Posts

Off-White Vaginal Discharge

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked about the color of vaginal discharge and what to make of slightly off-white discharge with regard to purity and prayer.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Question: My normal discharge color as measured in kursuf is clear in thin quantities and slightly yellow tinted when in a thicker layer. I’m a medical student so I’m quite sure that I am not suffering from an infection.

This is in fact my normal, physiological color. Besides, this is the color it’s been for as long as I can remember. I have discussed with other women as well and some of them have agreed that their normal color is slightly off white tinted.

So, should I assume my normal discharge is a shade of white or that it is blood? I am a student so it is would be very difficult for me to take long breaks to renew wudu and find a place to pray during hospital placement.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

The basic rule is that clear or white discharge is not considered menstrual, while non-clear and non-white discharge is. Thus, discharge that is white-ish but has a tinge/trace of yellow would be considered menstrual.

However, you should note that the color given consideration is one seen immediately after the kursuf is removed and the discharge is fresh, since it may turn yellow as it oxidizes.

Ultimately, you will need to make your best judgment regarding whether the discharge you are seeing is clear or white, or whether it actually does have traces of other colors. If it is the former, it will be deemed normal vaginal discharge, while the former is menstrual discharge.
Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


How to Know If Discharges Are Period?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I had periods for 8-9 days then I did ghusl after that I was clean. After 3 days I saw pinkish discharge and then I was clean for 2 days,but then I had heavy spotting.

Are these periods?

Answer: As-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well. Thank you for you question.

Periods and Purity

In the Ḥanafī school the minimum duration for a period is three days (72 hours), and its maximum duration is ten days (240 hours). Bleeding which is less than the minimum or more than the maximum is considered to be dysfunctional bleeding (istiḥāḍa). Also, there must be at least fifteen days of purity between the end of one menstrual cycle and the start of the next. Any spotting or bleeding during this time is also dysfunctional bleeding.

Keeping Track

It is worth noting that is obligatory for Muslim ladies to document their monthly menstrual habit: the duration of their last menstrual cycle must be recorded, along with the general time of occurrence during the month (7th-12th of the month, or 20th-30th of the month, for example). Doing so is essential as it can save a lot of difficulty if she were to develop problems with dysfunctional bleeding. The same is true for Post-Natal bleeding.

Fore-learned is Forearmed

Your asking this question is commendable, and you will be rewarded for your concern by the generosity of Allah. A good approach is to learn the knowledge needed to practice your religion properly and to try to keep it fresh, because many a time situations arise when an on-the-spot decision needs to be made, and it may not be possible to consult with someone at that point. The only thing that will help at that point is having a grounding in the relevant knowledge, especially with the topic at hand because of the difficulty of its details.

May Allah facilitate the way to His pleasure for us all.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Was My Period Over?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I was nearing the end of my period and I was checking to see if it had ended by checking for dryness (using a piece of toilet paper). But the act of checking for dryness lead to some bleeding. From what I could see the piece of toilet paper came out with blood from a vein. The prayer time was nearing so I made ghusl and prayed and I continued to see some blood for the rest of the day. Was I too hasty?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

If your menstruation had ended, your ritual bath (ghusl) and prayers would have been valid. If otherwise, you would have been expected to repeat your ritual bath at the end of the day, and after the end of the bleeding.

The judgement related to whether or not it was blood from an injury needs to be based on something, such as, prior experience with the same or a similar injury, obvious signs of injury, or the conclusion of an upright doctor.

If the matter remains unclear, even after investigation, you can repeat your prayers which you prayed from the end of the bleeding until your subsequent ritual bath.

For further detail on determining the valid end of your bleeding, please see the following answers: Discolored Menstrual Blood & When To Stop Praying and: How Can I Know the End of My Menstrual Period?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

What Should I Do in Regard to My Prayers When I Am Confused About the Beginning and Ending of My Period?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question:Assalam alaykum,

1. I went to sleep without having my period. When I woke before sunrise but after the Fajr prayer time has entered I was menstruating. Should I make up this Fajr prayer?

