Nifas (postnatal bleeding) is the blood that is discharged after a woman gives birth. Puerperal bleeding that occurs after a fetal miscarriage is also nifas, so long as the hands, feet, and head of the fetus have been formed. There is not a minimum duration for nifas. She has to take a ghusl (purificatory bath) and resume salat when bleeding ceases. However, she cannot engage in sexual intercourse before as many days as her habit pass [if she previously gave birth]. The maximum duration for postnatal bleeding is 40 days. She has to take a ghusl and resume salat, even if there is bleeding, after 40 days are over. The blood discharged after she has completed 40 days is regarded as istihada (flux of blood from a woman other than menstrual and postnatal bleeding). Therefore, it is necessary for a woman to keep track of the duration of her postnatal bleedings and to record them.
In Ramadan, a woman whose menstruation or postnatal bleeding stops after imsak (the time when prohibition on eating and drinking begins) must not eat or drink during that day, but she has to make up that fast-day after Ramadan. If menstrual or postnatal bleeding begins after imsak, she can eat or drink even if it begins in the late afternoon.
In the case of a miscarried fetus on which finger, mouth, or nose has appeared, it is treated as if she gave birth to a whole baby. If none of its body parts have been formed, the blood coming after miscarriage is not considered postnatal bleeding. But if it flows for 3 or more days and if 15 or more days have passed since the end of her last menstruation, then this bleeding is considered menstrual bleeding. If it lasts for less than 3 days or if a minimum of 15 days have not passed since the end of her last menstruation, then this bleeding is considered istihada. A woman experiencing istihada can perform salat and fast. She does not have to take a ghusl to engage in sexual intercourse.
If 1 day or 2 days of purity fall within the 10-day period of menstruation or 40-day period of postnatal bleeding and if a woman in this state, thinking that the bleeding has stopped, takes a ghusl and observes fasts and then the bleeding restarts within the duration mentioned, she has to make up those fasts as this bleeding is considered menstruation or postnatal bleeding. She has to take a ghusl again when it stops. If [in the case of menstruation] blood flows for 3 or more days and ceases before the length of her habit, she has to take a ghusl and resume salat. But it is not permissible for her to have sexual intercourse before as many days as her habit pass. The case is the same with postnatal bleeding.
If menstrual bleeding stops after having flowed for more days than her habit but before 10 days are over, the days on which it flowed are considered menstrual. If bleeding exceeds 10 days, what has exceeded her habit is not considered menstrual, so she has to make up those salats that she missed during these days. The 40-day period of postnatal bleeding comes under the same ruling as 10-day period of menstruation.
1. If a woman, after giving birth to her first baby, bleeds for 30 days and then does not see any blood until 40 days are over, the duration of her postnatal bleeding is considered 30 days. If she, after giving birth to her second baby, bleeds for 20 days and sees no blood for 15 days and bleeds for 10 days, she is considered to be experiencing istihada as the bleeding has gone beyond 40 days. The duration of her habit for postnatal bleeding has not changed. It is considered 30 days. The remaining 10 days of bleeding are regarded as istihada.
2. After a woman gives birth, if she bleeds for 5 days and does not see blood for 30 days and bleeds for 5 days, the 30 days in between are treated as if blood flowed during these days as well. All 40 days are counted as postnatal bleeding. If she bleeds for 5 days and does not see blood for 30 days and bleeds for 10 days, 5 days of bleeding after the 40th day are considered istihada.
Question: It is written in the book Endless Bliss, “Puerperal bleeding that occurs after a fetal miscarriage is also nifas, so long as the hands, feet, and head of the fetus have been formed.” Does this ruling apply only to spontaneous abortions, or does it apply to self-induced abortions, too?
Self-induced abortions come under the same ruling, too. It does not matter whether it is spontaneous or self-induced. Puerperal bleeding that occurs after a fetal miscarriage is also nifas, so long as the hands, feet, and head of the fetus have been formed. It even applies to the bleeding experienced after a fetus is removed through surgical operation.
So is the case with menstruation. If a woman takes pills in order to delay her period, the blood coming after its usual time is considered menstrual. Similarly, if a pure woman takes pills and then experiences bleeding after a minimum of 15 pure days have passed, the blood she sees is considered menstrual.
Discharges during delivery
Question: Women pass discharges during delivery. Are they considered to be postnatal bleeding? Or does postnatal bleeding start after the baby is delivered? Additionally, if a woman does not see any blood after delivery, is she obliged to take a ghusl anyway?
Postnatal bleeding starts when more than half the baby comes out. The bleeding experienced before it is not regarded as postnatal bleeding. A woman prior to this stage is considered an excused person, and she can perform salat even when these discharges are being excreted.
According to Imam-i Muhammad and Imam-ı Yusuf, a woman who has not seen any bleeding after childbirth is not obliged to perform a ghusl. However, she has to take a ghusl according to Imam-i A’zam. The majority of scholars based the rulings on the latter. (Hindiyya)