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Book of Menstruation by Imam Bukhari

Book of Menstruation

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 6. Book of Menstruation

The words of Allah, “They will ask you about menstruation. Say, ‘It is an impurity, so keep apart from women during menstruation and do not approach them until they have purified themselves. But once they have purified themselves, then go to them in the way that Allah has enjoined on you.’ Allah loves those who turn back from wrongdoing and He loves those who purify themselves.” (2:222)

I: How menstruation started, and the words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “This is something which Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam.”

Some people* have said that menstruation first came on the Banu Isra’il, but what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said is more authentic.

[* 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud and 'A'isha.]

II: Instructions to women when they start to menstruate

290. It is related from al-Qasim, “I heard ‘A’isha say, ‘We set out with no other intention than to perform hajj. When we reached Sarif*, I started to menstruate. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came upon me, while I was weeping, he said, ‘What is the matter? Have you started your period?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is something that Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam so do everything that someone on hajj does but do not do tawaf of the House.’ She said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sacrificed a cow on behalf of his wives.’”

[* Sarif: a place close to Makka.]

III A menstruating woman washing her husband’s head and combing his hair

291. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “I used to comb the head of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while I was menstruating.” (Muwatta, Book 2, 104)

292. It is related from ‘Urwa that he was asked, “Can a menstruating woman serve me? Can a woman who is in janaba come near me?” ‘Urwa said, “None of that bothers me. All of those women could serve me and there is no harm for anyone in that. ‘A’isha told me that she used to comb the head of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while she was menstruating and while the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in i’tikaf (retreat) in the mosque. He would move his head near to her, she being in her room, and she would comb his hair while she was menstruating.”

IV: A man reciting Qur’an in his wife’s lap while she is menstruating.

Abu Wa’il used to send his servant girl who was menstruating to bring the Qur’an from Abu Razin. She would hold it by its strap.

293. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to recline on my lap while I was menstruating and recite the Qur’an.”

V: Using the word “nifas” for menstruation*

[*The word nifas is used for the bleeding of women after childbirth, but sometimes it is used for menstruation as well. This is the point al-Bukhari wants to clarify.]

294. It is related that Umm Salama said, “Once while I was lying with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, under a black woollen cover I started my menstrual period and I slipped away to get my menstruation clothes. He said, ‘Have you started menstruating (tanfusti)?” I said. ‘Yes.’ He called to me and I lay down again with him under the cover.”

V: Fondling a menstruating woman

295. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and I used to wash from the same container when we were both in janaba. While I was menstruating, he told me to wrap my waist-wrapper around myself and then he cuddled me. He would hold his head out to me when he was in i’tikaf (retreat in the mosque) and I would wash it while I was menstruating.”

296. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “When one of us was menstruating and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wanted to fondle her, he would tell her to put on a waist-wrapper when she started her menstrual period and he would fondle her.” She said, “Who among you would be able to control his desires as the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, controlled his?”

Khalid and Jarir corroborated with ‘Ali ibn Mishar in relating his from ash-Shaybani.

297. It is related that Maymuna was heard to say, “When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,wanted to fondle one of his wives, he told her, if she was menstruating, to put on a waist-wrapper.”

Sufyan related it from ash-Shaybani.

VI: Menstruating women refraining from fasting

298. It is related that Abu Sa’id al-Khudri said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, set out to the place of prayer on the Day of Adha or Fitr and passed by the women. He said, ‘O congregation of women! Give alms for I have seen that you will make up the majority of the inhabitants of the Fire!’ They said, ‘Why, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘You call down too many curses and show ingratitude to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intellect or deen. Yet the mind of even a resolute man might be swept away by one of you.’ They said, ‘In what way is our deen and intellect deficient, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Is not the testimony of a woman worth only half that of a man?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is how your intellect is deficient. Is it not so that when a woman is menstruating, she neither prays nor fasts?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is how her deen is deficient.’”

VII: A woman who is menstruating should perform all the duties of the hajj except for tawaf of the House

Ibrahim said, “There is no harm in her reciting a verse of the Qur’an.”

Ibn ‘Abbas did not see any harm in the recitation of [the Qur'an] by someone who is in janaba.

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, mentioned Allah at all times [which includes recitation of the Qur'an].

Umm ‘Atiyya said, “We were ordered to let menstruating women go out [for the prayer] and call out takbirs together with the men’s takbirs and make supplication.

