Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 8 Sha'ban 1439

Taking medicine to prevent menstruation during Ramadan

Is it allowed for a woman to take medicine to prevent menstruation to be able to fast the entire month of Ramadan?

 

Answer

Among the established rulings in Islamic law is that a Muslim woman must break her fast in Ramadan when she gets her monthly period. For this reason, it is obligatory for a menstruating woman to refrain from fasting, because it is a mercy from God Almighty.

What some women do nowadays—eating very small amounts of food or drinking and then refraining from eating for the rest of the day (as if they were fasting)—contravenes the wisdom behind relieving women from the obligation of fasting and preserving their physical and psychological health.

A woman is required eat and drink when in her monthly period; thus she does not sin, nor is she blameworthy, because she will later make up the missed fast-days. 'Aisha, the Mother of the Believers, said, "When we were with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) we used to experience menstruation and we were commanded to make up the [missed] fast-days but not prayers" (Bukhari and Muslim).

A conditional permissibility

There is no legal objection to taking medicine or pills to delay menstruation, allowing a woman to complete the fast-days of Ramadan without any interruptions. It is permissible for a woman to resort to this practice provided a physician determines that this will not harm her at any time. If it does, then it is unlawful to take medicine to delay menstruation because of the legal maxim which states "Do not cause harm, and do not reciprocate harm," and because the preservation of a person's health is one of the objectives of Islamic law.

Thus, even though it is permissible for a woman to delay menstruation to fast Ramadan, it is preferred for her to abide by the commands of God Almighty and submit to His decree,1 as this earns her a greater reward.

God Almighty knows best.

Footnotes
1. By breaking her fast during menstruation.