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Menstruation + Tawaaf ?

Oct 28, 2011 by     4 Comments    Posted under: Articles, Fiqh
Assalamu Alykum,
Making Hajj is undoubtedly a beautiful thing. It can however, prove to be a bit tricky if you’re not equipped with the knowledge required for situations you may encounter. One question I find women raising every single year is, “What if I experience my menstrual cycle during the days of Hajj, can I still make Tawaaf if my Hajj group has to leave?”
I hope to tackle this question in a few steps:
Is Purity From Physical/Ritual Impurities a Pre-Condition for Tawaaf (Circumambulation)?

There are two popular opinions about this issue:

The first being the opinion of the majority (Malikiyyah, Shafiyyah, & Hanabilah) which states that one must attain full Taharah just as he would for Salah, i.e. it’s a condition for the validity of the Tawaaf. This, as it may be clear already, is the opinion of the majority.


 The following are some of the evidences supporting this standpoint:
1 – Aisha (RA) narrates that, “The first thing that the Prophet (PBUH) did when he came to Makkah was ablution and then he did Tawaaf around the Ka’bah.”
    This tradition can be used as evidence in two ways:
  1.  The Messenger of Allah said, “Take from me your rituals [in hajj].” We find in a legislative principle, “Obligation is the primary understanding from a command.” Based on this, it is safe to say that every action that the Prophet Muahmmad (PBUH) did in Hajj would be considered obligatory unless otherwise noted by a defining/restricting or other types of inference.
  2.  The action of the Prophet (PBUH) in this case was to explain that which came in a comprehensive form in the Quran. In such a situation, we apply the following principle: “If an action of the Prophet (PBUH) comes explaining that which was comprehensively noted in the Quran, then this action is considered obligatory except if it is intercepted with defining inferences.” Allah says, “… and let them all perform Tawaaf around the ancient house.” [Hajj/22] So this is a comprehensive verse, telling us only to perform Tawaaf and not how to perform it. The Prophet’s (PBUH) actions illustrated the details of how to perform Tawaaf.

2 – Aisha [RA] says, “We left Medina with the Prophet and when we reached Sarif (a place that is about 6 miles away from Makkah), I menstruated. The Prophet (PBUH) entered upon me while I was crying. He said, “What is leading you to cry?” I replied, “I would’ve loved if I hadn’t made Hajj this year!” He said, “Perhaps you have menstruated.” I said, “Yes.” He said, “This is something that Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam. So do as the pilgrims do, but don’t circumambulate (perform Tawaaf) around the House (of Allah) until you are pure.” [Bukhari]

And in another narration of the same tradition, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “… until you shower.” And as it is known to all, that shower is the way for women to release themselves from the ritual impurity casted upon them during their cycles.


3 – On the authority of Ibn Abbas, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Circumambulation is prayer, except that Allah has made lawful therein speech. So whosoever speaks during it, let him only speak in good [matters].”
The scholars differed about whether this hadith is to be considered Marfoo’ (raised to the Prophet (PBUH)), or Mawqoof (statement of a companion). Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ameen Al-Shanqeeti, in his exegesis of the Quran “Adwaa Al-Bayaan”, graded it to be no less than Hasan.


Even if we were to say that this tradition is something that Ibn Abbas said, hence is not to be raised to the Prophet (PBUH), the saying can still be used as evidence. As Imam An-Nawawi explained by saying:


            “We have mentioned previously that the correct opinion is to consider the tradition of Ibn Abbas Mawqoof, albeit the meaning can be taken from it. This is so because the aforementioned tradition is a saying of a companion that became popular and we don’t know of another companion that disagreed with him. This makes it acceptable evidence as I explained in the beginning of this explanation.” [Al-Majmoo’/7]


