Can one enter a mosque during menstruation?


A lady sent a note to Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, referencing various ahadith with regard to the issue of ladies attending [prayer rooms of] mosques during menstruation while mentioning the availability of modern female hygiene products. She asked about the permissibility of menstruating women attending Jamaat meetings that are held in mosques and about giving menstruating non-Muslim female guests a tour of the mosque and requested Huzooraa to provide guidance.

Upon this, Huzooraa, in his letter dated 14 May 2020, gave the following answer:

“The Holy Prophetsa has clearly elucidated the separate instructions regarding menstruating women fetching something from the mosque, bringing something to the mosque and sitting in the mosque. Hence, as you have mentioned in your letter, the Holy Prophetsa would allow his wives, who were menstruating, to lay out the mats in the mosque for example. However, as far as sitting in the mosque during menstruation is concerned, the Holy Prophetsa has very clearly prohibited that in ahadith.

“Hence, at the occasion of both the Eids, the Holy Prophetsa would emphatically instruct unmarried girls, young women observing purdah and the menstruating women – all of them – to attend the Eid prayers, so much so that he instructed women, who did not have scarves readily available, to borrow them from their sisters to attend the Eid prayers. However, he also instructed menstruating women to participate in the supplications [before or after Eid Salat] while staying out of the prayer room.

“Likewise, at the occasion of Hijjatul Wada‘ [the Farewell Pilgrimage] while other Muslims were performing Hajj prior to Umrah, Hazrat Aishara was menstruating. Therefore, the Holy Prophetsa did not allow her to perform Umrah for one is required to spend considerable time in the mosque to perform the tawaf i.e circling the Ka‘bah. When, after the Hajj, her menstruation had finished, he sent her separately to perform the Umrah.

“Thus, after such clear guidance contained in ahadith, there should be no reason left for us to find ever new ways to fulfil our own desires.

“As far as this aspect is concerned, that women did not have the means of hygiene that are available to them today, it is correct that they did not have such modern means. However, this does not mean that they could not take care of their hygiene at all and that their outer garments were soiled from the menses. Mankind has tried to find better arrangements to fulfil its needs in every era. Thus, women used to look after their hygiene in the best possible way in the past as well.

“Moreover, there are definitely some flaws even in the modern-day hygiene products. Such women who bleed heavily, their clothes sometimes get spoiled due to leaking pads.

“Thus, such teachings of Islam will be acted upon in every era that are everlasting and equally applicable for all times, just like they were acted upon during the time of the Holy Prophetsa.

“If there are constraints somewhere to the effect that there is no other space available apart from the prayer room, then one can designate a space at the end of that room, next to the door where one usually does not pray. Menstruating women can sit there. Otherwise, chairs can be arranged for such women at the end of the prayer area so that there is not even a slight possibility of the prayer area being spoiled.

“As far as non-Muslim female visitors to the mosque are concerned, firstly, they are usually not seated in the mosque; rather, a walking tour of the mosque is provided to them, the duration of which is equivalent to the time it takes to bring a mat from the mosque or lay out a mat there [as mentioned in the hadith above]. However, if it becomes necessary to seat them in the prayer area, you should seat them on chairs towards the end of the mosque instead of seating them on the prayer mats in the prayer area.”

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