treating menstruation

Women’s menses is an issue where we find two extreme views among communities.

 

Some even go as far as seeing menstruating women as bearers of disease, disaster, and bad luck. They are barred from handling food, using public water sources, or sleeping under the same roof as their families. There is no shortage of women dying in fire or suffocation or lack of food or water. Jewish tradition also considered it as one of the curses inflicted upon women – Eve’s legacy passed on to her daughters for tempting Adam to eat of the forbidden tree.

 

Islam came and considered menses as a time of affliction and pain (requiring relaxation): We read in the Quran:

 

{They ask you (Prophet) about menstruation, so tell them, “Menstruation is a painful condition, so do not be fully intimate with them until they are relieved of it, then after they have purified themselves, you may again approach them God has ordained.  Indeed, God loves the repentant and He loves those who keep themselves clean.} (Al-Baqarah 2:222)

As opposed to the above, women in Islam are not shunned. Instead, they are only relieved of some rigorous religious duties such as obligatory prayers and fasting. They are allowed to participate in all other activities, including pilgrimage, make dhikr, offer supplications, and even read the Quran from memory.

 

They are also entitled to perform the pilgrimage while staying away from Tawaf. Here is a narration from Aishah, the beloved wife of the Prophet, peace be upon him. “Once while sharing the bed and wrapper with the Prophet, peace be upon him, I secretly left, and the Prophet asked her, “did you experience menses?” when she replied yes, he said, ‘that is a normal condition that the daughters of Adam experience.” Then I cleaned myself and came back, and the Prophet told me to join him in bed under the same wrapper.”

 

Furthermore, when Aishah shied away from doing certain chores in the house because of menses, he said, “your menses is not in your hands!”

 

Islam strikes a middle path between two extremes: At the one extreme those who are permissive and allow vaginal intercourse with women during menses, and on the other are those who shun them as if they were a curse and source of pollution.

 

Almighty Allah knows best.

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

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