Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: Assalamu alaykum

If a woman masturbated without penetration during her period can she still memorize and recite the Qur’an before she is able to perform a ritual bath?

Also does touching oneself sexually while menstruating necessitate an expiation?

Answer: Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Short answer:

1) If the woman achieved orgasm and sexual fluid exited, then she enters a state of major ritual impurity due to the exiting of sexual fluid with desire. Hence, she cannot touch the Qur’an nor recite it, even for the purpose of memorizing. Furthermore, the Maliki rukhsa (dispensation) cannot be applied in this situation.

2) Expiation (kaffarah) is only related to intentionally breaking one’s fast in Ramadan. If a person intentionally breaks their Ramadan fast by masturbating, no expiation is due. However, the person is sinful and the fast must be made up.

Detailed answer:

First of all, in the Maliki madhab, it has been deemed permissible for a woman to recite Qur’an while on her menstrual cycle. This is because the menstrual cycle is a reoccurring habit that lasts for days and a woman is not able to remove this state. Hence, it has been deemed an undue hardship for her to refrain from reciting the Qur’an for days (al-Ishraf ‘ala masaa’il al-khilaf, Qadi Abdul Wahhab). Some followers of other madhabs take a rukhsa (dispensation) from the Maliki madhab and follow this position to allow for women to maintain their memorization of Qur’an, even while menstruating.

Secondly, Allah Most High says:

“ …those who guard their private parts, save from their wives or [bondwomen] whom their right hands own, for these are not blameworthy. But whoever seeks beyond that, those are the transgressors.” (23:5-7)

Masturbation is included in the words of Allah Most High, “beyond that,” and hence it is a major sin. Some narrations indicate that the one who commits this sin and fails to repent will be cursed and Allah will not gaze upon them on the Day of Judgment.

Thirdly, the well-known fiqhi principle states:

الضرورات تتقدّر بقدرها

“Dire needs are only given consideration to the extent of the need.” In the specific situation being asked about, a woman has gone beyond the established need (i.e. menstrual cycle) and committed a major sin, i.e. masturbation. If the woman achieved orgasm and sexual fluid exited, then she enters a state of major ritual impurity due to the exiting of sexual fluid with desire. There is no rukhsa nor permissibility for this in the Hanafi, Maliki, or Shafi’i madhabs. The Maliki rukhsa (dispensation) to allow for women to memorize Qur’an while menstruating is no longer valid to be followed in this state. Hence, she cannot touch the Qur’an nor recite it, even for the purpose of memorizing.

Furthermore, she should repent from this sin and take the means to prevent it from recurring. This includes:

– Guarding one’s gaze;
– Staying away from fitna;
– Asking Allah continually to free one from this problem;
– Involving oneself with acts of worship, dhikr, and service of the religion;
– Fasting;
– Removing the haram and doubtful from one’s life, especially in terms of food, money, and household “family sins” [television, free mixing, etc.]
– Whenever feeling overwhelmed with one’s physical temptation to fulfill a lawful lust (food, etc.) to calm down one’s nafs. This was mentioned by Sayyidi Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi from Shaykh al-Akbar (Allah sanctify their
secrets).

Finally, it appears that by “expiration” you meant to say “expiation.” Expiation (kaffarah) is only related to intentionally breaking one’s fast in Ramadan. Even in that case, expiation is only due when one breaks one’s Ramadan fast by intentionally eating, drinking, or performing sexual intercourse. If a person intentionally breaks their Ramadan fast by masturbating, a makeup of the fast is due, but no expiation is due.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Umer Mian

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