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Istihada and Wudu

Question: Why is blood deemed fake menstruation (istihada) if it isn’t technically menstruation (hayd)? How do we know what kind of vaginal discharge breaks wudu?


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

The reason why we distinguish menstruation (hayd) from abnormal uterine bleeding (istihada) is to know when the rules of menstruation (sexual intercourse, divorce, waiting period, etc.) apply, and when they do not.

The basis for the distinction is the hadith of Fatima bint Hubaysh (Allah be well pleased with her) in Bukhari and Muslim who came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explaining that she experienced abnormal uterine bleeding (istihada). It is the hadith itself that uses this terminology and makes this distinction.

As for every and all vaginal discharges breaking wudu, that is not the case. In the Shafi’i school, a vaginal discharge is something that exits from within the vagina or beyond, regardless of whether it is pure or not, and regardless of whether there is blood or not (Bushra al Karim).

The basis for this is an analogy between something exiting one’s private parts while relieving oneself and something exiting one’s private parts through the exit of discharge (Al Majmu, Nawawi).

According to Ibn al Mundhir of the great early Shafi’is abnormal uterine bleeding (istihada) does not break wudu.

In the Hanafi school, any pure discharge that exits the private parts does not break wudu. Please see:

Regarding what certain female Companions asked about or did not ask about, such logic does not hold water. Fiqh development is based on the needs and complexities of people’s lives. There are countless discussions that the Early Muslims dealt with matters that the Companions never even thought about. To ask people to avoid “innovation” and keep things stagnant is not in keeping with the all-inclusive nature of the Sacred Law.

Please also see:

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

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.

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