Fasting & Ramadan
Fasting is a sacred obligation, and it is important that a woman clearly understand when she must fast and when she must abstain from fasting. One of the most difficult rulings to conceptualise is whether fasting is obligatory, based on when a woman’s menstruation (hayd) ends. We have consolidated the rulings into three simple categories to make it easy to assess and understand whether a woman needs to fast after she gains purity from hayd.
The Fiqh of It
There are three possible scenarios:
- Bleeding (hayd) stops before the maximum (240 hours/ten days and nights):
If a woman stopped bleeding before Fajr, with enough time to take a ritual bath (ghusl) and say Allah from the opening takbirof salat, her fast the following day will be valid.
Please note, the average time to perform ghusl to attain purity is 10-15 minutes.
If she delays her ghusl until after Fajr (before mid-morning), she will be required to make up for any prayers she missed during that interval (‘Isha and/or Fajr).
However, if her bleeding stopped at dawn and there was not enough time to do the aforementioned (ghusl and takbir), her fast will be invalid. This is because there is no possibility for her to attain purity before the fast starts. Nonetheless, as the bleeding has ceased, it will be necessary for her to perform ghusl and resume salat. She is required to abstain from food and drink because she now qualifies for fasting. She must make-up (qada) this fast later.
- Bleeding (hayd) stops at the maximum (240 hours)
If her bleeding stops before Fajr – even if it is moments before Fajr, as there is no possible extension of hayd beyond 240 hours, her fast the following day will be valid.
If she delays her ghusl, she must make up for any missed prayers including ‘Isha and/or Fajr.
- Bleeding continues beyond the maximum (240 hours)
If her bleeding continues beyond the maximum (240 hours) – she must refer to her hayd and purity habits to determine which days are hayd. Even so, if 240 hours expires before the time for Fajr enters, she must fast the following day.
Note: The latest a woman can delay her ghusl until is mid-morning. This can be determined by calculating the mid-point between Fajr and Maghrib time of that day. Please bear in mind this may change daily. Zawwal does not represent mid-morning.
A woman should not purposefully delay ghusl as this may result in missing salat in its due time.
Manhal al-Waridin, pp197-9 Hartford ed.