Evidence for prohibition of menstruating women to fast

Q:

Can u please provide me the evidence which says that it is prohibited for a menstruating women to fast. I  came to know of only 2 hadiths. 

  Mu’adhah said:

I asked `Aishah, ‘Why must we make up the fasts missed due to our menstruation, and not prayers?’ Aisha said, ‘That was what the messenger of Allah told us to do. We were ordered to make up the fasts, and we were ordered not to make up the prayers.’ (Narrated by the Group)  

Abu Sa’eed said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Is it not the case that when one of you menstruates, she does not pray or fast? That is what is meant by lacking in religious commitment.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari.

In both it doesn’t clearly state that it is prohibited to fast. Also purity is not a requirement for fasting.

The Quran gives us the detail who are exempted to fast i.e . the sick , the traveller and one who fasts with difficulty. Doesn’t that mean that it is obligatory on everyone other than these to fast in the month of Ramadan. The Quran also says that it is better for us to fast.

Some women face difficulty in their menses but some don’t.

A:

The proofs you mentioned particularly the report of Mu`adhah proves that it is prohibited for a woman to observe fasting during her menstruation cycle. It is understood that Mu`adhah inquired about the reason a woman must not make up prayers while she is required to make up fasting, but Aishah answered her back by saying, “Are you from Harurah’? (i.e. are you a Kharijite?)”

The reason is that Mu`adhah expressed her question in the form of an exclamation. Aishah might have thought she belonged to the Kharijites who maintain that a woman has to make up all prayers she missed during her menstruation.

When Mu`adhah informed Aishah that she was just inquiring to know, Aishah did not explain the reason for making a distinction between fasting and prayers. She answered her by quoting the legal ruling without providing further explanation. She did not want to enter into a long discussion with her by giving reasons which may be easily countered and thus not lead to a conclusion.

She only gave her the conclusive ruling as received from the Prophet (peace be upon him). Sometimes when we discuss the wisdom of something, we may get into a series of arguments that ends up with discussing the wisdom of doing something without agreeing on the primary precept of following the text, even if the reason is not clear or cannot be clearly deduced from it.

According to Ibn Daqiq, scholars discussed the reason for the distinction between fasting and prayers. They stated that prayers have to be offered repeatedly and its making up would lay a difficulty and a hardship on a Muslim woman. This is the reason it has been pardoned. However, obligatory fasting is offered only once a year, so that the making up of its missed days does not lead to hardship.

Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) provided the evidence of this ruling by simply saying that they have not been commanded to make up missed prayers. It is possible she based her view on one of the following two reasons:

A- Aishah may have noticed that in order to hold a menstruating woman liable for making up prayers, there must be evidence such as a saying or at least a tacit approval of the Prophet. This is based on the view that qada can only be held obligatory when a new evidence or a new command is issued.

For example, the Quran prescribed the performance of prayer in its due and designated time. When a person forgets to pray an obligatory prayer, he has to make it up. This is proven by the command of the Prophet where he said, “Whoever forgets a prayer, let him pray it when he remembers it.” (Muslim)

In the case of our example, women are commanded to make up fasting but they are not commanded to make up prayer.

According to Ibn Daqiq, the most appropriate premise on which Aishah based her conclusion is that since most women regularly menstruate and are exempted from observing prayers during their menses, this is the reason she wanted to explain regarding whether women are required to make up missed prayers or not.

The Prophet did not provide a decisive rule about this but commanded the menstruating woman to make up missed fasts. The Prophet’s silence is explained by Aishah as a command to not make up missed prayers but to make up missed fasts. 

Almighty Allah knows best.

Thursday, Jan. 01, 1970 | 00:00 - 00:00 GMT

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