Scholars' evidence in deciding maximum menses and minimum purity
Fatwa No: 326818

Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. Shaykh. I want to know the proofs used by the majority of the scholars for the maximum days of menstruation as 15 days as well as the evidence used for 15 days of purity. I mean, which verses and/or hadiths have been quoted by them to support these views? Please mention them with reference (e.g. Al-Bukhaari, hadith 2000). It is urgent. Please respond at your earliest. May Allaah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Ibn Qudaamah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him summarized the evidence of the majority of the scholars about their view that the maximum period of menstruation is fifteen days, as he said:

What supports our view is that this was mentioned in religious texts without any specification, and it has no limit in the language, nor in the sharee'ah, so it is an obligation to refer to the customs and habits, like in the cases of possessing goods, keeping one’s money [wealth] in a safe place, departing from a meeting [after the sale contract is concluded], and the like. There existed a regular menstruation of only one day; ‘Ataa’ said, 'I have known that there are among women those who menstruate for only one day and those who menstruate for 15 days.' Ahmad said, 'Yahya ibn Aadam narrated to me saying, 'I heard Shareek say, 'We know a woman who menstruates every month for 15 days on a regular basis [always 15 days].'''

Al-Mudawwanah, from the Maaliki Fiqh, reads, “Ibn Naafi’ narrated from ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr, from Rabee’ah and Yahya ibn Sa’eed, from his brother ‘Abdullaah, that they used to say, 'The maximum period in which a woman abandons the prayer due to menstruation is 15 nights; then she performs Ghusl (ritual bath) and prays.'

Kash-shaaf Al-Qinaa’, from the Hanbali Fiqh, reads, “Its (i.e. menses) maximum period is fifteen days and 15 nights; as ‘Ali said, 'What exceeds 15 is Istihaadhah (bleeding outside the monthly menses).'

As for the evidence of the majority of the scholars that the minimum period of purity between two menses is 15 days, then it is enough to quote the Kuwaiti Fiqh Encyclopedia, which reads:

The Hanafi, Maaliki and Shaafi'i Schools, as well as Ath-Thawri, are of the view that the minimum period of purity between two menses is 15 days. The Hanafi School provided evidence that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )  said:  'The minimum period of menses is three days and the longest period [of menses] is 10 days, and the minimum period [of purity] between the two menses is 15 days.' This was reported from Ibraaheem an-Nakha’i .......

It was also said that the Companions agreed in a consensus about this. The evidence of the Shaafi'i School in this regard is that the month often includes one cycle of menstruation and purity; so since the maximum period of menses is 15 days – according to their view – then the minimum period of purity must be the same as well. There is no limit for the maximum period of purity according to the consensus of the scholars. A woman may only menstruate once in her entire lifetime, and she may not have menses at all.

Therefore, you should know, dear sister, that there is no definitive evidence underlying the two matters except for the customs and examination of the conditions of women.

Allaah knows best.

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