives, "Serve me a drink." She said, "I am in my monthly period." The Prophet said, "Is your menstrua­tion in your hand?!" 9 These two narrations are suffi­cient to show that the impurity of menstruation does not prevent a woman from living a normal life with her family and friends.

On the other hand, there are certain acts of worship, etc., in Islam which are so sacred that a Muslim, whether man or woman, cannot perform them unless he or she has certain qualifications. It is only in relation to these acts that the women who are in menstruation, just as the junub men, are forbidden from performing them. Those acts are as follows:

1. Touching the writings of the Qur'an, the names and attributes of Allah, the names of the Prophet, the Imams and Fatimah (the daughter of the Prophet). It is better not to touch names of other prophets too.

2. Reciting those verses of the Qur'an in which sa­jdah (prostration) is wajib, i.e., verse 15 of chapter 32; verse 37 of chapter 41; verse 62 of chapter 53; and verse 19 of chapter 96. It is better not to recite even a single verse from these chapters.

3. Staying or even entering in a mosque. One can pass through the mosques 10 (by entering from one door and leaving from the other) except the Masjidu l-Haram (the Sacred Mosque at Mecca), Masjidu 'n-Nabi (the Mosque of the Prophet at Medina), and the shrines of the Imams - a ha'iz woman cannot even pass through these places.

As she is not allowed to enter any mosque, naturally she cannot do circumambulation (tawaf) of Ka'bah, nor can she observe i'tikaf. 11

4. Putting something in a mosque - even if she is standing outside. But she may take out something from it - provided she does not enter it.

5. A woman who is in her periods is excused from salat (prayers) because she does not have an important qualification for salat, i.e., taharat (cleanliness). She does not even have to perform them later on as qaza. Imam 'Ali Raza (peace be upon him) said, "When a woman has her monthly period, she does not ...pray because she is in the state of impurity (of blood), and Allah likes to be worshipped only by a pure (tahir) person..." 12

6. Likewise a ha'iz woman is excused from fasting; but in this case, she has to fast after the month of Ramadhdn as qaza. In his answer to Abu Basir's ques­tion, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq said, "Fasting is just for a month in a year while salat is every day and night. That is why Allah ordered that the fasts (missed by a ha'iz in Ramadan) be repaid as qaza, while He did not order to perform qaza of the salats (missed during hayz). " 13

It is mustahab for a ha’iz to change her sanitary napkin at the time of every prayer, to do wudu', to sit on her musalla facing the qiblah and to recite du'as; it is better to recite tasbihat arba'ah. (Tasbihat arba'ah are as follows: subhan Allahi; wa 'I-hamdu li 'I-lahi; wa la ilaha illa 'lahu; wa 'la-lahu akbar.)

It is makruh for a ha’iz to recite, to keep, to carry or to touch the border of the pages of the Qur'an, or the blank space between the lines.

At the end of this chapter I would like to present the following verses from the Bible so that the reader may appreciate the laws of the shari'ah. The Bible, in the Book of Leviticus, says,

"When a woman has a discharge, her discharge be­ing blood from her body, she shall remain in her im­purity for seven days; whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Anything that she lies on dur­ing her impurity shall be unclean; and anything that she sits on shall be unclean. Anyone who touches her bed­ding shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening;

and anyone who touches any ob­ject on which she has sat shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening. Be it the bedding or be it the object on which she has sat, on touching it he shall be unclean until evening. And if a man lies with her, her impurity is communicated to him; he shall be unclean seven days, and any bedding on which he lies shall become unclean.

"When she becomes clean of her discharge, she shall count off seven days, and after that she shall be clean. On the eighth day she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, and bring them to the priest at the en­trance of the Tent of Meeting. The priest shall offer the one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering; and the priest shall make expiation on her behalf, for her unclean discharge, before the Lord." (Lev. 15:19-30)

Now surely you will appreciate the words of Allah which say, Allah does not desire to make any impediment for you; He only desires to purify you, and that He may com­plete His blessings upon you; haply you will be thankful (to Him). (Qur'an 5:6)


By considering the discomfort of the women dur­ing the monthly periods, Islam has forbidden both the husband and the wife from sexual intercourse during the menstruation.

