Answered by Habib Umar bin Hafiz
Question: Assalam aleykum
A 14-year-old girl menstruated during the past Ramadan without performing the purificatory bath. She fasted Ramadan not realizing that it was a menstrual period. Upon realization, is she required to make up the fast?
Answer: [Assalam alaykum]
If she did not perform the purificatory bath after her menstrual period had ended, then the prayers she performed before having performed a purificatory bath would be invalid. Thus, prayers that were performed between the end of her menstrual period and the purificatory bath would need to be made up, since she prayed without being in a state of ritual purity.
As for her fasting, if she fasted during her menstrual period, it would be invalid and would need to be made up. However, if she fasted while not menstruating, such fasting would remain valid, despite being in a state of ritual impurity for not having yet performed the purificatory bath. This is because the purificatory bath is not a condition for fasting. Fasting becomes obligatory merely once the menstrual period ends.
This serves as a reminder for our shortcoming when it comes to the obligation of female education. On a related note, many girls become legally responsible through menstruation. For example, they may be 13 or 14 years old, not perform the fast, and not be instructed by their family to do so. She would thus be sinful and so would her father.
There are also instances where, after marrying, she would mention such a case to her husband. After several years, she may remark that she reached puberty before the age of 15, though she did not fast her first or second months of Ramadan. This is all an immense shortcoming in female education and the exaltation of the Sacred Law within our hearts. We should therefore be attentive to this and likewise bring it our girls’ attention. It would be more appropriate for the mother to do so, as she would better relate to girls.
If the girl has her menstrual period beginning at age nine, which now occurs more frequently due to certain foods and viewing certain scenes, the mother should approach and speak with her, introducing to her the issues relating to menstruation, such as:
i) what becomes obligatory
ii) the requirement of the purificatory bath
iii) her reaching puberty
iv) the obligation of fasting once her menstrual period ends
v) teacher her how to perform a proper, valid purificatory bath with a proper, valid intention
These are all important obligations. May Allah enable us to perform them.
Translated by Mahmoud Hamed
Habib Umar bin Hafiz is a descendant of the Prophet (upon him be Allah’s peace and blessings). Born into a family of scholars, Habib Umar, pursued the sacred sciences from a young age, including Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, ‘Aqeedah, Arabic, and Spirituality. In 1994, he established Dar al-Mustafa, an educational institute in Tarim, Yemem.