Read a bibliography of religion and menstruation, and a general bibliography of menstruation, and a short history of contraception and religion.
Read this page in Spanish.
See also the booklets How shall I tell my daughter? (Modess, various dates), Growing up and liking it (Modess, various dates), and Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (Kotex, 1928).
And read Lynn Peril's series about these and similar booklets!
See more Kotex items: First ad (1921) - ad 1928 (Sears and Roebuck catalog) - Lee Miller ads (first real person in amenstrual hygiene ad, 1928) - Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (booklet for girls, 1928, Australian edition; there are many links here to Kotex items) - Preparing for Womanhood (1920s, booklet for girls; Australian edition) - 1920s booklet in Spanish showing disposal method - box from about 1969 - "Are you in the know?" ads (Kotex) (1949)(1953)(1964)(booklet, 1956) - See more ads on the Ads for Teenagers main page
DIRECTORY of all topics (See also the SEARCH ENGINE, bottom of page.)
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepage | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | MUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets for girls (mostly) directory | contraception and religion | costumes | menstrual cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | facts-of-life booklets for girls | famous women in menstrual hygiene ads | FAQ | founder/director biography | gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux | humor | huts | links | masturbation | media coverage of MUM | menarche booklets for girls and parents | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | shame | slapping, menstrual | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour of the former museum (video) | underpants & panties directory | videos, films directory | Words and expressions about menstruation | Would you stop menstruating if you could? | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

Religion and Menstruation

Kathleen O'Grady, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Ida Sitompul, Purdue University, Indiana, U.S.A.; and others, corresponded about the positions of the Bible and the Koran on menstruation in the News section of this Web site. (But there are many other contributors, on other topics, below.)

Read their exchanges below, plus others, and read a copy of Leviticus 15 from the Old Testament, and verses from Matthew, Mark and Luke from the New Testament of the Bible.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for the newest addition; you see the oldest contribution right below, at the "top" of this page.

Mikvah (ritual bath for Orthodox Jews), 18th-century engraving; visit Web sites about the mikvah, behavior during niddah (the time when a woman is menstruating, in Judaism) and Jewish ritual-purity (and more)- menstrual myths - slapping your daughter at her first menstruation (in Jewish tradition) - contraception and religion (by Kathleen O'Grady
Read a letter about the Celts, women and menstruation

For menstruation and early Christianity see

A Discussion of Menstruation and Religion
(the latest contributions are at the bottom of the page)

It started with this posting of mine in the 12 July 1998 News:

Continuing the menotoxin theme (literally, "menstrual poison," a concept that has popped up in European and American culture many times) from last week, I recently looked for other sites mentioning it on the Internet. Through Yahoo! and Infoseek I came across only pages from this site and a site in Australia, which discussed Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion in India alive today.

I think you may be interested in its attitude towards menses as written in Deen Parast, "a famous Zarathushtri religious magazine from Bombay, India," which appears at

Observing the laws of purity is a sacred duty for every Zoroastrian. A Zoroastrian woman in her menses is doctrinally held to be in a state of impurity. This is not an indictment against women alone for even a priest who has a bleeding sore or a festering wound is not permitted to enter the precincts of a fire temple until he undergoes ritual purification. Your charge regarding this custom being sexist, therefore, is untenable. [The writer is responding to a question posed in a letter to the magazine.]

The Roman [the original incorrectly stated Greek] author Pliny in his Natural History (Book 7, chapter 13) states, "On the approach of a woman in this state [i.e., menses], wine will become sour, seeds which are touched by her will become sterile, grafts wither away, garden plants are parched up and the fruit will fall from the tree beneath which she sits." In Book 28, chapter 23, he continues, ". . . bees, it is a well-known fact, will forsake their wives if touched by a menstruating woman . . . . fire itself, an element which triumphs over every other substance, is unable to conquer this."

