A woman experiencing menstruation or postnatal bleeding is allowed to do everything except the prohibited actions. For example, she can do the following:
1. A menstruating woman can say the Basmala, salawat, Kalima at-tawhid, prayers of repentance, and all other prayers. She can perform tasbih [by saying La ilaha ill-Allah or Subhan-Allah, for example] and make remembrance of Allahu ta’ala. In addition to them, she can recite from memory the Qur’anic verses that contain prayers with the intention of supplicating, such as Surat al-Fatiha, Rabbanaa aatinaa …, Rabbanaghfirlee …, and so on. She is allowed to visit graves and recite the Fatiha there with the intention of making supplication. If, at each time of salat, she performs an ablution (wudu’), sits, makes remembrance of Allahu ta’ala, and performs tasbih [by saying La ilaha ill-Allah or Subhan-Allah, for example] for as long as it normally takes her to perform that particular salat, she will be given as many thawab as she was given in return for the salat that she performed best.
2. It is makruh for a junub (ritually impure due to sexual intercourse or semen discharge) to cut his/her hair or nails, but this act is not makruh for a menstruating woman. Hair can be dyed when one is junub or is menstruating. Eating and drinking is allowed when a woman is in a state of menstruation, but eating and drinking without washing the mouth first is makruh when one is junub and it causes poverty. If the time is not sufficient to make a ghusl (ritual washing) first when a junub person gets up for pre-dawn meal (sahur), it does not incur a sin if he/she eats and drinks after washing his/her hands and mouth and then takes a ghusl. (Halabi)
3. If a woman begins menstruating when she is junub, it is better for her to take a ghusl to purify herself, or it is also permissible for her to wait until her menstruation is over and to take one ghusl for both. It is makruh tanzihi for a junub to eat and drink before washing his/her mouth because the water touching his/her mouth becomes mus’tamal. And drinking water that is mus’tamal is makruh. The case is not so with a menstruating woman, for she has not been commanded to make a ghusl while menstruating. A menstruating woman can suckle her baby without washing her breasts. However, it is makruh for a woman who is junub to suckle her baby without washing her breasts. (Hadiqa)
4. A junub person who has heard a Qur’anic verse that necessitates sajda-i tilawah (recital prostration) has to perform sajda-i tilawah after purifying himself or herself. When a woman in her monthly period or postnatal bleeding hears such a Qur’anic verse, it is not necessary for her to perform sajda-i tilawah after purifying herself.
5. A woman undergoing days of istihada (vaginal bleeding apart from menstrual and postnatal bleeding) is categorized as a person who has an excuse (‘udhr), like someone who is not able to control his/her bladder or someone whose nose frequently bleeds or a woman who has an unceasing discharge from her body. Hence, she has to perform salat and fast, and sexual intercourse is permissible despite the bleeding. The bleeding of istihada (menorrhagia) is a sign of a disorder. If it continues for a long time, the person concerned must see a gynecologist.
Question: Is it permissible to say prayers or salawat when one does not have ablution (wudu’)?
There is nothing wrong with saying prayers and reciting prayers of repentance or salawat when one does not have ablution. It is highly recommended to recite them both while one is engaged in activities and while one is spending time doing nothing. Reciting them in a state of ablution is more rewarding. But there is nothing wrong with saying them when one does not have ablution, even when a woman is menstruating.
Question: Can we read Maktubat (a compilation of letters by Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani) and Endless Bliss and handle them during our menses?
You can read them, and you can handle them should the need arise.
Question: You advise that we perform salat, observe fasts, read the Qur’an al-karim during blessed days and nights. However, menstruating woman cannot do any of these deeds. So what do you recommend them to do during holy occasions and times?
A menstruating woman can do the following deeds:
1. She can give alms.
2. She can listen to the Qur’an al-karim recited by someone else at home.
3. She can perform dhikr and say all kinds of prayers.
4. She can learn Islamic knowledge, which is more valued than all the other deeds. As a matter of fact, it is stated in hadith-i sharifs:
(Acquiring knowledge for an hour is better than worshiping throughout the night until the morning. Acquiring knowledge for a day is better than observing [voluntary] fasts for three months.) [Abu Nu’aym]
(Acquiring knowledge is more valued than salat, fast, pilgrimage, and jihad.) [Daylami]
(Even he who has gained knowledge but does not act upon it earns more thawab than he would attain if he performed [voluntary] salat of a thousand rak’ats. If he acts upon what he has learned or teaches it to someone else, he will receive its thawab plus the thawab of those who will perform it until Doomsday.) [Hatib]
(Learning something of knowledge is better than everything else in the world.) [Tabarani]
The reason why knowledge is so important is that acts of worship are performed correctly thanks to it. A hadith-i sharif says:
(The situation of a person who performs acts of worship without knowing fiqh is like that of a person who constructs a building in the dark at night and demolishes it in daylight.) [Daylami]
You may ask where and how you should acquire knowledge. The best way to gain knowledge is to read a book (called ilm-i hal) explaining basic principles of Islam. The book Endless Bliss is the most suitable book to acquire Islamic knowledge.
Question: We perform khatm-i tahlil (saying “Laa ilaaha ill-Allah” seventy thousand times) every week. Can we recite it and send its thawab as a gift when we are menstruating, too?
Yes, you can recite it and send its thawab as a gift during your menses.
Question: Is it permissible for a woman in her menses to make wudu’ or ghusl?
Yes, it is permissible. However, she cannot perform salat or read the Qur’an al-karim with this wudu’. If, at each time of salat, she performs an ablution, sits on her prayer rug, performs tasbih [by saying La ilaha ill-Allah or Subhan-Allah, for example], invokes blessings upon our Master the Prophet, says prayers, or makes remembrance of Allahu ta’ala in any way for as long as it normally takes her to perform that particular salat, she will be given as many rewards as she was given in return for the salat that she performed best. (Ey Oğul İlmihali, Radd-ul-mukhtar)
Question: While a woman is menstruating, if she cuts her nails or if her hair falls out, does she have to wash them when she takes a ghusl?
She does not have to wash fallen hair or nail clippings. It is permissible to cut nails when a woman is menstruating, but it is makruh to cut them when one is junub.
Question: Are women in their menses allowed to visit graves and shrines?
It is permissible for a menstruating lady to visit a grave, though visiting it in a state of wudu’ is mustahab (recommended). However, visiting the graves of notables, especially the grave of one’s master, in a state of menstruation is contrary to Islamic manners (called adab). When going to visit a grave, one should have a wudu’. A better way is to take a ghusl. Do women visit graves every day, so that they need it when they are menstruating? However, they can visit graves when having menstrual bleeding should the need arise.
Qur’anic verses that contain prayers
Question: When one is junub or a woman is menstruating, is it permissible to recite those Qur’anic verses that contain prayers with the intention of supplicating? Is it permissible to recite Ayat al-Kursi and Surat al-Ikhlas with the intention of supplicating?
It is permissible to recite the Qur’anic verses that contain prayers, such as Rabbana aatinaa …, Rabbanaghfirlee …, etc., with the intention of supplicating. Reciting the Surat al-Fatiha with the intention of making supplication is allowed, no matter whether one says the Basmala at the beginning or not. Ayat al-Kursi and Surat al-Ikhlas are not verses that contain prayers, so a junub or a menstruating woman cannot recite them.
Question: Is there anything wrong with women visiting graves when they are menstruating?
There is nothing wrong with a menstruating woman or a junub visiting a grave. (Hindiyya)
It is permissible for a menstruating lady to visit a grave, though visiting it in a state of wudu’ is mustahab (recommended). But visiting the graves of notables of Islam, especially the grave of one’s master, in a state of menstruation is contrary to Islamic manners (called adab). When going to visit a grave, one should have a wudu’. A better way is to take a ghusl. Do women visit graves every day, so that they need it when they are menstruating? However, they can visit graves when having menstrual bleeding should the need arise, e.g., if a woman has come from afar and she is to return before her menses stops. A woman should not visit graves during her menses without a good excuse for doing so.