Ibn ‘Abbas said that he was told by Abu Sufyan that Heraclius asked for the letter of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and read it. It said, “In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. O People of the Book! Come to a proposition which is the same for us and you.”

‘Ata’ stated that Jabir said, “‘A’isha started menstruating and performed all the rites of hajj except tawaf of the House and she did not pray.”

Al-Hakam said, “I slaughter even when I am in janaba [mentioning the name of Allah in this state].” Allah says, “Do not eat anything over which the name of Allah has not been mentioned.” (6:121)

299. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “”We set out with the Prophet , may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with no other intention than to perform hajj. When we reached Sarif, I started to menstruate. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came upon me while I was weeping. He said, ‘What has made you weep?’ I said, ‘I wish , by Allah, that I had not made hajj this year.’ He said, “‘Is it that you have started to menstruate?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is something which Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam so do everything someone on hajj does but do not do tawaf of the House until you are pure.’”

VIII: False menstruation [bleeding between menstrual periods]

300. It is related that ‘A’isha said, ” Fatima bint Hubaysh told the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Messenger of Allah, I never become clean. Should I abandon the prayer?’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘That is due to a vein, not menstruation. When menstruation comes, then stop praying. When your menstrual period ends, then wash off the blood and pray.’”

IX: Washing off menstrual blood

301. It is related that Asma’ bint Abi Bakr said, “A woman asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘Messenger of Allah, what do you think a woman should do if menstrual blood gets on her clothes?’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘If menstrual blood gets onto your clothes, she should gather up the place in her fingers, rub it, and wash it with water and then she can pray in it.’” (Muwatta, Book 2, 105)

302. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “When one of us had menstruated, she would, when she was clean again, gather up any place on her garment with blood on it, rub it, wash it and sprinkle water on the rest of it. Then she would pray in it.”

X: A woman with false menstruation doing retreat in the mosque for i’tikaf

303. It is related from ‘A’isha that one of the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did i’tikaf along with him when she had false menstruation. She would see blood and sometimes put a dish under her for the blood. ‘Ikrima claimed that ‘A’isha saw some safflower liquid and said, “This is like what so-and-so used to find.”

304. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “One of the wives of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did i’tikaf with him. She used to see blood and yellow discharge and would put a dish under her while she was praying.”

305. It is related from ‘A’isha that one of the Mothers of the Believers did i’tikaf while she had false menstruation.

XI: Can a woman pray in the clothes in which she has menstruated?

306. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “None of us had more than a single garment and we menstruated while wearing it. When a drop blood fell on it, we would spit on it and scratch it off with our nails.”

XII: A woman using perfume when she does ghusl after menstruation

307. It is related from Umm ‘Atiyya from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “We were forbidden to mourn for a dead person for more than three days except for a husband for whom the period was four months and ten days. We would not put on kohl or perfume or wear coloured clothes except ‘asb (coarse Yemeni coloured) garments. When we purified ourselves by doing ghusl after menstruation, we were allowed a small amount of light perfume. We were forbidden to join funeral processions.”

Hisham ibn Hassan related it from Umm ‘Atiyya via Hafsa.

XIII: A woman should rub herself thoroughly when she becomes clean after menstruation. How she should wash herself and use a perfumed piece of cloth [maybe of musk] to wipe off any traces of blood

308. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “A woman asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about ghusl after menstruation. He told her how to wash, saying, ‘Take a piece of cloth scented with musk and purify yourself with it.’

She repeated, ‘How shall I purify myself with it?’

He said, ‘Purify yourself with it.’

She said,’How?’

He said, ‘Glory be to Allah! Purify yourself with it!’”

['A'isha said,] “I pulled her towards me and said, ‘Wipe off any traces of blood with it.’”

XIV: Washing the place of menstruation

309. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “A woman of the Ansar said to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ‘How should I do ghusl after menstruation?’ He said, ‘Take a piece of perfumed cloth and clean yourself three times.’ Then the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, became embarrassed and turned his face away. (Or he said, ‘Clean yourself with it.’) I took her and pulled her to one side and explained to her what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, meant.”

XV: A woman combing her hair when she does ghusl after menstruation

310. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “I assumed ihram with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, for the Hajj of Farewell and I was one of those intending to do tamattu’ (a way of performing hajj and ‘umra) but did not take any sacrificial animals with me.” She said that she started to menstruate and did not become clean until the night of ‘Arafa. She said, “Messenger of Allah, this is the night of ‘Arafa and I had meant to perform ‘umra.” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to her, “Undo your hair and comb it and postpone your ‘umra.”

