Q) I was once told by a Maulana that whilst women are menstruating, it is not permissible for them to either 1) touch/recite Qur'an, not even one verse or 2) enter a masjid.
However, in recent times many people I meet are telling me differently, including people of knowledge. For example, a sheikh has told me that it is ok for the women to enter the masjid. I am pretty sure that the Hanafi school of thought holds that women are not allowed to enter the masjid, but I was wondering if it is possible to get the daleel for this so that I may be able to give a better explanation than,"Well, a Maulana told me that this was not permissible." Today, everyone wants proof.
In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth.
It is an agreed upon issue that a menstruating women or a person in the seminally defiled state is prohibited from entering the masjid. Many hadiths state this. To quote a few:
1. 'A'isha ra relates that the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: "I do not make lawful the masjid for menstruating women or for one who is in a seminally defiled state [junub]. (Sunan Abu Dawud)
2. Umm Salama ra related that the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam entered the courtyard of the masjid and announced aloud, "The masjid is not permitted for the seminally defiled and for the menstruating women." (Tabarani)
3. 'A'isha ra relates that the Prophet Sallallahu alayi wasallam called out from the masjid, "O 'A'isha, hand me the cloth." She told him that she was menstruating, so he said the menstruation is not in her hands [i.e. that she could hand him the cloth. Note: the door of her chamber opened up into the masjid]. (Sahih Muslim)
Also in regards to the prohibition of reciting a portion of the Qur'an for them, there are the following hadiths.
1. 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar relates that Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, "A menstruating women or a seminally defiled person should not recite any part of the Qur'an. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Bayhaqi)
There are also other hadiths transmitted by Imam Daraqutni, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Ibn Maja, Abu Dawud, Ibn Hibban, Hakim and others in this regard (See Nasb al-Raya].
Another hadith found in the Muwatta of Imam Malik states that "Only a person in the state of purity should touch the Qur'an." This hadith has been transmitted by many other hadith scholars as well.
'Allama Zayla'i has discussed the hadiths pertaining to these questions thoroughly in his Nasb al-Raya. 1:194-199.
Hence, it is established that women in their periods are prohibited from entering the masjid area. The same pertains to those who are in a seminally defiled state and are in need of a ritual bath [ghusl]. However, it would be permissible for such people to enter a side hall or room in an Islamic Center that is not considered the actual masjid or sanctified prayer area, for instance to attend a dars or lecture.
And Allah knows best.
Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf
What is the Shaf'ae & Maliki Opinion on this matter?