2. Once my period ended, I was unsure whether or not it ended before or after the time for Dhuhr prayer. Should I pray it just in case?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

(1) No, you do not need to make up the prayer in which the menstrual period began. The basis is that if you are menstruating at the end of the prayer time, you do not need to make up that prayer.

(2) You should use a kursuf to determine the end of your menstrual period. [see: White Discharge and Preventing Discharge from Breaking Wudu]

[Ibn `Abidin, Manhal al-Waridin min Bihar al-Fayd `ala Dhukhr al-Muta’ahhilin fi Masa’il al-Hayd (268)]

And please also see: Discolored Menstrual Blood & When To Stop Praying

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Should I Make up the Prayers I Missed Because of My Periods?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: I recently learned that islamically, menstruations do not last more than 10 days. My periods usually last for 8 days. Someone told me that if my period happens to last for 10 days, then I will have to make up the prayers for the extra 2 days as well. Is this true?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

No, you do not need to make up up the prayers you didn’t pray during your menstrual period because such prayers were not obligatory upon you in the first place. [Mawsili, al-Ikhtiyar]

This is due to the hardship normally entailed in making up so many prayers on a recurring basis, and the fact that the female companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) didn’t used to do so.

It is related from Mu’adha that a woman asked ‘A’isha, “Should we make up the prayer when we become clean?” She said, “Are you from Harura’? [i.e. are you a Kharijite? ] When we were with the Prophet, we got our menstrual periods and he did not command us to do that.” (or she said, “We did not do that.”) [Bukhari]

Please also see: Making Up for Fasts Missed Due to Illness and Menstruation

ِAnd consider getting hold of Ustadha Hedaya Hartford’s: Coming of Age, A Muslim Girl’s Guide.

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

قال في المختار: ((وهو يسقط عن الحائض الصلاة أصلا))

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Charles Roffey

Celebrating The Arrival of Puberty With Your Daughter

Writer, women’s aid worker and mother of three, Jazmin Begum Kennedy has little patience for the sense of shame often attached to a girl experiencing puberty and menstruation. 
Puberty – yes, the dreaded P word – is such a daunting phase for parents, but it really shouldn’t be. Physical changes in the body, hair growth, body odour, and of course, the imminent first period, should be something to be celebrated, not an embarrassment. For girls, developing breasts and having their first period are major turning points in their lives; this is their transition from girl to womanhood, so why should there be shame attached to it?

Culture of Shame

In many cultures, society deems puberty for women as embarrassing, unclean and something no one should speak openly about. The physical changes in pubescent bodies can be traumatic and confusing for any girl, without having to face this stigma. Allowing our young girls to believe they should feel shame only adds to the stress and anxiety, possibly even leading them to despise their own bodies.
As grown women, we all know that menstruation isn’t exactly a walk in the park and so young, impressionable girls grow up dreading this life-changing event. It’s a crucial time and parents need to be actively involved in offering assistance and empathy.
balancing family

A Long List of Don’ts

In the South Asian culture I come from, we’re taught not to leave sanitary products in the family bathroom for fear of discovery by the menfolk – menstruation is a closely guarded secret of which the men must remain completely oblivious. A recent discussion on the Muslim Mamas page I help administer, revealed that many women were woken by their mothers for the pre-dawn meal during Ramadan (suhoor) while menstruating, even though they were religiously excused from fasting. If they didn’t join in, their father and brothers would know they had their period and this was an unthinkable option. Many lied about fasting and even pretended to offer the five daily prayers just to keep up the pretense.
It sounds ridiculous but it’s common in many cultures, not just mine. Menstruation is a fact of life. Every woman on this planet experiences it from puberty onwards so why all the secrecy?

The Example of The Prophet ﷺ

I read this remarkable story recently about Umayyah bint Qays (may Allah be pleased with her) a pre-pubescent girl who joined the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his army on their way to Khaybar.

