I have a problem and I have the answer. I want to know if it is right or not. I know that women are not supposed to pray during [menstrual] periods. If the period is longer than normal for that woman then she should shower at the end of her NORMAL DAYS and start saying prayers with a new Wudhu for each prayer as it is now abnormal bleeding. Is this right?
Now if a woman is on pills so that her [menstrual] periods are regulated by the medicine, she knows her cycle to the exact date. However during this period, if she has a gynecological problem and she ends up having a D&C, her [menstrual] periods are disturbed. Medically it means she starts her periods again in the middle of her previous cycle. However she has also to stop taking the pills. So the uterus as a result goes through the normal cycle of shedding blood as a result of lack of the hormones. Are you with me? It means we introduced bleeding by courting, but at the same time stopped hormones as well, so the uterus bleeds as a result of cutting (abnormal bleeding) but also as a result of stopping hormones (normal expected bleeding). Now as it was in the middle of the cycle, what should she do?
I feel it is a matter of Ijtehad as this problem was never present before the introduction of modern treatments. Now in my thinking as a woman is supposed to start praying even though she had flow at the end of her normal cycle, it means we only count the normal days of bleeding for her. Now we have to describe what is NORMAL BLEEDING. If we can do that in the case above then she does not have to pray even if she has had bleeding in the middle of her previous cycle. Previous I say as she stopped the pill, and had D&C as well, she now has to wait for five days for bleeding then start her pills right from the beginning as if it was a complete new cycle. For her, her periods will be counted from this date on, not the previous dates she used to keep. So, this new cycle becomes her normal cycle. Now, where the previous normal finished, and the new normal started, is a question mark.
I think that this answer can only come from a doctor. I think, as a doctor, that the uterus was forced to bleed as result of curetting so it is abnormal, just as a bleeding from a skin wound. However do not forget that she also stopped the pill at the same time so the uterus sheds normally as well. I mean even if she had not had the curetting and stopped the pill, she would have bled because of lack of hormone. So it is normal for the uterus to bleed. Therefore, she does not have to say her prayers during this bleeding even though it is in the middle of her previous cycle. From now on she will have periods every month in relation to this date not the previous one.
A scholar whom we know says she should say prayers during and after D&C even if she bleeds as she considers it is abnormal bleeding. In her opinion she should stop praying when her next periods come whenever it might be.
What do you say? I need a through answer please.
According to the Qur’an , during the menstruation of a woman, the husband should not have sexual intercourse with her. The reason given by the Qur’an for this prohibition is that during these days, a woman is unclean. Thus, because a woman is unclean during these days, it naturally follows that during these days, a woman should also stay away from Sala’h and, during Ramadan, from fasting. This is the directive of the Shari`ah in this respect.
Now, there arises a question regarding the Mustahadha1. It could be asked whether a Mustahadha should also follow the directives given to a menstruating woman or that of other normal women. It is quite clear that woman’s menstruation is not an ailment but a natural phenomenon, while Istihaadha (i.e. the problem of irregular discharge of blood besides that of the regular menstrual cycle) is basically an abnormality or an ailment. Therefore, it seems that the directives of a menstruating woman should not be applied to a Mustahadha. As in the case of other ailments, a Mustahadha should perform ablution prior to every Sala’h and then complete her Sala’h even though she has discharged Istihaadha blood during the Sala’h. This [apparent] allowance is based on the Qur’anic principle of “God does not burden any soul with more than what it can bear” (Al-Baqarah 2: 286). When the Prophet (pbuh) was asked about Mustahadha, he is reported to have given the same reply (as reported in more than one compilation of Hadith).
Keeping in view the above explanation, let us now focus on your particular question. In my opinion, the basic issue to decide is whether the condition that follows D & C can be medically related more closely with normal menstruation or with Mustahadha, in other words, whether the condition that follows D & C could be termed as a natural phenomena or should be termed as the effects of an ailment. If your explanation is accepted to be correct (as in this case, we shall have to depend on the opinion of a person qualified in medicine and medical sciences), it seems more appropriate to relate the case of D & C with that of the Mustahadha rather than that of a menstruating woman.
The case of a woman who discharges blood because of the discontinuation of the “pill” should be seen separately. In this case too, if the bleeding is medically considered more closely related to the case of a menstruating woman, then the directives regarding the menstruating woman shall apply. On the other hand, if this bleeding is medically considered more closely related to the case of a Mustahadha then the directives regarding the Mustahadha shall logically apply. In either case, experts in the field of medicine rather than a student of religion (like myself) should decide the matter.
14th May 1999
- A woman suffering from Istihaadha. Istihaadha is an ailment in some women in which there is an irregular dripping of non-menstrual blood. [↩]