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.
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 up later.
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.
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. 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 OK.
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. 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. 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
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.
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.
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.
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 Allaah be pleased with him), according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“No woman should fast when her husband is present except with his permission.”