“Then we set out with him. I was a young girl. He made me sit on his she-camel behind the luggage. I saw the bag had got traces of blood from me. It was the first time I had a period. Then I sat forward on the camel [to hide it] and I was embarrassed. When the Messenger of God saw what happened to me and the traces of blood, he said, “Perhaps you have had menstrual bleeding?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Attend to yourself. Then, take a container of water, then put salt in it, then wash the affected part of the bag, then come back.” I did so. When God conquered Khaybar for us, the Prophet took this necklace that you see on my neck and gave it to me and put it on my neck with his own hand. By God it will never be parted from me.” She wore the necklace her entire life and stipulated that she should be buried with it.

SubhanAllah, this young girl started her first period, on a camel, away from her womenfolk, surrounded by men including the greatest man that ever walked the earth. When the Prophet ﷺ saw the blood, he didn’t embarrass her nor shout, “Astaghfirullah! Haraam! You should be at home, with your mother!” Instead of ordering her to leave, as she was now mature, he taught her about purification at that moment in time. He didn’t scold her or accuse her of being a fitnah, nor tell her to cover up more; instead, he made this embarrassed young girl feel honoured and special by giving her a gift. How many men – or even women, do we know, who would react that way?
In contrast, we are mortified if the tiniest drop of blood leaks onto our clothing. We are often mocked, our self-esteem takes a hit and we become painfully self-conscious. In some cultures, menstruating women are even told they should keep out of sight.

Mass Re-Education is Required

I firmly believe that we need to educate people on the blessings of menstruation. During Ramadan, menstruating women are not handicapped in their attainment of rewards. The angels continuously write down their good deeds so long as the women are performing these in order to please Allah. It is the one time Allah has exempted us from obligatory prayers – this “break” is an ideal time to reflect and recuperate.
We can’t remove the stigma associated with menstruation overnight as it is the result of deeply ingrained attitudes in both men and women, but as parents, particularly mothers, change can begin in our own homes. Mothers are the first friends and teachers. It’s our role to guide our children – don’t leave this important task with the teachers at school.
We need to mentally prepare our girls, reassuring them that the changes are natural, and support them every step of the way. Instead of an awkward, uncomfortable time, we should make it a happy transition to womanhood. Yes, menstruation can be difficult for some but none of it is unsurmountable.

Be Prepared

Here are my suggestions as to how, as mothers, we can make the transition as smooth as possible.
1. Communicate: Talk to your daughter. You went through this yourself so you shouldn’t be embarrassed to openly discuss bodily changes. In this confusing and emotional time, she needs your experience, wisdom and gentle support. Her hormones will cause havoc with her emotions and it can all be overwhelming, so be there for her and explain it all in an easy-to-follow manner.
2. Pubic Hair: Show your daughter how to remove pubic hair and teach her how often, Islamically, she is required to remove it. Try several methods of hair removal to find the one that ismost comfortable for her. Discuss personal hygiene. Turn the issue of sweat and body odour associated with puberty into fun mother and daughter time as she tries out different products with you.
3. First Bra: Take your daughter for her first bra fitting. On the Muslim Mamas page, many mums said they found shopping for such personal items embarrassing. Many recalled their own experience of puberty as just being given vests and bras to wear with no explanation and so, they planned to do the same with their own daughters. Let’s break the pattern. Remember, Imam Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘Do not raise your children the way your parents raised you; they were born for a different time’.

