Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaykum
What is the ruling on having intercourse whilst the woman is menstruating?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
It is unlawful (haram) to have intercourse during a woman’s menstruation.
Allah Most High says, “They ask you [Prophet] about menstruation. Say, ‘Menstruation is a painful condition, so keep away from women during it. Do not approach them until they are cleansed; when they are cleansed, you may approach them as God has ordained. God loves those who turn to Him, and He loves those who keep themselves clean.” [2.222]
If the couple have consensual intercourse during menstruation, they are both sinful and must repent for their wrongdoing. If one of them was coerced to have intercourse, the other partner would bear the sin alone.
In order to compensate for the sin, it would be from the sunna to donate the equivalent value of one gold dinar (approximately $175-$200, according to current rates) to charity. This is in the case that intercourse took place at the beginning of the woman’s menstrual period; otherwise, and if it occurred in the middle or the end, the donation would be half a gold dinar.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “If one of you has intercourse with his wife whilst she is menstruating, then he should give a dinar [of gold] in charity if the blood was red, and half a dinar if yellow.” [Abu Dawud]
The donation should be made to one of the avenues of zakat, namely, poor and needy Muslims. Thereafter, the jurists stated that the husband should make the donation, which is perhaps to be understood in the context of his being the wilful party. Moreover, the wife, too, can make a donation by way of expressing her remorse, particularly in the case that it was consensual.
Further, note that what is also impermissible is directly touching the skin between the navel and knee without any form of barrier, whether or not there is sexual desire present. If this is avoided, the husband and wife can enjoy intimate relations with one another, even if the blood gets all over.
[Birgivi, Dhukhr al-Muta’ahhilin, with Ibn `Abidin’s Manhal al-Waridin (282); Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.198); Mawsili, al-Ikhtiyar li Ta`lil al-Mukhtar (1.42)]
Please also see: What If Menstruation Begins During Intercourse? and: Acts Prohibited During Menstruation and Their Proofs and: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)
And Allah Most High alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.