The Quran is considered a supreme guide for Muslims worldwide, providing moral and religious instruction for all aspects of life. One such aspect that comes under the purview of this holy text is menstruation, a biological phenomenon experienced by women.
Menstruation holds a significant place in Islamic jurisprudence, and the Quran contains a multitude of guidelines regarding the topic in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:222) and An-Nisa (4:43).
Throughout these verses, it is mentioned that men should keep away from their wives during their monthly cycles and not have intercourse with them.
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In this exploration, we will dive into the Quranic verses that touch upon menstruation, shedding light on its guidance and significance. So, let’s unravel the wisdom within the Quran’s teachings on menstruation.
What Does The Quran Say About Menstruation?
The Quran addresses the topic of menstruation in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:222) and Surah An-Nisa (4:43), providing guidance and regulations for women during this natural biological process.
In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:222), the Quran states
وَيَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلْمَحِيضِ ۖ قُلْ هُوَ أَذًۭى فَٱعْتَزِلُوا۟ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فِى ٱلْمَحِيضِ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّىٰ يَطْهُرْنَ ۖ فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْنَ فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلتَّوَّٰبِينَ وَيُحِبُّ ٱلْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
Meaning: “They ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about menstruation. Say, “Beware of its harm! So keep away, and do not have intercourse with your wives during their monthly cycles until they are purified. When they purify themselves, then you may approach them in the manner specified by Allah. Surely Allah loves those who always turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves.””
This verse states that women are to abstain from sexual intercourse during their menstrual cycle until they’re clean. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining purity and cleanliness during touching and reading the Quran.
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Surah An-Nisa (4:43) also instructs women,
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَقْرَبُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَأَنتُمْ سُكَـٰرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَعْلَمُوا۟ مَا تَقُولُونَ وَلَا جُنُبًا إِلَّا عَابِرِى سَبِيلٍ حَتَّىٰ تَغْتَسِلُوا۟ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰٓ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَآءَ أَحَدٌۭ مِّنكُم مِّنَ ٱلْغَآئِطِ أَوْ لَـٰمَسْتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا۟ مَآءًۭ فَتَيَمَّمُوا۟ صَعِيدًۭا طَيِّبًۭا فَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا
Meaning: “O believers! Do not approach prayer while intoxicated until you are aware of what you say, nor in a state of ˹full˺ impurity—unless you merely pass through ˹the mosque˺—until you have bathed. But if you are ill, on a journey, or have relieved yourselves, or been intimate with your wives and cannot find water, then purify yourselves with clean earth, wiping your faces and hands.3 And Allah is Ever-Pardoning, All-Forgiving.”
This verse instructs on performing ablution (wudu) and Foroz Gosol (bath) after menstruation, allowing them to participate in acts of worship such as prayer.
What does Hadith say about Menstruation?
Hadith literature provides additional insights and guidance on menstruation in Islam, offering a further understanding of the religious and practical aspects surrounding this natural biological process.
In Jami` at-Tirmidhi 131, Ibn Umar narrated that,
The Prophet said: “The menstruating woman does not recite – nor the Junub – anything from the Qur’an.” [He said:] There is a narration on this topic from Ali.
Additionally, in Jami` at-Tirmidhi 146, Ali narrated,
“Allah’s Messenger would recite the Qur’an in all conditions, as long as he was not Junub.“
Furthermore, Sunan Ibn Majah 595, narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said,
“The Messenger of Allah said: ‘No one who is sexually impure and no woman who is menstruating should recite Qur’an.’“
These Hadith clearly emphasize that reciting the Qur’an in a state of purity is essential to gain the full blessings of Allah. Thus, it is important to ensure that one is not in a state of impurity before reciting the Qur’an.
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It was narrated in Sunan an-Nasa’i 217 that ‘Aishah said,
“Fatimah bint Abi Hubaish suffered from Istihadah and she asked the Prophet (ﷺ): ‘O Messenger of Allah, I suffer from Istihadah and I do not become pure; should I stop praying?’ The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘That is a vein and is not menstruation. When your period comes, stop praying, and when it goes wash the traces of blood from yourself and perform Wudu’. That is a vein and is not menstruation.’” It was said to him: “What about Ghusl?’ He (ﷺ) said: “no one doubts that.”
Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman said: “I do not know anyone who mentioned ‘and perform Wudu’ in this Hadith except Hammad bin Zaid, for some others have reported it from Hisham, and they did not mention ‘and perform Wudu’ in it.”
It was also narrated in Sunan an-Nasa’i 242 that ‘Aishah said,
“We went out with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) in the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage. I (said the Talbiyah) for ‘Umrah and I arrived in Makkah while I was menstruating, so I did not perform Tawaf around the House nor between As-Safa and Al-Marwah. I complained about that to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and he said: ‘Undo your braids and comb your hair, and enter (begin the Talbiyah) for Hajj, and leave the ‘Umrah.’ So I did that, and then when we had completed Hajj, he sent me with ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Bakr to At-Tan’im, and I performed ‘Umrah. He said: ‘This is in place of your ‘Umrah.'”
Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman said: This Hadith is Gharib as a narration of Malik from Hisham, from ‘Urwah. No one except Asshab reported it.
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The Quran’s Wisdom on Menstruation: A Spiritual Perspective
The Quran provides valuable insight into menstruation, addressing this natural process’s physical and spiritual dimensions. Menstruation is viewed as a regular, normal bodily function, and specific guidelines have been provided to ensure that women are cared for and protected during this time.
These teachings on menstruation underscore the importance of hygiene, self-care, and emotional well-being. This highlights the religious value placed on physical and mental health.
Menstruation is a big part of Muslim women’s lives, so understanding the Quran’s perspective on it can help them manage it better.