Rafed English

Definition of Hayz

There are four possible causes for discharge of blood from women:

1. Menstruation.
2. Loss of virginity.
3. Post-natal bleeding.
4. Internal injury.

As mentioned above, menstruation is different from the blood of group 2, 3, and 4. In the Islamic legal ter­minology, menstruation is known as hayz. And a woman who is having her period is known as haiz. 1

According to Islamic laws, menstruation is the pro­cess of discarding the endometrium which normally takes place once a month in women from the day they attain puberty until they reach the age of menopause. (Menopause = final cessation of menstruation.)

From the shari'ah point of view, a girl attains puberty at the age of nine lunar years, 2 and she reaches menopause at the age of fifty. Imam Ja'far as-Sddiq (upon whom be peace) said, "The age when a woman ceases to have menstruation is fifty years." 3

So, if a girl sees blood before she becomes nine years old by lunar calendar, that blood is not considered menstruation (even if it may be regarded menstruation from the biological point of view). In the same way, if a woman sees blood after the age of fifty that blood will not be considered menstruation.

If a girl who does not know whether she has become nine years old sees blood on herself, then that blood can­not be considered menstruation even if it has all its three signs. (See below for the three signs of menstruation.) On the other hand, if a woman who doubts whether or not she has reached the age of menopause sees blood, then she should consider it as menstruation.

If a woman who has reached the age of menopause (i.e., fifty years) sees blood on herself with the three signs of menstruation or at the fixed time of her mon­thly periods, then what should she do? For such a woman, it is precautionarily wajib to act on precaution up to the age of sixty. Any blood seen after the age of sixty will be considered istihazah. (See part II for istihazah.)

"Acting on precaution" means to refrain from those things which are forbidden to a ha'iz and perform those things which are required of a woman in istihazah.

According to the shari'ah, it is possible for a preg­nant woman and a nursing mother to have menstruation.

The Signs: If a woman is not sure about the nature of her discharge, then she should look for the follow­ing three signs of the menstrual blood: (a) warmth; (b) dark red or black colour; (c) pressure and slight burning in the discharge. If these three signs are found together, then it is menstruation.

These signs have been taken from a hadith of Im­am Ja'far as-Sddiq (peace be upon him). A woman came to him and asked, "What should a woman do who sees blood on herself but does not know whether it is menstruation or some other type (of blood)?" The Im­am said, "The blood of menstruation is warm ...black (or dark-coloured), and it has pressure and burning sensation..." The woman said, "By Allah! If he had been a woman, he could not have added anything further in this (description)!" 4


1. To make the pronounciation easier for the readers, I have departed from the standard transliteration method of writing as d; instead I have used z. For example, instead of haid and hayd, I have written ha'iz and hayz respectively.

2. Nine years according to the Islamic (lunar) calendar would be eight years and nine months according to the Gregorian (solar) calendar.

3. al-'Amili, Shaykh Muhammad bin Hasan al-Hurr, Wasa'ilu 'sh-Shi'ah, (kitabu 't-Taharah), (ed. 'Abdu 'r-Ralum ash-ShirdA) vol. 2, Tehran 1401 AH, p. 580.

4. Ibid, p. 537.

Adopted from the book : "The Ritual Ablutions for Women (Taharatu N-Nisa')" by : "Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi"

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