His Wife Does Not Know How to Distinguish between Menses and Istihaadhah
Fatwa No: 430273

  • Fatwa Date:20-10-2020 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 4, 1442
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Salaam, My wife has pcos, due to this she has had irregular bleeding for several months now. I know it's not allowed to have intercouse during the time my wife is menstruating, but we don't know when her bleeding will stop so is it permissable to have intercouse?Jazakallah.


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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is incumbent on your wife to learn about the religious rulings pertaining to menstruation and know when the bleeding that she sees is considered menstruation and when it is not. She should also know that the maximum period of menstruation is fifteen days, and the minimum period of purity between two menstrual bleedings is thirteen days.

If your wife sees blood that could be menstruation, meaning that the number of days from the first day to the last day of bleeding is not more than fifteen days, or the number of days between it and the previous menstrual bleeding is thirteen days or more, then it is considered menstruation, and accordingly, it is impermissible to have sexual intercourse with her during that period because it is prohibited to have sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman, as stated in the Quran. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {And they ask you about menstruation. Say: It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation.} [Quran 2:222]

However, if the blood that your wife sees is considered Istihaadhah (vaginal bleeding outside menstruation), meaning that the number of days from the first to the last day of bleeding is more than fifteen days and there is no thirteen-day period of purity during it, then she has to consider her regular bleeding pattern prior to the Istihaadhah. If she does not have a regular bleeding pattern, she should depend on distinction. That is, when the blood is blackish, thick, and has the usual smell of menstrual blood, she should consider it menstruation, and what is beyond this is considered Istihaadhah. If she does not have a regular bleeding pattern and cannot distinguish the menstrual bleeding (from the non-menstrual one), she should estimate her monthly menses as 6 or 7 days when she first sees the bleeding and consider it to be menstruation and perform Ghusl (ritual bath) afterward, and anything beyond this period is considered Istihaadhah.

During the period of Istihaadhah, she should perform ablution for every prayer after its time has begun and pray the respective obligatory and voluntary prayers as she wishes with this ablution until the time of that prayer ends. It is permissible for her husband to have sexual intercourse with her during the Istihaadhah according to the opinion of the majority of scholars, which is based on the statement of Ibn ‘Abbaas: “If a woman experiencing Istihaadhah performs the prayer, then her husband can have sexual intercourse with her. The prayer is of greater significance (meaning that if performing the prayer, with its significant status in Islam, in such a state is permissible, then having sexual intercourse is permissible with greater reason).

For more benefit on the difference between monthly menses and bleeding outside the monthly menses, please refer to Fataawa 199375, 192925, 183343, 154565, and 145201.

For more benefit on Istihaadhah and irregular menses, please refer to Fataawa 345745, 380429, 362518, and 326818.

For more benefit on irregular menses and signs of the end of menses, please refer to Fataawa 395488, 361450, 355546, and 231715.

Allah Knows best.

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