The Quran

Commentaries for 2.222

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.222 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(They question thee (O Muhammad) concerning menstruation) this was revealed about Abu'l-Dahdah who asked the Prophet (pbuh) about it. Allah said to His Prophet: they ask you about sexual intercourse during menstruation, (Say) O Muhammad: (it is harmful) it is filth and unlawful, (so keep away from women at such time) so refrain from having sexual intercourse during menstruation (and go not unto them) do not have sex with them (till they are cleansed) of menstruation. (And when they have purified themselves) and have had a major ritual ablution (ghusl), (then go in unto them) you may have sex with them (as Allah hath enjoined upon you) as you were dispensed to do before, i.e. penetration ought to be in the pudendum. (Truly Allah loveth those who turn unto Him) those who repent of transgression (and loveth those who have a care for cleanness) those who have a care for turning away from transgression and filth.
2.222 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
They will ask you about the monthly period, that is, menstruation and the spot in which it occurs, and how should one treat women during it. Say: ‘It is an ailment, filth, or the place whence it issues is so; so part with women, refrain from sexual intercourse with them, in the monthly period, in this time, or in the part affected; and do not approach them, for sexual intercourse, until they are pure (yathurna, or yattahharna: the original tā’ [of yatatahharna] has been assimilated with the tā’), that is, until they have cleansed themselves after its cessation; when they have cleansed themselves, then come to them, in sexual intercourse, as God has commanded you’, by avoiding it, the female organ, during menstruation and not resorting to any other part. Truly, God loves, that is, He rewards and honours, those who repent, of sins, and He loves those who cleanse themselves, from impurities.
2.222-223 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Sexual Intercourse with Menstruating Women is prohibited
Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that the Jews used to avoid their menstruating women, they would not eat, or even mingle with them in the house. The Companions of the Prophet asked about this matter and Allah revealed:
وَيَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْمَحِيضِ قُلْ هُوَ أَذًى فَاعْتَزِلُواْ النِّسَآءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ وَلاَ تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّى يَطْهُرْنَ
(They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: "That is an Adha, therefore, keep away from women during menses and go not in unto them till they are purified.)
Allah's Messenger said:
«اصْنَعُوا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا النِّكَاح»
(`Do everything you wish, except having sexual intercourse.)
When the Jews were told about the Prophet's statement, they said, "What is the matter with this man He would not hear of any of our practices, but would defy it.'' Then, Usayd bin Hudayr and `Abbad bin Bishr came and said, "O Messenger of Allah! The Jews said this and that, should we have sex with our women (meaning, during the menstruation period)'' The face of Allah's Messenger changed color, until the Companions thought that he was angry with them. They left. Soon after, some milk was brought to Allah's Messenger as a gift, and he sent some of it for them to drink. They knew then that Allah's Messenger was not angry with them. Muslim also reported this Hadith. Allah said:
فَاعْتَزِلُواْ النِّسَآءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ
(...therefore, keep away from women during menses.) meaning, avoid the sexual organ. The Prophet said:
«اصْنَعُوا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا النِّكَاح»
(Do anything you wish except having sexual intercourse.)
This is why most of the scholars said that it is allowed to fondle the wife, except for having sexual intercourse (when she is having her menses). Abu Dawud reported that `Ikrimah related to one of the Prophet's wives that she said that whenever the Prophet wanted to fondle (one of his wives) during her menses, he would cover her sexual organ with something.
Abu Ja`far bin Jarir related that Masruq went to `A'ishah and greeted her, and `A'ishah greeted him in return. Masruq said, "I wish to ask you about a matter, but I am shy.'' She replied, "I am your mother and you are my son.'' He said, "What can the man enjoy of his wife when she is having her menses'' She said, "Everything except her sexual organ.'' This is also the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan and `Ikrimah.
