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Types Of Vaginal Discharge

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Darulifta Azaadville

Question:

What is the Islamic ruling on vaginal discharge that females commonly experience? Many ladies are confused about this issue, especially when they get different answers from various Ulema?

Answer:

The vaginal discharge experienced by women can be of three types:

1. A discharge which originates from beyond the vagina with the possibility of including the fallopian tube, the ovaries, or the womb. This type of discharge is yellowish or greenish, and very thick, with a strong odour or bad stench. This is impure and will nullify the Wuḍū’. This has to be washed off by making Istinjā’ with water.  Consequently, if the impurity is on one’s clothing, then it must be washed if the amount reaches the size of one Dirham, which is estimated to be the size of the inner portion of the palm, or calculated to be approximately 3cm in diameter and 12cm in circumference. 

2. A discharge from the external/outer section of the vagina. This is moisture that is found on the outer labia of the vagina. This is not impure and will not nullify the Wuḍū’. This is like perspiration and it will not be necessary to wash or change the underwear due to this type of discharge. Similarly, it will not be necessary to wash the private parts or do Istinjā’. 

3. A discharge from the inner section of the vagina. This type of discharge is usually clear, cloudy or whitish, moderate in quantity, thin or slightly viscous, and with a mild odour. This is generally slightly thicker and slimmier than perspiration. It is also limpid, viscid and mucous. There is a difference of opinion with regards to the ruling of this discharge between Imām Abū Ḥanīfa raḥmatullāhi alyh and his two students Imām Abū Yūsuf and Imām Muḥammad rahmatullâhi alyh, the former regarding it as pure and the latter regarding it as impure. Since many women commonly suffer from this problem, Imām Abū Ḥanīfa’s view will be preferred; i.e. it will not be regarded as impure and the ablution will remain intact. Therefore, this type of discharge will have the same legal rulings as the previous type of discharge. 

Note: This ruling is applicable if the whitish discharge is not mixed with blood or semen and is not due to arousal, in which case the Wuḍu’ will be nullified. 

If one is experiencing a continual discharge of the first type, one can be categorized as a Ma’dhūr (one who is excused). If the entire time of Ṣalāh passes by wherein this discharge does not terminate for a duration of time allowing one to perform Wuḍu’ and offer Ṣalāh, this person will be termed a Ma’dhūr. However, to remain a Ma’dhūr, the discharge must be found at least once in the following Ṣalāh times. If a full Ṣalāh time passes by wherein this discharge hasn’t occurred even once, one will no longer remain a Ma’dhūr. A Ma’dhūr will make Wuḍu’ as soon as the time for Ṣalāh enters. With that Wuḍu’ one can perform as many Farāiḍ and Nafwāfil one wishes within the Ṣalāh period, but as soon as the time elapses, the Wuḍu’ will break and one will have to perform a new Wuḍu’ for the next Ṣalāh time. 

Due to continual discharge, it will be permissible to insert something such as a sanitary pad, etc. to prevent the discharge from exiting the private part, causing the Wuḍū’ to break (this will apply to the first type of discharge, as the second two are not impure, hence not breaking Wuḍū’ in the first place). If it is placed on the external/outer portion of the vagina, the Wuḍū’ will break when the discharge happens, regardless if it is visible on the outside of the sanitary pad or not. If the sanitary pad is placed in the inner section of the vagina, the Wuḍū’ will break if the discharge surfaces on the outer side of the sanitary pad if the sanitary pad was in line with the labia or the sanitary pad is inside the vagina, but the bottom/outside portion of the sanitary pad surpasses the labia. If, however, the sanitary pad is inside the vagina, but the sanitary pad doesn’t reach the labia, the Wuḍū’ will not break once the discharge surfaces and is apparent on the outer side of the sanitary pad. Now if she does Wuḍū’ again while having the sanitary pad on and removes the sanitary pad prior to another discharge, the Wuḍū’ will break if she can see the wetness on the upper/inside portion of the sanitary pad, or if it has surfaced on the bottom/outside of the sanitary pad. 

But if this sanitary pad does not stop the discharge from exiting the private part and the Wuḍū’ is always breaking, she will be categorized as a Ma’dhur if the requirements are met.

If a woman finds it impossible or extremely difficult to discern between the types of discharges, then precaution would dictate that she should consider the discharge to be impure, wash it off with water and make a fresh Wuḍū’ for each Ṣalāh or each Ṣalāh time (if she qualifies to be a Ma’dhūr).

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

This answer was collected from the official Ifta website of Darul Uloom Azaadville, South Africa. Most of the answers are checked and approved by Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

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