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Even though miscarriages are a fairly common experience, it is completely natural to feel a sense of loss. Some miscarriages take place before a woman even knows she’s pregnant, while others take place in later trimesters. Some of the most common signs of a miscarriage are abdominal cramping, back pain, and vaginal bleeding. Women also notice a discernible decrease in pregnancy symptoms due to hormonal changes, such as breast tenderness, nausea, and sensitivity to smell.

From a spiritual perspective, a miscarriage can feel like a devastating loss, but it is important to be content with Allah’s decree and to seek reward through patience and steadfastness. As believers, we understand that it is through adversity and trials that Allah draws us closer to Him and forgives us our shortcomings. At the same time, it’s important to reach out to a medical professional if the feelings are not something you can work through on your own.


The Fiqh of It

To understand and appropriately apply Islamic rulings related to a miscarriage, the first step is to determine the stage of fetal development. This, in turn, will determine whether the blood that exits from the vagina is classified as menstruation (hayd), irregular bleeding (istihada), or post-natal bleeding (nifas).

If a woman miscarries within the first 12 weeks and the embryo does not have any discernible human features, the blood will be either hayd or istihada. If 15 days from the end of her last menstruation have passed and the bleeding continues for at least 72 hours, it is hayd. If it has been less than 15 days, the blood is considered istihada. In order to pray, she will make sure her body and clothes are free of physical impurity, change her liner or pad, and perform ablution (wudu). If the blood flow is continuous, she may fall under the category of an excused person. In this situation of early embryonic development, the miscarried embryo will be wrapped in a cloth, if applicable, and buried. However, it will not be given a ritual bath (ghusl) or prayed over.

If the fetus has discernible human features, such as fingernails, hair, or limbs, the bleeding will be considered nifas. If the baby dies before or during labour, it will be named, given ghusl, wrapped in a clean cloth, and buried. However, there is no funeral prayer (janaza). If the baby is born and cries, even once, and then passes away, the janaza will be prayed in addition to the above-mentioned.