My wife has an intrauterine device for contraception and she has bleeding a small amount for more than 10 days so far and she would like to know if she can start to pray.
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
It seems that using an intrauterine device is forbidden unless there is any dire necessity, because such an action causes exposing the very private parts of a woman to others while only a husband is permitted to see them in normal circumstances. Even a female doctor is not permitted to look at those parts unless there is a dire need according to the agreement of Muslim scholars .
Also, such devices most likely cause a disturbance in the period of the woman and that, as a result, confuses her about many rulings of Shari'ah such as purity, prayer, fasting, circumambulation around the K'abah, touching the Quran and having sex with her husband. The mentioned details are related to inserting the device. As for the ruling after inserting such a device, it varies from a woman to another woman based on her necessity.
The situation of a woman who uses this device would be one of the two following conditions:
a) She inserts it due to a dire necessity and it does not disturb her period. In this case, she continues practicing the Shari'ah rulings as before. If there is any disturbance in her period or she is confused about it and cannot find out whether it is menses or a prolonged flow of blood then the matter needs details.
Generally, bleeding from the vagina is considered as menses and the rulings of menses should be applied in this case. However, if the bleeding exceeds its maximum limit, which is fifteen days according to the majority of Muslim scholars, then she is no longer considered as a menstruating woman but she is considered pure after that time. Also, if the woman sees clear changes in the nature of the blood after her normal period then she is considered clean in spite of the continuity of bleeding. In both cases mentioned above, she has to take a bath when the rulings of purity starts, use an absorbent, and perform Wudu (ablution) for every obligatory prayer.
b) The intrauterine device is inserted without any dire necessity; we have already clarified above that using such a device in this case is forbidden. However, if it has already been inserted without affecting the woman’s period then, it seems better not to remove it. If it affects her period, then she must get rid of it.
The ruling in this case is not similar to the ruling in first situation, since in the first situation a woman is compelled to use it. Thus, the disturbance of her menses is out of her will so, she is not blamed for that, just as she is not blamed if she suffers from a prolonged flow of bleeding. In the second situation (where the device is used with her own will), the woman is responsible for her action.
Finally, we make clear that the basis for prohibition when a woman is not compelled to use such devices is unveiling her private parts to someone else or the disturbance of her menses. However, if a woman herself or her husband can insert such devices and it does not affect her menses then it is permitted since it is like 'Azl (Coitus interruptus) which is permitted according to the preponderant opinion of the Muslim scholars .
Allah knows best.
**Mofti: Fatwa Team Supervised by Dr. Abdulla Al-Faqeeh***