It has been my intention, for some time now, to prepare a work concerning the Islamic rules on menstruation and post-natal bleeding for women, because I found questions I on this subject constantly arising at the end of my lectures in different parts of the English speaking world. The many questions raised by Muslim women indicate that existing literature in English does not sufficiently address the related issues. Until very recently, there were no books dedicated solely to issues of feminine hygiene. This void is a direct result of the virtual absence of female scholars of Islamic law in the Muslim world today.
There are certain basic rules governing female bleeding which are clearly defined by the Sun rah! and the judicial explanations given by the Prophet's wives and his companions. Compilations of these laws and rulings in English may be found in hadeeth compilations like Sahib al-Bukhari, Sahib Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawud, Mishkat ul-Masabilg, etc., as well as in good Fiqh books like Fiqh us-Sunnah by Shaykh Sayyid Saabiq, which does not restrict itself to the juristic opinions of a single school of Islamic legal thought. However, after reviewing Fiqh us-Sunnah, I realized that there were a number of hadeeth texts not included in the author's presentation. Consequently, l decided to make a comprehensive compilation of the hadeeths related to female bleeding, thereby providing the reader with sufficient basic data to understand the basic rules regarding this subject. However, there are a number of issues related to female bleeding that are not covered in the basic texts. The deduction of laws concerning these issues and others not ruled' upon by the earlier generations of scholars can only be made by those who have a thorough knowledge of the Sharee'ah,8 its guiding principles and its goals.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Aal 'Uthaymeen is well known in the Muslim world today as one of the leading scholars of Islamic Law. A number of his rulings have been compiled and published in Saudi Arabia over the past few years, among them a couple of booklets on female bleeding. Daarul-Birr Society in Dubai, with whom l am presently working, asked me to review a translation of a collection of Shaykh Aal 'Uthaymeen’s rulings on female bleeding entitled Ithnaani we Khamsoona Su 'aalan 'an Ahkaam il-Hayd. This forty-nine page booklet is quite popular in the Arab world due to its concise coverage of the major problematic issues related to female hygiene and Islamic law. Unfortunately, l found the translation inadequate and unsuitable for publication. Consequently, I was obliged to undertake the project of retranslating the booklet.
Upon completion of my retranslation of Shaykh Aal 'Uthaymeen's ""Fifty-two Questions"" booklet, I realized that most of the hadeeths referred to by the author, directly or indirectly, were not quoted in their entirety and that there was a wealth of material not mentioned at all. lt has always been my position that Muslims should be encouraged to gain their basic understanding of the religion from the Qur'aan and Hadeeths, wherever possible. Consequently, I decided to provide the reader with a more comprehensive text by compiling and explaining the basic evidence for the rulings on female bleeding as the first chapter of my own book and to add the Shaykh's rulings as its second chapter.
In the course of my preparation of the Shaykh's booklet for the second chapter of my book, l decided to make certain changes in order to make the material more readable and interesting. Primarily, l deleted repeated questions and answers. Although the compiler of the Arabic booklet stated that some questions and answers were repeated because there were subtle differences in both the questions and the Shaykh's answers which warranted their repetition, I chose not to repeat them but to combine them into a single question wherever possible. Consequently, the number of questions and answers dropped by eight, from the original fifty-two to forty-four. Some of the questions and answers have been rearranged to provide a more logical flow of ideas. Furthermore, wherever Shaykh Aal 'Uthaymeen mentioned opinions of other scholars or schools of Islamic law which he considered inaccurate or weak, I relegated them to the footnotes, so as not to confuse the reader who has no academic background in Islamic law. It should also be noted that, where necessary, the wording in both the questions and the answers have been modified in their translation for clarity, because literal translations are often very misleading. In the second chapter Arabic or. l have sought to present in English the essence of the Arabic original, and l pray that l have succeeded in doing so. Fifteen questions and answers from a recently published collection of Islamic rulings on women's issues, Fataawaa al-Mar'ah, were also added to Chapter Two in order to widen the scope of this work and increase its benefit. Footnotes indicating the name of the scholar who made the ruling and the source (i.e. Falaawaa al-Mar’ah) Were also added to distinguish between the rulings from Shayidl lbn Aal 'Uthaymeen's booklet and those from Fataawaa al-Mar'ah. This book was also given to two Muslim female gynecologists and a number of Muslim women from different parts of the world for review and comment. Their suggestions and relevant information from medical texts have been included in the footnotes.
I have referenced all of the hadeeths and Qur'aanic verses mentioned in the text, and the location of hadeeths in existing were also added for the convenience of English translations English readers. Furthermore, all of the badeeths not found in the authentic collections of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim were checked for authenticity according to the monumental work of Shaykh Naasirud-Deen al-Albaanee on the Sunan and other works.
Since there are a number of references in the hadeeths and the Shaykh's booklet to wudoo ' and ghusl, l thought it appropriate to mention some of the authentic narrations describing these methods of ritual purification as a third chapter to the book. This chapter is of particular importance to Muslim women due to the widespread ignorance among them today regarding some of the most basic religious matters.
In closing, l ask Allaah to reward all who have contributed in putting this booklet in the hands of English readers. Especially my wife, Sakeenah, who did the English editing, my typist, Raja Muhammad, and my department researcher, 'Abdul-Majeed 'Alee Hasan, who helped in the referencing of hadeeths. I ask Allaah to accept our sincere efforts to serve the religion of lslaam.
Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
7th July 1994