4. Menstruation: Discuss all the dos and don’ts of menstruation. The average age for puberty used to be 11 or 12 but girls are experiencing it as early as 8 or 9 these days. Ensure you prepare her well in advance so it’s not unexpected and frightening for her. Puberty at this age is more difficult as children rarely think about personal hygiene, let alone the added responsibility of changing sanitary towels, keeping themselves clean and properly disposing of the pads. Lighten the load by instructing them carefully. Buy a separate bin for them and create a space for all their cleaning products.
5. Inform The Men. You don’t need to announce it to the world; we must still practice haya but fathers and brothers need to be aware of the changes in their daughter or sister. If she isn’t praying or fasting due to menstruation, then tell them rather than hide it. It’s much easier to inform them in advance than to have them ask about it. If you explain menstruation to a brother, then he’s far more likely to show his sister and other girls respect and not ask insensitive questions. It’s imperative that boys learn never to mock as doing so causes anxiety and self-consciousness.
6. Learn: Enroll into a Fiqh of Menstruation course. If your daughter is old enough, have her join you. Use this opportunity to bond with her and be sure to end it with dessert. Your daughter will always remember the sweetness of the day. Buy a comprehensive book on this subject. I would recommend Ustadha Hedaya Hartford’s Coming of Age, a book aimed at teenage girls. There’s also Imam Birgivi’s Manual Interpreted: Complete Fiqh of Menstruation & Related Issues. This book is the explanative translation of a major Islamic legal work on menstruation, lochia, and related issues. It provides accurate information and practical arrangement of charts and texts making it an important reference for every Muslim family.
7. Be Prepared: After having the ‘talk’ with your daughter, prepare a beautiful hamper containing things she will need for the coming of age phase. Here’s the First Blush of Womanhood hamper I created for my daughter.

It contains,

  • A Muslim Girl’s Guide to Life’s Big Changes
  • Dua book
  • First bra, crop vests, and tight, full briefs for when she’s menstruating
  • Girly nighties and pretty pyjamas
  • Pretty nightgown and slippers
  • Sanitary towels, both disposable and reusable pads. With the disposable pads, I recommend the cheaper brands as they don’t contain harsh chemicals.
  • Heart shaped hot water bottle to ease cramps
  • Chocolate for comfort
  • Himalayan salt and organic deodorants, body sprays, body wash set, intimate wash, and lots of organic facial cleaning products. Buy as many natural products as possible to avoid the harsh chemicals. I use Sunnah Skincare as their products are organic and reasonably priced.
  • Pretty flannel to match bath towels
  • Bath gloves
  • Pretty nail clipper set
  • Scented drawer liners
  • Sensitive hair removal cream, first shaving kit or hair trimmer

Make this hamper an exciting gift, and use it as an opportunity to show your willingness as a parent to involve yourself actively in this special phase of her life.

Jazmin Begum Kennedy (JBK) is a ‘Qualified Housewife.’ By day she is a mother, wife and teacher; by night she wages war against oppressors and writes books. She is an experienced teacher of primary and secondary education, an acclaimed professional artist (JBK Arts) and published author of Mercy Like the Raindrops, Blessed Bees, No School Today and the upcoming novel, Fifteen. Jazmin is an online counsellor specialising in domestic abuse, rape and child abuse. She also physically helps victims of domestic violence flee their abusive marriages. She is the co-founder of the Nisa Foundation, working as a women’s aid worker for victims of domestic violence. JBK currently homeschools her three children, whilst managing a network for Home Educators in the Greater Manchester area of the United Kingdom.

Mother and daughter by the lake, by Chris Wood.

 

Resources on puberty, parenting and related issues

Does a State of Major Ritual Impurity After the End of My Period Prevent Me From Fasting?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam’aleykum,

My period usually lasts for 6 or 7 days and I tend to perform the ritual bath on the 7th day. But this time I wasn’t able to perform it because I was in class. Would my fast have been valid on this 7th day while being in a state of major ritual impurity given the fact that this 7th day was free of discharge?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

In general, fasting in a state of major ritual impurity would be valid because its validity is not dependent upon being ritually pure for the prayer.

The exception, however, is for menstruating women, or those in their post-natal bleeding periods, because being free from such bleeding is a condition for the validity of the fast.

Further, the time required to perform the ritual bath (ghusl) is considered to be from the bleeding period in question, if her bleeding stops at some point before the maximum limit. Thus, her fasting without a bath would be invalid, yet she would need to abstain from food and drink for the rest of the day.

Otherwise, and when the blood finishes upon the completion of the maximum period, her fasting would in fact be valid as the time required for her bath would not be considered part of that bleeding, as she is no longer in a state of menstruation or post-natal bleeding.

