Is it permissible for menstruating women to read the Holy Qur’an and its translation; is it also necessary to cover the head while reading?

The Details of the Question

- Can a menstruating, junub, or a post-partum bleeding woman read the books of dua in which there are verses and surahs from the Qur’an or religious books? - Can they read Ayat-al-Kursi and surah al-Ikhlas? - Can they recite Basmala, Kalima Shahada, salawat and zikr? - Can they repeat silently the Qur’an while listening from the radio? - Can they write Basmala in Arabic?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is permissible for women to read the translation of the Quran while their heads are not covered. It is also permissible for menstruating women to read the translation of the Quran.  Because its translation is not like the original Qur’an.

Junub (impure, who needs to perform ghusl (full ablution)), menstruating or post-partum bleeding women cannot recite any of the verses of the Quran; it is not permissible.

A menstruating woman or a person who has no ablution cannot touch the Qur'an if it contains both the Arabic Qur'an and its meaning. Menstruating women can read the meaning of the Qur'an that does not contain its Arabic.

The messenger of Allah (PBUH) states the following regarding this issue:

“A junub or menstruating woman cannot recite anything from the Quran.”1

that is, she cannot recite even less than a verse from the Quran with the intention of reciting the Quran. However, it is permissible to recite some verses from the Quran, to pray, to praise Allah, to take shelter in Allah, to mention the name of Allah, when starting something or in order to teach the Quran.

For instance, the verse which is sunnah to read when getting in or on a vehicle

“Subhanallazi sakhkhara lana haza wama kunna lahu muqrinin (Glory to Him Who has subjected these to Our (use), for We could never have accomplished this (by ourselves)).”2

Also the verse to be read when getting off a vehicle

“Rabbana anzilni munzalan mubarakan wa anta khayru’l-munzilin (O my Lord! Enable me to disembark with Your blessing: for You are the Best to enable (us) to disembark).3

The verse when the news of misfortune or death is received,

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun (To Allah we belong and to Him is our return).4

Also saying, “Bismillahirrahmanirrahim” when starting to do something and to say, “Alhamdulillah” to thank Allah are of the same kind.

Similarly it is not haram to read chapters al-Fatiha, al-Falaq, an-Nas, al-Ikhlas and the verse ayatul kursi with the intention of mentioning and remembering Allah.

According to Maliki sect, there is no drawback for a menstruating or post-partum bleeding woman to recite a small part from the Quran.The small amount is as much as the verses mentioned above. As evidence, they present the fact that they remain in that state for a long time.

According to Hanbali and Hanafi sects, it is permissible to read the Quran by dividing words into syllables, because such reading is not “reciting”. They also accept it as permissible to look at the Quran and read it silently without uttering any words because in that case, there is no reciting. 5

All of those views are differences of ijtihad (deducing decrees) of mujtahid (capable of exercising ijtihad) imams depending on various pieces of evidence and they are all correct.

In addition, it is permissible to recite sentences of tawhid (oneness) and zikr (mentioning the names and attributes of Allah) like Kalima Shahada, Kalima Tawhid, istighfar and salawat once or more than once.

According to Imam Azam Abu Hanifa, it is permissible for menstruating or post-partum bleeding women to hold religious books like tafseer (interpretation), hadith and fiqh (Islamic law) except the Quran. However, they must not touch the verses in those books.

As for writing the verses of the Quran by women in those periods, we see the following in al-Fatawa’l-Hindiyya:

“It is makruh (disliked, undesirable) for junub people and menstruating women to add a verse among the things they are writing. However, it will not be makruh if they do not read those verses.” Imam Muhammad says ‘in my opinion, it is the best for those people not to write any verses from the Quran’ recommending caution and care regarding that issue.”

Accordingly, since basmala is a verse in the Quran, it will be better if menstruating women do not write it.

By the way, no matter which sect she follows, a menstruating woman cannot touch even one verse of the Quran. However she can hold the Quran by a piece of clean cloth or paper that is not attached to the Quran.


1 Ibn Majah, Taharah: 105.
2 Chapter az-Zukhruf, 13.
3 Chapter al-Muminoon, 29.
4 Chapter al-Baqara, 156.
5 Wahba Zuhayli, al-Fiqhu’l-Islami wa Adillatuhu, 1: 288-9.
6 Ibn Majah, Taharah: 119.
7 Bidayatu’l-Mujtahid, 1:110; al-Fiqhu’l-Islami wa Adillatuhu, 1: 422.

Mehmed Paksu - Fatwas peculiar to familial life

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