Saturday, July 18, 2009

Menstruation and Religious Duties


Funny topic eh? Appears so... but it is not.

Ask any muslim woman whether she performs religious duty (say prayers) while she is menstruating and she will reply 'No'. The common knowledge is that the state of menstruation is 'unclean' so one has to stay away from religious duties. To approach them one requires 'cleanliness and purity' so when she is menstruating, its good-bye prayers, fasting, pilgrimage etc. This prevents women from performing their religious duties even if they want to. How is it possible that you and God are incommunicado for 5-6 days? If HE is the creator, HE should have seen this coming!

The only trouble for me is.. that it is no where mentioned in the Quran that a woman is not allowed to say her prayers when she is menstruating. Yes menstruation is mentioned in Quran but its only in the context of sexual intercourse and that it should not be done.

2:222 - they ask thee concerning women's courses. Say: They are a hurt and a pollution: So keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves, ye may approach them in any manner, time, or place ordained for you by Allah.

Now one would assume that since menstruation is 'unclean' so naturally prayers are out of question. Interestingly, the verse that mentions the preparatory phase of prayers also includes the 'state' wherein a prayer is not allowed - and that does not mention menstruation.

05:06 - O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favour to you, that ye may be grateful.

Checked the highlighted words? It means that if anyone, regardless of gender, has had sexual intercourse then he/she requires bathing. That is the only condition. It no where mentions menstruation.

Check another verse.

4:43 - O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (Except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body. If ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands. For Allah doth blot out sins and forgive again and again.

Still no indication that God has disallowed women not to perform religious duties while menstruating.

Mind you, I am not talking about whether women should pray while in that situation. Not everyone of them can because its too hard for them to do anything but those women who want to perform their religious duties, there should be no 'religious injunction' prohibiting them to do so.

Related Posts

- Can You Touch The Quran When Unclean?
- A Woman's Witness Value Worth half of Men?
- Can A Woman Be An Imam?


Anonymous said...

wow! loved ur post, thank you for putting it up :)

Anonymous said...

wow! loved ur post, thank you for putting it up :)

PostMan said...

Thanks if it makes you change your opinion :p

Anonymous said...

Related Answer of the Question poss to
Is it permissible for a menstruating woman to recite the Qur.aan and books of supplications?

Question: Is it allowed for a menstruating woman to read a book of supplications on the Day of 'Arafah, given the fact that the book contains Qur.aanic verses?

Response: There is no harm in a menstruating or post-partum bleeding woman reading the books of supplications that are written for the rites of the pilgrimage. In fact, there is nothing wrong with her reciting the Qur.aan according to the correct opinion. There is no authentic, clear text prohibiting a menstruating or post-partum bleeding woman from reciting the Qur.aan. The thing that is narrated is concerned with the sexually defiled person only, as such should not recite the Qur.aan while he is sexually defiled. This is based on the hadeeth of 'Alee.

As for the menstruating or post-partum bleeding woman, there is the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar which states, "Neither the menstruating woman nor the sexually defiled person is to recite anything from the Qur.aan." However, this is weak. This is because it is from the narrations of Ismaa'eel ibn Iyyash on the authority of people from the Hijaaz and he is weak when he narrates from them. However, she may recite from her memory without touching the Qur.aan. As for the sexually defiled person, he/she may not even recite the Qur.aan from memory or touch the mushaf until he/she makes ghusl. The difference between the two is that the amount of time one is sexually defiled is very short as he may make ghusl as soon as he has done the act with his spouse. The amount of time is not long and he is in control of its length as he may make ghusl whenever he wishes. Even if he cannot find water, he can make tayammum and pray or recite the Qur.aan. However, the menstruating or post-partum bleeding woman does not have control over their lengths, such control is in the hand of Allaah. Menstruation and post-partum bleeding take days.

Therefore, it is allowed for them to recite the Qur.aan so that they do not forget what they have memorized and so they will not lose the merits of reciting it. It is also so they may learn the laws of the Sharee’ah from the Book of Allaah. Therefore it is even more so permissible for her to read the books of supplications that have verses and hadeeth intermixed with them. This is the correct view and is the correct opinion of the scholars- may Allaah have mercy on them- on that point.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz
Fataawa al-Mar.ah

Veiled Muslimah said...

Err, it might not say it in the QurĂ¡n but it is mentioned by the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam in authentic ahadith.

Or are you one those people who tend to reject the Sunnah?

PostMan said...

jeez.. the way you put it, even I loathe myself!

Who on earth am I to reject sunnah :) I just believe that Prophet Muhammad would not invent something :) He was a very nice guy :)