Rulings On Fasting For Women
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
A woman who has reached the age of puberty, but is too shy to tell anyone, so
she does not fast, has to repent and make up the days she has missed, as well
as feeding a poor person for each day, as an act of expiation for delaying her
fast, if the following Ramadan comes and she has not yet made up those days.
Her case is like that of a woman who fasts the days of her period out of
shyness, and does not make them up later.
If a woman does not know exactly how many days she has missed, she should fast
until she is fairly certain that she has made up the days she had missed and
not made up from previous Ramadans, and offer the expiation for delaying for
each day. She can do this at the same time as fasting or separately, depending
on what she is able to do
A woman should not fast – except during Ramadan – if her husband is present
without his permission, but if he is travelling then it does not matter.
When a menstruating woman sees the white substance – which is discharged by
the uterus when the period is finished – by which a woman knows that she has
now become taahir (pure), she should have the intention to fast from the night
before and should fast. If she does not have a time when she knows she is
taahir, she should insert a piece of cotton or something similar, and if it
comes out clean, she should fast, and if she starts to bleed again, she should
stop fasting, whether the blood is a flow or just spotting, because it breaks
the fast as long as it comes at the time of the period. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah,
If the cessation of bleeding continues until Maghrib, and she has fasted with
the intention from the night before, then her fast is valid. If a woman feels
the movement of menstrual blood inside her, but is does not come out until
after the sun has set, her fast is valid and she does not have to make the day
If a woman's period or post-natal bleeding ceases during the night, and she
makes the intention to fast, but dawn comes before she is able to do ghusl,
according to all the scholars her fast is valid. (al-Fath, 4/148)
If a woman knows that her period will come tomorrow, she should still continue
her intention and keep fasting; she should not break her fast until she
actually sees the blood.
It is better for a menstruating woman to remain natural and accept what Allah
has decreed for her by not taking any medication to prevent her from bleeding.
She should be content with what Allah accepts from her of breaking her fast
during her period and making those days up later. This is how the Mothers of
the Believers and the women of the salaf were. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah,
Moreover, there is medical evidence to prove that many of the things used to
prevent bleeding are in fact harmful, and many women have suffered from
irregular periods as a result of taking them. However, if a woman does that
and takes something to stop the bleeding, then fasts, this is acceptable.
Istihaadah (non-menstrual vaginal bleeding) does not have any effect on the
validity of the fast.
If a pregnant woman miscarries and the foetus is formed or has a discernible
outline of any part of the body, such as a head or hand, then her blood is
nifaas; if, however, she passes something that looks like a blood clot (‘alaq)
or a chewed piece of meat that has no discernible human features, her bleeding
is istihaadah and she has to fast, if she is able, otherwise she can break her
fast and make it up later on. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 10/224).
Once she becomes clean after having an operation to clean the womb (D&C), she
should fast. The scholars stated that the embryo is considered to start taking
shape after 80 days of pregnancy.
If a woman becomes clean from nifaas before forty days, she should fast and do
ghusl so that she can pray. (al-Mughni ma'a al-Sharh al-Kabeer, 1/360). If the
bleeding resumes within forty days after the birth, she should stop fasting,
because this is still nifaas. If the bleeding continues after the fortieth
day, she should make the intention to fast and do ghusl (according to the
majority of scholars), and any bleeding beyond the fortieth day is considered
to be istihaadah (non-menstrual bleeding) – unless it coincides with the usual
time of her period, in which case it is hayd (menstrual blood).
If a breastfeeding woman fasts during the day and sees a spot of blood during
the night, although she was clean during the day, her fast is still valid. (Fataawa
al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 10/150)
According to the most correct opinion, a woman who is pregnant or
breastfeeding is regarded as being like one who is ill, so she is permitted
not to fast, and she only has to make up the days that she missed, whether she
fears for herself or for her child. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah
be upon him) said:
''Allah has lifted the obligation of fasting and part of the prayer from the
traveller, and He has lifted the obligation of fasting from the pregnant and
breastfeeding woman.'' (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3/85; he said (it is a) hasan
hadeeth). If a pregnant woman fasts and experiences some bleeding, her fast is
still valid; this does not affect her fast at all. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah,
In the case of a woman who is obliged to fast, if her husband has intercourse
with her during the day in Ramadan with her consent, then the ruling that
applies to him also applies to her. If, however, he forces her to do that, she
should do her best to resist him, and she does not have to offer expiation.
Ibn ‘Aqeel (may Allah have mercy on him) said: ''In the case of a man who has
intercourse with his wife during the day in Ramadan whilst she is sleeping,
she does not have to offer expiation.'' But to be on the safe side, she should
make up that fast later on. (Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have
mercy on him) was of the opinion that this did not invalidate her fast at
A woman who knows that her husband cannot control himself should keep away
from him and not adorn herself during the day in Ramadan.
Women have to make up the fasts that they miss during Ramadan, even without
their husbands' knowledge. It is not a condition for an obligatory fast for a
woman to have the permission of her husband. If a woman starts to observe an
obligatory fast, she is not allowed to break it except for a legitimate
reason. Her husband is not permitted to order her to break her fast when she
is making up a day that she has missed; he is not allowed to have intercourse
with her when she is making up a missed fast, and she is not allowed to obey
him in that regard. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa'imah, 10/353).
In the case of voluntary fasts, a woman is not permitted to start a
non-obligatory fast when her husband is present without his permission,
because of the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with
him), according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon
him) said: ''No woman should fast when her husband is present except with his
permission.'' (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4793).
Source: Seventy Matters Related to Fasting