We gather from the 'Vendidad' (16.2) that the observance of seclusion during menses in a separate place has been in vogue since times immemorial. This custom, again, is not unique to the Parsi community alone. A Hindu lady, in her menses, abstains generally from worship, cooking and remains aloof from other members of the family. The Jews believe Moses had interdicted Jewish women from going near rivers, wells, fire or kitchen, grain fields, gardens and cattle. [A writer has challenged this statement; see below.] The Arabs also observed similar customs and women stayed in separate huts or tents. In the New Testament, there is a reference to an incident where a woman in her menses, touches the cloak of Jesus and he cries out, "Who touched me? My Glory is gone out of me."

[An e-mailer wrote to the MUM Web site in regard to this quotation of Jesus but erroneously attributes the interpretation and style to me:

You list a statement in the New Testament by Jesus, "Who touched me? My Glory is gone out of me." What version is this quote from? Most versions I have seen say power, healing power, or virtue instead of Glory.

You positioned this in a way to make it seem as if it should be equated with the other references to the uncleanliness of menstruation. I feel this is out of context of the verses in which it appears: Luke 8:42, Matthew 9:20, and Mark 5:25.

Actually, Jesus recognized that the girl's faith was such that she felt that she would be healed from her condition, which is described as a bleeding for twelve years. It is generally accepted that her affliction was either a non-stop issue of blood or hemorrhaging, as the result of disease, as is affirmed by the statement that she had spent all of her saving on physicians, and her condition got worse as a result. This is in opposition to the idea that she was merely experiencing a normal menstrual cycle flow.

The context of the verse is to show Jesus' acknowledgement of the girl's faith, not to call attention to the healing, and not as an example of a violation of Leviticus 15, or tainting as a result of her flow.]

Indian housewives, for ages, have known that pickle and other preserved foods handled by them during menses spoil easily.

So is there a scientific explanation for this? Indeed, there is!

Critical investigations by Drs. Macht and Lobin at Johns Hopkins University [my alma mater! Who are these guys? I'm quitting the alumni association!] Laboratory have found a certain toxin (appropriately called "Menotoxin") in the various body fluids of a menstruating woman. This toxin is believed to manifest itself in large quantities, just before and during the first few days of the onset of the monthly period. Research has revealed that Menotoxin has an inhibitory effect on the growth of roots, stems, living seedlings, yeast and affects the geotropic properties of seedlings. [Compare this with the soaking bowls with a spout for washable pads available today (this museum has one); the spout is for the bloody water to be poured on plants for fertilizer. A recent visitor from England (fourth item down), who retired from a career in the blood-storage program, said blood is a great fertilizer, and menstrual blood would be too. Try it!] Is there any wonder our sagacious forefathers recommended seclusion? [The MUM director indented this section for effect.]

We accept the fact that in today's times, especially in large cities like Bombay, it may not be possible to observe complete seclusion. Yet one must make a conscious effort to keep away from all sacred objects in the house or items like clothes which one normally reserves for visits to Agiaries and Atash behrams. Doctrinally, prayers recited by a woman in her menses are invalid in nature.

According to the Vendidad' (16.4) a woman in her menses "should keep 15 paces from fire, 15 from water and 15 from barsam and 3 paces from a holy man." It has also been observed with the aid of Kirlian photography that the aura or personal atmosphere of a woman in her menses becomes dark, dense and putrid. Visiting a holy place like a consecrated Agiary or Atash Behram during menses is, therefore, preposterous and tantamount to an unforgivable sin in nature.

Then a reader sent this the following week:

Here's mail about the relationship of religion to menstruation discussed last week (see also a list of books about this subject):

I was interested to see how closely the Hindu and Zoroastrian menstrual taboos were like the Jewish ones. I have been meaning to say that I thought your site you could use some links to Jewish ritual purity laws and menstruation. [Please send some, readers!]

Even though men with sores, etc., are also considered unclean, it is clearly an abnormal condition that makes them ritually impure, unlike women, where a "normal" condition makes them impure. [See Leviticus, chapter 15, in the Bible.]

I believe that in Orthodox Judaism an emission of semen makes one impure for 24 hours also, so maybe that's a little more fair.

On the other hand, if I had eight kids and were living in a crowded house in Bombay, being sent to a room by myself and not having to cook might not be so bad!

(I'm not Jewish.)

How does Islam look at menstruation? This is a response to my putting up a discussion of Zoroastrianism from a magazine in India. My own knowledge of the subject is close to zero:


I saw your page on menstruation. Great work! [Thanks!]

But I have a question: where in the Qur'an [Koran] does it say that menstruation is a punishment for Eve? You said the Torah, Bible and Qur'an say so. I never found it in Koran.

Could you please point it out for me. [Again, I just re-printed a section of a Zoroastrian Web site.]

And by the way, talking about menstruation and religion, you suggest verse 2:223 of Qur'an, which is not about menstruation. I wonder why you did not suggest 2:222, since it is the one that talk about menstruation, not 2:223. [See my declaration of innocence, above.]

They question thee (O Muhammad) concerning menstruation. Say: It is an illness, so let women alone at such times and go not in unto them till they are cleansed. And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah hath enjoined upon you. Truly Allah loveth those who turn unto Him, and loveth those who have a care for cleanness. (QS. 2:222)

This is Pickthal's translation. He used the word illness in the translation. If you look up other translations, you may find that it is translated as "hurt" or "pollution" or other. There is no exact English word. I was told the exact meaning is: something that cause vulnerability (esp. concerning health) which is correct in the case of menstruation.

And please note that this verse explain that the woman is being cleansed in menstruation, which interestingly agrees with Profet's theory. [Margie Profet won a MacArthur Fellowship a few years ago for her theory that menstruation, in a sense, cleanses.] I bet if Profet were a Muslim, she would be quite surprised.

By the way, if you use other translations, they may use the words "are clean" instead of "are cleansed" that Pickthal uses.

In the original Qur'an, it says "till they are cleansed," not "clean." But as you may well know, it is not unusual for translators to translate according to their interpretation, which might not be correct.



Her message at the bottom of the e-mail reads:

We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them save with truth, and lo! The Hour is surely coming. So forgive, with a gracious forgiveness.

Later the e-mailer wrote:

If I may add: In Islam you can kiss, touch, caress, share your bed, etc., as long as you do not penetrate the vagina during the menstruation.

In response to some incorrect information about religion I placed on this site, I received the following mail from someone much more knowledgeable than I am about Islamic practices who wrote an interesting letter last week:

Hi again.

Thanks for placing my e-mail in your Web site. I really think people need to know the correct information, especially since most people actually know close to nothing about Islam. [This includes me, and knowing more is even more important today because of recent world events.]

I'd just like to inform you that I read the part about Eve's punishment in redspot: taboo,, which was linked to your page, not in the Zoroastrianism article.

However, I went to that site once today yesterday and found that there has been a little change. It does not say anything about Torah anymore. Instead of Torah, Bible and Koran, now it says:

Both the Old Testament of the Bible and the Koran consider menstruation part of Eve's punishment.

I still wonder where these people read this in the Qur'an [Koran] . . . .

The Zoroastrianism article actually mentions nothing about Islam.

It does say something about the Arabs. I wonder whether you confused Arabs and Islam. [Gulp!] An Arab can be a Muslim, a Christian, or a Judaism follower, an atheist, or other. If you ask any American Muslim, I bet they do not put women in a separate hut or place during menstruation, because it is not an Islamic tradition. There is no taboo during menstruation in terms of relationship with other people. The only prohibition is have a sexual relationship that has to do with penetration of the vagina.



Kathleen O'Grady, who supplied this site with the bibliography of religion and menstruation, wrote to remind me that there are sections there on Islam and Zoroastrianism, as well as other religions.

