We are in the thick of Ramadan and guess what else is right around the corner? My period. YAY! I love cramping, feeling fatigued and practically dying from my uterus contracting. Let’s not forget the loads of pads I will go through, and the possibilities of an “accident” happening. Being a girl is so much fun! With that being said, during the month of Ramadan, women who are on their period are not obligated to fast until their period is done. These are the “off” days for Muslim women who participate in fasting.
Now, it is no secret that when a woman is menstruating, she is not able to partake in fasting. A female will experience a period monthly, sometimes more often than once a month. The true questions lies within our minds as to how many days a women is considered to be “done with her period” so she is able to fast again.
So, What’s the Deal?
If a woman begins her period before the start of Ramadan, she is not to fast until she is “pure”. The meaning behind “pure” is having complete dryness (no blood flow) and normal vaginal secretions (mainly white clear discharge). I know! This conversation just got really personal! On the other hand, some women do not have normal periods so they are left feeling confused as to whether they are able to fast or not due to a medical condition.
Medical conditions can influence a woman’s body to expel blood from the vagina. A woman may experience hormonal imbalances that can cause her periods to be irregular. She may also have uterine fibroids (muscular tumors that grow on the uterine wall) which is a common medical condition women may acquire. Uterine fibroid’s most common symptom is abnormal uterine bleeding. If the tumor is near the uterine lining or interferes with the blood flow to the lining, that can cause a woman to experience heavy periods, painful periods, and prolonged bleeding or spotting in-between her normal menstrual cycles. GEEZ! Sounds delightful!
So the question I will begin to answer is, if a woman has a medical condition that causes her to have irregular bleeding, can she partake in fasting?
So the question I will begin to answer is, if a woman has a medical condition that causes her to have irregular bleeding, can she partake in fasting? The answer is…(drumroll) YES! Your menstrual cycle and a medical condition bleed are two different scenarios. According to myreligionislam.com, the site mentions that a woman undergoing the days of istihada (vaginal bleeding apart from a menstrual and postnatal bleeding) is categorized as a person who has an excuse (‘udhr), like someone who is not able to control themselves.
Hence, the woman is to perform namaz and fast, and sexual intercourse is permissible despite the bleeding. The bleeding of istihada—also known as menorrhagia—is a sign of a disease. If this problem should continue and become a concern, women should seek medical attention from a gynecologist. Hey girl hey! Go get your fasting on, little mama! Do not let a stubborn medical bleed get in the way of completing your Ramadan and your closeness to GOD.
Hold Up. What If My Period Won’t Quit, but Isn’t a Medical Condition?
Before we jump into that, let’s clarify something. While searching the web, I came across the following information from islamweb.net. An individual expressed that she has been suffering from vaginal bleeding outside the menstrual period for a long time now, and was unsure if she was still able to participate in fasting during Ramadan. The response was:
“The woman who suffers from vaginal bleeding outside the menstrual period can perform the prayers and observe fasting according to the unanimous agreement of scholars. So, if it is proven that you have vaginal bleeding outside the menstrual period, there will be no blame on you to make up for the days of fasting that you missed, and your fasting in this state is undoubtedly valid. Rather, it is obligatory for you to make up for these days before the next Ramadan even if the bleeding continues. The eminent scholar Shaykh Ibn Baaz clarified the meaning and rulings of this vaginal bleeding which occurs outside the menstrual period saying, “The woman who suffers from vaginal bleeding, which is neither menstruation nor post-partum bleeding, takes the ruling of the pure woman. She can pray, fast and be lawful to her husband. She should perform ablution for every prayer, like the one who suffers from continuous urination or passing wind or the like. She should block the blood by a piece of cotton or the like, lest her body or clothes would be stained, as supported by the authentic Hadeeths of the Prophet. Allah (SWT) knows best.”
We have a significant amount of guidelines we must follow in order to participate and partake in religious activities. Nonetheless, although being a Muslim woman has its ups and downs, Islam provides these restrictions for a reason.
On the other hand, what about the girls who do not have a medical condition, but their period is longer than the norm? On virtualmosque.com, Sh. Muhammad al-Hassan Wali al-Dido al-Shanqiti mentions the following:
“The nature of women is different when it comes to the strength of their menses. The Prophet [May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him] made clear that the longest ‘normal’ time period for a woman’s menses is either six, or seven days, and that there are some women whose menses will be less, and some whose menses will be longer.”
Since it is mentioned that the longest “normal” time period for a woman’s menses is 6 or 7 days, then by the 8th day, if you are bleeding, you can participate in fasting again. That is my understanding on this particular question because after the 8th day, your period is not recognized as normal. Therefore, it can be a medical condition, or other biological reasons that cause you to bleed beyond the normal menses period.
Is There Anyway I Can Be Sure?
If you are experiencing spotting on the 6th or 7th day, that is still considered your “normal” menses. Anything past the 7th day is not considered part of the “normal” cycle for most women. On islamqa.info, it is mentioned that a menstrual cycle has characteristics that can help women determine if her period is over, or if she is able to continue with her spiritual tasks. If the spotting is red, it is still considered a period. However, if the spotting is yellow or brownish, it is not considered part of a period. According to islamqa.info, Umm ‘Atiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) said:
“We did not bother about any yellow or brownish discharge after a woman’s period was over.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 307. It was also narrated by al-Bukhaari, 320, but he did not mention “after a woman’s period was over.”)
The source continues, “’We did not bother about’ means we did not think it was menstruation, but it is a naajis (impure) discharge which means that a woman has to wash it away and do wudoo’. But if the white discharge is immediately followed by a period, then it is part of the period.”
We can safely say that being a woman comes with a lot of territory. We have a significant amount of guidelines we must follow in order to participate and partake in religious activities. Nonetheless, although being a Muslim woman has its ups and downs, Islam provides these restrictions for a reason.
It is to provide Muslim women time to rest and not overwork the body as a period can cause fatigue due to the loss of blood. Allah has forbidden menstruating women to fast during the time of their period out of mercy towards them, according to islamqa.info. The loss of blood weakens women, and if a woman were to fast when menstruating, she would be weakened by both, menstruation and fasting. This case would be an unfair burden, and even harmful to a woman. Thank you, Islam, for putting women’s health first!
God willing, this information has helped my fellow sisters! It is not easy being a woman and having a period, but I hope this Ramadan is easy for many, and hopefully no one’s period ruins the spirit! RAMADAN MUBARAK to all you fabulous ladies!