Menses: definition and rulings
Menses or Hayd is the natural blood discharge from women uterus through her vagina. It could start at the age of 9 and stops by the age of 50. It usually lasts for 6 to 7 days and it requires a bath at the end “ghusl”.
Menses: definition and rulings
The Arabic term, al-Hayd, which means ‘menstruation’, refers in Islamic context to the natural discharge of blood by a healthy woman on certain times from the lining of the uterus through the vagina, without the woman having had a childbirth.
Beginning and end
It has been confirmed that no period of menstruation occurs in girls younger than nine years of age.
:A’ishah is quoted as saying
‘When a girl completes nine years, then she is a woman.’
Mentioned by al-Tirmidhi, hadith No. 1,109; al-Bayhaqi in Al-Sunan al-Kubra, but without a chain of transmission
Likewise, by the age of 50 most women will have stopped menstruating. 'A’ishah is reported to have said: ‘When a woman is 50 years of age, she stops menstruation.’
In most cases, menstruation lasts for six or seven days. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Hamnah bint Jahsh, who had blood discharge that continued for a very long time.
‘Your period of menstruation is six or seven days, as Allah knows best, then take a bath and pray for 24 or 23 days, as other women menstruate and have their time of purification in their regular periods.’
Related by Ahmad, hadith No. 27,144; Abu Dawud, hadith No. 287; al-Tirmidhi, hadith .No. 128; Ibn Majah, hadith No. 726
Some scholars are of the view that there is no minimum or maximum length of a woman’s period, and that it is determined by the custom of women in the family or community.
What it entails
1-It requires a bath at the end:
:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to a woman
‘Do not pray for the same number of days when you had your normal period, then take a bath and offer your prayers.’
Related by al-Bukhari, hadith No. 325
:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said
‘Allah does not accept the prayer of a girl who experiences the period without covering her head.’
Related by Ahmad, hadith No. 25,167; Abu Dawud, hadith No. 641; al-Tirmidhi, hadith .No. 377; Ibn Majah, hadith No. 655
This signifies that once a girl begins to have the period, she must cover her head, which means that Islamic duties apply to her and this takes place only when a person attains puberty.
3-It is a significant mark: A divorced woman’s waiting period is considered to have been completed when she has had three menstruations.
‘Divorced women shall wait, by themselves, for three monthly courses.’
4-A woman’s period is a sure mark that she is not pregnant.
Important note: When a woman finishes her period before sunset, she must offer her Thuhur and 'Asr prayers for that day; and if she finishes her period before dawn, she must offer her Maghrib and 'Isha’ prayers for that night. The time of each two prayers is considered one when there is a valid reason to delay the first prayer. This is the view of the majority of scholars, and it is upheld by Malik, al-Shafi'i and Ahmad.
- Al-Nadawi, Al-Fiqh al-Muyassar, p. 38.
- Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, vol. 1, p. 406.