Dialogue on Haydh
My father took his seat. I could notice a broad smile on his face that led me
to assume that he was bent on something unusual.
- I’ll talk to you today on haydh.
Before today, I did not know what haydh is, although I remember I hearing the
word before. What had interested me in the subject was that I hear women
whisper about it, with noticeable embarrassment, as if there was something
shameful in the word. However, I do not hide a secret if I say that as soon as
I was faced with a real situation of the subject being discussed in the open, a
kind of shaming started to creep into me. I do not know why I was gripped with
embarrassment. I resigned to the fact that if haydh was indeed so humbling a
matter to talk about, how my father is going to discuss it with me?
Yet, aren’t we discussing matters of Islamic law? Surely, this topic should
be within the remit of Islamic jurisprudence. So, why should we feel
embarrassed to talk about it? Is it not mentioned in the Holy Qur’an? Didn’t
the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the Imams (a.s.) talk about it to their companions.
And after all, why should we feel a sense of shaming to talk about a subject
whose rules we must know in order to follow?
My self-examination was short-lived as my father resumed his talk.
- Haydh is a bleeding from a woman’s genitals. It occurs at regular monthly
intervals and whose colour is dark red. When it leaves the body, women can feel
* Is there a certain age group of women who experience haydh?
- Although it varies from person to person, it can start at the age of nine
lunar calendar years till the age of sixty, which is the climacteric.
* So, between 9 and 60 years?
- Yes, any blood that can be seen before the age of nine and after the age
of sixty does not fall under the definition of menstral blood.
* How many days does the bleeding last?
- The minimum period is three days and the maximum ten.
* Suppose it lasted three days, then stopped?
- This cannot be considered period blood.
* What if it lasts more than ten days?
- This is not haydh blood.
* How should one treat the case of a woman whose haydh ended, then she had
ghusl only to see blood again, say after nine days?
- The blood that the woman saw should not be treated as haydh blood, because
the period separating any two periods should not be less than ten days.
* When does the woman consider herself as having a period?
- When she starts bleeding at the time of her temporary period, or before
her regular period, say one or two days earlier.
* How should a woman be described as having a temporary period?
- She could be described as such when the period blood appears twice in any
period of two months or more.
* How do you describe a woman who does not fit the two categories mentioned
above, such as the young woman who experiences period blood for the first time,
or a woman with an irregular period?
- A woman in any of the two examples you’ve just quoted can describe herself
as having a period when one of the following two conditions arize:
1. For the blood to be termed as menstrual blood, it should be red or black
in colour, warm, and could pour out profusely.
2. When the woman is sure the blood continues for three uninterrupted days
* Well, suppose she thought that it was period blood according to point one.
Accordingly, she stopped performing prayer. However, the bleeding stopped
before the lapse of the three-day period. What should she do?
- She should perform prayer in lieu of the period of bleeding.
* If the bleeding continues for ten days or less, but exceeds the duration
of her normal period?
- She can still be considered as having period throughout the duration of
the bleeding, albeit some of the blood can no longer satisfy the conditions of
* What if the woman has regular periods, in both the number of days and the
date of the period, yet the bleeding continues for more than ten days?
- She should observe the bleeding that coincides with the duration of her
period only as that of menstruation.
* Suppose the same woman failed to have her period on time, then the blood
appeared and continued for more than ten days. However, some of the blood bore
the characteristics of period blood, some of it did not. Which one should be
treated as haydh?
- The first one. Yet she should take into account the number of days of her
previous normal period. If that part of the blood that fulfils the conditions
of period blood was less than the number of days of a normal period, she should
complete it by adding the remaining days of that part of the blood that did not
satisfy the conditions of period blood. If, however, the bleeding she was
experiencing satisfied the criteria of period blood, she should stick to the
number of days of her normal period and consider it haydh.
* Should the bleeding continue for more than ten days in the case of a woman
who either experiences bleeding for the first time or that whose period is
irregular, how should they differentiate the period blood from other kinds of
- All depends on the characteristics of the blood and the duration. If some
of it bears the qualities of period blood and it continued for a period of three
to ten days, should be treated as haydh. The remaining type of blood should be
considered istihadha, which shall be the subject of a forthcoming session.
* If the woman was in doubt as to whether her period has ended, what should
- She must check.
* In what way?
- She should insert a piece of cotton into her vagina and leave it for a
short while and retrieve it. If no traces of blood could be seen, she must
assume she is tahir, do ghusl and resume acts of worship. Should the piece of
cotton, however, found to be soiled with blood, she must maintain that she is
still in haydh.
* When the woman knows she has haydh, what are the things that are
permissible for her to do and those that are not?
- The rules regarding woman’s periods are:
1. No prayers should be perfomred, be they obligatory or voluntary.
2. She is not required to perform any prayer instead of the ones she missed
while she had the period.
3. It is not permissible for her to fast.
4. She must fast instead of the days she missed while she had the period
5. Tawaf during hajj, be it obligatory or voluntary is not in order.
6. She cannot be declared divorced while still having her period, except in
7. It is haraam to have sexual intercourse with a woman who is having a
period. It is permissible, however, after the bleeding had stopped. However,
it is permissible before performing ghusl [and after washing the vagina].
8. It is haraam for her to embark on any act of worship, in the same way as
certain acts are not permissible for a person who is in a state of janabah.
This, as you may recall, was discussed in detail in the (Dialogue on
9. When her period is over, she should perform ghusl in order to be able to
perform prayer. This, I will explain to you in the (Dialogue on