But in any case, it is obligatory to take the means to pray when your menstruation stops, and being in class isn’t sufficient reason not to do so.

[Birgivi, Dhukhr al-Muta’ahhilin wa al-Nisa’; Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

Please also see: Do I Complete My Fast On the Day My Menstruation Starts? and: Making Up Fasts Missed Due to Menstruation

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo:
Chris Schuepp

What If Menstruation Begins During Intercourse?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: My wife and I became intimate and had sexual intercourse without realizing that she had begun menstruating. As soon as it became apparent (by seeing blood) that she was menstruating, we immediately stopped. Is an expiation due in this case?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.

In such a case, nothing is due and no ‘rectification’ is required.

First: We are only responsible to the extent of our reasonable ability and awareness. Allah Most High makes it clear that, “Allah does not make a soul responsible beyond its capacity” [Qur’an, 2.286]. This is part of the broader Divine Promise that, “He has placed no hardship for you in religion” [Qur’an, 22.78].

Second: It is understood from the Qur’an and Sunna, as the jurists explain, that, “Accidents are ascribed to the nearest time” [Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa’l Nadha’ir; Majalla]. Thus if you see bleeding, you assume that it just came out—and that it wasn’t present before. The assumption would be that the intercourse was initiated in a state of purity.

Third: You responded in the right manner, Alhamdulillah. If the couple realizes that menstrual bleeding has begun, they are obligated to end intercourse, immediately [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar].

Fourth: Your concern for caution and upholding proper conduct is commendable. The best way of upholding caution is to root one’s understanding and practice in sound knowledge—and to never hesitate to ask. The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) said, “The only cure for confusion is to ask” [Related by Imam Ahmad, Ibn Maja, and others].

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

Please see also: Confusion About Different Opinions Regarding What is Considered Menstruation

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani

Photo: garycycles8

Can I Have a Complete Menstrual Period Whilst Only Seeing Spotting?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

I had a baby recently, delivering on the 9th of the month. I had lochia during the first month, on the second month of the 9th I had some slight spotting that lasted about 9 days. On the 9th of the third month I had spotting the first day. On the 9th of the fourth month I got red spotting and continued to have spotting periodically every few hours.By the 7th day of my spotting on this month, the color of the discharge when I wipe was even colored and a very light brown like it might be on the 5th of my normal period. Should I treat this as a period and not pray?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

Yes, you can have a complete menstrual period whilst only seeing spotting, as opposed to your “normal” cycle or flowing blood.

In order to determine what has happened, you need to think back to the first time you saw such spotting, and record the dates, continuing this process until you reach your most recent “cycle.”

Thereafter, I’d advise consulting a specialist in the fiqh of menstruation who can assist you in determining what you should do from now on.

Consider also getting hold of: Coming of Age, by Ustadha Hedaya Hartford.

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Are the Guidelines For a Woman on her Menses During Hajj?

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool
Question: Assalam Alaikum
1) Is it preferred to avoid periods using pills available to perform Hajj?
2) If periods occur in Madina then what should be the way of worship? Can a woman enter the Nabawi Mosque in this state?
3)Is scent free Sunblock permissible?
Answer: Wa’alaikum assalaam warahmatu Allah,
1) The obligatory Tawaf al-Ziyarah would be the main issue for a menstruating woman. If she is on her menses on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah to the time she has to travel, this would be a problem as she has to be in a state of purity to do the Tawaf.
No, we can’t say it’s preferred to avoid one’s menses in order to do more ‘ibadah; menses are a natural occurrence and avoiding what must be avoiding during menses is worship itself.
2) A woman on her menses is prohibited from entering any masjid, this would include the Prophet’s Mosque, (peace and blessings of Allah upon him).
3) Sunblock that has no scent/perfume is permissible.
BarakAllahu feek, please remember us in your duas during your blessed journey, may Allah ta’ala make it easy for you and blessed.
wasalaam,
Shaista Maqbool
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani