To Pray or Not to Pray

To Pray or Not to Pray, That is the Question? 

Our menstrual cycle! A hot topic that every woman can relate to. As Muslim women, our periods/menses/menstrual cycle are a huge concern when it comes to things like; when can we start praying and when we cannot? When can we start fasting and when should we not? What does it mean if we see spotting? What if its a specific color? The list goes on and on.  

My attempt here will be to briefly shed some light from a medical perspective, on what the menstrual cycle actually is, what to expect and how to approach various situations we might be faced with everyday.   

So let’s jump right into it, shall we?

First of all, what is the menstrual cycle? 

A full menstrual cycle is the number of days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. So that means day one of the menstrual cycle is the first of full bleeding day of the period. A typical cycle is approximately 24 to 35 days (average 28 days for most women). 

Medically this means:

The series of changes our body goes through in preparation for the possibility of pregnancy, is the menstrual cycle. Each month, one of the ovaries releases an egg- this is called ovulation. At the same time, hormonal changes prepare our uterus for pregnancy. If ovulation takes place and the egg is not fertilized, the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina. This is a menstrual period. When you menstruate, your body sheds the lining of the uterus wall (which would have been the womb). Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out of the body through the vagina. 

Islamically this means:

Haiz is the term for menses. Haiz (menses) literally means something that issues forth or is in running state. It refers to that flow of blood which women experience every month for a given time period

Ok, So what’s normal? 

The menstrual cycle, which is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next, isn’t the same for every woman. Menstrual flow might occur every 21 to 35 days and last two to seven days. For the first few years after menstruation begins, long cycles are common. However, menstrual cycles tend to shorten and become more regular as you get older.

For the purpose of this article, our main concern is: Menstrual flow, is the number of days you are bleeding, each month during your cycle.

Your menstrual flow can vary from being:

  • regular — about the same length every month
  • irregular
  • light
  • heavy
  • painful
  • pain-free
  • long 
  • short

At the end of the day, “Normal” is what is normal for you. 

What does that mean exactly? 

There are no definite appointed days for a woman in menses. 

The number of days may be more in one month and less in another. 

Every woman knows what NORMAL for her. 

Every woman and every month can vary.  

Its not necessary for the menses to start each month on the same date. 

It may start early or may be delayed. 

The duration of menses will vary for all women, varying person to person. 

(Keep in mind that use of certain types of contraception, such as extended-cycle birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs), will alter your menstrual cycle. Talk to your health care provider about what to expect)

(When you get close to menopause, your cycle might become irregular again. However, because the risk of uterine cancer increases as you age, discuss any irregular bleeding around menopause with your health care provider.)

Ok, but do I know what is actually normal for me? 

Number one: Keep track of your menstrual period!

To find out what’s normal for you, start keeping a record of your menstrual cycle and menstrual flow on a calendar. Begin by tracking your start date every month for several months in a row to identify the regularity of your periods.

The best and easiest way to do this in 2017 is download an app! There are a gazillion apps out there. I personally use “Period Diary.” Its a very simple basic app, that tracks your start and end date, gives you predictions, etc. 

If you’re extra concerned about your periods, then also make note of the following every month:

End date. How long does your period typically last? Is it longer or shorter than usual?

Flow. Record the heaviness of your flow. Does it seem lighter or heavier than usual? How often do you need to change your sanitary protection? Have you passed any blood clots?

Abnormal bleeding. Are you bleeding in between periods?

Pain. Describe any pain associated with your period. Does the pain feel worse than usual?

Other changes. Have you experienced any changes in mood or behavior? Did anything new happen around the time of change in your periods?

My cycle is not normal or irregular, why?

Menstrual cycle irregularities can have many different causes, just a few of those include:

Pregnancy or breast-feeding. A missed period can be an early sign of pregnancy. Breast-feeding typically delays the return of menstruation after pregnancy.

Eating disorders, extreme weight loss or excessive exercising. Eating disorders — such as anorexia nervosa — extreme weight loss and increased physical activity can disrupt menstruation.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women with this common endocrine system disorder may have irregular periods as well as enlarged ovaries that contain

What can I do to prevent menstrual irregularities?

For some women, use of birth control pills can help regulate menstrual cycles. Treatment for any underlying problems, such as an eating disorder, also might help. However, some menstrual irregularities can’t be prevented.

In addition, consult your health care provider if:

Your periods suddenly stop for more than 90 days — and you’re not pregnant

‧ Your periods become erratic after having been regular

‧ You bleed for more than seven days

‧ You bleed more heavily than usual or soak through more than one pad or tampon every hour or two

‧ Your periods are less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart

‧ You bleed between periods

‧ You develop severe pain during your period

‧ You suddenly get a fever and feel sick after using tampons

Remember, tracking your menstrual cycle can help you find out what’s normal for you and what isn’t. 

If you have questions or concerns about your menstrual cycle, talk to your health care provider!

What about SPOTTING?

Ok so we know that we cannot pray, fast, have sexual relations with out husband during menses. But what about spotting!?

This is very hot topic among all women. All of us have experienced some kind of spotting at some point or another. Spotting before periods is a frustrating bodily function that most of us may or may not understand. For all those times you had to throw out a new pair of underwear, for all those times you thought your period was over, you bathed and started praying/fasting etc, and then feel/see discharge, and for all those times you thought there was something wrong with your reproductive system, for all those times you think you need to stop praying/fasting etc, again after bathing, let’s try to set the record straight. 

First, we need to define spotting and understand how it affects you and your body.

What is that Spotting I get in between my Periods?


Like I mentioned earlier, a normal menstrual cycle occurs every 28 days, where menstrual bleeding usually lasts for about 4-7 days (+/-). Some women experience menstrual cycles for longer times, some women experience less. Spotting is the vaginal bleeding after your menstrual period has ended  and before your next period starts. You may not notice this spotting (mild bleeding), because it can be light or heavy. It can be a pink or brown spot on your underwear or toilet paper while wiping. Spotting can also be noticed as a blood spot or two, or more, and can even potentially resemble a menstrual period. Spotting can occur for many reasons, ranging from normal to abnormal. Our main concern here is, can we or can we not pray when this happens?

Let’s first recall the definition of HAIZ:

HAIZ (menses) literally means something that issues forth or is in running state. It refers to that flow of blood which women experience every month for a given period. Simply put, HAIZ is your period. This is the time that a woman cannot pray, fast, have sexual relations with her husband. Why? Because the blood that is being expelled is your menstrual blood. Meaning it is the blood that your uterus wall is shedding, due to the fact that no fertilization of the egg occurred. It is the discarding of the endometrium. This blood contains cell debris, dead cells and waste products as your uterus sloughs off the wall/womb it had prepared in case your egg gets fertilized. And since it didn’t (meaning you are not going to be pregnant) your body sheds off that uterus lining. This is your menstrual blood. Since there are cell debris and waste products in it, this blood is considered unclean and impure. And therefore we cannot pray (or fast, etc) during this time. 

ISTHIHAAZA: is the name given to describe the flow of blood which is not in continuation of menses discharge. It is any blood that is discharged that is not part of menstruation. It is sometimes for a few days and sometimes it covers the rest remaining days of the month. It is a disease/illness and one suffering from it is called a “Mustahazza.” So basically this refers to the bleeding outside of the monthly menstruation. Another term for this is: Abnormal Uterine bleeding (AUB). This can be due to many reasons. Main cause for it these days is a bad diet. Unlike HAIZ (menses), the state of ISTHIHAAZA is a state of purity. Why? Because in AUB or ISTHIHAAZA, the wall of the uterus is not being sloughed off. Here the main problem is due to the fragility of the blood vessels (veins) of the uterus. It can be due to a number of reasons. It is basically blood leaving from blood vessels (the veins in particular.) It is NOT due to the shedding of the uterus wall. In ISTHIHAAZA, the uterus wall is very much intact, and therefore this blood/spotting is NOT unclean or impure. 

Ayesha (RA) narrates: Fatima bint Abi Hubaish (RA) came to the Prophet (saw) and submitted: Oh Messenger of Allah, I am unable to attain purity from menses, should I give up prayers? Prophet (saw) informed her that it was only blood from the vein and not menses discharge. Therefore when the menses starts, give up prayers and after the usual menses have passed, wash off that blood and resume prayers. (transmitted by Bukhari)

OK so what does that mean for me, a muslim woman? 

We all know (or should know) the duration and details of our menses. If the blood/spotting continues beyond menses, it comes under ISTHIHAAZA. After the usual days of menstrual bleeding have passed a Mustahaaza (one experiencing ISTHIHAAZA/spotting/AUB) can take her bath (Ghusl) and carry on with the routine acts of Ibadah. This includes praying, fasting, and even having sexual relations with the husband.

It is important to note here, that a woman suffering from ISTHIHAAZA should still perform wudu before each prayer. If she wants to wear a pad, she can put a clean one on before each prayer, wudu, and pray. The discharge/spotting/ISTHIHAAZA that occurs while praying is fine and not considered impure. 

Fatima bint-e-Abu Hubaish (RA) relates that she had a prolonged flow of blood (after menses) and the Messenger of Allah stated to her: During menses the color of blood is dark which can be recognized and when that is the case, then avoid prayer. Otherwise, (when the color of the blood ceases to be dark) then perform ablution and observe prayer for that is the blood from the vein. (transmitted by Abu Dawood) 

A woman suffering from ISTHIHAAZA, can perform all worships in the usual manner after the bath (Ghusl) 

Ayesha (RA) relates: Among the consorts of purity, some performed I’tikaaf during the state of Isthihaaza (transmitted by Bukhari) 

It is also lawful to have sexual intercourse with the wife who is suffering from Isthihaaza after her bath. 

Ikrima states: Umme Habiba (RA) was suffering from Isthihaaza. Her husband Abdur Rahman bin Auf (RA) sued to have sexual intercourse with her ( after her bath).

(transmitted by Abu Dawood)

How can I tell the difference between HAIZ (menstrual) blood and ISTHIHAAZA (non-menstrual or AUB) blood? 

HAIZ (menstrual) blood will have the following features: 

  • Darker in color
  • May contain clots
  • Thicker (due to dead cells, cellular debris etc)
  • May contain an odor
  • May be warmer in temperature
  • Some say there will be slight pressure


ISTHIHAAZA (non-menstrual) blood will have the following features: 

  • Bright red in color
  • Thinner (because its blood from a blood vessel)
  • Usually will no odor
  • It is cooler in temperature


What if I still can’t tell the difference? 

Sometimes there are situations where we cannot tell whether the blood being discharged is part of our menstrual flow or part of ISTHIHAAZA. Meaning sometimes our menstrual cycles (and menstrual flows) are so habitually irregular each month, that we cannot differentiate when our menstrual flow ended and when ISTHIHAAZA has started. And so in this situation you’ve already observed the blood for the key features (color, thickness and odor) but still cannot tell. What to do here? In this situation you must recall the date of your last normal period. It might have been several months ago, but try to recall the date of that last normal period/menstrual cycle/menstrual flow. Using that earliest date, try to calculate forward from then, when your period would occur in the subsequent months until today. And depending on that, you can determine what state you are in currently. (HAIZ or ISTHIHAAZA) 

(I hope that made sense)

What if my menses have never been normal? 

Ok so what if you cannot even recall a time when your menstrual cycle has been normal. Meaning from the day that you first got your period, you have experienced irregular cycles. Always. In this situation you will not be able to calculate anything, because you have never had a normal cycle. In this situation, one will look to her sisters or mother (closest female blood relative) and follow their cycles. Because if anything your cycles will resemble theirs. 

What if I see brown discharge?

So now lets say, a few days after attaining purity from the menses (after ghusl, after you’ve started to pray) you see some brownish discharge. What does that mean? This is not to be assumed that your period is starting over. This brown discharge usually represents left over menstrual blood that is just being discharged a little late. Brown or even blackish discharge appears towards the end of your period. It just means that the blood is flowing out of the body at a slower rate. Older blood turns brown- or even black- and is typically not a sign that anything is wrong. This is basically the tail of your menstrual flow. If you see brownish discharge after you have taken a bath (Ghusl) you can continue to keep praying and fasting. 

Umm Atiyya (ra) relates: We did not attach any importance to brown or yellow colored water if it appeared after attaining purity from menses. (transmitted by Abu Dawood)

It’s therefore, also important to note, not to hurry into prayers and fasting. As much as we would like to get back to our daily acts of Ibadah, we should give our menses the days they deserve. Our menstrual flow usually starts out as Red/Dark red, eventually becoming Brown/black, then light brown, deep yellow and then eventually white or colorless. Its important to wait until you see the white/clear discharge before you resume praying and fasting. 

The ladies used to send to Ayesha (RA) a small box containing cotton wool which was slightly tainted yellow. Ayesha (RA) stated: Until you see clear and clean water do no hurry (in acquiring purity). From this statement Ayesha(RA) meant attaining purity from menses. (transmitted by Bukhari)

What if the bleeding just never stops? 

Hamna bint Jahash (RA) relates: 

I was undergoing constant flow of Isthihaaza blood and I decided to raise this subject before the Prophet (saw). According for this I waited on him when he happened to be in the house of my sister Zaineb int Jahash. I said, O Messenger of Allah! I suffer from Isthihaaza and on that account there is incessant and profuse bleeding which is keeping me from prayers and even fasting. What is your verdict? He said: I advise you to use a cotton wool for it will absorb the blood. I said: it will not do. He said: Place a tight apparel over it. I said: That too will not help. He said: Use cloth instead of coot wool. I said: even that has failed as the bleeding is so copious. Then, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: I tell you two things, you may act on both or either of the two, as you wish, and that will serve you. Isthihaaza is a blood from the devil. Haiz condition lasts for six or seven days, that is destined by Allah. Therefore, leaving this much number of days, have a bath, cleanse yourself free to offer prayers and to observe fast. You may follow this routine in the same manner as other women do in the ordinary circumstance. (transmitted by Tirmidhi)

From this we learn that some women experience some type of bleeding at all times of the month, or even continuous profuse bleeding. It goes without saying that in these circumstances, it is important to consult your physician. But when it comes to your Ibadah, and according to the above hadith, you can do either of two things: 

6-7 days can be set as your period. Then you must bath and cleanse yourself (Ghusl), and then the rest of the 23-24 days of the month you may pray and fast. 

Or you can follow the cycles of your closest female blood relatives (mother or sister)

So there you have it. I hope, انشاالله  that this kinda clarified some of your common 

questions and concerns when it comes to our menstrual cycle, spotting and praying.

Again, it is incumbent upon every woman that she track her cycle, know her period/

menstrual flow, and consult a physician for any irregularities. 

Below are some reasons for spotting along with my opinion as to whether it is considered HAIZ or ISTHIHAAZA, and whether in that particular situation you can or cannot pray:

1. It’s your first period. EVER.

For many girls, your first few years of menstruating are very new and confusing marked by painful feelings like cramps, tampons and pads, and irregular menstrual cycles. Not only do girls experience these off-schedule menstrual periods, many girls experience spotting. This is normal and is usually just a hormonal misstep that makes our uterine lining shed at the wrong time of the month. Essentially, this means our bodies are trying to understand this new “feature” and work out all the nuances of our reproductive system and “becoming a woman.”

This would be considered HAIZ, and so you cannot pray. 

2. You have done something new with contraceptives.

Many of us might use some form of birth control at some point in our lives. Spotting is a common and normal side effect if you are starting, stopping, or switching birth control medications. Estrogen helps keep the lining of the uterus in place. Changing or messing with the estrogen levels in your body as a result of varying your birth control use could lead to spotting in between periods. This type of spotting does not last for longer than 1-3 months as your body tries to adapt to the new estrogen levels. Spotting can also occur with birth controls such as an intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD is a device that is inserted into the uterus and left to prevent pregnancy. The hormones in the IUD are slowly released, which controls the menstrual cycle and reproduction abilities. However, in the first three to six months, it is very common to spot from an IUD, even if the doctor has used a hormonal or copper IUD. The spotting should subside over time though and is a completely normal side effect.

I believe the spotting here would be considered ISTHIHAAZA.

3. You just took the morning after pill.

Emergency contraception, AKA the morning after pill, can cause light spotting. Although it is not a side effect, the hormones in the medication (either progestin alone or progestin combined with estrogen) can cause women to bleed at off menstrual cycle times. This type of spotting is completely normal. However, it is important to note that this does not indicate you have your period, and therefore does not signify you are not pregnant.


4. You have implantation spotting.

If you are spotting, but your period isn’t due for another few weeks, it could be because of implantation spotting. Implantation spotting, or implantation bleeding, is when a fertilized egg attaches itself on the inside wall of your uterus. When the embryo implants in the uterus, tiny blood vessels can erupt and cause the expectant mother to spot, usually a pink or brown type of discharge. Implantation spotting usually occurs before your next period and five to ten days after conception. Approximately 1/3 of women who reported having experienced implantation spotting claimed that this type of spotting was different than menstrual spotting. Reasons included the different color in the spotting (blood is darker than period blood), texture (more discharge like), and pain associated with spotting (cramps at the same time). The risk level is low, but if you are unsure if you are pregnant, consult a doctor.

This would be ISTHIHAAZA 

5. You are experiencing ovulation spotting.

Ovulation spotting is very regular for certain women and is nothing to be worried about. Women can notice spotting a day or two into ovulating. When you ovulate, it is common to experience light spotting, usually pale pink in color. There are several potential reasons for ovulation spotting. For example, it can be caused by the surfacing of ovarian follicles. When a follicle matures and bursts, it can cause mild pain and some light bleeding. An increase in your estrogen levels during ovulation can result in light spotting or bleeding. It is also important to note that ovulation time is when you are most fertile. Be sure not to mistake this type of spotting with menstrual spotting!


6. You are perimenopausal.

When you approach menopause, you may start to experience pink or brown spotting and even light bleeding before your period. During this transitional stage, your periods may be more irregular, sometimes heavier, and you may have occasional spotting about a week before your period. Ovulation occurs in the middle of your cycle, followed by menstruation approximately 2 weeks later. When you are in perimenopause, your hormone levels may become irregular and not follow this usual pattern. Once you enter menopause, all menstrual bleeding stops. However, if you are bleeding into this stage, it is important to consult your doctor and seek immediate attention. Hormonal replacement can be a common cause of vaginal bleeding in menopause, but spotting could also be a sign of cancer or other serious conditions that require medical attention.

7. You have vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness, or vaginal atrophy, is a common cause of spotting. It occurs when vaginal tissue is no longer moist and elastic, and becomes irritated due to a change in estrogen. When the production levels of estrogen are disrupted, it can cause the vagina to feel itchy, dry and irritated. Women who are in menopause tend to experience vaginal dryness more often than women who are not. This is because their ovaries are producing less estrogen, which leads to a thinner vaginal tissue layer and a reduction in the number of lubricating glands. However, that does not mean women not in menopause can experience vaginal dryness. For women who are experiencing vaginal dryness and are definitely not near perimenopause, there are many factors that can create this condition. Childbirth and its aftermath, friction during sexual intercourse, hormone treatments, contraceptives, medications such as antidepressants, and reactions to substances such as alcohol can trigger vaginal dryness. If you are still menstruating, vaginal dryness is usually nothing to worry about. If you are spotting during menopause from vaginal dryness, consult a doctor immediately.


8. You are stressed.

Stress can cause about almost anything in your body. It can create many imbalances in your body and spotting is no exception. Emotional stress (depression, anxiety, worry, insomnia) and physical stress (weight loss or gain, illness, poor diet, over exercising) can affect your period cycle. This is because extreme stress can cause your body to release more amounts of the hormone cortisol, which then causes your body to release less estrogen and progesterone. This hormonal imbalance can mess up your period cycle, and can make them irregular or late, and cause spotting in between. While exercising is a good reliever of stress, over-exercising can also cause an absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) and cause you to spot.

9. You have a decline in estrogen.

One out of ten women experience light spotting during ovulation in their menstrual cycle because of a brief decline in their estrogen levels that happens when an egg is released from an ovary. This type of spotting usually occurs about ten to fourteen days before your next period. The decline in estrogen causes women to experience brown vaginal discharge, or spotting. They can also experience cramping and slight pain.


10. You’re experiencing delayed ovulation.

If you are a woman who ovulates later in your cycle, it may lead to mittelschmerz. Mittelschmerz is one-sided, lower abdominal pain that is associated with ovulation in the middle of your menstrual cycle, usually about fourteen days before your next period. The pain lasts from a few minutes to hours, but can continue on-and-off for a few days. It usually is on the side of the ovary that is releasing an egg. Aside from mild pain, mittelschmerz can cause mild vaginal bleeding, or spotting. Delayed ovulation can also mean you have a small cyst on the surface of your ovary, which leads to the egg breaking through, causing vaginal spotting.


11. You have a delayed or partial period.

During a normal period, the blood coming from the vagina consists of old blood, endometrial lining, and dead tissue. When you have a delayed or partial period, your monthly flushing does not complete and leaves a small amount of lining behind. This lining is left in the uterus for up to a month. When this remaining tissue finally expels, it leaves behind a brownish or pinkish color, or spotting. Again, while you may be alarmed and confused, this type of spotting is normal.

As we discussed above, if this type brown spotting occurs after you have bathed (Ghusl), you can ignore it and continue to pray and fast. This would be considered ISTHIHAAZA.

12. You have inserted an object into your vagina or experienced a vaginal injury.

If you have just inserted something into your vagina (recent sexual intercourse, etc), you could cause spotting. If you just had sex and your vagina isn’t lubricated enough, the friction can cause you to spot.  Cervical bleeding can occur if you have deep penetration during sex. Inserting when you are too dry or too forcefully can also cause spotting.


13. You have a urethral prolapse.

The urethra is a tube that connects your bladder to the outside of your body which carries urine from the bladder to the urethral opening. Urethral prolapse occurs when the inner lining of your urethra protrudes through the opening of the urethra. Because of this, the opening of your urethra can resemble a pink donut or ball and seem larger and more swollen than normal. This can cause irritation in the vagina, causing small amounts of blood, or spotting, to occur. This is easily treatable with treatments such as estrogen cream, sitz baths, and antibiotics.


*14. You are impregnated.

If you are newly pregnant, chances are you will experience spotting. In the first few months of your pregnancy, it is normal to experience spotting due to all the new hormonal changes. If you are unsure if you are pregnant, take a pregnancy test or consult your gynecologist right away. A doctor can help guide you in the right direction for your pregnancy and confirm the spotting is normal and not caused by an ectopic pregnancy, which if not treated, can be life threatening.


15. You have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that interferes with normal ovulation and can cause abnormal bleeding, or spotting between periods. It can also cause annoying things like unwanted hair and acne. It is very common in teen girls and young women. One out of every 10 woman has PCOS. If you have PCOS, your ovaries are not getting the right hormonal signals from your pituitary gland. Without these signals, you can’t ovulate every month, which affects your menstrual cycle. This causes your period to be irregular, and spotting in between. Ask your healthcare provider if you are experiencing symptoms such as irregular periods, extra hair on your face and other parts of your body, acne, weight gain, and patches of dark skin on the back of your neck and other areas. The most common treatment for PCOS is birth control or other types of hormonal therapy.

The spotting due to this condition would be ISTHIHAAZA.

16. You have inflammation or infection in your cervix (cervicitis).

Cervicitis is the inflammation or irritation in your cervix. The symptoms are very similar to vaginitis, such as vaginal discharge, itching, pain with intercourse, and spotting. If the urine tube, or ureter, gets infected, you can feel pain and burning when you pee, which also can be a sign of cervicitis. Cervicitis can be caused by non-infections such as trauma, frequent douching, or exposure to chemical irritants. Cervicitis can be also by infections, such as certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A doctor can diagnose and treat cervicitis in just a few days. The most common reason for cervicitis are sexually transmitted diseases, so the best prevention method is using a condom and being protected during intercourse.


17. You have an ovarian cyst.

Spotting between periods can also be caused by ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts are small sacs that develop in your ovaries and are filled with fluid. You may not know you have ovarian cysts until one ruptures. If one ruptures, you can experience lower pelvic pain, spotting, and severe discomfort. It is important to go immediately to the doctor if you are in extreme pain. Normally, doctors will wait and see if the cysts resolve themselves. If they don’t, they can be surgically removed.

This is usually more of an emergent case. It is considered Isthihaaza

18. You have Uterine Fibroids.

Uterine Fibroids (also known as leiomyomas or myomas) are noncancerous growths of the uterus that can occur during your childbearing years. They can range in size from tiny growths that are almost undetectable to the human eye, to large, bulky growths that can alter and enlarge your uterus. You can also have more than just one fibroid at a time. It is common for women to have fibroids at some point in their life, as they show no symptoms and can be so small it is undetectable. However, some women who experience uterine fibroids have symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, spotting between periods, pelvic pressure or pain, frequent urination, and constipation. Although uterine fibroids are not usually dangerous, they can cause pain and discomfort and can lead to complications, such as anemia from heavy blood loss. See a doctor if you are experiencing pelvic pain that won’t go away, overly heavy, prolonged painful periods, or spotting between periods.

The spotting here is ISTHIHAAZA. 

Vaginal spotting between periods has many potential causes. They can be normal and just a part of life, or they can be serious and even life-threatening. It is important to understand your symptoms and body and routinely go to the doctor. 

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician and that it should not be used for personal medical decision making.


The Book of Cleanliness: Compiled by Iqbal Kailani. Translated by Khaja Abdul


64 Comments Add yours

  1. Jaaliya. says:

    Jazakalla khair sister. This is a huge problem and most if our brothers do not address it. Some just confuse the sisters the more in their half-researched teachings concerning menses.

  2. Haley says:

    Jazakallah, sister, this is incredibly helpful and well written. I am a revert and often these answers are hard to find, and personally, I’m men are not qualified to address these issues. I have looked for these answers on many Islamic websites, all of which were written by men, all of whom had no idea the conplexities of vaginal bleeding. Thank you for your thoughtful article, may Allah bless you.

  3. J. R Hartley says:

    Jazak Allah. I am perimenopausal and am experiencing prolonged bleeding. I was concerned that I would miss Ramadan. Alhamdulillah – very grateful to find your information.

    1. Rasiya says:

      Thank you sister for your valuable information

  4. Rizwana says:

    Assalamalaikum ,to all jazzakAllahu khairan it’s really good to read but still I have a question I am healthy but still I see spot before one week of my periods I see spot daily till my regular period date comes like my date is 3rd of June but 23rd of may I see spot 11 days before my spot starts so is this fine I can take gusl n read namas or I have to wait till my date Pls reply me
    JazzakAllahu khairan

    1. featherb says:

      Wswrwb sister. Waiyyaki. You mention that you are spotting one week to 11 days before your actual period starts, correct? There can be a number of reasons as to why this happens. First of all how long has this been happening, every month for the past 3 months, 6 months, a year? Or did this recently start? have you started any new medications or oral contraceptives, birth control? If this is the only time this happened, are you trying to conceive? which could mean that it might possibly be implantation bleeding. Some women experience spotting around the time of their ovulation. Spotting can also occur if you are older and are reaching menopause and your period starts to become a little irregular. Stress can also throw our cycles off. Is there any pain associated with your spotting? Just from the information you have provided, this doesn’t sound like its your period and therefore, yes you can pray until you actually get your period. Of course if this is a chronic and bothersome issue it would be best that you speak to your OB/GYN or physician to check for other causes. But from the information you are providing, it sounds like this is not your period and therefore you can pray. Of course Allah (swt) knows best. I hope that helped answer your concern.

  5. Sabarina Jasmin says:

    Dear Sister,

    Asalaamalaikum. This is my time of the monthly cycle, however i have very minimal spotting (almost not visible) for the past 2 days. I am confused if i should continue my fast and prayer or stop.

    1. featherb says:

      Wswrwb sister Sabarina,

      What you are describing sounds like your period is about to fully start, but at the moment you are spotting. That spotting may be pink to red to brown in color. This is your uterine wall starting to slowly shed and therefore I would suggest that you stop praying and fasting.

      Quite honestly the same thing has happened to me a few times. Right around the time of my normal period, I start to get very light spotting, indicating slowly that my period has started. One time I happen to be visiting my OB-Gyn a day before I expected my period to start. While she was doing a PAP smear on me she could tell that I was already starting to menstruate. And this translated into a little bit of light spotting before full flow started.

      Because you mentioned that this is the normal time of your period and you are spotting, then yes you should stop praying and fasting. Menstruation has started, albeit lightly. Full flow will probably start in a day or two.

      I hope this helped you answer your concern. Please let me know if you have any other questions I can help you with.

      Another thing I just wanted to mention; I tend to think of spotting a day or two before our periods as a mercy and blessing from Allah (swt). If you think about it, rather than starting our periods with full blown bleeding, it starts gradually or with light spotting. This way we are almost given a warning or put on high alert that our full period/bleeding will be starting. This, in a way allows us to mentally and physically prepare ourselves for the next 5-7 days; to make sure we have what ever we need for the cramping that will commence, making sure we have pads etc for the bleeding, making sure we don’t engage in sexual activity at this time, prepare to stop fasting and praying etc.

      1. Hali says:

        Slmz sister. Jazak-Allah for this. Its Ramadan atm and I needed to know as my period is due tom and I started spotting today. This is usual every month 2-3 days before my period is due, I get spotting. I needed to know as wanted to know if I can fast and continue as normal. I now know this spotting is part of my period and all of it should stop

  6. Zaara says:

    Jazak Allah . This article was so informative.
    And very well written very well explained.
    And it would be helpful for many

    1. featherb says:

      Jzk for the kind words. 🙂

  7. Hope says:

    Asalamoalaikum sister,

    Thank you so much for this article. I sometimes spot for 3 days before my periods start and i pray because i dont know if it has started for sure but i also dont allow my husband to come near just in case it is periods. I was told by my gynaecologist that she considers day 1 of period as a full on flow, not spotting, but islamically we have to consider that as periods as well?

