Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: My wife and I became intimate and had sexual intercourse without realizing that she had begun menstruating. As soon as it became apparent (by seeing blood) that she was menstruating, we immediately stopped. Is an expiation due in this case?
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits.
In such a case, nothing is due and no ‘rectification’ is required.
First: We are only responsible to the extent of our reasonable ability and awareness. Allah Most High makes it clear that, “Allah does not make a soul responsible beyond its capacity” [Qur’an, 2.286]. This is part of the broader Divine Promise that, “He has placed no hardship for you in religion” [Qur’an, 22.78].
Second: It is understood from the Qur’an and Sunna, as the jurists explain, that, “Accidents are ascribed to the nearest time” [Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa’l Nadha’ir; Majalla]. Thus if you see bleeding, you assume that it just came out—and that it wasn’t present before. The assumption would be that the intercourse was initiated in a state of purity.
Third: You responded in the right manner, Alhamdulillah. If the couple realizes that menstrual bleeding has begun, they are obligated to end intercourse, immediately [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar].
Fourth: Your concern for caution and upholding proper conduct is commendable. The best way of upholding caution is to root one’s understanding and practice in sound knowledge—and to never hesitate to ask. The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) said, “The only cure for confusion is to ask” [Related by Imam Ahmad, Ibn Maja, and others].
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.