One is allowed to sleep next to his wife and to eat with her (when she is having her menses). `A'ishah said, "Allah's Messenger used to ask me to wash his hair while I was having the menses. He would lay on my lap and read the Qur'an while I was having the period.'' It is also reported in the Sahih that `A'ishah said, "While having the menses, I used to eat from a piece of meat and give it to the Prophet who would eat from the same place I ate from. I used to have sips of a drink and would then give the cup to the Prophet who would place his mouth where I placed my mouth.''
It is also reported in the Two Sahihs that Maymunah bint Al-Harith Al-Hilaliyah said, "Whenever the Prophet wanted to fondle any of his wives during the periods (menses), he used to ask her to wear an Izar (a sheet covering the lower-half of the body).'' These are the wordings collected by Al-Bukhari. Similar was reported from `A'ishah. In addition, Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah reported that `Abdullah bin Sa`d Al-Ansari asked Allah's Messenger, "What am I allowed of my wife while she is having her menses'' He said, "What is above the Izar (a sheet covering the lower-half of the body).'' Hence, Allah's statement: h
وَلاَ تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّى يَطْهُرْنَ
(...and go not in unto them till they are purified.) explains His statement:
فَاعْتَزِلُواْ النِّسَآءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ
(...therefore, keep away from women during menses.)
Allah prohibited having sexual intercourse with the wife during menstruation, indicating that sexual intercourse is allowed otherwise.
Allah's statement:
فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْنَ فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ
(And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah has ordained for you.) indicates that men should have sexual intercourse with their wives after they take a bath. The scholars agree that the woman is obliged to take a bath, or to perform Tayammum with sand, if she is unable to use water, before she is allowed to have sexual intercourse with her husband, after the monthly period ends. Ibn `Abbas said:
حَتَّى يَطْهُرْنَ
"(till they are purified) means from blood, and,
فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْنَ
(And when they have purified themselves) means with water.'' This is also the Tafsir of Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Muqatil bin Hayyan and Al-Layth bin Sa`d and others.
Anal Sex is prohibited
Allah said:
مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ
(...as Allah has ordained for you.) this refers to Al-Farj (the vagina), as Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and other scholars have stated. Therefore, anal sex is prohibited, as we will further emphasize afterwards, Allah willing. Abu Razin, `Ikrimah and Ad-Dahhak and others said that:
فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ
(...then go in unto them as Allah has ordained for you.) means when they are pure, and not during the menses. Allah said afterwards:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَبِينَ
(Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance) from the sin even if it was repeated,
وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
(and loves those who purify themselves.) meaning, those who purify themselves from the impurity and the filth that include having sexual intercourse with the wife during the menses and anal sex.
The Reason behind revealing Allah's Statement: "Your Wives are a Tilth for You.
Allah said:
نِسَآؤُكُمْ حَرْثٌ لَّكُمْ
(Your wives are a tilth for you,)
Ibn `Abbas commented, "Meaning the place of pregnancy.'' Allah then said:
فَأْتُواْ حَرْثَكُمْ أَنَّى شِئْتُمْ
(...so go to your tilth, when or how you will,) meaning, wherever you wish from the front or from behind, as long as sex takes place in one valve (the female sexual organ), as the authentic Hadiths have indicated.
For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Al-Munkadir said that he heard Jabir say that the Jews used to claim that if one has sex with his wife from behind (in the vagina) the offspring would become cross-eyed. Then, this Ayah was revealed:
نِسَآؤُكُمْ حَرْثٌ لَّكُمْ فَأْتُواْ حَرْثَكُمْ أَنَّى شِئْتُمْ
(Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will,)
Muslim and Abu Dawud also reported this Hadith.
Ibn Abu Hatim said that Muhammad bin Al-Munkadir narrated that Jabir bin `Abdullah told him that the Jews claimed to the Muslims that if one has sex with their wife from behind (in the vagina) their offspring will become cross-eyed. Allah revealed afterwards:
نِسَآؤُكُمْ حَرْثٌ لَّكُمْ فَأْتُواْ حَرْثَكُمْ أَنَّى شِئْتُمْ
(Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will,)
Ibn Jurayj (one of the reporters of the Hadith) said that Allah's Messenger said:
«مُقْبِلَةً ومُدْبِرَةً إِذَا كَان ذلِكَ فِي الْفَرْج»
(From the front or from behind, as long as that occurs in the Farj (vagina).)