The second opinion, which represents the opinion of the minority, is the standpoint of the Hanafi school of thought. The Hanafi school holds that though being in the state of full ritual purity is considered an obligation, which one must conform to; being in such a state is not considered amongst the conditions of Tawaaf.
This opinion is based on the unrestricted nature of the following verse: “… and let them all perform Tawaaf around the ancient house.” [Hajj/22] In this verse, Allah made mention of Tawaaf and didn’t restrict it with purity. And according to the scholars of Usool, restriction of an unrestricted text is amongst the ways that one can rule upon an act that it is a condition.
The majority argued that there is a restriction; however, this restriction is not in the same text. The restriction can be derived from the aforementioned statement of the Prophet (PBUH), “Circumambulation is prayer, except that Allah has made lawful therein speech. So whosoever speaks during it, let him only speak in good [matters].”


The Hanafi scholars answered to the understanding of the majority by their belief that the Quranic texts can’t be restricted by a mere non-recurring text. However, the majority holds that Quranic texts can be restricted by a recurring or a non-recurring text.
Note: It should be noted here that most differences of opinions amongst the scholars usually stem from more than what a layman can perceive apparently. At times, one may not even be able to comprehend the reasoning behind the difference of opinion, even if he/she were to be explained the underlying details behind the dispute. For this reason, it is extremely advisable for a layman to avoid argumentation with people that may hold an opposing position.
What If I Experience My Menstrual Cycle During Hajj?
1 – Women experiencing their cycles during Hajj are permitted to do any and every rite of Hajj with the exception of Tawaaf. This is based on the fact “that the Prophet (PBUH) commanded Aisha (RA) to perform everything that any other pilgrim would perform with the exception of Tawaaf.”


2 – Based on this, she is not permitted to perform Tawaaf Al-Qudoom, nor does she have to make this Tawaaf up.
3 – If she menstruated after she made the intention of At-Tamattu’, and so found herself unable to make Tawaaf to proceed with her Umrah, she is permitted to intend a Hajj and join it with the Ihraam of the Umrah. In this case, it would be as if she is doing Hajj Qiraan. This is the position (permissibility of switching from Umrah to Hajj) of the majority of the Islamic scholars.
4 – If she menstruated after she finished Tawaaf Al-Ifaadah (aka Tawaaf Az-Ziyaarah), then she doesn’t have to perform Tawaaf Al-Widaa’ (farewell Tawaaf) and may continue on to her town with her group or family if need be. This is by the consensus of the Islamic jurists. The evidence for this can be found in the tradition wherein Ibn Abbas mentions that, “People were commanded (by the Prophet (PBUH)) to make their last meeting with the house [of Allah], except for the menstruating woman; for the ruling has been raised for her.”
5 – Lastly, if a woman menstruates during the period in which she needs to make Tawaaf Al-Ifaadah (which is an integral of Hajj), then she must wait until she is out of the state of major ritual impurity, i.e. her cycle. If, however, she finds that she can’t wait around to make her Tawaaf due to the fact that her group may be traveling or for any other reason, the scholars have defined a number of solutions depending on the situation of the woman.
Situation 1: This situation is pertaining to a woman whose menstrual cycle is not continuous, rather experiences intervals after having completed an entire day of the cycle. For example: she experiences her cycle for 4 days, then she finds that blood has stopped for an entire day, and then continues bleeding for another few days. This type of a woman should apply the opinion of the Maliki, and the Hanbali schools (in this situation) which states that every time a woman begins to bleed, after she is certain of her cycle, she is considered in the state of her cycle. If the bleeding stops however, the woman is considered out of her cycle, hence should pray and do other acts that she would normally do. Applying this position makes a woman who goes through a cycle with intervals much at ease, as she can find a large interval based on a previous experience and commence her Tawaaf.
Situation 2: This situation pertains to a woman whose menstrual cycle is continuous. The solution for this woman is to shower, place her pad, and then perform her Tawaaf Al-Ifaadah followed by a Sa’y if needed. However, this woman must slaughter either of the following: a cow that has reached 2 years of age, or a camel that has reached 5 years of age. This is based on the aforementioned position of the Hanafi school stating that purity is merely in an obligation and not a condition for Tawaaf. However, I highlight the fact that it is an obligation nonetheless; i.e. not abiding by this obligation is sinful. The only reason why the scholars have decided to permit for a woman in such a situation to overlook this obligation is because of the emotional, psychological, and religious difficulty she may have to bear if she travels without completing her Hajj.
Note: All the previously mentioned rulings in this chapter are also applicable to a woman experience postnatal bleeding.
How Can I Prevent Myself from Getting In These Tricky Situations?
There are two pieces of advice that I can give:
1 – If you haven’t already arrived for Hajj, consult a specialized doctor to find out whether there is a healthy and risk-free method which you can follow to temporarily delay your cycle. However, I would like to stress again that this is only deemed permissible if there are no negative side-effects.
2 – Try to be prompt in performing Tawaaf Al-Ifaadah. According to a large number of scholars, including the Shafi and Hanbali schools of thought, the time for Tawaaf Al-Ifaadah begins the night before ‘Eid Al-Adha at the middle of the night. A woman who feels that her cycle is fast approaching should apply this opinion and perform her Tawaaf as soon as she can.
Note: The night starts at Maghrib time, and finishes at Fajr. The middle of the night should be calculated based on this basis.
  1. Imam An-Nawawi. Kitaab Al-Majmoo’. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihaa At-Turaath Al-‘Arabi.
  2. Dr. Ahmad Al-Hijji Al-Kurdi. Buhooth Wa Fatawaa Fiqhiyyah Mu’aasirah. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Bashaair Al-Islamiyyah, 2005.
  3. Dr. Wahbah Az-Zuhaily. Al-Fiqh Al-Islami Wa Adillatuhu. Damascus, Syria: Dar Al-Fikr, 2009.
  4. Muhammad Al-Ameen Ash-Shanqeeti. Adwaa Al-Bayaan. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihaa At-Turaath Al-‘Arabi.
  5. Muhammad Sulaiman Abdullah Al-Ashqar. Al-Mujalla Fil-Fiqh Al-Hanbali. Damascus, Syria: Dar Al-Qalam, 1998.
  6. Abdul-Hameed ibn Khulaywi Ar-Rifa’i. Ash-Sharh Al-Waseet. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Dar As-Sumay’ee, 2006.