Here's more about the discussion of menstruation and religious texts, specifically Eve:

Nowhere in the passages concerning menstruation in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the New Testament, or the Koran does it state that Eve was being punished by God with menstruation. This viewpoint was a much later development by Christian theologians and rabbinic scholars (I am not certain about Islam). The Christian Church Fathers maintained this view without doubt, hence the "curse of Eve" (Genesis 3: 13) becomes "the curse" (i.e. menstruation) for all women (God's curse was childbearing, not menstruation).

However, the major text on menstruation for both Christians and Jews and to some extent, for Muslims (who also value the Hebrew Bible) simply lists proscribed action during menstruation (see Leviticus 15). A good English translation of this passage will not refer to menstruation ("niddah") as "defiling," "sinful," "an abomination," or "impure" (common mistranslations and misreadings), but as a physiological process (or the time of sexual separation during that process). Other references in the passage simply refer to niddah (menstruation) as "unclean," as they do men's seminal discharges, which have similar ritual proscriptions.

Many Jewish feminists have taken Leviticus 15 as a positive opportunity to celebrate their menses.

Read the original texts and judge for yourself! [And see the bibliography of menstruation and religion.]

Kathleen O'Grady

Trinity College, University of Cambridge, England

A Muslim college student wrote (10 January 1999):

Hi there,

I really enjoyed your Web site and most of all that you are a man and really care for such issues.

Well, what made me really contact you was the section you have about religion and menstruation. I am a Moslem girl and I just wanted to add that women in menses aren't allowed to pray or fast or do any religious thing, not even touch the holy Quran. But of course we can read it without touching

If you are interested in more information I'd be happy to research it more deeply and e-mail you.

Ida Sitanpul responded to the above mail (18 January 1999):

Hi Harry,

I went to your page today, because I remembered I had an unfinished letter to MUM. And lo, there is another letter about religion. I am going to respond both to Kathleen and the letter you have from the girl who says she is a Muslim.

Yes, Leviticus 15 (part of the Christian Bible and Torah) applies the same rules for men with seminal discharge. In Islam, also, restrictions applied to menstruating women also apply to men with seminal discharge. Maybe Kathleen was not aware of it.

In Islam, the only things about menstruation that are unanimously agreed upon are the restrictions written in Qur'an which are about prayer, fasting, and no penetrating sex during menstruation. Other than that, there are different opinions.

Islam does not have priests or an institution of priesthood who set the rules for people to follow, so people are bound to study the rules themselves. If they are not capable of doing their own study, they are allowed to follow people who they think more capable and knowledgable then they are. Even then, they are asked to use their head, so as not to follow blindly. [I find this very interesting!]

In Islam there are five major schools of thought commonly accepted, and many Muslims follow one of them. Many are raised in a society that holds the opinion of one school of thought, and they may not be aware of the opinions of other schools of thought.

The Muslim girl who wrote may follow one of them. Other schools of thought may have opinions different from what she wrote. For one, about touching the Qur'an, many Muslims I know do not think the restriction has any valid base.

Kathleen also mentioned that reformed Christians and Reformed Jews do not follow Leviticus 15 anymore. It is quite true that many people who claim to be Christians, Muslims, Jewish, or any other religion do not necessarily practice exactly what their scriptures proscribe or say; some out of conscious effort to reform, some out of ignorance, and some others simply do not really care. That's exactly why comparing what the texts say (I took it to be the Scriptures) is more reliable then comparing the practice. The practice might not be what is in the Scriptures and may differ from one group to another.


Ida Sitompul

Dear Museum Webmaster,

May I suggest that you get the book "The Natural Blood of Women" by Shaikh Muhammad bin Salih al-Uthaimeen and translated by Dr. Saleh S. as-Saleh, an Islamic text in the English language explaining the fiqh (laws) of menstruation. It is a book of about 65 pages and probably only around $5, comprehensive and believed to be the best in the English language on the subject.

