Is dryness the agreed-upon sign of the end of menses?

Question

I would like to ask about Ibn ‘Uthaymin’s final opinion regarding the yellowish and brownish discharge, as he said that they are not part of menses at all. My question is: what did he (may Allah have mercy on him) say about the hadith which speaks of the women sending vessels containing pieces of cloth on which there was yellowish discharge to ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), and her telling them not to be hasty until they saw the white discharge? Does this mean that she (may Allah be pleased with her) thought that it was part of menses? Did he (may Allah have mercy on him) think that this hadith was da‘if (weak), because he did not regard the yellowish and brownish discharge as menses, or did he have other reasons? Is the addition of the words “after the end of menses” in the hadith “we did not regard the yellowish and brownish discharge as being of any significance” a da‘if (weak) addition, indicating that the hadith is general in meaning, in which case we should not regard the yellowish and brownish discharge as being part of menses? Please note that I follow the view of those who regard it as menses if it is connected to menses, but I want to put my mind at rest. Are the scholars unanimously agreed that the end of menses can only be confirmed if there is complete dryness?

I would like to ask about Ibn ‘Uthaymin’s final opinion regarding the yellowish and brownish discharge, as he said that they are not part of menses at all. My question is: what did he (may Allah have mercy on him) say about the hadith which speaks of the women sending vessels containing pieces of cloth on which there was yellowish discharge to ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), and her telling them not to be hasty until they saw the white discharge? Does this mean that she (may Allah be pleased with her) thought that it was part of menses? Did he (may Allah have mercy on him) think that this hadith was da‘if (weak), because he did not regard the yellowish and brownish discharge as menses, or did he have other reasons? Is the addition of the words “after the end of menses” in the hadith “we did not regard the yellowish and brownish discharge as being of any significance” a da‘if (weak) addition, indicating that the hadith is general in meaning, in which case we should not regard the yellowish and brownish discharge as being part of menses? Please note that I follow the view of those who regard it as menses if it is connected to menses, but I want to put my mind at rest. Are the scholars unanimously agreed that the end of menses can only be confirmed if there is complete dryness?

Praise be to Allah.

Firstly:

the view that Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymin (may Allah have mercy on him) settled on in this regard is that the yellowish and brownish discharge are not part of menses, even if they immediately precede or follow the bleeding, as was explained previously in the answer to question no. 179069 .

With regard to what happens of such discharges during menses and before the end of bleeding, that is regarded as menses, because it is connected to menses.

He (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked in al-Liqa’ ash-Shahri (73/37): Dear Shaykh, I hope that you can explain this matter, as there is a great deal of talk about it, namely the ruling on the brownish and yellowish discharge that comes out of a woman after the menstrual bleeding stops. When does the woman’s menses end, and is it essential to see the white discharge?

He replied: This is a matter concerning which the scholars differed. My final view concerning this issue is that no attention is to be paid to the brownish or yellowish discharge, unless it occurs during the menses. In other words, for example, a woman whose menses usually lasts for five days sees a brownish or yellowish discharge on the third day. In this case, we say that it is part of menses.

However, in the case of a woman who sees a brownish or yellowish discharge before the bleeding begins, no attention is to be paid to this brownish and yellowish discharge.

Another woman’s menses ends, and the bleeding ceases, but the yellowish and brownish discharge continues. No attention is to be paid to that. End quote.

The view that the yellowish and brownish discharge are not part of menses is the view of Ibn Hazm (may Allah have mercy on him), in contrast to the majority of scholars of the four madhhabs and others regarding that.

See: al-Muhalla (266, 267); Mawsu‘at at-Taharah by ad-Dubyaan (6/286).

Secondly:

We have not come across any suggestion that the shaykh (may Allah have mercy on him) regarded as da‘if the phrase “after the end of menses.” Rather he quoted it as evidence in several places, and stated clearly that it was sahih (sound), and it is indeed sahih.

He (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Whatever comes after the end of menses of brownish or yellowish discharge, or spotting, or moisture, all of that is not menses, so it does not prevent the woman from praying or fasting, and it does not prevent the man from having intercourse with his wife, because it is not menses. Umm ‘Atiyyah said: “We used to regard the yellowish and brownish discharge as being of no significance.” Narrated by al-Bukhari. Abu Dawud added the phrase “after the end of menses,” and its isnad is sahih. End quote from Majmu‘ al-Fatawa (11/281).

And he (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The words of Umm ‘Atiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her): “We used to regard the yellowish and brownish discharge after the end of menses as being of no significance” were narrated by Abu Dawud with a sahih isnad. It was also narrated by al-Bukhari without the phrase “after the end of menses,” but he included it under the heading: Yellowish and brownish discharge at times other than the days of menses.

