17
Jun
2009

Lesson 2: Basic terminology

17th June 2009
As-salaamu'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh

It was all I could do to stifle my laughter when a young student about to sit a TAJWEED exam asked me: "Miss, just one question: What's istihaadha?"

Obviously, she'd unwittingly added the 'haa' and turned isti'aadha (seeking refuge in Allah) into istihaadha (abnormal vaginal bleeding) !

OK, on to the lesson...

Blood / bleeding (in the context of women's matters) = any coloured discharge which exits through the vagina - yes that includes black, red, brown, green yellow and all non-white colours... I know, you're thinking GREEN ! ? ! ... trust me, it's not unheard of especially in the older generations when they're approaching menopausal age.

Menstruation = haidh = the regular vaginal bleeding of women caused by the break-down of the padding of the uterus wall. Its minimum duration is 72 hours, and its maximum duration is 240 hours.

Lochia = nifaas = the bleeding which occurs after the birth of a child - again the shedding of the uterus wall. There is no minimum duration, but the maximum is 960 hours.

Abnormal Uterine/vaginal Bleeding = Istihaadha = bleeding which occurs besides menstruation and lochia

Purity = Tuhr = a timespan wherein there is no valid bleeding (haidh/nifaas) The minimum duration of a valid tuhr is 15 days (360 hours)

Now that's the basic vocabulary, which most people are familiar with, but an important point to note at this stage is that bleeding and tuhr (purity) are of two types - actual and legal. This means that there may be a time when you are bleeding, but because this bleeding is invalid, your legal status is that of purity. Similarly, there may be a time when you are not bleeding, but for legal purposes you are in a state of haidh/nifaas. But note that this 'state' is only established in hindsight and that the obligation to fast and pray will be determined on a day-to-day basis.

Due to this complexity, one will apply certain rules during a scenario, but will revise the validity of the actions after things become clear.

Again, this emphasises the necessity of keeping an accurate record of one's bleeding.

Also, those of us who have a beginners knowledge of the rulings related to haidh usually pay little attention to the timespan between periods - the tuhr.
The duration of the tuhr along with the duration of the bleeding is what constitutes a habit. So one can be said to have a 7/24 habit which would mean that they experience 7 days menstrual bleeding followed by 24 days of purity.

Next lesson (in shaa Allah): A fascinating mas'alah - when to stop praying and when not to!

If any of this post has confused you, please do leave a message and I will try my best to clarify it further. Perhaps my style of English is unclear. If so, please do bring it to my attention and I'll try to deal with it, in shaa Allah.
posted by shahly on 17th June 2009 - 0 comments

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