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Ayah,
نِسَآؤُكُمْ حَرْثٌ لَّكُمْ
(Your wives are a tilth for you) was revealed about some people from the Ansar who came to the Prophet and asked him (about having sex with the wife from behind). He said to them:
«ائْتِهَا عَلى كُلِّ حَالٍ إِذَا كَانَ فِي الْفَرْج»
(Have sex with her as you like as long as that occurs in the vagina.)
Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Sabit said: I went to Hafsah bint `Abdur-Rahman bin Abu Bakr and said, "I wish to ask you about something, but I am shy.'' She said, "Do not be shy, O my nephew.'' He said, "About having sex from behind with women.'' She said, "Umm Salamah told me that the Ansar used to refrain from having sex from behind (in the vagina). The Jews claimed that those who have sex with their women from behind would have offspring with crossed-eyes. When the Muhajirun came to Al-Madinah, they married Ansar women and had sex with them from behind. One of these women would not obey her husband and said, `You will not do that until I go to Allah's Messenger (and ask him about this matter). ' She went to Umm Salamah and told her the story. Umm Salamah said, `Wait until Allah's Messenger comes.' When Allah's Messenger came, the Ansari woman was shy to ask him about this matter, so she left. Umm Salamah told Allah's Messenger the story and he said:
«ادْعِي الْأَنْصَارِيَّـة»
(Summon the Ansari woman.)''
She was summoned and he recited this Ayah to her:
نِسَآؤُكُمْ حَرْثٌ لَّكُمْ فَأْتُواْ حَرْثَكُمْ أَنَّى شِئْتُمْ
(Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will.) He added:
«صِمَامًا وَاحِدًا»
(Only in one valve (the vagina).)''
This Hadith was also collected by At-Tirmidhi who said, "Hasan.''
An-Nasa'i reported that Ka`b bin `Alqamah said that Abu An-Nadr said that he asked Nafi`, "The people are repeating the statement that you relate from Ibn `Umar that he allowed sex with women in their rear (anus).'' He said, "They have said a lie about me. But let me tell you what really happened. Ibn `Umar was once reciting the Qur'an while I was with him and he reached the Ayah:
نِسَآؤُكُمْ حَرْثٌ لَّكُمْ فَأْتُواْ حَرْثَكُمْ أَنَّى شِئْتُمْ
(Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will,) He then said, `O Nafi`! Do you know the story behind this Ayah' I said, `No.' He said, `We, the people of Quraysh, used to have sexual intercourse with our wives from the back (in the vagina). When we migrated to Al-Madinah and married some Ansari women, we wanted to do the same with them. They disliked it and made a big issue out of it. The Ansari women had followed the practice of the Jews who have sex with their women while they lay on their sides. Then, Allah revealed:
نِسَآؤُكُمْ حَرْثٌ لَّكُمْ فَأْتُواْ حَرْثَكُمْ أَنَّى شِئْتُمْ
(Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will,)''
This has an authentic chain of narrators.
Imam Ahmad reported that Khuzaymah bin Thabit Al-Khatami narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«لَا يَسْتَحْيِي اللهُ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ثَلَاثًا لَا تَأْتُوا النِّسَاءَ فِي أَعْجَازِهِن»
(Allah does not shy from the truth - he said it thrice-, do not have anal sex with women.)
This Hadith was collected by An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.
Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i reported that Ibn `Abbas narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«لَا يَنْظُرُ اللهُ إِلى رَجُلٍ أَتَى رَجُلًا أَوِ امْرَأَةً فِي الدُّبُر»
(Allah does not look at a man who had anal sex with another man or a woman.)
At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Gharib.'' This is also the narration that Ibn Hibban collected in his Sahih, while Ibn Hazm stated that this is an authentic Hadith.