Abdul Wahab Saleem
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Saturday, October 29th, 2011

4 Comments + Add Comment

  • Masha’a Allah, this is a great summary of the information on the matter.

    But seriously speaking, we should completely leave these false abbreviations ONCE AND FOR ALL, like SAW, R, RA, RAH, T, SAWS.

    Ahmad Shakir said:

    “It is the absurd tradition of some of the later generations that they abbreviate the writing of صلى الله عليه وسلم.”-His commentary on Musnad Al-Imam Ahmad (9/105, #5088)

    And may Allah bless us all! Ameen!

  • Jazakallahu Khairan.

    About the abreviations however, I would beg to differ. The purpose behind writing is to get the thought that is in your heart to be delivered so that the reader may be able to utter your thought. When you write SAW or PBUH no body pronounces it P – B – U – H, or S – A – W, rather it is understood that when such an abreviation is found one should say “صلى الله عليه و سلم.”

    Secondly, there is no “falsehood” in abreviations. So usage of that adjective there I found quiet troubling.

    May Allah reward you.

  • I believe that it is safer to not do such a thing, esepecially since many scholars from the past and present have condemned it. Please refer to the following:


    Wa Feekum!

  • Well alhamdulillah you are entitled to your opinion. But either way, language develops over time. So we write إلخ for “إلى آخره” and everyone reads it in the complete form. Whereas previously they didn’t write it with that abreviation. We also write “انتهى كلامه” as “ا.ه” whereas that was also not done previously.

    In the past they wrote letters without diacritical marks, voweling marks, and an Alif as a Wow in certain situations. If someone decides that they would rather not have the language develop and stick to the older way, that is totally up to him/her.

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