Abnormal Extension of Menses: When Can I Resume Prayers?

30 June, 2021
Q Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. May Allah reward you for all your efforts and for providing this service. My question is sensitive, but I really need the answer, and I am sure other sisters have experienced this situation so perhaps they will benefit with a clear answer. I have asked other sisters, but they said they could not provide me with a certain answer. My doctors have told me that I need to use birth control pills. I am unmarried, but I have a cyst (a non-cancerous growth) on my ovary and had this problem before. By using birth control, they hope it will shrink this cyst and that I can avoid having surgery a second time. My problem is that because of the pills, I am now bleeding throughout my menstrual cycle. It is red blood and considerable (like a period). I was told this should stop after three months as my body adjusts to the medication, or the doctors may change to a different brand and the problem should go away. Until such time, I am uncertain what to do about prayer and reading the Quran. Can I pray and read Quran — assuming that my period is seven days long (as usual for me) and avoid praying just during that time. This is a difficult situation and it's upsetting me. Thank you so much for your time, patience, and help.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

What you are experiencing is called istihadah (bleeding outside the normal period). You should stop fasting and prayer only for the same number of days you are accustomed to having your menses. After this period you must take a purificatory bath (ghusl) and to resume prayer, fasting, etc.

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In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

The bleeding you are experiencing in this case cannot be considered as menses. It is rather comparable to bleeding of istihadah (abnormal bleeding). Therefore, the rules of hayd (menses) do not apply to your case. Rather you should follow the rules of istihadah.

To be more specific, you are advised to look at the pattern of your menses prior to taking the pills, and simply follow the same.

In other words, you simply stay away from prayer, fasting, and tawaf, etc. (the things you are to avoid while menstruating) the same number of days (i.e., seven days in your case, as you mentioned).

After that time you are required to take a complete ghusl (ritual bath) just as you would do when your period completely stops.

Following the ghusl, you must resume prayer, fasts, etc., as if you were totally free of menses. The only exception would be this: You need to clean your private parts and perform wudu (ablution) prior to each prayer. You are best advised to perform wudu as close to the intended prayer as possible.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.