A sister asked,

Q: asavlam alaikum, I have a question to ask, why are women not allowed to touch the quran when they are on their period. My sociology teacher was saying this is sexist (we are currently studying religion) and periods is a natural thing for women to have children but in islam women are seen as dirty. Could please explain this to me. Jaza ka Allah ker




Reply: walaikum assalaam sister,

The Quran is the Word of Allah, and we show it respect by following the etiquettes of being in ritual purity before touching it.

In some states, this ritual purity can be achieved by simple wudhu (ablution), while at others, Ghusl (ritual bath) is required, like menstruation, and when one is in the state of Janabah (i.e., the state after sexual relations) a Ghusl has to be taken in order to remove the ritual impurity - and this is the same for MEN and WOMEN.

Moreover, the one who is in the state of Janabah – MAN or WOMAN – should NOT recite the Qur’aan; neither from the Mushaf (i.e., reading from the book) nor from memory, until a Ghusl is taken – but a menstruating woman can recite the Qur’aanic verses, and even touch the Mushaf (with a barrier) if there is a need; like if she is a student or a teacher, or she fears that she might forget what she has memorized – watch this clip to learn more about the ruling

Furthermore, to accept “periods is a natural thing for women” …is what the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) taught Aisha (radhi allahu anha) when she was crying during Hajj – (see the video below for details).

“in Islam women are seen as dirty” – that’s a lame comment!

There are religions and cultures in the world, who consider women “dirty” and ban the menstruating woman from any social contact, even touching food and utensils of the house. She is forced to sleep in a separate room, and isolated for the entire menstrual period. She is forbidden from entering sacred places of worship “to preserve the holiness” of the place!! The husband is forbidden to have any relations with her because it is thought that the impurity will be transferred to him… (watch the video below to watch such discrimination and hear testimonies from women of other cultures/religions who themselves express their dislike for these rulings !!)

Now compare that with the teachings of Islam, where the husband and wife can engage in all forms of intimate relations except going into each other – and that is to protect the woman from health problem (see video below)

..and if there is a need,  a menstruating woman can also enter the masjid (mosque). When Aisha (radhi allahu anha) hesitated to enter the masjid, Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Menstruation is not in your hands!” – because Islam does NOT consider a woman “dirty” such that if she were to enter the masjid, she will make it “impure” as is thought in other cultures and religions… (watch the video below for details)

…so, to say Islamic rulings have gender discrimination, is totally baseless!

- Shawana A. Aziz