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Attaining Ritual Purity

A woman can experience fluctuations in her bleeding and purity. As long as the bleeding is between 3-10 days and follows a purity of at least 15 days, the bleeding will be menstruation (hayd). To attain purity after hayd, she will always be obligated to take a ritual bath (ghusl). In situations of irregular bleeding (istihada), such as bleeding less than 72 hours or exceeds 240 hours, she is only required to perform ablution (wudu) to attain ritual purity as this bleeding is not hayd (Manhal al-Waridin p.206).

It’s important that she track each instance of bleeding and her respective purity days. This record will help her determine whether she needs to perform wudu or ghusl to exit from a state of impurity. To determine which of the scenarios applies to her, she looks at how many days she’s bled and her usual habit in hayd

Duration of BloodWudu or GhuslExplanation
Less than 72 hoursPerform wudu before each prayerBleeding does not meet the criteria of hayd
More than 72 hours, but less than her previous habitPerform ghusl and resume prayingBleeding is considered hayd
Similar to or more than her previous habit, but less than 240 hoursPerform ghusl and resume prayingBleeding is considered hayd
Bleeding stops at 240 hoursPerform ghusl and resume prayingThe maximum number of days for hayd has been reached
Bleeding exceeds 240 hoursPerform ghusl at the 240-hour mark and resume prayingShe has exceeded the maximum limit for hayd. Therefore, only the days of her habit will be considered hayd. The remaining days will be istihada and retrospectively, she must make up any missed prayers.

Keep in mind that the flow of blood does not need to be continuous in hayd. If the bleeding stops after 72 hours, a woman should perform ghusl and resume praying – she has no way of knowing if and when the bleeding will return. If the bleeding does not return, her hayd has ended. If the bleeding returns, she should stop praying and wait for it to end. It’s important for a woman to act on what she is seeing prayer time to prayer time and not based on what she anticipates will happen.

If a woman bleeds fewer days than her previous hayd, she should repeat ghusl out of precaution when she reaches her habit mark (Manhal al-Waridin p.204). If she has to retrospectively revert to her previous habit, her prayers will remain valid.