In addition, Imam Ahmad reported that `Ali bin Talaq said, "Allah's Messenger forbade anal sex with women, for Allah does not shy away from truth.'' Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi also reported this Hadith and said, "Hasan''.
Abu Muhammad `Abdullah bin `Abdur-Rahman Darimi reported in his Musnad that Sa`id bin Yasar Abu Hubab said: I said to Ibn `Umar, "What do you say about having sex with women in the rear'' He said, "What does it mean'' I said, "Anal sex.'' He said, "Does a Muslim do that'' This Hadith has an authentic chain of narrators and is an explicit rejection of anal sex from Ibn `Umar.
Abu Bakr bin Ziyad Naysaburi reported that Isma`il bin Ruh said that he asked Malik bin Anas, "What do you say about having sex with women in the anus'' He said, "You are not an Arab Does sex occur but in the place of pregnancy Do it only in the Farj (vagina).'' I said, "O Abu `Abdullah! They say that you allow that practice.'' He said, "They utter a lie about me, they lie about me.'' This is Malik's firm stance on this subject. It is also the view of Sa`id bin Musayyib, Abu Salamah, `Ikrimah, Tawus, `Ata, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, Mujahid bin Jabr, Al-Hasan and other scholars of the Salaf (the Companions and the following two generations after them). They all, along with the majority of the scholars, harshly rebuked the practice of anal sex and many of them called this practice a Kufr.
Allah said:
وَقَدِّمُواْ لاًّنفُسِكُمْ
(...and send for your own selves beforehand.) meaning, by performing the acts of worship while refraining from whatever Allah has prohibited for you. This is why Allah said afterwards:
وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّكُم مُّلَـقُوهُ
(And fear Allah, and know that you are to meet Him (in the Hereafter),)
meaning, He will hold you accountable for all of your deeds,
وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
(...and give good tidings to the believers (O Muhammad ).) meaning, those who obey what Allah has commanded and refrain from what He has prohibited. Ibn Jarir reported that `Ata' said, or related it to Ibn `Abbas,
وَقَدِّمُواْ لاًّنفُسِكُمْ
(...and send for your own selves beforehand.) means, mention Allah's Name, by saying, `Bismillah', before having sexual intercourse.'' Al-Bukhari also reported that Ibn `Abbas narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«لَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ إِذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ أَهْلَهُ قَالَ: بِاسْمِ اللهِ، اللَّهُمَّ جَنِّبْنَا الشَّيْطَانَ وَجَنِّبِ الشَّيْطَانَ مَا رَزَقْتَنَا، فَإنَّهُ إِنْ يُقَدَّرْ بَيْنَهُمَا وَلَدٌ فِي ذلِكَ، لَمْ يَضُرَّهُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَبَدًا»
(If anyone of you on having sexual relations with his wife said: `In the Name of Allah. O Allah! Protect us from Satan and also protect what you bestow upon us (i.e., the coming offspring) from Satan,' and if it is destined that they should have a child then, Satan will never be able to harm him.)
2.222-223 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The Arabic word "adha" stands both for illness and for uncleanliness. Menses are not only a state of impurity but also of disease. During the monthly period, women are medically nearer a state of illness than of health.
The Qur'an uses indirect and covert hints and suggestions for the expression of such delicate matters. The instructions, "They should be separated" and "Do not go near them", do not mean that the women should be made untouchables during their monthly periods, as they are made by the Jews, the Hindus and some other communities. The Holy Prophet explained that this commandment meant only to prohibit intercourse with them during the menses. All other relations with them may be continued as before.
The Arabic word amr does not refer to any legal injunction but to the natural instinct that has been embedded in the nature of every human being and animal and is known to every one.
Allah has not created women merely for the enjoyment and entertainment of men. The relation between the two is as serious an affair as that of a farmer and his field. The farmer does not go to his field merely for recreation and enjoyment but for cultivation to get produce from it. In the same way, a man should go to his wife to produce children. Allah's law, however, is not concerned with the method of cultivation but with the demand that man should go to the field and not elsewhere and to his own field and for production.
