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Is it okay to read Quran while menstruating?

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It's best to learn the Quran with understanding

Question:

Is it ok for a woman to read Quran when she has her monthly period?

thank you wassalam 3alikoum

- Hoda

Answer:

Dear Hoda, wa alaykum was-salamu wa rahmatullah,

The answer below is written by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid and I have reprinted it from islamqa.com. Essentially he says that there are different opinions among the scholars, but the strongest evidence suggests that is is okay for the menstruating woman to recite Quran from memory, but not to touch the mushaf (the printed Quran). And Allah knows best.

Praise be to Allaah.

This is one of the issues on which the scholars, may Allaah have mercy on them, differed.

The majority of fuqahaa’ say that it is haraam for a woman to recite Qur’aan during her period, until she is taahir (pure) again. The only exceptions they make is in the case of dhikr (remembrance of Allaah) and phrases that are not intended as tilaawah (recitation), such as saying “Bismillaahi’r-Rahmaani’r-Raheem” or “Innaa Lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon”, or other phrases from the Qur’aan which are repeated as general du’aa’s.

They base their evidence for forbidding menstruating women to recite Qur’aan on several things, including the following:

Menstruation is seen as coming under the rulings that apply to one who is junub (in a state of impurity following sexual intercourse), because both states require ghusl. This is based on the hadeeth narrated by ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him), according to which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach the Qur’aan and he never prevented anyone from learning it except those who were in a state of janaabah (impurity).” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 1/281; al-Tirmidhi, 146; al-Nisaa’i, 1/144; Ibn Maajah, 1/207; Ahmad, 1/84; Ibn Khuzaymah [??], 1/104. Al-Tirmidhi said: a saheeh hasan hadeeth. Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said: the truth is that it is the type of hasan hadeeth that could be used as evidence).

The hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both), according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The menstruating woman and the one who is in a state of impurity (janaabah) should not recite anything of the Qur’aan.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 131; Ibn Maajah, 595; al-Daaraqutni (1/117); al-Bayhaqi, 1/89. This is a da’eef (weak) hadeeth, because it was reported by Ismaa’eel ibn ‘Ayyaash from the Hijaazis, and his reports from them are da’eef as is well known to those who are conversant with the study of hadeeth. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said (21/460): "it is a da’eef hadeeth by the unanimous agreement of the scholars of hadeeth." See Nasb al-Raayah, 1/195; al-Talkhees al-Habeer, 1/183).

Some scholars say that it is permitted for a menstruating woman to recite Qur’aan. This is the opinion of Maalik, and one opinion narrated from Ahmad, which Ibn Taymiyah preferred and which al-Shawkaani believed to be correct. The scholars based the following points on this opinion:

The principle is that things are allowed and permitted unless there is evidence to the contrary. There is no such evidence to say that a menstruating woman is not allowed to recite Qur’aan. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:

"There is no clear, saheeh text to indicate that a menstruating woman is forbidden to recite Qur’aan… It is known that women used to menstruate at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he did not forbid them to recite Qur’aan, or to remember Allaah (dhikr) and offer du’aa’.”

Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, commands (Muslims) to recite Qur’aan. He praises the one who does so, and promises him (or her) a great reward. No one is excluded from this except the one concerning whom there is solid evidence (daleel), and there is no such evidence in the case of menstruating women, as stated above.

The analogy between the menstruating woman and the one who is in a state of janaabah is made despite the fact that there are differences between them. The one who is in a state of janaabah has the option of removing the “barrier” by making ghusl, unlike the menstruating woman. A woman’s period usually lasts for some length of time, whereas the person who is in a state of janaabah is required to do ghusl when the time for prayer comes.

Preventing a menstruating woman from reciting Qur’aan deprives her of the chance to earn reward, and it may make her forget something of the Qur’aan, or she may need to recite it for the purposes of teaching or learning.

From the above, it is clear that the evidence of those who allow a menstruating woman to recite Qur’aan is stronger. If a woman wants to err on the side of caution, she can limit her recitation to the passages which she is afraid of forgetting.

It is very important to note that what we have been discussing here is restricted to what a menstruating woman recites from memory. When it comes to holding the Mus-haf (the Arabic text itself) and reading from it, a different rule applies. The correct view of the scholars is that it is forbidden to touch the mus-haf when one is in any kind of state of impurity, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… which none can touch except the purified.” [al-Waaqi’ah 56:79].