    1. featherb says:

      wswrwb, Yes medically speaking Day 1 of period is full flow. But Islamically if we seen any spotting/discolored discharge at the time of our period, we should consider it the start of our periods and should stop praying, fasting, etc. I hope i addressed your concern. Please let me know if you have any more questions. Jzk. 🙂

    2. featherb says:

      wswrwb, My sincere apologies for the delay in responding to your question, sister. Yes medically our first day of period is considered the first day of Full flow. But Islamically, the first day that you start to see spotting in relation to your period that will be starting soon, that is the day when you should stop praying, fasting, etc. The spotting prior to full flow period is your uterus lining beginning to shed. So yes it is considered part of your period if it is followed by full flow bleeding. I hope and pray that answered your question.

  8. Iudmom says:

    Salam, thank you for the detailed article. My period used to last for 7-9 days but since I had an IUD placed, I see some spotting (sometimes) on the pad, but each time I go to wash, thick deep red or dark brown clots do come out. That would be part of the uterine wall sloughing off, right? So would that be considered menses or Iztihaaza? It’s the first month only so I’m not sure how this will settle down. My doctor says, in 3-4 months everything including the period will become very light. But what do I do in the mean while?

    1. featherb says:

      wswrwb. I am assuming that you had a copper IUD placed, correct? it does take a few months for your hormones to normalize with an IUD. The important thing I would say here is to make note if the time that you are seeing these clots or spotting coincides with the time that you would normally get your period. If the timing is about the same, you can assume it is your period, meaning uterine wall sloughing off. And so you would not be praying or fasting, etc. But if there is heavy bleeding and/or happening at other times in your cycle, I would assume its not your period and would speak to your physician about it. I hope that addressed and/or clarified your concerns. Please let me know if you have more questions. 🙂

  9. Amy says:

    Jazak Allah for your very detailed article. I have had copper IUD inserted 3 months ago and it has made my period longer than normal. Before the IUD my periods were 7-8 days long, first 2 periods after i had the IUD inserted were 12-15 days long. My periods this month i noticed it was lighter than last 2 months and by 7/8th days i had brown yellowish discharge, this normally for me means my periods end after a day. This time my the discharge became lighter and eventually clear at time and then i started to see pink blood and now(day 10) white discharge with pink. is this still part of my period? Can i pray?

  10. Aisha says:

    Assallamu alaikum wa rahamatullah. Your article is indeed a life saving for every lady confronted with such complications . Jazakhallahu fiki khairan. But I have a questionquestion regarding the emergency contraceptive pills . I took one 8 days ago ,and now my next period is in the next 9 days ,but 2 days ago I noticed a brown spotting or discharge, so I read it up and it was mentioned to be normal like you referenced in your article too ,but this is the third since the spotting started and it has turned into red spotting more like a blood with a dead cell like thing ,some I’m confused if my period was altered by the pill or it’s just the regular side effects. Thank you

  11. Fsd says:

    I am at umrah. I am using pills for delay my periods. I started pills from 4 days before menses . It’s my 17 day and I am having continually pills taking time isn’t same but taking everyday.should I pray or not to pray . And should I do gusul before every Salah . how to get taharat.

    1. featherb says:

      wswrwb, My sincere apologies for the delay. I have been delayed due to some urgent family matters.
      In regards to your question. It sounds like your body was adjusting to the new pills you started to delay your period. If this is your first time taking the pills, it can take some time for the body and cycle to adjust. I would need more details about you. Such as:
      Is this your first time taking pills?
      When did you start having the spots?
      what color and how much?
      were they around the time you are normally supposed to start your period, or was the spotting off-cycle?
      If this is just your body getting used the pills, I would say that you can pray, doing wudu again each time you see spotting.
      But it would be best to check with your primary physician to make sure the spotting is due to new pills.
      again my apologies for the delay, I hope this helps.


  12. Maryam says:

    JazakiLlah for all the info..
    Assalam aleikum
    I have a question..sometimes close to my period date i.e like 5 days or so before I get muddy, chocolate coloured mucousy discharge that is sometimes dry and changes colour to thick red within then stops goes back to normal white.
    Sometimes this comes with mild cramps.simce this is not my usual mensuration I am usually co fused whether to treat it as haydh or istihadha or even an infection.somtimes I end up washing my hair before every salah so that I’m sure but I’m so scared because I don’t nnok what to do.i don’t want to disrespect Allah by praying when I’m not supposed to but I also don’t want to say I’m not praying when I should be.
    Plz help me
    I’m not married and I’m on my early 20s.
    Plz help me
    May God bless you always.

  13. Maryam says:

    Assalam aleikum
    I have a question..
    Once in a while I get a muddy,chocolate coloured mucousy discharge that turns thick and dark red within a few days.
    This usually happens sometimes about 5-7 days before my expected period date.
    During this time I’m usually confused as to whether I should pray or not.I don’t want to disrespect Allah by praying when I should not and I don’t want to not pray when I’m supposed to.i end up washing my hair before every salah.
    Im not sure whether this counts as period or an infection or istihadha.
    Please help me as I don’t know what to do.
    Plz note I’m not married.
    May Allah reward you always

    1. featherb says:

      wsalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakathahu.
      From what I understand you get muddy chocolate colored discharge or spotting a few days and then it becomes red (blood like) and then it becomes white, correct? How many days before it turns white? is this the same time each month? How much before or after your regular expected period does this happen? Have your periods always been regular? Have you started any new medications or contraception pills? If this happens before your “actual” period, what happens during your period?

      From what I am understanding this sounds like you spot for a few days (brown color) and then bleed (for another few days) and then it becomes white. If this happens the same time each month, this might just be your actual period starting. Brown spotting is very common prior to period and should be considered part of the period. Therefore we should stop praying and fasting when we see this spotting which will eventually become our period in a few days.

      I hope that helped, please feel free to reach to me if you have more questions.

  14. Shababa says:

    Aaj aik blood clot release hua lekin periods start nahi hue..toh Kya main Namaz parh sakti plea answer me..I’m not married I’m 17 .. please answer me

    1. featherb says:

      Aswrwb, Shababa,
      Thank you for your question. From what I understand you are stating that you had a blood clot that was released and it was not followed by your period? I would need more information, to help you. Was there any spotting? Was it around the time of you period? Was it a clot or just thick discharge? you can private message me as well if you feel more comfortable.