In Islam we see the exclusion from prayer and fasting to be a blessing for women. We are not required to do these things because we frankly don't feel much like doing them [!]. We still make du'a (personal prayer), we can touch a translation of Qur'an, but not an Arabic Qur'an unless we are teaching it (the Qur'an is only a "Qur'an" if in the Arabic language. - all others are "translations of Qur'an")

It is a nice time for women. We are blessed by Allah that we are given a break from these duties [fasting and salat(the five daily prayers)] and since we still keep up with our personal prayers and religious study we do not loose out on anything!

If you are in Washington, District of Columbia, there is a shop in Falls Church [a suburb of Washington] called Halalco. They are one of the largest Islamic bookstores in the nation. I suggest you contact them about getting the book. You can also find them on-line at

It would be very beneficial in your study. I would love to write some passages from the book but since it all pertains to this subject I don't know what I'd choose!

Thank you

Muslim girls start covering themselves when they get their first period, writes a Norwegian girl (September 2000)


Just wanted to say - the MUM page is really great! [Thanks!] And I wanted to add this:

When a Muslim girl gets her first menstruation, she must start covering her hair and body. But my Muslim girlfriends I know here in Norway don't cover their hair before after a long holiday or something like that - it would seem quite obvious if they went to school with their hair in a ponytail one day, and came with their hair completely covered the day after. Especially if her classmates knew a little about Islam.

No matter what people say, and no matter how common menstruation is, young girls are quite embarrassed about having it.


Norwegian girl (14)!

A correction to a description of Jewish belief


I was reading the discussion on Biblical and Quranic attitudes towards menstruation [here] on your site and I came across a quote that distressed me:

"The Jews believe Moses had interdicted Jewish women from going near rivers, wells, fire or kitchen, grain fields, gardens and cattle."

It appears in a longer quote about Zoroastrian sources, I think. I am not sure where the information came from, but it is completely erroneous. [It came from the Zoroastrian site listed there.] While I realize that the subsequent discussion turned to Islamic beliefs, I feel that it is important that this inaccurate information be addressed somehow.

There is nothing in the Old Testament indicating that any of those things were off-limits to the menstruant. She may have been in a state of ritual impurity that prevented her from approaching the Temple and from engaging in sexual relations, but she was not prohibited from having contact with any of the "non-holy" or "common" items listed above. She could transmit her state of ritual impurity to other people who touched her and anyone who touched her clothes, her bedding, and anything she sat on or lay on, but these are the only prohibitions listed in Leviticus 15, 18, or 20. Whatever the source of the beliefs mentioned above, they certainly did not come from the figure of Moses.

While later texts such as the Mishna (edited in 230 CE) and the Talmuds (Palestinian Talmud edited in the 4th century CE, Babylonian Talmud edited in 5th or 6th century CE) do suggest that perhaps the menstruant was secluded during her period (see Mishna Niddah 7:4 or Tractate Rosh Hashana 26a), the evidence is paltry at best and probably only applied to Greco-Roman Palestine where it was still a practice to eat only with those who were in a state of ritual purity, despite the destruction of the Temple and abolishment of the purity system. However, the more normative view is expressed in Tractate Ketubot 61a where it is clear that menstruating women went about all their domestic tasks as any other wife - which would surely involve coming into contact with fire, kitchens, wells, gardens and cattle!

The only prohibition that remained was the taboo on sexual relations between husband and wife. Subsequently many of the discussions throughout rabbinic literature focus on curtailing the opportunities for intimacy during this time when husbands and wives living under the same roof could not engage in physicality.

However, there is a text dated to the 6th or 7th century, known as Beraitade-Niddah, that although initially a fringe document, was assimilated into popular belief. In this text, the idea expressed was that the menstruant's breath, spittle, footprints, voice, and nail clippings were threatening.

Although earlier rabbinic literature specifically states that a menstruant can study scripture and recite blessings without a problem (see Tosefta Berachot 2:12) in Beraita de-Niddah she is prohibited from lighting candles, entering the synagogue or being in a room with Hebrew books. A popular medieval commentator known as Nachmonidies brought these marginal beliefs into the mainstream and consequently, some of them, such as removing oneself from the synagogue during menstruation, are practised by women in some communities to this day (for more information on this subject see a book by Susan Sered called Women as Ritual Experts).