In a letter to ‘Amr ibn Hazm, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told the people of Yemen: “No one should touch the Qur’aan except one who is taahir (pure).” (Reported by Maalik, 1/199; al-Nisaa’i, 8/57; Ibn Hibbaan, 793; al-Bayhaqi, 1/87. Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said: A group of scholars classed this hadeeth as saheeh because it is so well known.

Al-Shaafi’i said: It is proven by them that it was a letter sent by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said: “This letter is famous among the scholars of seerah, and is so well known among the scholars that it does not need an isnaad. It is like tawaatur because the people accepted and recognized it. Shaykh al-Albani said that its is saheeh. Al-Talkhees al-Habeer, 4/17. See also: Nasb al-Raayah, 1/196; Irwaa’ al-Ghaleel, 1/158).

(Haashiyat Ibn ‘Aabideen, 1/159; al-Majmoo’, 1/356; Kashshaaf al-Qinaa’, 1/147; al-Mughni, 3/461; Nayl al-Awtaar, 1/226; Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa, 21/460; al-Sharh al-Mumti’ li’l-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 1/291)

And Allaah knows best.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid


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22 Responses »

  1. What about reading it online through the computer?
    You're not touching it and you are reading it. Everyone wins

  2. @leyla LOL.. cool tip jazakallah !

  3. What if a women who lives in some little village isolated from the city. Lets use a Arab country for example. And lets say her village has very little education and very little books and no computer for internet access. She is in her menstruation process and the only thing she has is an arabic text Quran. Then what should she do? And what if the Quran is the only thing that really helps her become more spiritually intact with Allah? What if she feels like the that the Quran physcical precesences helps her ride of bad thoughts?

  4. Can the menstruating sister can ask others who are in wudhu to carry and open the mushaf for her while she reads from it?

    • Sister

      As far as I'm aware a menstruating woman is not allowed to recite the quran regardless of whether she is touching it or not.

      • I think there are differences in opinion on this, so it may depend on which opinion you follow.
        Please correct me if I am wrong but there is an opinion that you can read Qur'an with your eyes (but without moving your lips), and you can only touch Qur'an that are 1/3 or less Arabic.

        Can a Menstruating Woman Recite Qur'an?
        Posted on January 21, 2009 by Abu Layth

        Basmala

        A sister asked in one of the comments on the site,

        I am currently memorising the Qur’an but I was told that I can not recite the qur’an during menses. I fall back on my hifdh. even if one wishes to memorise the quran she is not allowed to read the quran?

        Answer:

        The Shafi’i View

        Imam An-Nawawi (rahimahullah) stated in his treatise “Al-Tibyan Fi Adab Hamalat al-Qur’an” the following,

        “It is unlawful for a person in a state of major ritual impurity or during menstruation to recite the Quran, whether it is a verse or even less. It is permissible for them to [silently] peruse the Quran in their hearts without uttering it, and to look in the actual written text of the Quran [mushaf] and go over it in the heart.”1

        The Maliki View

        The Maliki jurist Ibn Rushd states in his tome Bidayat Al-Mujtahid the following regarding the recitation of the Qur’an for the one who is junub or on their menses,

        “The jurists differed about this, with the majority prohibiting it, and a group of jurists permitting it. The reason for their differences is the possibility of different interpretations of the tradition attributed to ‘Ali in which he states: ‘Nothing prevented the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) from the recitation of the Qur’an except Janabah (sexual defilement).’ One group of jurists said that this tradition does not give rise to a hukm, as it is onlu the impression of the narrator. Otherwise, how could one know that the Qur’an was not to be recited because of janaba, unless he informed him of this? The majority maintain that ‘Ali would not say such a thing out of his own impression or conviction, and he said this after attaining sound knowledge.

