The Qur’an represents the ultimate source of guidance for Muslims. It is the words of Allah, so it is imperative to have the utmost humility and reverence when dealing with it. There are very specific rules regarding interaction with the Qur’an during menstruation (hayd) or post-natal bleeding (nifas).
The Fiqh of It
Reciting the Qur’an
It is not permissible for a woman, during hayd or nifas, to recite any portion of the Qur’an, with the intention of recitation (Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq 204/1). This includes moving the lips or reading aloud. However, it is permissible to read the words in the heart and to look at the verses. It is also permissible to recite specific portions of the Qur’an if two criteria are met:
- The verse itself must have the inherent meaning of supplication (du’a)
- The intention of reciting should be that of du’a
For example, a woman in hayd can recite Ayatul Kursi without any prohibition. (Tabyin al-Haqa’iq 57/1, Al-Bahr al-Raiq 209/1, Manhal al-Waridin pp.273-4)
For a teacher of the Qur’an, the ruling is that she may recite one or two words at a time when teaching students. (Al-Bahr al-Raiq 210-1/1, Manhal al-Waridin p.275)
Touching the Qur’an
In terms of handling the Qur’an, it is unlawful to touch the pages, verses, or the written copy of the Qur’an (mushaf) itself. If the cover is detachable or easily removed, a woman can touch the cover (Manhal al-Waridin p.277). She can also handle the Qur’an by using a piece of cloth that is separate from what she is wearing. However, she should not use her shirt hem or sleeve, as they are connected to her body.
It is also unlawful to touch any jewellery, cup/plate, poster, sheet, money, etc. that has a complete verse written, without any other writing. Similarly, in a state of impurity (e.g. hayd and nifas), it is not permissible to wear bracelets or necklaces with Qur’anic verses inscribed.
If a woman is writing a verse(s) of the Qur’an, she should not physically touch the paper/manuscript. She can place a separate piece of paper or tissue under her hand, so she is not in direct contact with the verses.
If the printed verses are included in a book, the ruling depends on what the majority of the text is. If it is Qur’an, the rulings of handling the Qur’an will apply; otherwise, she can handle the book/papers, but avoid touching the Qur’anic verses. The translation is akin to the Qur’an itself, and as such, the same rulings will apply. (Al-Bahr al-Ra’iq 212/1, Hashiya al-Tahtawi 82/1)
Lastly, with the advent of modern apps and programs, the Qur’an is accessible at the fingertips. However, it is important to understand that once the app is displaying the Qur’an, the screen is now considered a Qur’an and should not directly be touched, unless in a state of ritual purity.