So yes, there is more than enough that is distressing in traditional Jewish sources about the restrictions placed on the menstruating woman, but the fear of menstruants approaching rivers, wells, fires, kitchens,gardens, cattle, etc., is not in any tradition I am aware of. The idea that a menstruating woman would be prohibited from approaching a river is the most absurd notion, for Talmudic law itself requires that at the end of one's period a woman should undergo ritual immersion in a pool of water known as mikvah and a natural body of water such as a river full of spring water meets all of the regulations of a mikvah. I guess I am particularly invested in this subject because I am writing my MA thesis at the Hebrew University on approaches to menstruation in the Talmud.


Muslim menstrual laws

A woman e-mailer wrote the museum the following in November 2000:

As with so many cultures, there are rules and etiquettes surrounding menstruation in various Muslim cultures. Religiously, there are certain rites that women are required to suspend (including a type of formal prayer known as salat, and also sexual intercourse) during the time that they are menstruating, which they resume after fully immersing and washing themselves in water (known as ghusl) once the bleeding has stopped. At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the women in the Muslim community used to approach the wives of the Prophet, asking them to inspect their cotton wads they used as pads, to check whether or not they had "finished" their periods. (Emission of non-menstrual blood and other bodily fluids do not require suspension of religious rites, but do require a minor ablution to be performed beforehand).

The Prophet himself was asked about what method a (particular) woman should use to stem the flow of severe menstrual blood. He advised her that she should use cotton or a cloth. Although another report indicates that for one wife of the Prophet who had extra bleeding (non-menstrual blood) to place a tray underneath to catch any blood while she prayed.

Another hadith (tradition) reports that: "The woman who has a prolonged flow of blood should wash herself every day when her menstrual period is over and take a woollen cloth greased with fat or oil (to tie over the private parts)." (Sahih Bukhari 1:0302).

More about menstrual law in Islam

From a woman e-mailer, March 2001:

I was reading your section about menstruation and religion, particularly in Islam.

First of all, there is nothing in the Qur'an that states that a woman menstruates as a punishment for eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden (in fact, both Adam and Eve have the blame, and other men and women are not responsible for their sin).

I am including some ahadith (traditions of the Prophet - peace be upon him) from the book of Sahih Bukhari (these are authentic traditions of the Prophet - peace be upon him - and are second to the Qur'an in deriving Islamic law):

Sahih Bukhari (translated by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan)

Volume 1, Book 6 The Book of Menses


Narrated Al-Qasim: Aisha said, "We set out with the sole intention of performing Hajj and when we reached Sarif (a place six miles from Mecca) I got my menses. Allah's Apostle (pbuh) came to me while I was weeping. He said, "What is the matter with you? Have you got your menses?"

I replied, "Yes."

He said, "This is a thing that Allah has ordained for the daughters of Adam. So do what all the pilgrims do with the exception of the Tawaf (circumambulation) round the Ka'ba."

Aisha added, "Allah's Apostle (pbuh) sacrificed cows on behalf of his wives."


Narrated Aisha: While in menses, I used to comb the hair of Allah's Apostle (pbuh).


Narrated Aisha: The Prophet (pbuh) used to lean on my lap and recite Qur'an while I was in menses.


Narrated Um Salama: While I was laying with the Prophet (pbuh) under a single woolen sheet, I got the menses. I slipped away and put on the clothes for menses. He (pbuh) said, "Have you got Nifas (menses)."

I replied, "Yes." He then called me and made me lie with him under the same sheet.


Narrated Aisha: The Prophet (pbuh) and I used to take a bath from a single pot while we were Junub (in a state of sexual impurity). During the menses, he used to order me to put on an Izar (dress worn below the waist) and used to fondle me. While in Itikaf (seclusion in the mosque), he used to bring his head near me and I would wash it while I used to be in my periods (menses).