  15. Mohseena says:

    Aslm sister. I wanted to stop my period with medication in order to get all my fasts but before I start to take the medications my period already started. Can I still take the meds so stop it then continue fasting?

    1. featherb says:

      From what I understand, you are wanting to take OCPs to prevent your periods so that you can fast the whole entire month. Islamically speaking I don’t think it is a good idea to stop your periods just to able to fast the whole entire month. Our monthly periods are a blessing and mercy from Allah (swt) which we should accept gratefully. If there are other reasons that you are taking OCPs, then that is between you and your physician. As for the question regarding taking the medication after period has started, again that is depending on the schedule you have decided with your physician. There are different OCPs and different regimens. From my experience and knowledge, some OCPs are started on the first day of your menstrual cycle and this will eventually decrease and stop your periods. But again this should be discussed in detail with your physician, as well side effects and break-through bleeding. As far as fasting goes, as long as you are not having any menstrual bleeding or menstrual-related spotting, you are allowed to fast. I hope this helped. May Allah (swt) forgive me, if i have not answered your questions/correctly, and may He make your situation easier for you. Ameen.

  16. Dalia Hashem says:

    Assalamualaikum. I’m on IUD Martina for the past 4yrs. I’m seeing very very light pink discharge when I wipe…is this considered as ishtihaza?
    Jazak Allah Khair.

    1. featherb says:

      So I am assuming this very light pink discharge is new? has it happened before while on the IUD? Did it come at a time when you would have normally had your period? Was it followed by more pink-brown-red discharge? If it was only the one day of very light pink discharge on a random day of the month, I would probably think of it as Isthihaza. I hope that helped.

  17. Zena says:

    barak’Allahu feeki sis! This article is super helpful! Thank you for writing it!
    I am 37. Recently my period has changed from normal to this weirdness That seems to go on forever!! i get a very small amount of brown discharge a few days before my period. There’s no pain and it’s lot just a small smear a day and it stops a day before my “official” period which is very red and with this red period i get cramps and feel nauseous. so is it that i can pray during this initial brown phase? And then the redness period stops for a day and then becomes brown spotting again which continues for score three days ··sigh·· it’s so confusing.
    Please help!!
    barak’Allahu feeki xx
    Ramadan mubarak

    1. featherb says:

      JazakAllah khair. I am glad it was helpful. My apologies for the delay in responding. Yes I hear you, our cycles can get very confusing at times. How many days your periods usually last? It sounds like the brown spotting is indeed part of your period. The variation might be just a change your body is going through, due to age or many other factors. But it sounds like if the spotting appears when your period is due to start, it is most likely part of your period. I really hope that helped, please feel free to reach out if you have more questions. Ramadan mubarak to you too.

  18. Safiyya says:

    Jazakillah khair for this great religious and medical write up. It has solved 99% of my worries. Safiya Sada Nigeria.

  19. Sofia says:

    Assalam aleikum,

    I have a question and would like some advice please

    My period is due in around 4 days however for the past 5 days I have had reddish and yellow discharge, for the first 2 days it was red and the rest has been yellow and white. I had the same on my last month period but it only lasted 2/3 days and then I got my normal period. My periods before were queit normal they started with blood and discharge so it was clear it was my period and they lasted for 7 days, so my question is should I have fasted and prayed in these 5 days or should I have treated it as my period?

    I’ve searched many websites but what they say it quiet mixed and can’t find a clear answer, I’ve been really confused so the advice would be appreciated.

    Jazak Allah

  20. Sofia says:

    Assalam aleikum

    I have a question regarding my own menses.

    I’m expecting my period to come in around 4 days however the past 5 days I have had reddish/yellowish discharge the first 2 days it was reddish then it turned a mix of yellow and white. I also had mild pain on the first day of the discharge. I had this on my last month period but it only lasted for around 2/3 days then I got my normal blood flow period. In the past I did get discharge but there was also blood so I was sure when my period started. My question is, is this discharge before my period part of my period or seperate from it and can I fast and pray or should I stop until my period comes to an end?

    Advice would be appreciated as I have searched on a lot of websites but I was not able to find a clear answer.


    Just to let u know I have already posted this same question but as I’m not able to see it in the comments I’m not sure if it did post so I am reposting it.

    1. featherb says:

      From what I understand about your situation is that you have 5 days of spotting right when your period is due, correct? How many days do your periods usually last in total? Was the spotting followed by full flow bleeding/or period? Like I mentioned, our menstruation cycles can very commonly start with spotting for a few days and then are usually immediately followed by bleeding. If this is the case with you, then yes on the 5 days of spotting would be considered part of your period and you would not fast or pray, etc. I hope that helped. please reach out if you have more questions and concerns.

  21. S says:

    Thank you so much for such a detailed article! Really clarifies a lot of doubts!
    However, I still have a query…
    Today is the eighth day from the start of my periods and since the last two days there is only a dark brownish discharge intermittently through the day.
    Can I do ghusl n pray? Or do I need to wait until the discharge turns white?

  22. Aafiya says:

    Jazakallah khair
    Very deep knowledge is given in the article .
    My doubt is cleared and i m satisfied.

  23. Amy says:

    This was very helpful, thank you 🙂

  24. Ammira says:

    Assalamualaikum, masyaAllah finally i found my answer, thank you soooo much. I’ve been experiencing ovulation spotting straight for 2 years now. At some point i get so stress thinking that i am not healthy and something is wrong with me. I get so confused whether i can pray or not. I’ve seen three different doctors but none answer to my concerned but one of them just said its normal and nothing to be worried.

    I tried to searched and read so many articles, all said maximum duration of hayd is 15 days which mean i cannot perform prayers, read quran, fasting and etc till i reach the 15th days. This is so frustrating to me till one day i get to know what is ovulation spotting.

    I noticed that i do get light spotting around 10 – 14 days of my period for every month where usually my period will end around 7th – 8th days of my period. I can see clear discharge on 8th days and that is when i do my ghusl. But i always living in doubt because i know that 3 to 4 days after ghusl i will see some spotting and thinking that i still cannot perform prayer.