        A group of jurists considered the menstruating woman in the same position as the junub, while another group made a distinction between them, permitting the menstruating woman some recitation through istihsan, because of the length of the period of her menstruation. It is Malik’s opinion.”2

        Comments on This Selected Text :

        1) The hadith of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘radiya Allahu Anhu) mentioned above is reported in the Sunan of Imam At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, An Nasa’i, Al Hakim and others. Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih” and Al-Hakim declared it Sahih as well. Imam Ash-Shafi’i declared this hadith weak, as did Al-Bayhaqi saying ’Abdullah ibn Salamah was mistaken in narrating.’ Khattabi mentions that Ahmad weakened this hadith. An-Nawawi said, ‘Many contradicted At-Tirmidhi in his grading’ and he weakened it.

        2) For general benefit, “Istihsan استحسان” is a method generally employed by the Hanafis and Malikis in fiqh. It is when Qiyas (analogy) is ignored and another principle or necessity within the law is utilized. It should be noted that Imam Ash-Shafi’i was strongly against Istihsan! To read a beneficial discussion on the topic and the disagreement regarding it see Muhammad Kamali’s Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence.

        3) Al-Hafith Ibn Hajr Al-’Asqalani in his detailed discussion on this issue in his Fathul-Bari mentions other supporting proofs for this opinion. The words of the Nabi (SAWS) (‘alayhis salam):

        كَانَ يَذْكُر اللَّه عَلَى كُلّ أَحْيَانه

        “The Prophet would do dhikr of Allah (SWT) in every state.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

        Here the Malikis would say that the Qur’an is in fact dhikr.

        Also Imam Al-Bukhari reports in Mu’allaq form from Ibn ‘Abbas that he did not see any harm in someone in the state of janabah to recite Qur’an.

        Ibn Hajr adds to this discussion more benefit stating:

        أَرْبَعَة لَا يَقْرَءُونَ الْقُرْآن : الْجُنُب وَالْحَائِض وَعِنْد الْخَلَاء وَفِي الْحَمَّام , إِلَّا الْآيَة وَنَحْوهَا لِلْجُنُبِ وَالْحَائِض ” , وَرُوِيَ عَنْ مَالِك نَحْو قَوْل إِبْرَاهِيم وَرُوِيَ عَنْهُ الْجَوَاز مُطْلَقًا وَرُوِيَ عَنْهُ الْجَوَاز لِلْحَائِضِ دُون الْجُنُب , وَقَدْ قِيلَ إِنَّهُ قَوْل الشَّافِعِيّ فِي الْقَدِيم.

        Ibrahīm An-Nakha’ī is reported to have said as narrated by Ad-Dārimī, “Four do not recite the Qur’ān: the Junub, the Menstruating woman, while urinating or defecating, and while in the Hammām (lavatory – or wash area), except that it is [permitted] for an āyah or its like for the Junub and the menstruating woman. The likes of this was also reported from Imam Malik. It is also reported from him that it is absolutely permitted [to recite the Qur'an]. It is also reported from him that it is only permitted for the menstruating woman and not the junub, and it is said that this was Imām Ash-Shāfi’ī’s view in his “old” school.

        [Ibn Hajr in his Fathul-Bari beneath the chapter of Sahih Al-Bukhari "It is legislated for a menstruating woman to perform all the rituals of Hajj (manaasik) except tawaf around the house".]

        Hanafi View

        It seems the Hanafis forbid recitation of the menstruating woman as mentioned in the Mukhtasar of Al-Quduri. Imam Ash-Shawkani states that a group of the Hanafis (Abu Yusuf) allowed such a person to recite the Qur’an as long as the intent was not tilawah (recitation) but simply saying words of the Qur’an.

        Others’ View

        I would like to mention here that Imam Ash-Shawkani, a Mujtahid Mutlaq, argues strongly in his Nayl Al-Awtar3 for the view stating that there is no established authentic proof at all to forbid a menstruating woman, or one in janabah, from reciting the Qur’an.

        My End Thoughts for this Sister:

        This is a rukhsah (dispensation) in the law, and there is no harm, insha’Allah (SWT), upon the one who takes it, especially if by taking it you are strengthening your faith and drawing closer to Allah (SWT). I recommend that you read the following selection translated by the late Shafi’i master Shaykh Wahbah Zuhayli’s work “Al-Fiqh Al-Islami wa Adillatuhu”. Note that he states near the end of the selected text:

        At the end of the legal verdict of Imam Ibn Hajr al-Haytami it stated: “What is most sound according to the Imams of the Shafi’iyah is that the Muqallid can follow whoever he likes from the scholars, even if (that scholar) was lesser (in rank) and even if he believed that. In such a case, it is not possible to positively assert or think that he-meaning the Mujtahid-is correct. On the contrary, it is upon the Muqallid to believe that the view of his Imam holds the possibility of being the truth.” (1/45 al-Hashiyah)

        May Allah (SWT) assist you in your endeavor and send his blessings upon the Nabi (SAWS) his family and those who follow him Amin.

        And Allah knows best

  5. I'm still a little confused. I am currently excused from my prayers and it is the last ten days of Ramadhaan and as we know, Laylut-ul-Qadr is one of the following odd nights. I feel completely restricted of my worship and I wanted to finish reading the Quraan, i'm only on juzu' 15! can i continue reading the Qur'aan in anyway? For example, on the computer?

    • Please don't feel restricted. By not reading the quran during menstruation you are still submitting to Allah so you are still in a state of worship.
      There are so many things you can do even during menstruation, in fact scholars emphasise that a menstruating woman should increase her acts of ibadah for the very fact that becasue she is not praying there is a chance that she could feel spiritually low or experience distance from her deen.

      During menstruation you can listen to Quran, and read its translation and commentary (tafsir);

      There is great reward in listening to the Quran. Reading its translation and commentary (tafsir) with reflection is considered study of the Quran, which is a means of mercy, light, and guidance in ones life. You can also perform much supplication in your own words, expressing your spiritual and worldly needs to Allah and in the words of the Beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), for they are the most beloved of words to Allah.

      In fact you can make much remembrance of Allah by repeating the sunna remembrances, such as

      astaghfirullah (I seek Allahs forgiveness)

      Sending blessings on the Prophet (saw), such as saying Allahumma Salli `ala Sayyidina Muhammadin wa Alihi wa Sallim (O Allah, send blessings on our master Muhammad, his family, and give peace)

      Recite La ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but Allah)

      or Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah)

      or Alhamdu liLlah (All praise is Allahs)

      or Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greatest).

      Read or listen to inspiring words about the Messenger of Allah (saw)s life and person, and endeavor to make his example and guidance primary in ones life, for that is the way of lovers.

      It does'nt matter if one completes the whole Quran or part of it during ramadan, what matters is ones intention and if you are sincere then your 15 juz have more chance of being accepted by Allah almighty than the one who completes ten Qurans during ramadan without any sincerity and purely for the purpose of collecting praise from people!

      I pray Allah makes it easy for you to follow His deen.

  6. Women are considered 'impure' when they are menstruating? You have GOT to be kidding. This is a normal, bodily function and there is nothing impure about it. I have been curious about the ISLAM religion (for informational purposes only) and wondered if some of the ridiculous rules that I had heard of were actually true or if they were rumors. This confirms my suspicions. Why do the men of this religion feel they have to keep their women downtrodden and under their feet. Is it because they are so insecure with themselves that they must keep women subservient?

    • Beverly, it has nothing to do with keeping women downtrodden. Certainly menstruation is a normal bodily function. But Islam considers such bodily functions to be temporary physical impurities. When a married couple has sex, they are both considered impure afterwards until they wash. Also, at prayer time, if someone has used the bathroom recently then he must wash up in a ritual way before prayer. These rules apply to men and women. These things are physical impurities, but they are not spiritual impurities, as the Prophet (pbuh) said, "The believer is never impure."

      Being physically clean before approaching God, or reading the Quran, is a mark of respect. It's that simple.

      You obviously came to this website with a bias, as you had a pre-conceived notion of Islamic rules as "ridiculous". You did not come here with a sincere heart, to learn or understand. So of course it's very easy for you to find our religion objectionable, even simple rules of hygiene.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

      • And to add to brother Wael's comment men also have rules, ie about semen (after sexual activity), after eating certain foods (onion, garlic), after peeing say standing up where some urine splashes on you. You want to be in a 'pure' state of mind while praying/reading the Quran. It could also be compartmentalization. When I study, I shut off all music and like my room as quiet as possible. By shutting my music off, I have conditioned my mind to think 'study time.' Similarly when you have a definition of pure, you prepare for prayer and worship by the manner.

