What is menstruation in Islam and what should women do

What is menstruation according to Islam? Some of them tell that Islam have discriminate woman in menstruation by calling that menstruation is an impurity. Whereas the most exact translation for “adza” is not impurity but illness. Then the translation of 2:222 should be:

“They question thee (O Muhammad) concerning menstruation. Say: It is “adza” (an illness), so let women alone at such times and go not in unto them till they are cleansed (يطهرن). And when they have cleansed (after bathing) themselves, then go in unto them as Allah hath enjoined upon you. Trully Allah loveth those who turn unto Him, and loveth those who have a care for cleanness (al-Baqara 2:222)”

This translation also supported by what shahaba (those who become friends of the prophet) doings when their wife during menstruation as narrated in hadith Bukhari:292 : ” related from ‘Urwa that he was asked, “Can a menstruating woman serve me? Can a woman who is in janaba come near me?” ‘Urwa said, “None of that bothers me. All of those women could serve me and there is no harm for anyone in that. ‘A’isha told me that she used to comb the head of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while she was menstruating and while the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was in i’tikaf (retreat) in the mosque. He would move his head near to her, she being in her room, and she would comb his hair while she was menstruating.”

In relations to this illness, Islam set rules to women in menstruation, what they may dos and don’ts with the aim not to make them difficult. These are what the may dos and don’ts:

  1. They may do anything exept what they don’ts as can be seen in hadith narrated by Bukhari above
  2. They may hear her husband reciting Quran as narrated in Bukhari:293 that  A’isha said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to recline on my lap while I was menstruating and recite the Qur’an.” Not only hear someone reciting quran, she even may recite it as reported by Umm ‘Attiya that they were ordered to let menstruating women go out [for the prayer] and call out takbirs together with the men’s takbirs and make supplication
  3. The menstruating women may being present at the two ‘Id festivals and other meetings of the Muslims but staying away from the place of prayer as narrated in Bukhari:318 from Hafsa
  4. They are recommended wearing a special garment for menstruation other than the clothes worn during the time of the clean period as reported in Bukhari:317 that Umm Salama wear a black woollen cover when she started her menstrual period. The aim of this is to facilitate her husband quickly recognise that she was in her menstruation.
  5. Fondling and sleep with her husband but not having coitus as narrated in bukhari: 294 (the prophet asked ‘Aisha to laid down with him under the cover while she was in menstruating) and bukhari:296 that ‘Aisha and the prophet were fondled while she was in menstruating, but she should put on a waist-wrapper
  6. They may not having sex with his husband as cited from al-Baqara 2:222 above
  7. They may not doing shalaat (praying) nor fasting as narrated in Bukhari:298 that Abu Sa’id al-Khudri told that the prophet said about the woman in mestruating: she neither prays nor fasts.
  8. They may perform all the duties of the hajj except for tawaf of the House as documented in Bukhari:299 from ‘Aisha when she was in haj and start menstruating, the prophet said: ” ‘This is something which Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam so do everything someone on hajj does but do not do tawaf of the House until you are pure.'”
  9. Doing ghusl (bathing) and uses parfumes once she finished her menstruating as reported by ‘Aisha that the prophet told her how to wash, saying, ‘Take a piece of cloth scented with musk and purify yourself with it by  wiping off any traces of blood with it.'” (Bukhari:308)
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