What Is the Ruling of Blood Spots between Periods?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

My doctor and I decided that I should take birth control pills.

I take it every day to suppress my period. I will get spotting in between periods though. Does that count as my period or istihada? Shall I stop praying when my time of the month comes, even if there is no blood?

Answer

It is very important that you keep track of your menses, now that you will be having spotting. A menstrual cycle, in the Shafi`i school, must be at least 3 days long (to count as a period) and can last for up to 15 days. The cycle of purity afterward, should also be at least 15 days long.

If you know when your period is due to come, and it indeed does come, then you should consider that menstruation and stop praying. You don’t need to stop praying unless you see blood.

Any spotting in between menstrual cycles will be considered istihada (chronic vaginal discharge). During this phase, you must still pray and fast, and you may have intercourse, enter a mosque, etc. There is no ghusl required when the spotting is over.

Istihada – How to Pray

A woman with chronic vaginal discharge (N: preparing to pray) should wash her private parts, apply something absorbent to them and a dressing, and then perform ablution, intending permission to perform the obligation of the prayer as she begins her ablution. She may not delay (N: commencing her prayer) after this except for reasons of preparing to pray such as clothing her nakedness, awaiting the call to prayer (adhan), or for a group to gather for the prayer. If she delays for other reasons, she must repeat the purification. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveller]

However, if the pill is suppressing your period completely (as it can for three months) then, you will consider the spotting as your period as long as it fulfills the conditions of a period. The bleeding should total up to 72 hours (3 days) even if it is intermittent, within a span of 15 days. All of it will be considered menstruation. There should also be 15 days of purity between spottings in order to consider the spotting menstruation.

Please see the following links for more information on this subject:
What Means Should a Woman With Dysfunctional Vaginal Bleeding (Istihada) Take to Stop the Bleeding Prior to Prayer?
How to Deal with Irregular Cycles as a Result of Birth Control Use?

May Allah give you the best of both worlds.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.