Mudilla (Woman Without a Habit)
Many women overlook the importance of keeping a written record of bleeding and purity, despite the directive from scholars. A woman who has no recollection or record of a valid blood and purity habit is referred to as a mudilla. Should a mudilla find herself in a situation of irregular bleeding, she can be subjected to some of the most stringent rulings in the Islamic law (Shari’ah).
The Fiqh of It
In his treatise on menstruation, Imam Birgivi writes that it is mandatory for every woman to know her menstruation (hayd), post-natal bleeding (nifas), and purity (tuhr) habit (Manhal al-Waridin p.229). The importance of this rule cannot be emphasized enough, as the consequences of not knowing are very serious.
For example, if a woman is experiencing irregular bleeding (istihada) and does not have any written record of her habit, there is uncertainty as to whether the blood is hayd or istihada. She will be required to perform a ritual bath (ghusl) before every prayer (salat) and repeat the previous salat in each subsequent prayer time. Not only can this practice become extremely burdensome, it can create a negative disposition toward the prayer.
Many other restrictions also apply to the mudilla. She cannot perform any optional fasts or prayers and her recitation of the Qur’an is restricted. It will also impact the ability of her and her husband to be intimate with one another. Therefore, women should be extremely diligent about recording their habits.
Should a woman find herself in this situation, she should consult a knowledgeable and reliable scholar, who can guide her to the correct course of action.