Can women say prayers while they are in menstruation?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

“On the days when women cannot perform prayers when they are in menstruation and puerperium,

1. Can they read the Quran?
2. Can they recite Ayatul-Kursiyy and al-Ikhlas?
3. Can they utter bismillah, kalima at-tawhid, kalima ash-shahada, salawat, tasbih and dhikr?
4. Can they read religious books?
5. Can they repeat silently the Quran they hear on the radio?
6. Can they write bismillah in Arabic?”

Let us try to answer all these questions collectively as follows:

A woman who is junub, in menstruation or puerperium cannot recite/read any of the verses of the Quran; it is not permissible. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) states the following regarding the issue:

“A junub and menstruating woman cannot read anything from the Quran.” 1

In other words, she cannot recite even less than one verse with the sole intention of reciting the Quran. However, it is permissible to recite some verses of the Quran for supplication, seeking refuge in Allah, dhikr or at the beginning of a work or for teaching purposes.

For example, the following verse / prayer, which is sunnah to say while getting on a transportation vehicle:

“Subhanalladhi sakhkhara lana hadha wama kunna lahu muqrinin (Glory to Him Who has subjected these to our (use), for we could never have accomplished this (by ourselves).” 2

And while getting out of the vehicle, reading this:

“Rabbana anzilni munzalan mubarakan wa anta khayrul-munzilin (O my Lord! Enable me to disembark with thy blessing: for Thou art the Best to enable (us) to disembark.). 3

When one hears of a calamity and death,

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (Indeed, we belong to Allah and we only return to Him). 4

Saying “Bismillahirrahmanirrahim” when starting a job and saying “Alhamdulillah” for the purpose of gratitude are like that.

Likewise, it is not haram to recite the chapter of al-Fatiha, Ayatul-Kursiyy, the chapters of al-Falaq, an-Nas and al-Ikhlas for the purpose of dhikr, with the thought of remembering Allah.

According to the Maliki madhhab, there is no objection to the menstruating and puerperant women reciting a small amount of the Quran. This small amount is the amount of the surahs (chapters) mentioned above. Evidence for this issue: since women remain in this state for a long time, it is considered permissible by istihsan.

According to the Hanbali and Hanafi madhhabs, it is permissible to spell the words of the Quran letter by letter because such a spelling is not regarded as “qiraah”. They also accept it as permissible to look at the Mushaf without recitation and to read it silently without producing a sound because in that case, too, qiraah (reciting) is not in question. 5

All these views are differences in ijtihad of mujtahid imams based on various evidences, and they are all correct.

In addition, it is permissible to read one or more sentences of tawhid and dhikr such as kalima ash-shahadah, kalima at-tawhid, istighfar and salawat.

According to Abu Hanifa, it is permissible for women to hold religious books such as tafsir, hadith and fiqh except for the Quran in those days. However, they must not touch the verses of the Quran in those books.

Regarding the issue of writing the verses of the Quran in that state, we read the following statement in al-Fatawal-Hindiyya:

“It is makruh for those who are junub or in menstruation to write a verse from the Quran between the lines they are writing. However, if they do not read the verses that they wrote, it is not makruh.”

“Imam Muhammad, on the other hand, advises to be cautious and careful in this regard, saying that it is best for those people not to write the Quran.”

Accordingly, since Bismillah is a verse of the Quran, it would be more appropriate not to write it while menstruating.

By the way, no matter what madhhab a woman belongs to, a woman in that state cannot touch even a verse of the Quran. However, she can hold it with a clean cloth and paper that is not attached to the Quran.


1 Ibn Majah, Taharah: 105.
2 az-Zukhruf, 13.
3 al-Mu’minun, 29.
4 al-Baqara, 156.
5 Wahba Zuhayli, al-Fiqhul-Islami wa Adillatuhu, İslâm Fıkhı Ansiklopedisi, 1: 288-9.
6 Ibn Majah, Taharah 119.
7 Bidayatul-Mujtahid, 1:110; Al-Fiqhul-Islami wa Adillatuhu, 1: 422.

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