She said, “I did that and completed the hajj. On the night of al-Hasaba, the Prophet ordered ‘Abdu’r-Rahman to take me to at-Tan’im to do ‘umra in place of the ‘umra I had meant to perform.”

[al-Hasaba: Muhassab. 'Abdu'r-Rahman was her brother. Tan'im is close to Makka, on the road to Madina, See 311.]

XVI: A woman should undo her hair when performing ghusl after menstruation

311. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “We set off at the approach of Dhu’l-Hijja [that is the month for hajj] for the hajj. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Whoever wants to assume ihram for ‘umra should do so. If I had not brought sacrifice, I would have assumed ihram for ‘umra. Some of us assumed ihram for ‘umra and some for hajj. I was one of those who assumed ihram for ‘umra. When the day of ‘Arafat came, I was still menstruating. I complained to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he said, ‘Postpone your ‘umra and undo your hair and comb it and put on ihram for hajj.’ I did that. On the night of al-Hasaba [ i.e. the night they stayed at al-Muhassab], he sent my brother, ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr, with me and I went out to at-Tan’im. I assumed ihram for ‘umra to make up for my ‘umra.”

Hisham said, “For that, neither sacrifice nor fasting nor sadaqa was required.”

XVII: “Flesh formed yet unformed.” (22:5)

312. It is related from Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah the Mighty and Majestic appoints an angel to every womb who says, ‘O Lord! A sperm drop! O Lord A clot! O Lord! A lump of flesh! ‘ Then if He desires to complete His creation, He does so and the angel asks, ‘Is it to be male or female? Wretched or happy? What is its provision? What is its life-span?’ This is all decreed in the mother’s womb.”

XVIII: How menstruating women assume ihram for hajj and ‘umra

313. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “We set off with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on the Hajj of Farewell. Some of us assumed ihram for ‘umra and some for hajj. We reached Makka and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Whoever assumed ihram for ‘umra and does not have a sacrifice should come out of ihram. Whoever assumed ihram for ‘umra and has a sacrifice should not come out of ihram until he has slaughtered his sacrifice. Whoever assumed ihram for hajj should complete his hajj.”

‘A’isha said, “I started to menstruate and continued until the Day of ‘Arafa and I had only assumed ihram for ‘umra. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded me to undo my hair and comb it and to assume ihram for the hajj and abandon the ‘umra. I did that and finished my hajj. Then he sent ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr with me and told me to do an ‘umra, to replace my (missed) ‘umra, from at-Tan’im.”

XIX: The beginning and end of menstruation

Some women used to send ‘A’isha little boxes containing pieces of cotton cloth which still showed some yellowness. ‘A’isha would say, “Do not rush [to do ghusl] until you see white cotton,” meaning by that purity from menstruation.

The daughter of Zayd ibn Thabit was told that the women were asking for lamps in the middle of the night to check their purity. She said, “Women never used to do this,” and criticised them.

314. It is related from ‘A’isha that Fatima bint Abi Hubaysh used to suffer from false menstruation and so she asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who said, “That is only a blood vessel, not menstruation, so when your menstrual period approaches, stop the prayer, and when it finishes, take a bath and pray.”

XX: A menstruating woman should not make up the prayer

Jabir and Abu Sa’id said that the Prophet , may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “She must abandon the prayer.”

315. It is related from Mu’adha that a woman asked ‘A’isha, “Should we make up the prayer when we become clean?” She said, “Are you from Harura’? [i.e. are you a Kharijite? ] When we were with the Prophet, we got our menstrual periods and he did not command us to do that.” (or she said, “We did not do that.”)

XXI: Sleeping with a menstruating woman who is wearing her (special menstruation) clothes

316. It is related from Zaynab bint Abi Salama, “Umm Salama said, “Once while I was with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, under a black woollen cover I started my menstrual period and I slipped away and came out of it and got my menstruation clothes. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to me, ‘Have you started menstruating?” I said. ‘Yes.’ He called to me and I lay down again with him under the cover.”

She related that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to kiss her while he was fasting and [she said], “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and I used to do a ghusl from the same vessel for janaba.”