    Sometimes i just did the prayers because i felt so guilty as i can clearly see clear discharge on my 8th days of period it just that the spotting will come between 11th-14th days. Ouhhh only Allah knows how frustrating it is and no one can ever give me an answer

    After i read your article, i am so relieved. Finally someone address this issue who can relate it medically and religiously. Now i am happy to know that after this when my period end, i can do ghusl and start to pray, read quran, and fasting freely without any doubt and be more thankful when my ovulation day is about to come as it is only isthihazaa =)

    I am getting married in next few months, sure thing will get so complicated if i dont read this article by now. Thank you soooo much

  25. Ammira says:

    Assalamualaikum, masyaAllah finally i found my answer. Thank you so much. I’ve been experiencing ovulation spotting straight for 2 yeas now. At some point i get so stressed thinking that i’m not healthy and something is wrong with me. I get so confused whether i can pray or not. I’ve seen three different doctors but none answered to my concern but one of the just said its normal and nothing to be worried.

    I tried to searched and read so many articles, all said maximum duration of hayd is 15 days which mean i cannot pray, read quran, fasting and etc, till i reached the 15th days. This is so frustrating till i came across to know what is ovulation spotting.

    I noticed that i do get spotting around 11th-14th days of my period for every month where usually my period will end around 7th-8th days of my period. I can see clear discharge on the 8th days and that is when i do my ghusl. But i always living in doubt because i know that after 3 or 4 days of ghusl i will see some spotting and thinking that i still cannot perform prayer.
    Sometimes i just did the prayers once i did my ghusl as i felt so guilty.

    Ouh only Allah knows how frustrating it is and no one can ever give me answer. After i read your article, i felt so relieved. Finally someone address this issue who can relate it medically and religiously. Now i’m happy to know that after this when my period end, i can do my ghusl and start to pray and read quran as usual without any doubt and be more thankful when my ovulation day about to come.

    Thank you so much sister.

  26. Taranum says:

    Jazakhallaha khaira thank u for providing such a detailed information about this.u cleared all my doubts. May god reward u for sharing this knowledge.

  27. Rida says:

    Jazakillah Khyer that was indeed so helpful. May Allah bless you for this hard work. Ameen

  28. meymuna says:

    Masha Allah. May Allah bless you tremendously for helping your sisters including me

  29. Zehra Abid says:

    Thank you so so much! You’ve no idea how much helpful has this article to me. 😭❤️

  30. Mufe says:

    Jazak Allah Khair for this beautifully written post.

  31. Khush says:

    Assalamu alaikum sister
    Jazak Allahu Khairan kaseerah for detailed explanation for differentiating between haiz and istehaza… And clearing all over related doubts regarding this… This helped me to pray without doubt …. Once again .Jazak Allahu Khairan kaseerah

  32. Nakota says:

    jazakallah sister, very informative article… May Allah reward you!

  33. Sara says:

    Such a detailed article JZK so so helpful. To fast in state of spotting due to fibroids I understand it’s iztihaaza but do we need to do ghusl daily then?

  34. Shifa Farhan Ghatkai says:

    Jazakallah dear has helped me gain an insight on this issue.

  35. Freeha says:

    Boht zada helpful tha ye article but ager urdu translation b hoti to zada achy sy samjh ati.. Boht salon sy aik msla tha jo aj ye article parh k solve hua khuda ajr dy ap ko…

  36. Freeha says:

    Mujhy aik problem a k mery periods jb start hoty hen to shuru k 3.4 ya sometimes 5 days just spotting rehti brown clr ki… Wo b bus thori boht phir 5th day bad periods start hoty.. Bus ye puchna tha k jo spotting k days hoty kia un men nmaz parh sakti ya chor deni chahye.. Boht salon sy ye confusion a plz bta den… Kia flow start hony py nmaz chorni chahye ya spotting py….

  37. Reham Shalabi says:


    I was reading through the internet because I’m having light spotting but it’s actually time for my period. So I was searching and came across your page. It was very informative as I began to read then I can about the Hadith about Hamna bint Jahish (r) and it seemed very wrong. “It is from the devil” so I searched the internet looking for that same Hadith and came across nothing. So please either correct the Hadith or link a source for the one you added. Thank you

  38. Farheen says:

    This has been extremely helpful. Thanks for explaining this scientifically and in the light of Qura’an rulings

  39. Oishee says:

    Jajak allahu khairan. So informative, helpful, understandable,clear. Mentioned every possible questions or confusion can anybody have. Thanks for sharing the knowledge in such a details. This is the most important topic for women yet most understudied, at least unreavled. What a research.

  40. Aliya Hussaini Yousufi says:

    Thank you for such a detailed explanation and covering so many different scenarios. This really helped me!

  41. Firdous says:

    Assalaam alaiqum
    At the end of period 7th day i can see white discharge bt very next day brown or blak discharge is seen n it lasts till 10th or 11th day. So wht shld i consider the last day of my period

  42. Scarlett says:

    Thank you so so much for this amazing explanation and list. It answered so many of my questions and doubts. I’ll be saving this link for future references. What a wonderful blend of both religion and science. May Allah grant you loads of blessings for generously sharing this info with us. 🙂

  43. Lai says:

    I have PCOS, because of which I get coloured discharge and cramps like a week before my cycle starts, sometimes even spotting. Can I offer salah?


  44. Alizay says:

    This article was so easy to understand and comprehensive, thank you so much!

  45. rakiya says:

    jazakhallahu khairu,. thank you for sharing from your wealth of knowledge.

  46. Naziya Tazeen says:

    It’s Friday and it’s my period date, I haven’t got my menses but I had got this red discharge a little in the morning but later I haven’t got any continue to discharge. I have my menses pain too
    May i know should I perform prayer or not?

  47. Ayesha says:

    Jazak Allah khair sister, this was really very helpful.

  48. Rida says:

    Asalam-u-alaikum, thanks for such a detailed response but I have a question. I get mucosal discharge for whole time between my periods that has streaks of brown blood or sometimes brownish colored but it isn’t blood it is mucus, it can also leave spots on my undergarments. So can I pray in these undergarments or shall I change them every time?

  49. Azu says:

    What I should do…I having spotting’black colour’ before my periods …I should offer nmaz of what…?I’m so confused..iam scared that I don’t want to miss my Salah….and today is the day of forgiveness..15 shabbat…plz sisters help me in finding my solution..!

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