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Question 646: What are the rules concerning a menstruating woman, according to Islamic Fiqh?

Answer 646: The follwoings are some rules concerning a menstruating woman.

Firstly: It is not permissible for a menstruating woman to offer prayers, keep fast, perform circumambulation of Ka’bah (Tawaf) or sit in an uninterrupted seclusion (I‘tikãf).

Secondly: Every thing that is prohibited for a ritually unclean person (Muhdath) is also prohibited for a menstruating woman, which include touching the Names of Allah, the Exalted, and like wise according to the more cautious opinion, touching the names of the prophets and the Imáms, Peace be upon them, and touching the written words of the Quran, the details of which have already been mentioned under (the Chapter on) Ablution.

Thirdly: Everything that is prohibited for a person polluted due to discharge of semen is also prohibited for a menstruating woman, which include reading the Quranic Chapters containing sajdah or some of them, entering the Two Mosques (namely the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid-i Nabavi in Madinah),staying in mosques other than the Two Mosques, or keeping anything in the mosques, as mentioned under (the Chapter on) Janãbat, as a menstruating woman is like a person polluted due to discharge of semen as far as all the rules are concerned.

Fourthly: Sexual intercourse through the front female organ (vulva) which is prohibited for both the man and the woman, though it is permissible to enjoy the menstruating woman in a way other than sexual intercourse through the front female organ, like kissing, or rubbing the male organ on the woman’s thighs, or the like, and even sexual intercourse with the woman through her backside (anus) though it is extremely abominable, and it is more cautious to abstain from it, and so it is abominable to enjoy her using what lies between her navel and knees. All these mentioned things are prohibited with the knowledge about her being in a state of menstruation according to his own finding or according to the signs given in the canonical law (Shari’at), like the woman’s habit or judgement, rather her treatment of seven days as menstrual period or also the basis of her closely related women. Even in case of his ignorance of her being in a state of menstruation a person comes to know of it during the sexual intercourse, he should withdraw. Similar is the case when she was not menstruating before the start of the sexual intercourse, but she starts menstruating during the act. Whenever, a woman informs about her being in a state of menstruating or its termination, her statement has to be relied upon, so that it is prohibited to have intercourse with her even when she has informed about her being in a state of menstruation. However, it is permissible to have intercourse with her when she informs about the termination of her periods.

Notes:

  1. There is no difference in the prohibition on sexual intercourse with a permanent or temporary wife and a free woman or a slave-girl.
  2. When a woman becomes clean of menses, it is permissible for her husband to have sexual intercourse with her before her taking ritual bath (required after cleanness from menses), though with an amount of abhorrence, rather (it is permissible) even before washing her front organ (vulva), though it is more cautious to abstain from doing so.

Fifthly: To be more cautious, expiation is due in case of having sexual intercourse with a wife (during her menstrual period). The amount of expiation for sexual intercourse with one’s wife (during menstrual period) is one Dinar at the first stage of the period, half a Dinar in its middle and a quarter of a Dinar in its last stage. The woman is not obliged to pay any expiation, even if done with her consent. The expiation is obligatory in case the sexual intercourse has been performed with the knowledge of its prohibition and about her menstrual period, rather, according to the more cautious opinion, despite ignorance due to negligence in some cases.

Notes:

  1. Here the first stage means the first one-third, the second stage the second one third and the last stage the last one-third of the menstrual period, so that if her entire menstrual period lasts for six days, each one-third will be equal to two days, and if it lasts for seven days one-third will be equal to 2 1/3 days, and so on.
  2. If a husband has sexual intercourse with her wife despite the impression that she is menstruating, and later it transpires that she is not menstruating, or under the impression that she is not menstruating, but later it transpires that she was menstruating at the time of the intercourse, he shall not be liable for the payment of any expiation.
  3. If the menstruation occurs during the intercourse, but he fails to withdraw, then there shall be difficulty in the establishment of the liability for the payment of expiation, though it is more cautious (to declare that the liability is established).
  4. It is permissible to pay the value of Dinar as it is at the time of the payment of the expiation.
  5. The expiation mentioned above shall be paid to a single poor person in the same way as it is paid to three poor persons.
  6. The expiation multiplies with the repetition of the act, though performed on different occasions for example, if he performs the sexual intercourse with his menstruating wife in the first, middle and last stages of her menstrual period, he shall be liable for the payment of 1 ¾ Dinars. The same rule shall apply if he repeats the act at the same time with intervening payment of expiation. Otherwise, (if no payment has been made after such intercourse), there are two opinions, the more cautious being in favour of the multiplication of the expiation.

Sixthly: Divorce to a menstruating woman is void if she has been enjoyed sexually but has not conceived her husband is present or like one present, so that in spite of being absent he is able to know easily about the actual position of the wife. If however, the woman has not been enjoyed sexually by her husband, or is pregnant, or her husband is away or like one who is away, so that he is able to know about the actual position of his wife in spite of being present, divorce to her shall be valid. The details of this case shall be given at another place (under the Chapter of Divorce)

Notes:

  1. If the husband is away from the wife, and he authorises another person who is able to obtain knowledge about the actual position of his wife, it shall not be permissible to divorce her while she is still menstruating.

