The Fiqh of menstruation: why it’s important and how to learn it
For many Muslim women, the rulings regarding menstruation, postpartum bleeding and abnormal discharge can be confusing. To know what is a true menstruation versus istihada or abnormal bleeding is important in order to fulfill acts of worship such as purification, salah, sawm, Hajj, reading Qur’an, etc. And married men and women need to know when to abstain or resume marital relations. Also, if a woman is experiencing istihada does she make wudu before every prayer or ghusl?
For many women who experience perimenopause, it can be a bewildering time. After having a normal menstrual cycle for decades everything is turned upside down. It is possible for a woman during perimenopause to bleed for the whole month. What is to be done regarding prayers, fasting and other acts of worship? These are serious issues and if the person doesn’t have the correct knowledge it could affect acts of worship.
Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about these issues among Muslims. Many Muslims base their understanding of these issues from their culture; others on hearsay. The correct information on these matters exist and is considered obligatory knowledge for Muslim women, as well as for husbands, fathers and guardians.
When it comes to learning our Religion, it’s always best to find a qualified scholar and learn in person but that isn’t always feasible. By the grace of Allah, it is possible to gain the correct knowledge about these matters online with scholars such as with Ustadha Hedaya Hartford, an author and recognized expert on women’s fiqh issues. Introduction to Menstruation and Related Issues, a course taught by Ustadha Hedaya Hartford, at Qibla Islamic Sciences Online, will introduce you to the legal rulings of menstruation, lochia (postpartum bleeding) and istihada. You’ll learn how they affect your worship.
Introduction to Menstruation and Related Issues is a prerequisite for an upcoming in-depth course on the same topic at Qibla Islamic Sciences Online. This course, which is based on the Hanafi madhab, will use Imam Birgivi’s treatise Dhukhr al-Muta’ahhilin wa al-Nisa’ fi ta’rif al-Athar wa al-Dima’ (Treasure for Those with Families) along with Imam Ibn ‘Abidin’s commentary of it. According to Imam Ibn ‘Abidin, this treatise by Imam Birgivi, the great Ottoman scholar, is the principal reference for menstruation and lochia and their related rulings in the Hanafi school.
Ustadha Hedaya Hartford has an ijaza (formal scholarly permission) to teach Imam Birgivi’s treatise from Shaykh Muhammad Amin Siraj, a shaykh at the Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih mosque in Istanbul. Shaykh Muhammad Amin Siraj wrote that Ustadha Hedaya Hartford demonstrated, “full comprehension and meticulous understanding” of the text.
The required text for the course is Coming of Age: A Muslim Girl’s Guide by Hedaya Hartford. It is also recommended to have Birgivi’s Manual Interpreted: Complete Fiqh of Menstruation and Related Issues by Hedaya Hartford and Ashraf Muneeb. The objectives of the course are: to realize that a more in-depth study of the topic is essential, to address and clarify cultural misconceptions and hearsay, and to gain the ability to identify problem cases and know when to consult a scholar/specialist in those situations.
This knowledge is essential for every Muslim woman, father, husband or guardian. According to Ustadha Hedaya Hartford, “Menstruation is amongst the most difficult topics in the study of fiqh. The magnitude of this knowledge is apparent by the detriment caused by the ignorance of it. Attentiveness to these rulings is vital because of the consequences they have on rulings of purification, prayer, reading the Qur’an, fasting, spiritual retreat, pilgrimage, reaching puberty, marital relations, divorce, waiting period after divorce, and others. Familiarity with these rulings is essential; otherwise, forbidden (haram) acts are done without even realizing it.”
Introduction to Menstruation and Related Issues taught by Ustadha Hedaya Hartford at Qibla Islamic Sciences Online will begin next term on October 8, 2016.
Registration is open.