Islam is often accused of dishonouring women which is not only an outrageous slur, but should be thrown back in the face of many who claim it. Anyone who studies religions deeply and sincerely will find it impossible that it’s Islam which has a problem.
Let’s have a quick religious comparison using the topic of the day i.e. menstruation in islam, and whether a woman who is menstruating is impure and to be shunned for it as many people believe.
In the Old Testament, it says:
“When a woman has a discharge of blood which is her regular discharge from her body, she shall be in her impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening. And everything upon which she lies during her impurity shall be unclean; everything also upon which she sits shall be unclean…” (Leviticus 15:19-21)
For that reason, it states in the Talmud that in Jewish law, a couple with the wife menstruating:
– cannot touch each other even indirectly using an intermediate object
– cannot handle an object at the same time
– cannot sit together on an object that moves such as a swing etc
– cannot eat from the same plate
– cannot serve food to each other, etc etc
In Islam however, the only thing which is prohibited at the human level is intercourse, which is for good reason, and even that can be circumvented if there is a legal necessity. Medically, ignore the newspapers which tell you intercourse is good during menstruation. Ask the Gynaecologists instead and you will see that because of the cervix being more open, the proof for increased risk of infections – bacterial and fungal – as well as an increased chance of pelvic inflammatory disease is quite clear. Some even claim a greater risk of endometriosis and have good arguments too.
The Prophet Muhammad (s) made it absolutely clear in direct response to the beliefs of all other religions, that the Believer can never be impure, and by extension *all* people, regardless if they are menstruating. The human body is pure and sacrosanct.
And the Prophet (s) told his wife A’ishah (r) that her menstruation was not in her hand that she had to worry about its “impurity”!
And the Prophet (s) would place his head in her lap whilst menstruating and recite the Qur’an.
And more interestingly, how many times have we heard about the romance of the Prophet (s) with A’ishah (r) and actually realised that these famous incidents were often when she was *menstruating*, so whether that was close intimacy or even this famous incident where A’ishah (r) narrates:
“I would eat meat from a bone *when I was menstruating*, then hand it over to the Prophet (s) and he would put his mouth where I put my mouth; I would drink, then hand it to him and he would put his mouth at the place where I drank from.” (Muslim)
Salawatullahi wa salamuhu ‘alayka ya Rasulallah.
This man was so tuned in how to change paradigms and perceptions, it’s breath-taking. Even someone doing this *today* in our modern, hip, romantic, liberal, sex-in-the-city culture would struggle to pull it off. So what then of a man in the most simple, macho, and difficult of periods 1400 years ago, going against everything and everyone of that time!?
We thank the Lord for blessing us with Islam. And sufficient a blessing it is.