Fatwa ID: 01758
Answered by Mufti Abdullah al-Ma’mun
Salaam. My question is, is it permissible to have intercourse if bleeding stops before the 40 days after childbirth are over. If not, is it permissible to touch by hand if there is no bleeding and private area of woman is cleaned?
It should be noted that as far as sexual intercourse is concerned, the rules pertaining post-natal bleeding (nifas) are the same as the rules pertaining menstruation (haidh).
(see al-Durr al Mukhtar pg45 Bab al-Haidh and Radd al-Muhtar 2/414)
In the afore mentioned question if it is the 'habit' of the woman that her post-natal bleeding stops before the maximum period of forty days is over, then upon the ending of the blood flow she must take a bath or wait for the amount of time it takes to take a bath and perform the Takbeer-e-Tahrimah of Salah. Thereafter, sexual intercourse will be permissible.
(see al-Hidaayah 1/65 and Fath al-Qadeer 1/312)
However, if the blood flow stops before the completion of her normal post-natal bleeding habit, it remains prohibited and sinful to have sexual intercourse, even after she bathes, until she completes her normal 'habit'.
Allamah Ibn al-Humaam states:
“…the ceasing of post-natal bleeding, if she has a 'habit', and the blood flow ceased before that, (the husband) must not approach her (sexually) until the number of days that is her 'habit' have passed”
(Fath al-Qadeer 1/312)
As for 'touching' in this period (when sexual intercourse is prohibited),
Mufti Muhammad Ibn Adam states:
“As for the area between the navel to the knees, the majority of the scholars, including Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik and Imam Shafi'i hold that direct skin-to-skin contact of the area is not permitted, irrespective of the presence or absence of sexual desire (shahwa). However, indirect contact, such as stimulation through a barrier [like clothing] is permissible. Therefore, it is permitted for the husband to rub his private parts against his wife’s private parts if there is some sort of clothing in between that prevents the transfer of body heat. This position is based on the hadiths in which there is mention of wearing the covering (izar).
(Islamic guide to sexual relations pg34, see also Radd al-Muhtar 2/399 Bab al-Haidh)
From this we can deduce that touching by hand is also permissible however, it must be done through a barrier and not direct skin-to-skin.
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Abdullah al-Ma’mun
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.