#301 (shortened)

The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle (pbuh)! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?"

He (pbuh) said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?"

They replied in the affirmative.

He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?"

The women replied in the affirmative.

He (pbuh) said, "This is the deficiency in her religion."


Narrated Aisha: Fatima bint Abi Hubaish said to Allah's Apostle (pbuh), "O Allah's Apostle (pbuh)! I do not become clean (from bleeding). Shall I give up my prayers?"

Allah's Apostle (pbuh) said, "No, because it is from a blood vessel and not the menses. So when the real menses begins give up your prayers and when it (the period) has finished wash the blood off your body (take a bath) and offer your prayers."


Narrated Asma bint Abi Bakr: A woman asked Allah's Apostle (pbuh), "O Allah's Apostle (pbuh)! What should we do if the blood of menses falls on our clothes?"

Allah's Apostle (pbuh) replied, "If the blood of menses falls on the garment of nay of you, she must take hold of the blood spot, rub it, and wash it with water, and then pray in (with it)."


Narrated Aisha: An Ansari woman asked the Prophet (pbuh) how to take a bath after finishing from the menses.

He replied, "Take a piece of cloth perfumed with musk and clean the private parts with it thrice."

The Prophet (pbuh) felt shy and turned his face. So I pulled her to me and told her what the Prophet (pbuh) meant.

#321 (shortened, regarding the Eid celebrations)

(Narrated by Aiyab) I (Um 'Atiya) heard the Prophet (pbuh) saying, "The unmarried young virgins who often stay screened and the menstruating women should come out and participate in the good deeds as well as the religious gathering of the faithful believers, but the menstruating women should keep away from the Musalla (praying place)."

Hafsa asked Um 'Atiya surprisingly, "Do you say the menstruating women?"

She replied, "Doesn't a menstruating woman attend Arafat (on Hajj) and such and such (other deeds)?"


Narrated Maimuna, the wife of the Prophet (pbuh): "During my menses, I never prayed, but used to sit on the mat beside the mosque of Allah's Apostle (pbuh). He used to offer the prayer on his sheet and in prostration some of his clothes used to touch me."

By the way, I found your site very interesting and informative. [Many thanks!]

A woman writes about customs in a Muslim country, Kyrgyzstan (March 2001)


Well, let me first introduce myself. My name is Alfiya [who said to use her name; I normally don't], I'm 22, and the country where I live is called Kyrgyzstan. My nation is Tatar. Anyway I have to deal with Moslem traditions.

In all the course of the history of this religion menstruation was considered as something dirty. That's why women of reproductive age have no admittance to mosque (Moslem church) and to cemeteries right up to the present day. And the idea came about that it's a deadly sin for a woman if someone sees her menstrual blood. Menstruation was the reason why a woman was considered as a person of second rank. Of course, during history traditions suffered some modifications. So now we have a "Western" conception about menstruation.

By the way, most of women who write their opinion [in Would you stop menstruating if you could?] say that menstruation is a hell and it's significant that American and Canadian women have early menopause. I think it serves just as evidence of a lack of health because if a woman hasn't any problems with "women's health" she should not feel any discomfort. And as I know (I mean my grandmother's) menopause comes to women in our area not earlier than 55-60 years of age.

I honestly don't know what women used in the past here. But now we have all modern means of hygiene. The most comfortable, I think, are tampons. But it's just my own opinion.

Thank you for your attention. And especially thanks for this site. It's very interesting. [Thanks very much for writing!]

Read about Jewish purity laws

Mr. Finley,

Here are the FACTS regarding Jewish Family Purity Laws:

Please post!

Mikvah (ritual bath for Orthodox Jews), 18th-century engraving - menstrual myths -
slapping your daughter at her first menstruation

Read a copy of Leviticus 15 from the OldTestament and verses from Matthew, Mark and Luke from the New Testament.
Read a
bibliography of religion and menstruation, and a general bibliography of menstruation,
and a short history of
contraception and religion.

Read this page in Spanish.


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