Answered by Sidi Salman Younas
Question: I am pregnant and I wanted some guidance on purification and prayer during labor. When should I stop praying whilst going to labor? How do I perform ablution?
Answer: assalamu `alaykum
I pray you are well.
A morally responsible female is obligated to pray as long as she is not in a state of menstruation (hayd) or post-natal bleeding (nifas).
Post-natal blood is the blood that exits from the uterus through the vagina after the exiting of most of the child. [Birgivi, Dhukr al-Mutahhilin] As such, the prayer would only be lifted from a woman in labour after most of the child exits. Prior to that the prayer will remain obligatory upon her.
In the situation where a woman is in labor and needs to pray the only thing demanded of her is that she pray to the best of her ability. As such, if she is unable to perform the ritual ablution then she can do the dry-ablution (tayammum) in its place, which can be performed with anything from the earth (such as a rock). Similarly, if she is unable to pray standing, she prays sitting with bowing and prostration, and if unable to do that then with head movements. [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
Further, any involuntary sounds that come out are excused as well and do not invalidate the prayer.
Our teacher, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, quoted his teacher, Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, as saying that what more beautiful a state to have a child in than in a state of prayer. Child birth is without a doubt difficult, but the prayer was made the “coolness” of the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) eyes, the “key to paradise”, and the “remover of vice”. It is the intimate link between the slave and his Lord, the place wherein the secrets of one’s slavehood are outpoured, small in number but abundant in favor.
We should keep the above in mind and strive our best to fulfill the obligations placed upon us for they have only been commanded to benefit us in this world and the next.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani