QUERIES ON ISLAM

Are Menstruating Women Permitted to Recite or Touch the Qur'an ?

Question 9: Are menstruating women permitted to recite Surah Fatiha, Ikhlaas, Falak, Nas and Ayatul Kursi at night before going to sleep ? Can menstruating women touch and read the Qur'an ? Does this word in the Qur'an 'Mutahhareen' (none can touch except those who are clean) relate to the Qur'an or to the Tablet Preserved (Lauh-a-Mehfuz) ? Is one allowed to touch Qur'an without wudhu ? Please explain with reference to Hadith.

-Nishat Bare <nishat_bare@rediffmail.com>

Answer 9: The Glorious Qur'an says : "That this is indeed a Qur'an most honorable in a book well guarded which none shall touch but those who are clean : A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds." (Surah Al-Waqi'a, 56:77-80)

The Kitabim Maknoon mentioned in the above mentioned verse does not refer to the holy Qur'an in the book form, which we have, and the word Mutahhareen does not merely refer to cleanliness of the body.

Kitabim Maknoon means a book well guarded or a protected book. This word refers to Lauh-e-Mahfooz in heaven, which is also mentioned in the following verse "Nay this is a Glorious Qur'an (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved!" (Surah Al-Buruj, 85:21 & 22)

Mutahhareen does not refer to mere body cleanliness but also refers to those who do not have any uncleanliness or impurity like sin and evil, thus referring to the angels. According to the commentary of Tabari, Mutahhareen means the angels.

According to Ibne Hazam, who has discussed the subject in detail, there are no pre-requisites or conditions for touching the Qur'an. Although all the scholars, of all different schools of thought, agree upon it without any difference of opinion that it is preferable to be in wudhu before touching the Qur'an, however, according to Ibne Hazam there is not a single verse of the Qur'an or the authentic hadith saying that being in wudhu is compulsory.

Ibne Abbas, Sho'bi, Zahhaq, Zaid bin Ali, Muayyid Billaah, Dawood, Ibne Hazam and Hammad bin Sulaiman are of the opinion that Qur'an can be touched without performing wudhu.

(Fiqh-us-Sunnah, As Saiyid Saabiq, 1.52)

Regarding the hadith of Muwatta Malik which is often quoted by certain scholars to back up their claims that one should be in wudhu before touching the Qur'an, this hadith narration besides being Mursal, has the Arabic word Taahirun in it, which according to Ibne Katheer, Zamakhshari & others, does not necessarily mean being with wudhu but simply means 'pure', that is, one should not be in ceremonial impurity or menstruation.

Scholars of different schools of thought differ on the issue of whether one should compulsorily be in a state of wudhu while touching the Qur'an. According to Hanafi school of thought, one cannot touch the Qur'an without wudhu, but if one uses a piece of cloth or sheet then he can touch it. Some Hanafi Scholars insist that the cover of the Qur'an itself serves as a covering sheet or cloth, while the others believe that one can touch the Qur'an but not the Arabic text within the Qur'an. Amongst the Shafia scholars, some say that one cannot touch the Qur'an without wudhu, despite using covering sheet. Malikis too believe in some what the same. However, they allow touching the Qur'an without wudhu for students and teachers of the Qur'an.

It is permissible for a menstruating womam to recite the Qur'an without touching it. Similarly, she can very well recite the portions of the Qur'an, which she does regularly, or even the Ahadith of the prophet (pbuh) . However she shouldn't touch the Qur'an with her hands.

Ibne Majah narrates a hadith from Abdullah Ibne Umar (R.A.) that a man in a state of ceremonial impurity, and a menstruating lady should not recite anything from the Qur'an, but this hadith is weak.

Allama Ibne Hajr and Allama Ibnul Mulaqqin have rated the hadith as weak in their books At-Talkheesal Habeer, Vol. 1, pg. no. 138, hadith no. 183 & Khulasatul Badrul Muneer, vol. 1, pg. no. 60, hadith no. 170, respectively.

However, if a menstruating woman, or a woman with postpartum impurity, wishes to read the Qur'an, then she may use some sheet or cloth while touching the Qur'an so that her hands do not have direct contact with the Qur'an.

According to Maliki school of thought, while doing hifz of the Qur'an, a man in spite of being in ceremonial impurity or a woman in her menstruation, can touch the Qur'an so that they do not forget the portions of the Qur'an memorised by them. And Allah knows best.