The Arabic words are comprehensive. They may imply : "You should try to produce children for the continuation of your race",or that "You must take special pains to bring up and train them morally to be good men." Here both the aspects are implied. That is why they have been warned, in the next sentence, that they shall be called to account by Allah for any deliberate disregard of these obligations.
2.222 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
They will ask you about the monthly period. Say: “It is an ailment; so part with women in the monthly period and do not approach them until they are pure; when they have cleansed themselves then come to them as God has commanded you.” Not everything which is a cause for embarrassment and aversion is something the servant freely chooses for it might be among the imperfections which are not attributed to the servant but rather stem from a decree of the Real. Among these is what God has ordained for the daughters of Adam in [relation to] this condition. Moreover they were commanded to withdraw from the prayer carpet during the times of this condition since the prayer carpet is a place of intimate conversation with one's Lord. So setting a time in which the place of conversation is to be avoided is a decree from God not [because of any] sin of theirs. In this is an allusion for it is said that even if they cannot pray which [requires] being present through the body they are not prevented from perpetual remembrance dhikr in the heart and tongue. That [dhikr] is an address on the carpet of nearness. The Prophet ﷺ said relating from God most high “I sit among those who remember Me.” Truly God loves those who repent and He loves those who cleanse themselves. It is said that He loves those who repent from sins dhunūb and those who cleanse themselves from defects ʿuyūb. It is said that [it refers to] those who repent from error and those who cleanse themselves from imagining that their salvation is through repentance. It is said that [it refers to] those who repent from doing forbidden things and those who cleanse themselves from familiar things and considerations [of anything but God]. It is said that [it refers to] those who repent by seeking the water of forgiveness and those who cleanse themselves by pouring the water of shame [upon themselves] through the [human] attribute of brokenness. It is said that [it refers to] those who repent from error and those who cleanse themselves from heedlessness. It is said that [it refers to] those who repent from witnessing the repentance and those who cleanse themselves from imagining that anything is by error rather than by the decree that originates from God most high.
2.222 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(They question thee (O Muhammad) concerning menstruation….) [2:222]. Abu 'Abd al-Rahman Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Ja'far informed us> Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Zakariyya> Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Daghuli> Muhammad ibn Mishkan> Hayyan> Hammad> Thabit> Anas who said: “The Jews used to banish women in their menstruation out of the house and refrain from eating, drinking and having sex with them. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, was asked about this, and as a response Allah, exalted is He, revealed (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…)”. This was narrated by Muslim from Zuhayr ibn Harb from 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi from Hammad. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn 'Umar al-Khashshab informed us> Abu 'Amr ibn Hamdan> Abu 'Imran Musa ibn al-'Abbas al-Juwayni> Muhammad ibn 'Ubayd Allah ibn Yazid al-Qarduwani al-Harrani> his father> Sabiq ibn 'Abd Allah al-Raqqi> Khusayf> Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir> Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah> the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, that he said regarding (They question thee (O Muhammad) concerning menstruation): “The Jews used to say: 'Whoever penetrates his wife from a back position, the child born to them as a result of this intercourse would be born cross-eyed'. Because of this, the women of the Helpers did not let their husbands penetrate them from a back position. A group of them went to see the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and asked him about having sex with their wives while in their period of menstruation and also about the claim of the Jews. Allah, glorious and exalted is He, revealed therefore (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…), i.e. by performing a major ritual ablution (And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah hath enjoined upon you) i.e. from the front (Truly Allah loveth those who turn unto Him, and loveth those who have a care for cleanness. Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will…) because it is in the tilth that the child will grow and it is from there that it will come out”. Some Qur'anic exegetes said: “When a woman was in her period of menstruation, the pre-Islamic Arabs used to refrain from eating, drinking with her and also from staying with her in the same house, exactly as was the habit of the Magians. Abu'l-Dahdah asked the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, about this saying: 'O Messenger of Allah! What should we do with women when they are in their menstruation?' As a response, Allah, exalted is He revealed this verse”.