Question # 414: Wanted to know abt nifaas. Can i pray once it stops or should i complete forty days?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The majority of scholars, including the four imams, are of the view that there is no minimum limit for nifaas (postpartum bleeding). Whenever a woman becomes pure from nifaas, she has to do ghusl and pray and fast, even if that is before forty days have passed since the birth. Furthermore, if the nifaas stops before forty days and then the woman sees blood again within the forty-day period, it is considered nifaas blood (lochia) until the forty days end. Any bleeding beyond the forty-day period is considered istihaadhah (vaginal bleeding outside the menstrual period) unless it coincides with her regular menstrual period; in which case it is to be considered menstruation. The Shafi‘is and others held that the maximum length of nifaas is sixty days and there is no harm in following this opinion as well.

Long Answer: The majority of scholars, including the four imams, are of the view that there is no minimum limit for nifaas. Whenever a woman becomes pure from nifaas, she has to do ghusl and pray and fast, even if that is before forty days have passed since the birth. Because no precise definition has been narrated in shari’ah with regard to the minimum length of nifaas, so the matter should be based on experience, which shows that nifaas may be very short or it may be long. (Ibn Qudaamah in al-Mughni) Some of the scholars narrated that there was consensus on this point. Al-Tirmidhi said: The scholars among the companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), the Tabi’een and those who came after them are agreed that a woman in nifaas should stop praying for forty days, unless she sees that she has become pure before that, in which case she should do ghusl and pray. (See al-Majmoo’ by al-Nawawi)

Shaykh Ibn Baaz said: “…it is permissible for her to fast, pray and do Hajj and ‘umrah, and it is permissible for her husband to have intercourse with her within forty days, if she becomes pure. If she becomes pure after twenty days, she should do ghusl and pray and fast, and she is permissible for her husband. The report from ‘Uthman ibn Abi’l-Aas which says that he regarded that as makrooh is to be understood as meaning disliked but not forbidden; this is his ijtihad, but there is no evidence for that.

The correct view is that there is nothing wrong with that if the woman becomes pure before forty days. If the bleeding resumes within forty days, then the correct view is that she should regard it as nifaas within the forty-day period, but her fasts, prayers and Hajj at the time when she was pure are still valid and she does not have to repeat any of them, so long as they were done when she was pure.”

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah: “If a woman in nifaas sees that she has become pure before forty days are over, then she should do ghusl and pray and fast, and her husband may have intercourse with her.”

[Furthermore,] if the Nifaas (post-partum bleeding) stops before forty days and then the woman sees blood again within the forty-day period, it is considered Nifaas blood (lochia) until the forty days end. This is the view of ‘Ataa’ and Ash-Sha’bi as it is bleeding within the period of postpartum bleeding [40 days], so it is considered as postpartum bleeding like the first one, and her husband should not have sexual intercourse with her; this is also one of the two narrations from Ahmad.

Any bleeding beyond the forty-day period is considered Istihaadhah (vaginal bleeding outside the menstrual period) unless it coincides with her regular menstrual period; in this case it is to be considered menstruation.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz  said, “If the woman becomes ritually pure before forty days and then the bleeding resumes within forty days, then the correct view is that she should regard it as Nifaas within the forty-day period, but her fasting, prayers and Hajj at the time when she was pure are still valid and she does not have to repeat any of them, so long as they were performed when she was ritually pure, until she attains purity (again) or the forty-day period ends.”

If the bleeding exceeds the forty days, it is regarded as Istihaadhah. In this case, the woman should perform Ghusl after the forty-day period comes to an end and she should use a liner of cotton or pads and perform Wudu’ before each prayer. This is, of course, unless the bleeding coincides with her regular menstrual period; if so, it is to be considered menstruation.

The Shafi‘is and others held that the maximum length of Nifaas is sixty days. This scholarly view carries considerable weight, and the versed scholar Ibn ‘Uthaymeen also preferred it. So, there is no harm in following this opinion, based on which, there is no problem with the blood beyond the forty-day period because it is considered Nifaas within the sixty-day period according to this opinion.

(The above reply is based on the following resources:

  • net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar
  • Various answers provided by Islam Q&A on similar topics)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam