Rules of women’s fasting in Ramadan

Islamic law singled out women with several rulings regarding their nature or how they practice certain acts of worship such as prayer or fasting. With the advent of the month of Ramadan, it becomes necessary to talk about the rules that pertain to women so that no one spoils her fast because of her ignorance of what is necessarily known from the religion.

A woman is ordered to fast the month of Ramadan just like a man, but she may encounter certain circumstances during the month that prevent her from fasting, and she has to make up the days that she broke her fast after the end of the month, and sometimes she has to pay atonement for breaking the fast.


Women cannot fast during menstruation. Instead, God Almighty commanded us not to fast and to make up the days that we broke our fast after the end of the month. A woman must make up the days that she did not fast because of her period before the next Ramadan, unless there is an excuse that prevents her from doing so.

Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri:

Once Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of `Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) ?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.”

Menstrual blood has a minimum period in the words of scholars, which is one day and one night, so if a woman bleeds for less than that, it is not considered menstruation, and it reaches a maximum of fifteen days, and if the blood exceeds that, it is not considered menstruation and fasting is resumed.

If the menstrual bleeding stops before dawn, and the woman wants to postpone the ritual ablution until after dawn, then this is possible and the validity of the fast is not affected. This applies to ghusl after sexual intercourse and postpartum bleeding, but ghusl should not be delayed in any case, in a way that wastes prayers.

Postpartum blood

What applies to menstruation applies to postpartum blood, in terms of the invalidity of fasting and the obligation to make up the days that a woman breaks her fast during Ramadan for this reason. However, the maximum period for postpartum bleeding is sixty days, or forty in some of the sayings of the jurists.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

With regard to menstruation and postpartum blood, women are obligated and cannot fast and they are sinning if they do. 

However, there are some cases in which it is ok for a woman not to fast, and she must make up for the days she will not fast when the reason for her excuse ends as well. These cases include pregnancy and lactation. 

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not fast if they fear harm to themselves or their child. And if she breaks the fast because of her fear for the fetus or the infant only, then she feeds a poor person for every day that she does not fast, in addition to the obligation to make up for that day. 

A pregnant or breastfeeding woman can consult a trusted Muslim doctor to tell her whether fasting is really dangerous for her or her dependents.

Taking pills to prevent menstrual bleeding during Ramadan

It is permissible for a woman to take pills to prevent menstrual bleeding during the holy month of Ramadan, if that does not cause harm, but it is better for her to accept what God has ordained for her.  It was narrated that ‘Aishah said:

“We went out with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) with no intention other than Hajj. When he was in Sarif I began menstruating. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) entered upon me and I was weeping. He said: ‘What is the matter with you? Has you Nifas begun?’ I said: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘This is something that Allah the Mighty and Sublime has decreed for the daughters of Adam. Do what the pilgrims do but do not perform Tawaf around the House.'”

Such pills may affect women negatively, whether they have physical or psychological side effects. It is better not to do such things, not to fast as God Almighty commanded us, and to compensate for the days after the end of Ramadan.

Taste food during fasting 

The woman is entrusted with preparing food for the family in the holy month of Ramadan, and this often requires her to make sure that the ingredients are exact, even if it is not imperative for her to make sure, but she can taste on her tongue without swallowing the food, if she ensures that she does not swallow it unintentionally and something reaches the path of swallowing. 

A woman will be rewarded for her fasting in Ramadan just like a man, except that God singled her out for some provisions due to the different circumstances that she is going through.

God Almighty said in the Holy Qur’an, Surah An-Nahl, verse 16: “

Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions”.

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