Period, post-natal bleeding and random spotting

Muslim women are not required to pray when experiencing three types of vaginal bleeding, nor are they required to make up the prayers missed during this time.

Aside: Women are also exempt from fasting the obligatory Ramadan fasts when menstruating, but are required to make up missed fasts.

Women can experience 3 types of vaginal bleeding:

1. Menstruation bleeding: the natural blood that flows from the womb of a healthy body monthly once a woman has reached puberty.

Note: The “age of puberty” in Islam is 9, so if a girl bleeds before this age that blood is NOT considered menses.

Aside: If a girl does not go through puberty and has reached the age of 15, she is considered an “adult” in terms of religious accountability, which begins at puberty for boys and girls.

2. Post-natal bleeding: the natural blood that flows from the womb post-natally. Meaning, after you give birth. This blood can flow up to 40 days without preforming Salah, but anything passed that period is considered “Istihad,” which is the third category.

Note: Vaginal discharge and blood following a miscarriage falls under the category of “post-natal bleedingand a woman is not required to pray during this time (up to 40 days).

3. Istihad (sounds like: is-tee-haud), is the blood released from a vein that is not from the womb which some women can experience intermittently. This blood is not your menstrual cycle or post-natal bleeding. Types of Istihad could include any sort of intermittent spotting including spotting between periods or spotting while pregnant.

For starters it’s important to note that women who are menstruating or bleeding post-natally are not considered unpure in Islam. A lot of cultures shun women during this time and it is important to know that if you see and/or hear of these types of practices happening in your Muslim community you need to talk to a person of sound religious knowledge to discuss how this behavior can be immediately corrected and prevented.

Next, there are some things that you can’t do while menstruating and also bleeding post-natally, but can do outside of these times. These things include: having sexual intercourse with our spouse, getting divorced, preforming Salah, preforming tawaf, holding the Qur’an in Arabic text or siting in the prayer area of the mosque.

Note: You can go to the mosque while on your period, but should not enter the actual area where prayers are preformed. This means you can pretty much hang out on the bench by the shoe racks, the water cooler or where the 8 year olds hang out and try to do flips on the railings outside. So yeah, not too many exciting options. Ha!

Note: You can recite the Qur’an while menstruating and experiencing post-natal bleeding. To hold the book, you should use a cloth or gloves (super thin latex gloves are a good option though they make your hands a little sweaty), or a better option (I think) is to just find a Qur’an that is half Arabic and half translated in another language because you can hold that version of the Qur’an while bleeding and not wearing gloves.

For most women there is some spotting before the blood “flow” during menstruation, which can be determined by a change in the amount of blood and possibly even the color and texture. Before the “flow” changes many women will spot and guess what? You are still required to pray even if/when you start spotting leading up to your period.

So, let’s say you have a regular period that runs from the 3rd to 7th of each month. Chances are you’ll see some spotting on the 3rd, but your period “flow” won’t change until the 4th or maybe even the 5th. So you will pray on the 3rd while you’re spotting, but will not pray once your flow has changed. Basically, you only stop praying once you’ve got a regular amount of blood flow and not just spotting.

Also, if your period is blue you might want to contact your doctor. Just saying.

Next, let’s say your cycle should end on the 7th as it usually does. On the 6th you see spotting, but the “flow” has ended. So now what? Do you pray while you’re still spotting at the end of your period since you were able to pray while you were spotting at the beginning of the period?

You guys, I’m teasing your brain like math!

The answer is NO!

You can only start praying again once any vaginal discharge is colorless. That means clear; not red, not brown, not burgundy, not green, not yellow, not rainbow, nothing.

So you already know Muslims are required to pray 5 times during the day. The prayer timings are as follows:

1. Fajr (before sunrise)
2. Dhur (early afternoon)
3. Asr (mid-afternoon)
4. Maghrib (at sunset)
5. Isha (at night, roughly 2 hours after sunset)

Note: For exact prayer times in your area you can check online (I like Islamic Finder.org) or swing by your local mosque and pick up a handout with the specific monthly times listed.

Okay, so this next part can feel a little tricky at first because even though you don’t pray while you’re menstruating, if your period ends at either of the following times (before sunset, or before Fajr) you will have prayers to make up.

Here’s how this works:

If you stop bleeding (clear or no discharge) BEFORE SUNSET then you have to take a shower and make up your Dhur and Asr prayers from that day.

If you stop bleeding (clear or no discharge) BEFORE FAJR you have to take a shower and make up your Maghrib and Isha prayers from that day.

Note: the prayers you make up are from that day only. You don’t need to start making up prayers from the middle of the week when you were on your period.

Make sense?

Most people sleep from Isha (night prayer) to Fajr (before sunrise prayer), which is probably why there is so much reward in getting up between those prayers to engage in voluntary worship. So now you might be all, “Uh, how would I know if my period ended BEFORE Fajr?”

Well, Internet friends, you tell me! (Alright, alright. You twisted my elbow skin. I’ll keep giving you all the answers).

