Answered by Shaykhah Umm Haaniyah
One month into her pregnancy, my sister-in-law had a miscarriage. What she wants to know is if the bleeding that follows the miscarriage is considered as nifās (post-natal) or ḥaydh (menses)?
I express my sympathy to your sister-in-law and her family. May Allāh reward her for her patience and make this a means of her entrance into paradise.
Before answering the question it is vital to note the following:
There are two scenarios in a miscarriage;
- Some limbs of the fetus have formed
- No limbs have yet formed
Studies suggest that an embryo is officially considered to be a fetus only when the woman hits nine weeks into her pregnancy from the time of conception. The developmental process of the fetus begins at that time. By roughly four months, the limbs (such as fingers, toes, finger nails etc.) form and it is by the middle of this month that the distinction between a male’s and female’s external organs become clear.
It is mentioned in “Qāmus al Fiqh” with reference to “Durr al Mukhtār” that it takes approximately 120 days from the time the woman conceives for the limbs to form.
Coming back to the initial question of whether it is considered ḥaydh (menses) or nifās (post-natal), the general rule in this regard is as follows;
- If any limbs of the fetus in the womb have formed, then this bleeding will be nifās (post-natal) and all the rules regarding a woman in nifās (post-natal) will apply.
- In a case where no limbs have yet formed, then this bleeding can be of two types:
- It will be ḥaydh (menses) if possible, meaning there has been a cleanliness period of 15 days or more between her previous period and the current one and she bleeds for more than three days and nights (according to Imam Abū Ḥanīfah (may Allāh be pleased with him))
- It will be Istiḥādhah (discharge) if the cleanliness period is less than 15 days or if she bleeds for less than three days and nights. (according to Abū Ḥanīfah (may Allāh be pleased with him))
In your sister-in-law’s situation, the bleeding after the miscarriage is considered ḥaydh (menses) as she was relatively early in her pregnancy and she has also had a cleanliness period of 15 days or more. Hence she should follow the rules pertaining to a woman in ḥaydh (menses).
And Allāh Knows Best