Seventhly: after the discontinuation of the menses, it is obligatory to perform ritual bath for every thing for which there is a condition for cleanness from the major pollution (i.e. pollution due to easing nature, etc). The method and rules for the performance of the ritual bath for menses are the same as those for Janãbat (or pollution due to discharge of semen), with the exception that a ritual bath for menses does not replace ablution. So it is obligatory to perform ablution before or after it for everything for which there is a condition of performing ablution, such as the prayers, contrary to the obligatory bath performed for Janãbat, as mentioned before. In case it is not possible to perform ablution only, then the woman shall perform the ritual bath (menses) and then perform Tayammum in place of ablution. In case it is not possible to perform the ritual bath (for menses) only, the woman shall perform ablution and Tayammum in its place. In case, however it is not possible to perform the ritual bath (for menses) as well as ablution, she shall perform Tayammum twice, one in place of the ritual bath (menses) and the other in place of Ablution.

Notes:

  1. If the woman has not sufficient water except for either the ritual bath or ablution, according to the more cautious opinion, she shall perform the ritual bath (for menses).
  2. If a woman performs Tayammum in place of ritual bath (for menses), and then polluted due to Minor Pollution (like urination, etc.), her Tayammum shall not be nullified until she is able to perform the ritual bath (for menses), though it is more cautious to perform Tayammum again.

Eighthly: According to the stronger opinion, it is obligatory on the woman to make up for the obligatory fasts which she had given up while menstruating, regardless of whether they belonged to the month of Ramadãn or otherwise. The same rule applies to the prayers, with the exception of the daily (obligatory) prayers (offered five times a day), like Prayers for Ayãt, two Rak’at prayers for circumambulation of the Ka’bah, votive prayers, contrary to the daily prayers given up during her menstruating state as it is not obligatory on her to make up for them. Of course, if she starts menstruating after the arrival of the time of prayers, and so much of the time has passed in which she could perform the minimum obligatory prayers according to her condition, for example, slowly or quickly, in health or illness, while at home or during journey, and in consideration of the conditions not fulfilled by her despite being presently bound by them, like ablution, ritual bath or Tayammum, which she has not performed, then it shall be obligatory on her to make up for the (daily obligatory) prayers, contrary to the woman who has not had that much time for her from the start of the proper time for prayers (in a state of cleanness), and so it shall not be obligatory on the latter woman to make up for such prayers. However, according to the more cautious opinion, she

shall be required to make up for the prayers if she had had ample time for offering the prayers in a state of cleanness, even if she has not sufficient time to fulfill other conditions, although in such a case, according to the stronger opinion, it shall not be obligatory on her to make up for the prayers.

Notes:

  1. In case a woman becomes clean of menses before the expiry of the due time of prayers, then if there is still time left sufficient for offering a single Rak’at (of prayers) with all the requisite conditions, it shall be obligatory on her to offer it. If, however, she fails to offer it, she shall be bound to make up for it. Rather, according to the more cautious opinion, she shall be bound to make up for it even if there no sufficient time left except for cleanness with all the requisite conditions and offering a single Rak’at (of prayers), though, according to the stronger opinion, it is not obligatory.
  2. If a woman assumes that the time is too short for offering even a single Rak’at (of prayers) with the fulfillment of the requisite conditions, and so she gives up offering it, and later she learns that there was ample time, it shall be obligatory to make up for it.
  3. If a woman becomes clean of menses at the end of the day and finds time sufficient for offering four Rak’ats (of prayers) while she is in her own place, or for offering two Rak’ats while on journey, she shall offer the prayers for Asr while offering the prayers for Zuhr shall be dropped whether on due time or after it. If, however, she finds time for offering five Rak’ats (of prayers) while still in her own place, or for three Rak’ats while on journey, it shall be obligatory on her to offer both the prayers (i.e. for Zuhr and Asr both), so that if she fails to offer them, it shall be obligatory on her to make up for both the prayers. As regards the prayers for Maghrib and Ishã’, if from the end of the due time so much time is left as is sufficient for five Rak’ats while she is in her own place or for four Rak’ats while on journey, it shall be obligatory on her to offer the prayers for Ishã’ alone, while the prayers for Maghrib shall be dropped in her case whether on due time or making up for it.
  4. If a woman assumes that there is time sufficient for two prayers, and offers them both, and later she learns otherwise, then if she was bound to offer only the second prayers shall be valid, and she shall have no liability.

The same rule shall apply if she offers the second prayers alone, and then she learns about the tightness of the time, then, if she fails to offer both, she shall be bound to make up for the second alone. If, however, due to tightness of the time she offers the second prayers, and then she learns about the sufficiency of the time, it shall be valid, and she shall be bound to offer the first prayers subsequently. If, however, she learns about the sufficiency of the time after the lapse of the due time, it shall be obligatory on her to make up for the first.

5. It is recommended for a menstruating woman to change the cotton, and perform ablution at each time of prayers, and sit with her face towards the Qiblah upto the time required for offering each prayer, and invoke Allah, the Exalted. It is abominable for a menstruating woman to

dye her hair with henna, etc., to recite the Quran even though less than its seven verses, to carry the Quran even with its cover, or to touch the margin of the Quran and the space between its lines.[1]

For further information on this issue, please read the following answers:

Index: Acts are haram for Junub, answer 645.

Index: Number of things which invalidate Wudu (ablution), answer 556.

Index: Wudu: Permissibility of touching the script of the holy Quran, answer 128.

Index: Women: Obligatory of wearing Hijab to recite the Holy Quran, answer 358.

[1] . Tawzih al-Masael of Maraja (annotated by Imam Khomieni), Vol. 1, Pg. 260; Tahrir al-Wasilah of Imam Khomeini (ra), Vol. 1, chapter on Menstrual Discharge (Hayd), Rules concerning Menstruating Woman; Tawzih al-Masael of Imam Khomieni, Pgs. 99-101.

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