Can Menstruating Women Enter the Mosque?

08 July, 2019
Q According to majority of the scholars, it is haram for a menstruating woman to be inside the masjid unless she is quickly passing by. But there was a woman who the Propeth (saw) build a house for inside his masjid, how is it that she lived there considering the probably menstruated? Are those weak hadith’s not authentic? Or did he exempt her? And can you go to the masjid to clean it quickly, if you are menstruating? Thx.

Answer

Short Answer: Menstruating Women Enter Mosque – Scholars of hadith commented on this narration and concluded that the narrators are unreliable and their narrations are deemed weak. This version has Jasrah bint Dajjah and Al-Bukhari said about her that she knows wondrous things. Also Al-Baihaqi said that her narrations have to be reconsidered. Some people would argue that menstruating women will not keep the mosque clean because of the possibility of blood leakage. The answer to this argument is very easy. Women now use very save means for their personal hygiene. Therefore, there is no fear of making the mosque unclean. During Hajj, menstruating women can stay in the mosque but they are now allowed to go around the Kabah.

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Salam dear questioner, 

Thank you very much.

Let me first make it clear that Islam always seeks to make things easy for Muslims both males and females. Islam never puts Muslims in difficult situations where the choice is unbearable. 

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The original status of a Muslim is purification. The state of impurity is sometimes out of a Muslim’s choice such as having wet dreams or the monthly female period and sometimes it is of one’s choice such as in the case of having sex with one’s wife. Rather than these cases, a Muslim is pure. 

Hudhaifah reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) happened to meet him and he was (sexually) defiled, and he slipped away and took a bath and then came and said: I was (sexually) defiled. Upon this, the Prophet remarked: “A Muslim is never defiled.” (Muslim)

The question of whether menstruating women can enter the mosque or not is a very controversial issue. 

Some scholars view that it is impermissible for menstruating women to enter the mosque based on the following narration:

Lady Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said:

The Messenger of Allah came and saw that the doors of the houses of his Companions were facing the mosque. He said: Turn the direction of the houses from the mosque. The Prophet then entered (the houses or the mosque), and the people did take any step in this regard hoping that some concession might be revealed. He (the Prophet) again came upon them and said: Turn the direction of these (doors) from the mosque for I do not make the mosque lawful for a menstruating woman and for a person who is sexually defiled.” (Abu Dawud)

Scholars of hadith commented on this narration and concluded that the narrators are unreliable and their narrations are deemed weak. This version has Jasrah bint Dajjah and Al-Bukhari said about her that she knows wondrous things. Also Al-Baihaqi said that her narrations have to be reconsidered.

On the other hand, other scholars maintained that there is nothing wrong with menstruating women entering the mosque either to pass by or attend classes or clean the mosque. 

Those scholars based their view on many factors. 

First, the Prophet allowed non-Muslims to enter the mosque either to embrace Islam or convey a message to the Prophet. So it is more appropriate for menstruating women and those in state of impurity to enter the mosque for various purposes.

Aishah reported that one of the wives of Allah’s Messenger practiced itikaf with him while she had bleeding in between her periods and she would see red (blood) or yellowish traces, and sometimes we put a tray beneath her when she offered the prayer. (Al-Bukhari)

If the Prophet allowed menstruating women to enter the mosque, is it reasonable to prevent them in our modern age? 

Some people would argue that menstruating women will not keep the mosque clean because of the possibility of blood leakage. The answer to this argument is very easy. Women now use very save means for their personal hygiene. Therefore, there is no fear of making the mosque unclean.

You referred in your question to a narration which reads:

Aishah reported:

There was a black slave girl belonging to an Arab tribe and they manumitted her but she remained with them. The slave girl said, “Once one of their girls (of that tribe) came out wearing a red leather scarf decorated with precious stones. It fell from her or she placed it somewhere. A kite passed by that place, saw it lying there and mistaking it for a piece of meat, flew away with it. Those people searched for it but they did not find it. So they accused me of stealing it and started searching me and even searched my private parts.” The slave girl further said, “By Allah! while I was standing (in that state) with those people, the same kite passed by them and dropped the red scarf and it fell amongst them. I told them, ‘This is what you accused me of and I was innocent and now this is it.’ ” Aishah added: That slave girl came to Allah’s Messenger and embraced Islam. She had a tent or a small room with a low roof in the mosque. Whenever she called on me, she had a talk with me and whenever she sat with me, she would recite the following: “The day of the scarf (band) was one of the wonders of our Lord, verily He rescued me from the disbelievers’ town. Aishah added: “Once I asked her, ‘What is the matter with you? Whenever you sit with me, you always recite these poetic verses.’ On that she told me the whole story.” (Al-Bukhari)

Imam Al-Bukhari reported this hadith the heading of “Sleeping of a woman in the mosque (and residing in it)”

This report is clear evidence of the permissibility of women sleeping in mosques keeping in mind they might experience their menses during their stay in the mosque. The Prophet allowed them to do so, how can we prevent them from this right given by the Prophet?

The whole earth has been made a place of prostration for a Muslim. It was narrated that Jabir bin Abdullah said: “The Messenger of Allah said:

‘The earth has been made for me a place of prostration and a means of purification, so wherever a man of my Ummah is when the time for prayer comes, let him pray.'” (An-Nasai)

There is no exception in this hadith for Muslims who are in a state of impurity not to pray in any place as long as it is pure. 

During Hajj, menstruating women can stay in the mosque but they are now allowed to go around the Kabah. 

Aishah reported:

We set out with the Prophet  for Hajj and when we reached Sarif I got my menses. When the Prophet came to me, I was weeping. He asked, “Why are you weeping?” I said, “I wish if I had not performed Hajj this year.” He asked, “May be that you got your menses?” I replied, “Yes.” He then said, “This is the thing which Allah has ordained for all the daughters of Adam. So do what all the pilgrims do except that you do not perform the tawaf round the Kabah till you are clean.” (Al-Bukhari)

As for the report that does not allow menstruating women to attend the Eid’s place of prayer,  scholars maintain that menstruating women should not attend prayer itself not the place of prayer because it is confirmed that the Prophet used to offer the Eid prayer in the open air. 

Also, the people of the Suffah used to stay in the mosque in the presence of the Prophet and they included those who had wet dreams. The Prophet never prohibited them from staying in the mosque. 

Based on the above proofs and narrations, there is nothing wrong if menstruating women or anyone in a state of impurity from entering the mosque, to pass by it or to attend classes or to clean it.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Why Can’t Women Pray During Menses?

Is Menstruation a Punishment from Allah to Women?

Are Women Really Allowed to Attend the Mosque?

 

About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.