Monday, July 12, 2004

Greater Ritual Impurity and removing it (ghusl)

Removing greater ritual impurity:

Its obligation is done by a Complete Body Wash including inside the mouth and the soft part of the nose.

Greater Ritual Impurity is caused by:

  1. Ejaculation of semen for the man or woman due to desire.
  2. Intercourse (The prophet defined it as the head of the man’s part disappearing) or anal sex (which is of course also also strictly forbidden.)
  3. Menstruation or postpartum bleeding

Postpartum bleeding:

  • There is no lower limit for postpartum bleeding, but its maximum period is 40 days. If the woman has no habitual period of postpartum bleeding, and bleeds more than 40 days, then what is beyond 40 is considered irregular blood. If she has a habit, and the blood continues past 40, then she considers all that was beyond her habit as irregular.
  • If a woman aborts and the aborted child has some human features appearing, then this is considered childbirth, except that there is no inheritance for the child, nor is it prayed for in burial. Bleeding after it is considered postpartum bleeding.
  • If a woman has twins, then the postpartum bleeding period is counted from the first child.
  • The postpartum bleeding period is counted from the moment that most of the child has come out, i.e. the child's chest has come out. If it comes out legs first, then the period starts from the moment the navel comes out. If the child is alive at this point, then it has inheritance rights and is prayed for in burial.


Menstruation as Islamically defined lasts between 3 to 10 days, no more and no less. It is not required that the blood flows out continuously in this period to be considered menstruation. The least period between two menstruations is 15 days.

The above is clarified with some examples as follows:

  • If a woman finds blood when 15 days has past since her last period, she should consider this menstruation unless it lasts less than 3 days.
  • If a woman finds blood before 15 days has passed she should consider this irregular bleeding, unless it falls within 10 days of her first seeing blood.
  • If a woman who's period usually lasts 7 days, sees blood up to 10 days, but no more, then she considers this all as menstruation (i.e. her habit changed.) However, if she sees blood on the 11th day, then she should consider all that was beyond 7 days as irregular bleeding.
  • Any prayers or obligatory fasting that was missed because of thinking irregular bleeding was menstruation has to be prayed and fasted.
  • The woman who reaches puberty while bleeding irregularly considers 10 days of the month as menstruating and 20 as non-menstruating.
  • The woman who gets irregular bleeding after having a monthly habit should follow her old habit in judging which bleeding is menstruation. E.g. if her habit was 20 days non menstruation and 7 days menstruation, she should follow this schedule by keeping track of the days.