If you slept through the night then check your status in the morning. If you’re good to go, shower and then start praying regularly as soon as you can, but don’t rush into praying when you’re unsure. But also don’t delay prayer and be all, “I’m not going to shower or pray for 9 days even though my period ended after 5!”

You nasty.

In regards to post-natal bleeding you won’t pray while your bleeding up to 40 days. So let’s say you just had a baby and are still bleeding on day 41. Since you’re past the 40-day mark you will pray even if you’re still having some post-natal discharge. So, it’s time to do “ghusl” and start praying again.

But, what if you have a baby and then stop bleeding 26 days after you give birth? In that case you take a shower and start praying. You do not wait to reach the 40-day mark to start praying if you’ve stopped bleeding.

If you spot between periods or while you’re pregnant or at any other time during the month then this type of bleeding falls into the third category mentioned above: Istihad. You are required to pray during this time but the prep work that goes into praying changes a bit. Instead of preforming wudu (the ritual ablution) and praying again, bleeding between periods requires that you first clean your genitals with your left hand using any sort of mild soap/wash and water. If you’re sensitive to soap (or the like) clean water is fine. After you clean yourself preform the ritual ablution and then pray.

Note: If your bleeding falls under “Istihad” you must wash yourself and do wudu before each prayer even if you haven’t done anything that “breaks” your ablution. For a summarized list of things that invalidate your ablution read more here.

30 thoughts on “Period, post-natal bleeding and random spotting

  1. assalam alaikum,
    i got a copper-t implant done.the doc told me i would spot for a few days. next days there was a light spot in my white discharge. so i washed made ghusl and kept fast next day. next days at night again there was the same kind of spotting. is this kind of spotting under istihad or hayd. can i fast n pray everyday by washing n performing ablution before every prayer. pls help i dont want to lose my fasts.

  2. Have been on period for 6 days and yesterday was clear pad. So I made ghulsh and then this morning I had intention of praying and fasting but when I went to the toilet beforehand I say bright red blood spotting. Then washed and now nothing. Can I pray and fast or not?

  3. Salam Sister.
    It’s been 7 weeks now since I had my son through a cesarean and I am still spotting bright red. I waited an additional 10 days after my 40 days to do ghusl. Recently I’ve started fasting and performing Salat. I wanted to know if it is okay to still fast and perform Salat even though I am still spotting? I am very confused and need your advice. Thank you so much.

    1. WS TN. Congrats on the birth of you son! The maximum amount of time you wait to pray is 40 days post child birth, not longer. If you’re still spotting after 40 days, you still tart praying as I explained in the post after taking the class at the masjid. That means if you were spotting on day 41, you should start praying. If you feel your spotting is irregular, you should talk to your doctor. Good luck.

  4. Salaam sis

    Quick question
    I have very irregular periods which means I can bleed for a whole month but with a brownish discharge in between the weeks. Saying this I noticed no bleeding on Friday therefore showered and continued my fast as normal inc my prayers the discharge was still a browny colour but it wasn’t throughout the whole day after a few hours I noticed this brown discharge. Today Saturday same again does my fast and salat still count or would I have to wait till I finish to fast again.
    Please help

    Jzk

  5. The answer you gave WS Aliya contradicts with what you have written before! I am totally lost 🙁

    you have written up “So, let’s say you have a regular period that runs from the 3rd to 7th of each month. Chances are you’ll see some spotting on the 3rd, but your period “flow” won’t change until the 4th or maybe even the 5th. So you will pray on the 3rd while you’re spotting, but will not pray once your flow has changed.”

    but WS Aliya had the same case exactly, and you answered her “the colored discharge sounds like it’s your period since you mentioned you’re expecting to get your period soon. If that is the case then I would not fast and/or pray until your period has ended”

    I have a pinkish discharge in my first 2 days of period and now I don’t know if I should fast and pray or not

    1. Hala, you’re right, I had a typo! I corrected my reply to Aliya. Read it again and I think it’ll answer your question about the discharge before your period as well! Good luck!

  6. Thank you for your very interesting way in illustration

    I have a question,, regarding spotting before period, you said I should pray, but should I fast? and if I should fast should I compensate these days after Ramadan? and what is the source of fatwa of praying during spotting?

    same question for spotting at the end of period, you said I should NOT pray, how about fasting?

    1. Hala, if you’re not praying then you also should not be fasting. If you’re not fasting you should also not be praying.

      Any fasts you miss during Ramadan you must make up. Any prayers you miss while on your period don’t have to be made up.

      If you accidentally or purposely miss prayers while not on your period then you should make those prayers up.

      I wrote this post after attending a talk at a masjid where the speaker holds a B.A. in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University in Cairo. If you have specific questions about the sources (i.e. hadith, narrations, soundness of hadith, etc.) then you’ll have to contact someone of sound religious knowledge in your community. I’m a journalist not a scholar 🙂

      Good luck!

  7. Salamu alaykun ukhti
    Its the first day of ramadan and i have noticed a brownish thing on my pants. And my period is meant to come soon. Can i still fast?

