Can menstruating women visit the mosque, attend Eid salah and perform Hajj?

Can menstruating women visit the mosque, attend Eid salah and perform Hajj?

Can women go to the mosque during their period?

The question of whether women can attend the mosque during their menstrual periods is a topic of discussion among scholars. Different schools of thought have varying perspectives on this matter, and understanding these can help provide clarity on the issue.

The Islamic perspective on menstruation

In Islam, menstruation is considered a natural physiological process. The Quran and hadith address the state of a woman during her menstrual cycle and prescribe certain rules and etiquettes.

The Quran mentions menstruation in Surat al-Baqarah:

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْمَحِيضِ قُلْ هُوَ أَذًى فَاعْتَزِلُوا النِّسَاءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّىٰ يَطْهُرْنَ ۖ فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْنَ فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ

They ask you about menstruation. Say, ‘It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.’ (2:222)

Hadith on women praying during menstruation

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said:

We used to menstruate during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and we were commanded to complete the fasts that we missed (due to menstruation) but were not commanded to make up the prayers we missed. (Bukhari)

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated:

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو نُعَيْمٍ الْفَضْلُ بْنُ دُكَيْنٍ، سَمِعَ زُهَيْرًا، عَنْ مَنْصُورٍ ابْنِ صَفِيَّةَ، أَنَّ أُمَّهُ، حَدَّثَتْهُ أَنَّ عَائِشَةَ حَدَّثَتْهَا أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ يَتَّكِئُ فِي حَجْرِي وَأَنَا حَائِضٌ، ثُمَّ يَقْرَأُ الْقُرْآنَ‏.‏

The Prophet (ﷺ) used to lean on my lap and recite Quran while I was in menses. (Bukhari)

Scholarly Opinions

The opinions of scholars on whether menstruating women can enter the mosque vary:

  1. Hanafi School: Generally, the Hanafi school discourages menstruating women from entering the mosque based on the belief that the state of menstruation is a form of impurity (najasa).
  2. Maliki School: The Maliki school allows for women to enter the mosque during their period, provided they do not pray, based on the interpretation that menstruation does not make the mosque impure.
  3. Shafi’i and Hanbali Schools: These schools generally advise against it but permit it under specific conditions, such as educational purposes or if the woman is passing through and not staying.

Practical Considerations

Given the diverse opinions, the decision often comes down to community norms and personal conviction. It’s important to consider the purpose of the visit. For instance, attending educational sessions, engaging in community events, or passing through might be viewed differently than going to pray.

Women attending Eid Salah while menstruating

Participation in the gathering: Women who are menstruating can attend the Eid prayer gathering, but they should not participate in the actual prayer itself. They can sit in a designated area of the mosque or prayer ground to listen to the sermon (khutbah) and be part of the community and join in the spirit of this blessed day.

Listen to the khutbah: They can benefit from the hearing the khutbah and the dua.

Make dua and do dhikr: Engaging in personal supplication (dua) and remembering Allah (dhikr) is encouraged.

Women on Hajj while menstruating:

Performing Hajj rituals: Menstruating women are allowed to perform most of the Hajj rituals except for circumambulation of the Kabah (tawaf). The tawaf should be delayed until they are in a state of ritual purity (tahara).

Participating in other rites

Women can participate in other rites of Hajj such as:

Staying in Mina and Arafat: Spending the days and nights in these holy sites, engaging in dua and reflection.

Rami al-Jamarat: Stoning the pillars representing Shaytan in Mina.

Sacrifice (Qurbani): Overseeing or ensuring the sacrificial animal is slaughtered.

Cutting hair: Performing the symbolic act of cutting a small portion of hair.

Delaying Tawaf al-Ifadah: They must wait until they become pure before performing the essential Tawaf al-Ifadah, which is a critical part of Hajj.

Tawaf al-Wada’ (Farewell Tawaf): This is also delayed until they are in a state of ritual purity. If their menstruation continues until they leave Makkah, they are excused from this Tawaf.

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا، قَالَتْ: خَرَجْنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ﷺ لَا نَذْكُرُ إِلَّا الْحَجَّ، فَلَمَّا جِئْنَا سَرِفَ طَمِثْتُ، فَدَخَلَ عَلَيَّ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ وَأَنَا أَبْكِي، فَقَالَ: “مَا يُبْكِيكِ؟” قُلْتُ: وَدَدْتُ وَاللَّهِ أَنِّي لَمْ أَكُنْ خَرَجْتُ الْعَامَ، قَالَ: “مَا لَكِ، لَعَلَّكِ نَفِسْتِ؟” قُلْتُ: نَعَمْ، قَالَ: “هَذَا أَمْرٌ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَى بَنَاتِ آدَمَ، افْعَلِي مَا يَفْعَلُ الْحَاجُّ، غَيْرَ أَنْ لَا تَطُوفِي بِالْبَيْتِ”، قَالَتْ: وَضَحَّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ﷺ عَنْ نِسَائِهِ بِالْبَقَرِ.

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, ”We set out with the sole intention of performing Hajj and when we reached Sarif, (a place six miles from Mecca) I got my menses. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) came to me while I was weeping. He said ‘ What is the matter with you? Have you got your menses? ‘ I replied, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is a thing which Allah has ordained for the daughters of Adam. So do what all the pilgrims do with the exception of the Tawaf (Circumambulation) round the Kabah. ” `Aisha added,” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) sacrificed cows on behalf of his wives.“ (Bukhari)

The permissibility of women attending the mosque during menstruation is a nuanced issue with varying scholarly opinions. While some schools of thought discourage it, others allow it with conditions.

In all cases, it is crucial to remember that menstruation is a natural and divinely ordained process, and the regulations surrounding it are meant to honour the dignity and well-being of women. For specific guidance, consulting a knowledgeable scholar or local imam is always recommended.

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.