The Things Forbidden to the Ha'iz
I have already mentioned that menstruation is neither a "curse on the women" nor is it related to the so-called original sin of Eve.
Menstruation is the flow of blood; and blood, according to the shari'ah, is a najis (unclean) substance and so menstruation is also considered najis. But the impurity of menstruation in no way prevents a woman from living a normal life with her family and friends.
A person asked Imam ja'far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) about a woman who gives water to a man while she is in her monthly period. The Imam said, "One of the wives of the Prophet (upon whom be peace) was pouring water on him and serving him drink while she was in her monthly period." In another tradition, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (peace be upon him) narrates that the Prophet (upon whom be peace) said to one of his wives, "Serve me a drink." She said, "I am in my monthly period." The Prophet said, "Is your menstruation in your hand?!" 9 These two narrations are sufficient to show that the impurity of menstruation does not prevent a woman from living a normal life with her family and friends.
On the other hand, there are certain acts of worship, etc., in Islam which are so sacred that a Muslim, whether man or woman, cannot perform them unless he or she has certain qualifications. It is only in relation to these acts that the women who are in menstruation, just as the junub men, are forbidden from performing them. Those acts are as follows:
1. Touching the writings of the Qur'an, the names and attributes of Allah, the names of the Prophet, the Imams and Fatimah (the daughter of the Prophet). It is better not to touch names of other prophets too.
2. Reciting those verses of the Qur'an in which sajdah (prostration) is wajib, i.e., verse 15 of chapter 32; verse 37 of chapter 41; verse 62 of chapter 53; and verse 19 of chapter 96. It is better not to recite even a single verse from these chapters.
3. Staying or even entering in a mosque. One can pass through the mosques 10 (by entering from one door and leaving from the other) except the Masjidu l-Haram (the Sacred Mosque at Mecca), Masjidu 'n-Nabi (the Mosque of the Prophet at Medina), and the shrines of the Imams - a ha'iz woman cannot even pass through these places.
As she is not allowed to enter any mosque, naturally she cannot do circumambulation (tawaf) of Ka'bah, nor can she observe i'tikaf. 11
4. Putting something in a mosque - even if she is standing outside. But she may take out something from it - provided she does not enter it.
5. A woman who is in her periods is excused from salat (prayers) because she does not have an important qualification for salat, i.e., taharat (cleanliness). She does not even have to perform them later on as qaza. Imam 'Ali Raza (peace be upon him) said, "When a woman has her monthly period, she does not ...pray because she is in the state of impurity (of blood), and Allah likes to be worshipped only by a pure (tahir) person..." 12
6. Likewise a ha'iz woman is excused from fasting; but in this case, she has to fast after the month of Ramadhdn as qaza. In his answer to Abu Basir's question, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq said, "Fasting is just for a month in a year while salat is every day and night. That is why Allah ordered that the fasts (missed by a ha'iz in Ramadan) be repaid as qaza, while He did not order to perform qaza of the salats (missed during hayz). " 13
It is mustahab for a ha’iz to change her sanitary napkin at the time of every prayer, to do wudu', to sit on her musalla facing the qiblah and to recite du'as; it is better to recite tasbihat arba'ah. (Tasbihat arba'ah are as follows: subhan Allahi; wa 'I-hamdu li 'I-lahi; wa la ilaha illa 'lahu; wa 'la-lahu akbar.)
It is makruh for a ha’iz to recite, to keep, to carry or to touch the border of the pages of the Qur'an, or the blank space between the lines.
At the end of this chapter I would like to present the following verses from the Bible so that the reader may appreciate the laws of the shari'ah. The Bible, in the Book of Leviticus, says,
"When a woman has a discharge, her discharge being blood from her body, she shall remain in her impurity for seven days; whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Anything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; and anything that she sits on shall be unclean. Anyone who touches her bedding shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening;
and anyone who touches any object on which she has sat shall wash his clothes, bathe in water, and remain unclean until evening. Be it the bedding or be it the object on which she has sat, on touching it he shall be unclean until evening. And if a man lies with her, her impurity is communicated to him; he shall be unclean seven days, and any bedding on which he lies shall become unclean.
"When she becomes clean of her discharge, she shall count off seven days, and after that she shall be clean. On the eighth day she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, and bring them to the priest at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. The priest shall offer the one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering; and the priest shall make expiation on her behalf, for her unclean discharge, before the Lord." (Lev. 15:19-30)
Now surely you will appreciate the words of Allah which say, Allah does not desire to make any impediment for you; He only desires to purify you, and that He may complete His blessings upon you; haply you will be thankful (to Him). (Qur'an 5:6)
9. al-'Amili, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 595.
10. It is necessary to clarify that mosque, i.e., masjid, is different from the religious centres built by the Shi'ahs in the memory of Imam Husayn (peace be upon him) which are usually known as Husayniyyah, Imambargah or Imambara.
11. I'tikaf means to fast and stay in a mosque for at least three days with the intention of worshipping Allah.
12. Ibid, p. 586.
13. Ibid, p. 591.
Adopted from the book : "The Ritual Ablutions for Women (Taharatu N-Nisa')" by : "Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi"
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