Can a woman enter a mosque during her menstrual period?

Short Answer

Yes, when there is a good reason to do so such as attending a class or important event that is not available elsewhere.

Reason for Asking the Question

Many people were taught that it is prohibited for a woman to enter the prayer area of a mosque during menstruation. Since many important classes and events occur in this area, the questioner wants to know if there is a legitimate difference of opinion on this issue so they can safely follow the other opinion sometimes.

What the Qur’an and Sunnah Say

“Believers. Do not approach prayer while intoxicated until you are aware of what you say, nor in a state of (full) impurity—unless you merely pass through (the mosque)—until you have bathed.” (Qur’an 4:43)

Prophet: “The mosque is not permitted for anyone who needs a bath (junub) or for a menstruating woman.” (all scholars graded this hadith weak)

What the Scholars Said

All four major schools of thought said it is prohibited: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali.

Al-Muzani (from the Shafi’i school) and Ibn Hazm both argued that the evidence prohibiting women from being in the prayer area of a masjid is weak and therefore should not be considered.

Advice

The overwhelming majority of scholars throughout history considered it prohibited. However, since 1) the evidence for prohibition does not appear to be very strong, 2) there are at least two highly respected scholars who considered it allowed, and 3) there is a significant benefit that can be achieved by following this opinion, I slightly lean towards the legitimacy of this opinion. Nonetheless, since this view contradicts the vast majority of what scholars have said, it is best to take precautions and restrict this practice to only when it is quite important to do so.

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Shaykh Mustafa Umar