        Also impure may be a bad translation, for instance I always hear Muslims say have 'taqwa' and they translate it to FEAR God. God is Ar Rahman, the MOST Merciful, Taqwa is better translated as having an awareness, of the presence of God.

        In Islam a man and woman in a marriage should not disallow sex when each other wants it. When a woman has her period, a MAN is NOT allowed to have sexual intercourse with her. So it is for the benefit of the woman that she is given an easier time in such a circumstance.

        And I agree, you should learn to approach any problemset, mindset, from the person's persepective of whom you're tring to learn form. Having preconceived notions is just wishful thinking. If something wants to confirm to everything you think, it's not religion, its your fantasy.

    • @ Beverly: I have actually done the homework for you that I suggested above - read this link it has references given as well!! I will give you one sincere advice BEFORE you click to read the link: It compares the ways women are SUPPOSED to be treated in the 3 Abhrahmic faiths - look at the religion - not at what is being followed by the the "followers" of these scriptures, because the followers are contaminated by cultural garbage.

      http://www.islamswomen.com/articles/comparing_women.php

      May God show you the difference between what is right and what looks right but isn't! Amen

  7. @ Beverly: I agree with Wael and your coming here with pre-judgement and not with an open mind. I don't know if you are Jewish/Christian/Atheist, but if you are of the 1st two, then you should read the Torah and Bible and see what your religion (whichever of those two it may be) has to say about menstruation (or for any matter). These 3 religions are on a continuum, with Judaism being the 1st and Islam the last of the 3 Abrahamic faiths. I have read some of the Torah and some of my best friends are Jewish and they have similar laws regarding menstruation, but in fact actually, are MORE stringent - In Islam, the wife can still share the bed/other parts of daily life with her husband but in Judaism, she is supposed to be kept away. Read Jacob's daughter Dinah's story (written in semi-fictional way) to get just a small sample of how Judaism treats women
    http://www.anitadiamant.com/theredtent.asp

    or read this link from the ever useful quick guide to life in the 21st century, Wikipedia and see for yourself before jumping to judge!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niddah#Duration_of_menstruation_and_niddah_status

    Infact in Judaism, the fathers are supposed to "prove" to the potential husband that his daughter is a virgin! Read the UNALTERED versions of the bible and torah and THEN read Islam (in the sequence in which these religions came to humanity) and then see how UNdouwn trodden my religion really is for women!

    Peace!

  8. @ Br. Wael: why are my comments being moderated? What have I done?

    • serendipity, your comments are not normally moderated. However if you include a link in your comment, the program automatically holds the comment for moderation.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

  9. salam i feel when the women is mensurating she is not pure so in such case she cannot touch quran
    But she can read quran , listen 2 quran

    Before touching u have 2 be pure which in islam is done by gushal(bath) n wazuh

  10. Salam,
    I have read which was writen by a famous scholar of Saudi that,girls asked that during exams we have to learn a portion of Quran so when we menstruate we cant study for the exam he replied that,you can write that particular portion of quran by your hand to another paper and then you can read from that or else you can touch by wearing hand gloves when really necesarry...

    • Your tongue is always "pure" (the best word I could come up with). I grew up with the cultural baggage that I should not even be able to recite darood (aside from the Quran issue) - and was very upset for many years, until I discovered a couple of years ago that it was nonsense and I could recite it.

      Also, I did extensive research about this a few years ago - a woman can touch any Quran which has more than the Arabic original script (only Arabic is called mashaf). She can read the translated/interpreted versions, because they are not the exact true translations and hence not truly Allah's words (as no language is truly 100% "translatable" but only "interpretable").

      Since then, I try to read it online (as other have suggested it as well - which actually works best even when you want to read it while at a break at work bec you don't have to carry it!) and I sometimes do pick up the Quran that I have, which has Arabic AND English.

      Hope that helps.

  11. Thanks to all the wonderful comments on this page. The explanations and ahadith are very helpful. Also that website comparing women is so wonderful.

    May Allah subhanawatallah reward eveyone who expands others' knowledge if islam along with their own.

  12. dear all sisters and brothers,
    i read all this comments and learnt from this many things and cleared my doubts..really thanks to all.
    may ALLAH (swt) reward everyone who expends others 'knowledge if islam along with their own.

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