XXII: Wearing a special garment for menstruation other than the clothes worn during the time of the clean period

317. It is related that Umm Salama said, “Once while I was lying with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, under a black woollen cover I started my menstrual period and I slipped away to get my menstruation clothes. He said, ‘Have you started menstruating?” I said. ‘Yes.’ He called to me and I lay down again with him under the cover.”

XXIII: Menstruating women being present at the two ‘Id festivals and other meetings of the Muslims but staying away from the place of prayer

318. It is related from Ayyub that Hafsa said, “We used to keep our young women from going out for the two ‘Ids. A woman came and stayed at the fortress of the Banu Khalaf and she related that her sister, whose husband had been on twelve expeditions with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and who had herself gone with him on six of them, said, ‘We used to treat the wounded and care for the sick.’ ‘My sister asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Is there any harm in one of us not going out if she does not have an outer garment?” He said, “Her companion should let her share her outer covering garment and take part in the good actions and gatherings of the Muslims.” When Umm ‘Atiyya came, I asked her if she had heard that from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,and she said, “By my father, yes – whenever she mentioned the Prophet, she always said, “by my father” – I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘Young unmarried women, mature women – or young girls who are veiled – and menstruating women should go out and take part in the good actions and meetings of the believers, but menstruating women should stay away from the place of prayer.’”‘”

Hafsa said, “I said, ‘Menstruating women?’ She said, ‘Do they not attend ‘Arafa, and so on and so on.’”

XXIV: When a woman menstruates three times a month. What should be believed from women regarding menstruation and pregnancy and what is possible regarding menstruation according to the words of Allah, “It is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs.” (2:228)

‘Ali and Shurayh said, “If a woman brings testimony from members of her close family, who are known to be good Muslims, that she menstruates three times a month, she should be believed.”

‘Ata’ said [in case of 'idda, i.e. waiting period], “Her past menstrual pattern should be taken into account.” Ibrahim also said the same thing.

‘Ata’ said, “Menstruation can last from one to fifteen days.” Mu’tamir said that when his father asked Ibn Sirin about a woman who sees blood five days after the end of her menstrual period, he said, “Women have more knowledge about those things.”

319. It is related from ‘A’isha that Fatima bint Abi Hubaysh said to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “I have persistent bleeding and never become clean. Should I stop praying?” He said, “No, that is due to a blood vessel, not menstruation so stop the prayer for the days when you are menstruating and then do ghusl and pray.”

XXV: Yellow discharge and discoloration outside the days of menstruation

320. It is related from Umm ‘Atiyya, “We did not consider yellow discharge and discoloration to be anything.”

XXVI: A blood vessel being the cause of false menstruation

321. It is related that ‘A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, said, “Umm Habiba suffered from false menstruation for seven years. She asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about that and he told her, ‘This is due to a blood vessel.’ She used to do ghusl for every prayer.”

XXVII: A woman who starts menstruating after the Tawaf al-Ifada

322. It is related that ‘A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, said to the Messenger of Allah,may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Messenger of Allah, Safiyya bint Huyayy has started menstruating.” He said, “She may well delay us. Did she not do the Tawaf [al-Ifada] with you?” They said, “Yes.” He said (to her), “So you can leave.”

323. It is related that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “A menstruating woman is permitted to leave [before doing the Farewell Tawaf] if she starts menstruating [before doing the Farewell Tawaf]. Ibn ‘Umar used to say at first that she should not leave and then I heard him say, “She can leave since the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, allowed women to do that.”

XXVIII: When a woman who suffers from false menstruation notices that she has become clean

Ibn ‘Abbas said that she should do ghusl and pray, even if the prayer time only has one hour left, and her husband can have sexual intercourse with her when she has prayed, but the prayer is more important.

324. It is related that ‘A’isha said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘When menstruation comes, stop the prayer and when it ends, then wash the blood from yourself, [take a bath] and pray.

XXIX: Doing the funeral prayer over a woman who has died during her period of bleeding after childbirth and the manner of her funeral prayer

325. It is related from Samura ibn Jundub that a woman died during childbirth and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did the funeral prayer over her and stood opposite the middle of her body.

326. It is related from Maymuna, the wife of the Prophet, that when she was menstruating, she did not pray, but she would sit in front of where the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was prostrating while he was praying on his mat. She said, “When he prostrated, some of his clothing would touch me.”

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1 Response for “Book of Menstruation by Imam Bukhari”

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