I was at a mosque for intermediate Arabic class and a feminine question came up between us. One of the sisters is from Kazakhstan, a born Muslim; however, due to the Communist rule by once the Communist Russia, she has no knowledge of the Islamic customs, not even of Salah. So we are teaching her how to pray; we were trying to explain to her about when to pray and when one should not pray due to impurities. In other words, we were discussing exactly when a woman would be considered to be in the state of menstruation. Most of the sisters stated they stopped praying if they saw a spot and this was enough to be considered as being in a state of impurity. But with women sometimes this is difficult to determine as, at times, we have spots, but nothing happens. Other times, we know for sure. Should we stop praying when we are experiencing pre-menstrual cramps as a sign of the beginning of our cycles? We all have looked for an answer to this problem but haven't found anything definite. Could you please help us resolve this matter?
We understand that it is upon a lady to decide when she is having her menstrual periods and when she is facing any other medical problem. If a lady is positive about the fact that the spots she has observed in fact indicate the beginning of the cycle she should stop praying. Generally, it is not difficult for women to discern the nature of the bloodspot(s). Even if one is wrong in one's decision it would not be sin. We are only required to honestly use our reasoning power and reach a conclusion and if we err, we will not be held accountable.
However, if ladies who experience such problems are in doubt, they should consult their doctor. You ask whether one should stop praying when one experiences premenstrual cramps. I understand that since it is the bleeding, which marks the beginning and end of the cycle therefore one should rely on such bleeding only and not cramps. Since women experience the phenomenon continuously, they should come to a positive conclusion regarding which spots relate to which kind of bleeding.