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Last Updated: 2013/05/15
Summary of question
What is the Islamic law, if a woman and her husband doubt whether or not the woman’s menstrual blood has stopped flowing and they have sexual intercourse?
question
Salamun alaykum; What is the Islamic, if a woman and her husband are not sure whether or not the woman’s menstrual blood has stopped flowing and they have sexual intercourse in spite of the uncertainty? In case of complete uncertainty about whether or not the period has started, they have sexual intercourse once again, how should they go about it? Are they liable to any Kaffara or not? Thank you.
Concise answer
If one doubts about whether a woman has started seeing menstrual blood or not, she is treated as not being in her menses. However, if it is after menstrual period (assuming that her period lasts for less than 10 days), because of seeing certain signs of being in menses, she doubts whether her period has ended or not, she is treated as being in her menses. Hence, in the given situation, there is objection in having sex.
Index:
Some grand religious authorities’ answers to this question are as under:[1]
Grand Ayatollah Khamenei (may Allah grant him long life):
It is not permissible to have sex when wife is in her menses. If he has sexual intercourse, it will make kaffara (penalty) mandatory but if they have no knowledge of the menses (and they have sex), they would be under no obligation.
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (may Allah grant him long life):
If no blood is seen, there would be no problem in having sexual intercourse.
Grand Ayatollah Saafi Gulpaigani (may Allah grant him long life):
If they have doubt whether the woman has started seeing menstrual blood and they have sexual intercourse, there is no problem and they will not be liable to kaffara also.
Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani (may Allah grant him long life):
Insofar as they are not certain that the woman is in her menses or when a woman is not in the days of istizhar[2], there is no problem in having sexual intercourse.
 

[1] The question has been sent by IslamQuest website to the offices of the grand Ayatollah Khamenei, Ayatollah Saafi Gulpaigani and Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi – may Allah grant them long life.
[2] Istizhar means for a woman to consider herself ha’idh (on her period) and observe the rulings pertaining to ha’idh women (to refrain from worship and stay away from the acts that have become haram for her as a result of haydh) until things clear up (meaning that she has to wait and see if the blood exceeds ten days or not and in this time period she can’t pray or fast at all and has to refrain from the acts that are haram for ha’idhs).
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