The Qur'an says, They ask you about menstruation. (O Muhammad) tell (them that) menstruation is a discomfort (for the women, it is a period when they pass through physical and emotional tension. Therefore,) do not establish sexual rela­tions with them during the menses, and (again you are remind­ed that) do not approach them (sexually) until the blood stops. Then when they have cleansed themselves, you (are permit­ted to) go into them as Allah has commanded you (by placing sexual urge in your nature). (2:222)

Of course, playing with the other parts of her body (other than the vagina and anus) is allowed. Again, it is precautionarily better not to play with her body bet­ween the navel and knees.

If a man who is engaged in sexual intercourse with his wife discovers that her period has began, then he should immediately withdraw himself from her.

It is clear from the verse mentioned above (until the blood stops) that once the blood has stopped, intercourse becomes lawful even if the woman has not performed ghuslu 'l-hayz. But on the basis of the subsequent sentence (then when they have cleansed themselves...), most of the fuqaha' (Islamic jurists) have ruled that it is precau­tionarily better to refrain from intercourse until she per­forms ghusl or, at least, washes her private parts.

'Ali bin Yaqtin asked Imam Musa al-Kazim (peace be upon him) about a man having intercourse with his wife whose period has stopped but she has still not performed the ghusl. The Imam said, "There is no harm in it; but (intercourse) after the ghusl is more preferable to me.` 14


Whenever a mubtadi'ah, a muztaribah or a forgetful zatu 'l-'adah woman sees blood, she should stop her salat - of course, if she discovers later on that it was not hayz (e.g., the blood stopped on the second day), then she should perform qaza of the salat which she had missed.

If the time for a particular salat has already begun and a woman fears that by delaying the salat her period may start, then it is wajib on her to perform that salat immediately.

If the time for a particular salat has already begun and the woman did not pray until her period started, then she has to perform that salat as qaza after the menstruation stops and she becomes clean.

If a woman's period starts while she is engaged in salat, her prayer will be invalid.

If a woman who is engaged in salat doubts whether or not her period has started, her doubt will have no effect on the salat unless she discovers later on that her period had actually begun.

If a woman becomes pure from menstruation and has enough time to perform ghuslu 'I-hayz and pray, at least, one rak'at in time - then it is wajib on her to do so. In case she does not pray, then it will be wdjib on her to perform its qaza.

For example, the time of 'asr prayer was ending at 5:00 p.m. and a woman became pure from her period at 4:00 p.m. In this case, she has enough time to per­form ghuslu 'l-hayz and pray salat of 'asr. If she does not do so, then it will be wajib for her to perform salat of `asr as qaza.

If a woman becomes pure from menstruation while she does not have enough time to perform ghusl and pray at least one rak'at in time - then it is precautionarily obligatory for her to perform tayammum instead of ghusl, and pray. But in this case if she does not do so, then it is not wajib for her to perform that salat as qaza.


When a woman becomes pure from menstruation, it is wdjib for her to perform ghusl. Apart from sexual intercourse, all the acts forbidden to her will remain so until she performs ghusl u'I-hayz.

The manner of performing ghuslu 'l-hayz is same as the method explained in Wudu' & Ghusl. For conve­nience of the reader, the manner of performing ghusl is also given here.

There are two methods of performing ghusl: Ghusl tartibi and ghusl irtimasi.

1. Ghusl Tartibi: After removing the najasat from the body and after niyyat, the body has to be washed in three stages: First, the head and the neck; then the right side of the body from the shoulders to the foot; and lastly, the left side of the body.

2. Ghusl Irtimasi: In this type of ghusl, after niyyat, the whole body should be completely immersed in water at once, not gradually. One has to make sure that all the parts of his body, including the skin under the hair, has been washed.

However, ghusl tartibi is preferred to ghusl irtimasi.

For other details about the manner of performing ghusl, see pp. 16-20of Wudu' & Ghusl.