What can a woman
who is menstruating do on Laylat al-Qadr?
Praise be to Allaah.
A woman who is menstruating may do all acts of worship apart from praying, fasting, circumambulating the Ka’bah
and doing i’tikaaf in the mosque.
It was narrated that the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive](peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) used to stay up at night during the last ten nights of Ramadaan. Al-Bukhaari (2401) and Muslim (1174) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah
(may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “When the last ten nights of Ramadaan came, the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive](peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would refrain from marital relations, stay up at night and wake his family
Staying up at night is not only for prayer, rather it includes all kinds of acts of worship. This is how the
scholars interpreted it.
Al-Haafiz said: “Staying up at night” means staying up to do acts of worship.
Al-Nawawi said: spending the night staying up to pray etc.
He said in ‘Awn al-Ma’bood: i.e., in prayer, dhikr and reciting the Qur’aan.
Praying qiyaam is the best act of worship that a person can do on Laylat al-Qadr. Hence the Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive](peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever spends the night of Laylat al-Qadr
in prayer out of faith and in hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1901; Muslim,
Because the woman who is menstruating is not allowed to pray, she can spend the night in doing other acts of
worship apart from prayer, such as:
1- Reading or reciting
This is one of the issues on which the
scholars, may Allaah have mercy on them, differed.
The majority of fuqahaa’ say that
it is haraam for a woman to recite Qur’aan during her period, until she is taahir (pure) again. The only exceptions
they make is in the case of dhikr (remembrance of Allaah) and phrases that are not intended as tilaawah (recitation), such
as saying “Bismillaahi’r-Rahmaani’r-Raheem” or “Innaa Lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon”,
or other phrases from the Qur’aan which are repeated as general du’aa’s.
They base their evidence for forbidding
menstruating women to recite Qur’aan on several things, including the following:
Menstruation is seen as coming under the
rulings that apply to one who is junub (in a state of impurity following sexual intercourse), because both states require
ghusl. This is based on the hadeeth narrated by ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him), according to which
the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach the Qur’aan and he never prevented
anyone from learning it except those who were in a state of janaabah (impurity).” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 1/281; al-Tirmidhi,
146; al-Nisaa’i, 1/144; Ibn Maajah, 1/207; Ahmad, 1/84; Ibn Khuzaymah [??], 1/104. Al-Tirmidhi said: a saheeh hasan
hadeeth. Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said: the truth is that it is the type of hasan hadeeth that could be used as evidence).
The hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah
be pleased with them both), according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The
menstruating woman and the one who is in a state of impurity (janaabah) should not recite anything of the Qur’aan.”
(Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 131; Ibn Maajah, 595; al-Daaraqutni (1/117); al-Bayhaqi, 1/89. This is a da’eef hadeeth, because
it was reported by Ismaa’eel ibn ‘Ayyaash from the Hijaazis, and his reports from them are da’eef as is
well known to those who are conversant with the study of hadeeth. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said (21/460): it is a da’eef
hadeeth by the unanimous agreement of the scholars of hadeeth. See Nasb al-Raayah, 1/195; al-Talkhees al-Habeer,
Some scholars say that it is permitted
for a menstruating woman to recite Qur’aan. This is the opinion of Maalik, and one opinion narrated from Ahmad, which
Ibn Taymiyah preferred and which al-Shawkaani believed to be correct. The scholars based the following points on this opinion:
The principle is that things are allowed
and permitted unless there is evidence to the contrary. There is no such evidence to say that a menstruating woman is not
allowed to recite Qur’aan. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “There is no clear, saheeh text to indicate that
a menstruating woman is forbidden to recite Qur’aan… It is known that women used to menstruate at the time of
the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he did not forbid them to recite Qur’aan,
or to remember Allaah (dhikr) and offer du’aa’.”
Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted,
commands (Muslims) to recite Qur’aan. He praises the one who does so, and promises him (or her) a great reward. No one
is excluded from this except the one concerning whom there is solid evidence (daleel), and there is no such evidence in the
case of menstruating women, as stated above.
The analogy between the menstruating woman
and the one who is in a state of janaabah is made despite the fact that there are differences between them. The one who is
in a state of janaabah has the option of removing the “barrier” by making ghusl, unlike the menstruating woman.
A woman’s period usually lasts for some length of time, whereas the person who is in a state of janaabah is required
to do ghusl when the time for prayer comes.
Preventing a menstruating woman from reciting
Qur’aan deprives her of the chance to earn reward, and it may make her forget something of the Qur’aan, or she
may need to recite it for the purposes of teaching or learning.
From the above, it is clear that the evidence
of those who allow a menstruating woman to recite Qur’aan is stronger. If a woman wants to err on the side of caution,
she can limit her recitation to the passages which she is afraid of forgetting.
It is very important to note that what
we have been discussing here is restricted to what a menstruating woman recites from memory. When it comes to reading from
the Mus-haf (the Arabic text itself), a different rule applies. The correct view of the scholars is that it is forbidden to
touch the mus-haf when one is in any kind of state of impurity, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “…
which none can touch except the purified.” [al-Waaqi’ah 56:79]. In a letter to ‘Amr ibn Hazm, the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told the people of Yemen: “No one should touch the Qur’aan except
one who is taahir (pure).” (Reported by Maalik, 1/199; al-Nisaa’i, 8/57; Ibn Hibbaan, 793; al-Bayhaqi, 1/87. Al-Haafiz
ibn Hajar said: A group of scholars classed this hadeeth as saheeh because it is so well known. Al-Shaafi’i said: It
is proven by them that it was a letter sent by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said: “This letter is famous among the scholars of seerah, and is so well known among the scholars
that it does not need an isnaad. It is like tawaatur because the people accepted and recognized it. Shaykh al-Albani said
that its is saheeh. Al-Talkhees al-Habeer, 4/17. See also: Nasb al-Raayah, 1/196; Irwaa’ al-Ghaleel,
Such as saying Subhaan-Allaah, La
ilaaha illa-Allaah, al-Hamdu Lillaah, etc. She can repeat the words “Subhaan-Allaah wa’l-hamdu Lillaah,
wa laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, wa Allaahu akbar (Glory be to Allaah, praise be to Allaah, there is no god but Allaah and Allaah
is Most Great)” and “Subhaan Allaah wa bi hamdihi, subhaan Allaah il-‘Azeem (Glory and praise be
to Allaah, glory be to Allaah the Almighty)” etc.
3- Istighfaar (praying for forgiveness), by repeating
the phrase “Astaghfir-Allaah (I ask Allaah for forgiveness).”
4- Du’aa’ (supplication) – she
can pray to Allaah and ask Him for what is good in this world and in the Hereafter, for du’aa’ is one of the best
acts of worship. The Prophet [an error occurred while processing this directive](peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Du’aa’
is ‘ibaadah (worship).” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2895; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi,
The woman who is menstruating can do these acts of worship and others on Laylat al-Qadr.
We ask Allaah to help us to do that which He loves and which pleases Him. May Allaah accept our righteous deeds.