Definitions: Part 1- The Definition of Ḥayḍ [Menstruation]

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

There are three types of bleeding which are specific to women:

  1. Ḥayḍ [Menstruation]
  2. Nifās [Lochia/Post-Natal Bleeding]
  3. Istiḥāḍah [Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding]


  • Modern medical definitions do not apply to the definition of ḥayḍ from a Sharʿī perspective. They do not play a role in determining whether the blood is ḥayḍ or istiḥāḍah.
  • Ḥayḍ and Istiḥāḍah are defined based on the rulings mentioned by the fuqahā’ and NOT modern medicine.
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The Definition of Ḥayḍ

Literal Definition:  To flow.

 Thus, the term ḥayḍ is used for menstruation due to the flowing of blood at a specific time.

Sharʿī Definition:

There are two ways ḥayḍ can be defined in the Sharʿīah:

  1. It is a state of ritual impurity.

Ḥayḍ is a legal obstacle which prevents a woman from fulfilling such acts of worship which require ṭahārah (purity), such as: Ṣalāh, recitation of the Qur’ān, fasting, entering the Masjid, sexual Intercourse, etc.

  1. It is a physical impurity.

Ḥayḍ is blood which flows from the [woman’s] womb and exits from the farj dākhil (vaginal opening), even if it is legal (ḥukman) blood without childbirth.

  • “Blood which flows from the [woman’s] womb” excludes:
  1. Istiḥāḍah.[1]
  2. Nosebleed and blood from wounds.
  3. Blood from the rectum.[2]
  4. Blood seen by a girl below the age of 9 lunar years (Solar calendar: 8 years, 8 months, 3 weeks and 5 days.)[3]
  5. Blood which was seen by a nufasā’ (a woman in the state of nifās) before childbirth.[4]
  6. Blood seen by animals (hyena, rabbits and bats).
  7. Blood seen by a Khunthā Mushkil (an uncategorized hermaphrodite).

See here for details regarding the Khunthā Mushkil.

  • “Exits from the farj dākhil” excludes:

The internal flow of blood which does not exit.

For instance, a woman feels the blood flowing down to the farj dākhil but it does not exit. Therefore, it will not be ḥayḍ. [Ẓāhir Riwāyah]-

The fatwā is on this opinion.[5]

  • Even if it is legal (ḥukman) blood includes:
  1. All colours other than pure white.
  2. Ṭuhr Mutakhallil.


  • A woman sees blood for 3 days.
  • She does not bleed on day 4-6.
  • She sees blood on day 7.
  • The ṭuhr mutkhallil, i.e., the days of purity (days 4-6) in between the two bleedings are considered as days of bleeding legally.
  • Therefore, the rulings of ḥayḍ apply to those days.

“Without childbirth” excludes:

 Nifās– the blood a woman sees after childbirth.


N.B. The blood a menopausal woman sees is not excluded from the definition of ḥayḍ.

Reason: According to the preferred opinion, the blood seen by a menopausal woman is ḥayḍ when:

  • It reaches the niṣāb and
  • It is pure black, red or another colour which was her habitual colour before menopause.

See here for details regarding menopause.

And Allāh Taʿālā knows best.


Manhalul Waridīn Pages 119-123.

[1] Reason: Istiḥāḍah is the blood which flows from a ruptured vein and not from the womb.

Hazrat ʿĀ’ishah narrates that Hazrat Fāṭimah bint Abī Ḥubaysh said to Allah’s Messenger ﷺ, “O Allah’s Messenger ﷺ! I do not become clean (from bleeding). Shall I leave out ṣalāh?” Allah’s Messenger ﷺ replied: “This is a vein that has been ruptured; it is not menses. So, when the days of your menses begins, leave out ṣalāh and when this period has finished wash the blood off your body and pray ṣalāh.” [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī # 306.]

[2] Although, it is not ḥayḍ it is mustaḥab (preferable) to refrain from sexual intercourse when she bleeds from the rectum, and it is also mustaḥab for her to do ghusl when this bleeding stops. [Kulaṣah 1/231.]

[3] Reason: The blood a girl sees before the age of nine does not flow from the womb. Thus, it is not ḥayḍ, rather, it is istiḥāḍah. However, in “Baḥr”, it is mentioned that this blood should not be called istiḥāḍah because istiḥāḍah only occurs after a woman has experienced ḥayḍ already. In this case, a girl under the age of 9, has not experience ḥayḍ as yet, therefore, it is more correct to call the blood she sees dam fāsid.

However, this difference in naming this blood, does not affect the ruling.

[4] Reason: The blood she sees before childbirth does not flow from the womb. Thus, it is not ḥayḍ, rather, it is istiḥāḍah.

[5] According to Imām Muḥammad, the ḥayḍ begins from the time the flow is felt even if it has not exited the farj dākhil. This difference of opinion can be understood from the following scenario:

Scenario: A woman feels the blood flowing down before Maghrib but it does not exit the farj dākhil as yet. After the sunsets, it exits the farj dākhil.

Imām Muḥammad: Ḥayḍ begun before Maghrib when the blood flow was felt. Therefore, that fast became invalid. Qaḍā’ is necessary.

Imām Abū Ḥanīfah and Imām Abū Yusuf: Ḥayḍ begun after sunset when the blood exited the farj dākhil. Therefore, the fast was valid. Qaḍā’ is not necessary.

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