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The Ruling on Interrupted Nifās (Postpartum Bleeding)

Imām Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn

A description of the characteristics that determine whether or not a woman should continue to pray and fast in the case of an apparent interrupted nifās.

The Queries Surrounding an Interrupted Nifās

If the blood of nifās was to return after no longer being secreted for a time, to where the woman is unsure: Is this blood that of nifās or not, or is it damm fasād (irregular bleeding)? If it is nifās, then it will adopt the ruling of nifās [in avoidance of praying, fasting, etc.]. If it is damm fasād [irregular bleeding], it will not adopt this ruling.

The Opinion of the Ḥanbalī Madh`hab

According to the Ḥanbalī madh`hab, upon the return of this blood following an interruption, she should purify herself, and pray and fast if this occurrence coincides with Ramaḍān. However, she should still refrain from that which is prohibited for a woman experiencing nifās like sexual intercourse. The reasoning for this is that, as a precaution, she should fulfil orders like ṣalāh and fasting [even if they may not be accepted in her current state]. Likewise, as a precaution, we prevent her from that which may be ḥarām for her [intercourse]. She may also, while in this state, fulfil any ṣalāh or fasting she may have missed previously.

A Working Example of the Ḥanbali Position

For example, a woman becomes pure on the tenth day of Ramaḍān, after spending twenty days in a state of nifās. This means she gave birth ten days before the start of Ramaḍān. Then, she became pure from her subsequent nifās on the tenth of Ramaḍān. She remains pure until the twentieth at which point blood returns in the last ten days. Here, according to the Ḥanbalī madh`hab, she should continue to pray and fast as a precaution. This is due to the possibility that this blood is not that of nifās. Then, if she attains purity from this blood on the day of ʿĪd which would represent the full forty-day period of nifās, she would have to perform ghusl and fast those last ten days that she had already fasted while that blood was being secreted. This is because it could have been the blood of nifās and fasting is invalid for a woman experiencing nifās. As for the days she fasted while pure, from the tenth to the twentieth in this example, she does not have to redo them as she fasted them while in a state of purity and the absence of any blood.

As for the salāh she prayed after the blood returned [in those last ten days], she would not have to redo them. This is because, if it was damm fasād [irregular bleeding], then she has already prayed and fulfilled her responsibility. If it was actually the blood of nifās, then ṣalāh is not obligatory on the woman experiencing nifās anyways.

Thus, according to this opinion, the ruling of the woman whose blood returns is the same as that of a completely pure woman [in the fulfilment of acts of worship] due to the possibility that the blood that has returned is actually damm fasād [irregular]. It is obligatory upon her to also fulfil everything that a normal woman experiencing nifās would have to fulfil [when she becomes pure] due to the possibility that it could also be nifās. This is the opinion of the Ḥanbalī madh`hab.

The Opinion of Shaykh Ibn ʿUthaymīn (رحمه الله)

The correct opinion in this issue is that if the blood that has returned is the same colour and smell and shares the same characteristics as that of nifās, then we should hold no doubts with regards to it. Rather, it is blood whose identity is fully recognised—the blood of nifās. So she should not fast or pray. Upon becoming pure, she should fulfil the fasting she missed but not the ṣalāh.

If, however, she knows by the characteristics of the blood that has returned that it is not that of nifās, then she will adopt the ruling of a pure woman. She should fast and pray without having to redo either when she becomes pure. This is because Allāh has not obligated upon His servant that a single act of worship be performed twice. Either she is in a state wherein fasting is accepted from her or she is not. Except if the blood returns at a time that coincides with the time of the month she would normally have her period, then it is the blood of menstruation.

Source: Al-Sharḥ al-Mumtiʿ 1: 514-515
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: December 29, 2023
Edited: December 29, 2023

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