It says in the commentary Fath al-Bari: He refers thereby to reconciling between the hadith of ‘A’ishah quoted above, in which she said “until you see the white discharge” and the hadith of ‘Umm ‘Atiyyah concerning this topic, by understanding the hadith of ‘A’ishah as referring to if she sees the yellowish and brownish discharge during the days of her menses, whereas if that occurs at any other time, then it is to be interpreted according to what Umm ‘Atiyyah said. End quote.

The hadith of ‘A’ishah referred to here is that which al-Bukhari narrated as a mu‘allaq majzum report before this chapter, according to which the women used to send [menstrual cloths] to her in vessels. (11/306).

After adopting his final view, the shaykh (may Allah have mercy on him) interpreted the words of Umm ‘Atiyyah “after the end of menses” as referring to the cessation of bleeding. Before that, he thought that what was meant by the end of menses was the white discharge or complete dryness.

He (may Allah have mercy on him) said: When the bleeding of menses ceases and is followed by yellowish or brownish discharge, that does not mean anything. In other words, the brownish or yellowish discharge after the cessation of bleeding does not mean anything, because Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

{And they ask you about menstruation. Say, “It is harm…”} [al-Baqarah 2:222],

and what is meant by harm is bleeding.

Umm ‘Atiyyah said: “We used to regard the yellowish and brownish discharge as being of no significance.” This is how it was narrated by al-Bukhari.

The report narrated by Abu Dawud says: “after the end of menses”. But the end of menses is when the bleeding ceases.

Based on that, we say to this woman: So long as she sees menses – that is, bleeding – for seven days, then that is followed by brownish or yellowish discharge, she should do ghusl after the bleeding of menses stops – that is, after the completion of seven days – then start to pray and fast, and her husband may have intercourse with her if she has a husband, even if she has yellowish or brownish discharge.”(Al-Liqa’ ash-Shahri  36/22).

The shaykh also argued that menses is the bleeding, not the yellowish and brownish discharge. Al-Liqa’ ash-Shari (51/8).

With regard to the report of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), he interpreted it as referring to the emission of yellowish discharge before the bleeding ceases, as noted above in the chapter heading given by al-Bukhari to the hadith of Umm ‘Atiyyah.

Whatever the case, the more correct view regarding this issue is that brownish and yellowish discharge during the days of menses is also menses, and this is what the jurists refer to as being “within the expected timeframe.” Whether it occurs at the beginning of menses and is connected to it, or during menses, or at the end of menses, if the bleeding has stopped and the brownish and yellowish discharge continue, all of that is menses. This is the view of the majority of scholars concerning that, to the extent that it was narrated that there was consensus.

Thirdly:

The end of menses may be confirmed by dryness, according to most jurists, except for what was narrated from Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) about the woman who usually sees the white discharge; in her case, the end of menses is not marked by dryness.

Shaykh Abu ‘Umar ad-Dubyan said in Mawsu‘at at-Taharah (7/37):

4. The sign of the end of menses

It was said: When menses ends, the woman definitely becomes pure, whether any white moisture comes out after that or not. This is the view of the Hanafis, Shafa‘is and Hanbalis.

And it was said that if she is one of those who see the white discharge, her menses does not end until she sees it, and if she is one of those who do not see that, then her menses ends when she sees dryness. This is the view stated in al-Mudawwanah from Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him).

And it was said that in the case of the woman whose sign of menses ending is usually the white discharge, if she sees dryness, then her menses has ended, but in the case of the woman whose sign of menses ending is usually dryness, her menses does not end if she sees the white discharge, until she sees dryness.

And it was said that there are two signs of the end of menses: dryness and the white discharge. So whichever of the two the woman sees, this is the sign that her menses has ended, regardless of whether the woman usually knows that her menses has ended by seeing the white discharge or dryness. This is the view of Ibn Habib, among the companions of Malik (may Allah have mercy on him).

And it was said: When the woman sees traces of red blood, or something like water after washing meat (i.e., a pinkish discharge), or a yellowish or brownish discharge, or a white discharge, or complete dryness, then her menses has ended. This is the view of Ibn Hazm.

Thus it becomes clear that the different views are as follows:

What matters is complete dryness.

The white discharge takes precedence over dryness, if she experiences it.

Dryness takes precedence over the white discharge, if she experiences both.

Dryness and the white discharge are both signs of the end of menses.

If she sees traces of red blood, or something like water after washing meat (i.e., a pinkish discharge), or a yellowish or brownish discharge, or a white discharge, or complete dryness, then her menses has ended.

The evidence for those who said that if she sees the white discharge, then dryness does not matter is what ‘Isa ibn Dinar said: The white discharge is more indicative of the end of menses than dryness.

Al-Hafiz said: The cotton may come out dry during menses, so it does not prove that menses has ended, in contrast to the white discharge. End quote.

There is no view contrary to the view that dryness is the sign of the end of menses, except what we have quoted above from Malik.

And Allah knows best.

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