I Guds namn, Den Barmhärtigaste, Den Nådigaste
Menstruation, Sex, Personal Hygiene and Quran
By sister Laleh
”They ask you about menstruation: Say, it is harmful; you shall avoid sexual intercourse with the women during menstruation; do not approach them until they are rid of it. Once they are rid of it, you may have intercourse with them in the manner designed by God. God loves those who are clean. Your women are the bearers of your seed. Thus, you may enjoy this privilege however you like, so long as you maintain righteousness. You shall observe God, and know that you will meet Him. Give good news to the believers.” 2:222, 223
As we know, many Islamic Scholars tend to abuse the meaningful verses of the Quran to benefit their own agendas. One of the abused verses that I would like to write about is verses 2:222-223.
First, let us tackle the misunderstanding of the Islamic scholars regarding these verses. They have innovated religious laws prohibiting menstruating women from observing the Contact prayers, fasting, and even touching the Quran. However, a careful study of these verses shows that God is teaching us about personal hygiene, and there is no law dealing with the religious practices in these verses.
As we know, menstruation is a feminine issue. Ironically, it is the men who ask about menstruation and the revelation is directed towards the men. Now, what could possibly concern a man regarding a feminine issue, except for his own interest in sexual matters? God answers the men by initially letting them know that having sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman is harmful, and they should not approach them until they get rid of it. The phrase ”get rid of it” is ”tatahharn” in Arabic which is the same word used in 3:55 when God tells Jesus: ”I am terminating your life, raising you to Me, and ridding you of the disbelievers.”
However, if this verse were referring to women’s religious practices during menstruation, God would have directed the verse to the women. As it turns out, neither in this verse, nor in any other verse God forbids menstruating women from practicing their religious duties; it only refers to personal hygiene, and the statement of ”your women are the bearers of your seed”, in the following verse proves this fact. A man and his wife are allowed to have intercourse in the manner designed by God, which is vaginal intercourse.
The only way a woman can be ”the bearer” of a man’s seed is through the vagina to the uterus. By mentioning this statement, God is prohibiting non-vaginal intercourse. Therefore, the statement of ”however you like” cannot be misconstrued.
Now let us look at the point of view of the opponents of religion. Their view on this matter is that God humiliates the women by such statements. On the contrary, God is preventing men from viewing women as sexual objects and from sexually abusing women by commanding the men to have sexual intercourse with them in the manner designed by God.
It is noteworthy that the statement ”as long as righteousness is maintained” is there to protect the woman. Please note that this verse does not only deals with the physical aspect, but also moral aspect which does not allow a man to abuse a woman by forcing her to have sex anytime without her consent. Also important is the fact that the statement of ”maintaining righteousness” comes immediately after ”however you like”, to prevent physical and moral abuse.
God ordered the husband and wife to live in love mercy and tranquility 30:21. Therefore, when all activities in marriage are based on this statement, which is the source of righteousness between spouses, it’s more likely to prevent any evil and vice in marriage.
We send down in the Quran healing and mercy for the believers. At the same time, it only increases the wickedness of the transgressors. 17:82