    1. WS Aliya, Based on what you said, the colored discharge sounds like it’s your period since you mentioned you’re expecting to get your period soon. When the flow changes (as illustrated) that’s when I would not fast or pray. But be sure to keep track of the days you didn’t fast because you’ll have to make those up. Of course you don’t have to make up the prayers you missed while on your period even during Ramadan.

  8. salams! thank you so much for the post. i have always been confused about the spottimg before peiods and i get so confused about whether to pray or not. i find myslef stopping salah, then feeling gulity, taking a ghusal and making it up again.

    I have another question, is sexual intercourse permitted during that spotting before period time?

  9. hello my name is mzkrrose,i want to ask some questions that ,i hv finished my periods date up 9 days but my bleeding is still going on,but it is nt bleeding but jst the brown color structures are going on till now.even though i start doing pray is this right way i was prayering,r nt plzzzz gv me the best rply plzz i am waiting for ue rply.bcz somebody said the after 11 days of mensutrual cycle is still fllowing it is noting even though we cn pray is this right way or wrong plz tell me

    1. @mzkr rose, A lot depends on what your “normal” cycle is. Someone at the seminar I was at asked a similar question. You should talk to a person of sound Islamic knowledge to get the correct information. Good luck!

  10. what about menopause and your period is all over the place

  11. I agree with so many of the ladies who commented – I enjoyed this far more than should be possible for a post about menstruation : ) thanks so much – I’ll use this for future reference, if only for the illustrations. thanks for sharing. Sarita

    saritaagerman.blogspot.it

    1. @Your Momma, Yikes! You have to have a valid email address to leave a comment! Please try again.

  12. Asalam waliykum,

    I disagree with some points. From hadiths that i have read you do not make up missed prayers.
    Aisha RA was asked by women after menstrating that should they pray when spotting. She said no allow the discharge to go clear before making ghusul and praying. This is widely accepted and many shiekhs also agree with this tradition.
    Why make it hard on yourself.
    Also it is mentioned by shiekhs that if your period is regular and is usually 6-7 days, but one time your period lasts 10+ days then you should wash after the 10th day and pray even if you are still “spotting”. However, if it is normal to have 10day long periods then that is acceptable to not pray in that time as its normal for you.

    And allah knows best

    The deen is easy and not harsh. So do not make it difficult and harsh on yourself.

  13. Asalaamu alaikum!

    Just came across your site yesterday and have really enjoyed reading some of your posts! JazakAllah khair!

    I was wondering if you know of the hadith behind making up certain prayers if they finish before Fajr/sunset? I’ve taken a couple of classes related to the fiqh of salah and I hadn’t heard of this before.

    Thanks!

    1. WS Maggie. I took notes during the session, but I don’t believe the speaker specified the hadith she was taking the information from. If I get a chance I’ll ask one of my teachers, but in the mean time you should probably ask someone of knowledge at your mosque! Good luck!

  14. When not bleeding [bright red], or spotting [brownish-red, tan, light pink], I almost always have a whitish discharge. I only have clear discharge for a day or two during ovulation, if that, & I *never* have *no* discharge. This makes me think that I’d only be able to pray during ovulation.

  15. Assalamu alaikum Sabrina,
    I have always followed this ruling regarding spotting:
    http://islamqa.com/en/ref/98071/spotting%20before%20menses

    which is different from what you described when it comes to spotting around the time you’re supposed to get your period.
    Can you cite your source(s) regarding this issue?

    Thanks.

    1. WS Maftuna. The workshop I attended was taught by a woman with a B.A. in Fiqh and Sharia from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt so I am confident that her information came directly from sound hadith. I read the link you included and the Shaykh basically said the same thing — that spotting is not part of your period (memses) until the bleeding changes. You might want to talk to an religious leader with sound knowledge face-to-face in your community for specifics. Good luck!

  16. I wouldn’t normally comment on something like this, but I am Really glad you posted this. First of all, it was laid out well. Second, I’ve been having some weird in-between-monthly-cycle activity happening and after the 2nd month in a row of it, just today I was getting frustrated and thinking about how to effectively google the appropriate salah rules for something like this… and then a few hours later happened to visit your blog as I do every few weeks and saw this. Thanks Sabrina, this is honestly super helpful and may you be rewarded for helping a Muslimah correct her salat (iA)

    1. @Fary Ameen inshallah! I’m so happy you found this helpful! Please share this as you see fit!

  17. I’m so glad you posted this! I loved the illustrations, and did not know about making up Dhuhr and Asr, or Maghrib and Isha.

  18. Thanks for sharing, no-one told me some of the things like making up prayers when you stop bleeding!

  19. JazakAllahoukheir! This was so informative!

    Okay… don’t keep reading if you’re easily disgusted. Does “spotting” mean this kind of clear brownish thingy? And so, you have to wait until the red black part comes out?

    (We have the same small part of head I guess, Cerrine)

  20. Waouh. This was useful to read! Thanks for posting 🙂

  21. I enjoyed this WAY more than I should have. You illustrations were so cute.

    In a way, alhamdulillah that I’ve learned a bunch of things I was doing wrong and can now correct them.

    (But then a small part of my head is like, “Damn. Now I have to make up Duhr and Asr if my period ends before sunset?!”)

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