Can women with prolonged menstruation engage in worship?


A lady from India wrote a question to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, enquiring, “There are some women whose menstruation does not cease for several months. Can such a woman perform chilla (i.e., partake in a dedicated period of spiritual devotion and seclusion)?”

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 18 June 2022, provided the following answer to this question:

“If a woman experiences menstruation for a duration longer than her usual cycle, or if after childbirth she continues to bleed for more than forty days, this is a form of ailment, and such a woman is termed ‘mustahada’, i.e., one who is experiencing prolonged postpartum bleeding. There are clarifications regarding this in the Hadith, which indicate that such a woman is excused from acts of worship up to the end of her regular menstrual days. Once these regular days have passed, she must purify herself and resume her religious obligations. In such circumstances, she will need to perform ablution for each prayer.

“Hazrat Aishara narrated that ‘Fatimara bint Hubaish came to the Holy Prophetsa and expressed, ‘O Allah’s Messengersa, I am a woman who experiences istihada [i.e., persistent bleeding] and I do not become pure for a lengthy period. Should I abandon my prayers?’ Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa responded, ‘No. This is due to a blood vessel and is not menstruation. Hence, when your usual menstrual days arrive, refrain from prayers, and once those specific days have passed, wash away the blood [by performing ghusl] and then commence your prayers.’ The sub-narrator [Hisham] states, ‘After narrating this hadith, my father added [that the Holy Prophetsa had also told her], ‘However, perform ablution for every prayer until the time of your regular menstruation returns.’’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-wudu, Bab ghasli d-dam)

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