First of all, the Shariah deals with the sexually defiled and menstruating women in very different matters and ways. There are lots of differences between them:
1. The sexually defiled can at any time he wishes remove that state. He/she can make ghusl if there is no water then tayammum.
2. Menstruating woman can not do such, she is in that state for as long as Allah (SWT) wills, until her period comes to an end.
Recitiation of the Quran by menstruating and post-partum bleeding women has been made permissible by the Malikis, Shafis, Hanbalis, Abu Hanifa and a number of other scholars. There proof being:
1. Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim concerning the Eid prayer. Narrated Umm ‘Atiya (RA):
"I heard Allah’s Messenger (SAW) that the unmarried virgins and the mature girls and the menstruating women should come out and participate in the good deeds as well as invocations of faithful believers but the menstruating women should keep away from the Musalla - praying place [Salat (prayers)]. Someone asked (Umm ‘Atiya) (surprisingly), "Do you say the menstruating women?" She replied, "Doesn’t a menstruating woman attend ‘Arafat (Hajj) and such and such (other deeds)?"
Takbeer is a type of remembrance of Allah (SWT) and supplication is not any different from dhikr.
2. Hadith of Bukhari regarding Aisha (RA) when she got her menses on the way to Mecca. Narrated ‘Aisha (RA):
"We set out with the sole intention of performing Hajj and when we reached Sarif, (11 k.m. from Makka) I got my menses. Allah’s Messenger (SAW) 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 Allah (SWT) has ordained for the daughters of Adam. So do what all the pilgrims do with the exception of Tawaf (Circumambulation) round the Ka’bah." ‘Aisha (RA), added, "Allah’s Messenger (SAW) sacrificed cows on behalf of his wives."
Pilgrims make dhikr and read Quran. There was no objection from the Prophet (SAW) and he (SAW) actually "told" Aisha (RA) to do so.
3. Another reason being hardship. A woman might forget what she memorized.
So therefore if there is no text forbidding such an act, one can not conclude that the act is not allowable. The burden of proof is on those who claim that such women can not recite the Quran, and they offer no clear or direct proof.
There is no harm whatsoever in a menstruating woman or post-partum bleeding woman reciting the Quran from their memory without actually touching the Quran.
Touching The Quran During Menstruation and Post-Partum Bleeding
The most often quoted evidences, is an Ayat from the Quran:
"…none can touch but those who are pure…" (Al-Waqi’a 56:79)
A common mistake, is people taking verses and applying it to a particular Fiqh (point). Yet when you study the verse in more detail you will find, in fact, it is not related to the point whatsoever.
"That (this) is indeed an honorable recital (the Noble Quran). In a Book well-guarded (with Allah in the heaven i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz). Which (that Book with Allah) none can touch but those who are pure from sins (i.e. the angels). A Revelation (this Quran) from the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). (Al-Waqi’a 56:77-80)
Put into context this Ayat refers to "…a Book well-guarded," and this means a Book with Allah (SWT). It is not talking about the physical Quran we have in our presence here.
Ibn Abbas (RA) and others, along with the early scholars, agree that this verse is not talking about the Quran that we have in our hands. A Book well-guarded refers to something that is hidden (Maknoon). It is not referring to the Quran we have in our presence. Early scholars all agree to this conclusion.
"...In a Book well-guarded (with Allah in the heaven i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz)." (Al-Waqi’a 56:78)
According to the Tafsir of Tabari and Kathir and also according to Jamal al-deen al-Qasami, this Ayat is not in reference to humans having to be free from impurities.
"Which (that Book with Allah) none can touch but those who are pure from sins (i.e. the angels)." (Al-Waqi’a 56:79)
This verse in reference to the Angels and not mankind. In a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA), the Prophet (SAW) states, "a believer never becomes impure."
"The Prophet (SAW) came across me in one of the streets of Medina and at that time I was Janab. So I slipped away from him and went to take a bath. On my return the Prophet said, "O Abu Hurairah! Where have you been?" I replied, "I was Janab, so I disliked to sit in your company." The Prophet said, "Subhan Allah! A believer never becomes impure." (Sahih Bukhari)
There are four possible meanings of Taher (pure) in this Hadith:
1. specifically it means "pure."
2. free from major impurity where it is necessary to make ghusl.
3. free from minor impurity where it is necessary to make wudu.
4. no impurities on physical body
What does Taher mean in this Hadith? How we determine what it means is we look at other evidences that relate.
1. A letter sent to the Emperor of Rome by the Prophet (SAW). The Prophet (SAW) had good reason to believe that the Emperor would touch it. Some will argue that a piece of paper is not Quran so this may not be such a strong argument.
2. In Sahih Muslim the Hadith about when Aisha (RA) was sent, by The Prophet (SAW), to go into the Masjid to get a mat. The Prophet (SAW) said to Aisha (RA), "Menstruation is not in your hands." A woman’s touch can not be considered impure even while on menses.
"The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said to me: Get me the mat from the mosque. I said: I am menstruating. Upon this he remarked: 'Your menstruation is not in your hands.'" (Sahih Muslim)
1. Hadith that states, "A believer does not become impure." A clear text by The Prophet (SAW). A believer is considered Taher under ALL circumstances. Therefore, believer in this Hadith means Taher. The only one who should touch the Quran is a believer (i.e. A Muslim).
2. Take the Ayat: "None can touch but those who are pure (Taher)." There is no record whatsoever of Prophet (SAW) telling believers not to touch Qu’ran.
Therefore, Taher means believer (Muslim).
There is NO evidence whatsoever that says that a woman who is on her period or a woman who is having post-natal bleeding that she can not touch the Quran. This is a minority opinion, however it is the strongest opinion.
A WOMAN WHO IS ON HER PERIOD MAY RECITE THE QURAN AND A WOMAN WHO IS ON HER PERIOD MAY EVEN TOUCH THE QURAN AND READ IT DIRECTLY FROM A MUSAF (ARABIC). THIS IS A MINORITY OPINION YET IT IS THE STRONGEST OPINION. There is no evidence to the contrary and the burden of evidence is upon those who say that such women are not allowed to touch or recite the Quran.
The scholars who say the Quran is forbidden to touch in the state of menses and post-partum bleeding, quote a weak Hadith which has in it’s chain a person declared a liar by the scholars of Hadith.
"Neither the menstruating woman nor the sexually defiled person is to recite anything from the Qu’ran."
Information from "Fiqh Rulings on Women’s Issues" a lecture
by Jamaal Al-Din Zarabozo
Reading the Quran During Menses
There is no prohibition from the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) prohibiting a woman from reading the Quran in the state of her menses.
There is no prohibition. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did not prohibit it. All we have is the statement of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that he used to recite the Quran under all conditions except when he was in a state of Janaba that is after having sexual intercourse when it was necessary for him to take a bath.
This is the basis, this is the foundation, from which all of these different opinions are derived. So, some scholars made a comparison between this state of Janaba with that of menses.
But of course, they are not the same because the state of Janaba you can remove by merely washing yourself. Taking a bath your state is over. Now you can now read the Quran. Whereas in the state of menses, a woman can not just wash herself then go and read. She is still in that state of menses.
If we are dealing now with the translation of the Quran, translations of the meanings of the Quran, then all this is of NO importance at all because translations of the Quran are not considered to be Quran. So no matter what state you are in, you can read it, you can pick it up, you can touch it, there is no problem at all because the Quran that we have, even if the Arabic text is there too, is still not considered Quran.
The general position which is held in determining what is considered Quran and what is not, is that whenever the words of other than Allah (SWT), in a given text, is more than the words of Allah (SWT), that text is no longer considered Quran because Quran refers to a single verse if we take a verse of Quran by itself this is called Quran also. But if there comes along with this verse, other words, you have given an explanation of it which is more than what constitutes the verse, then this is no longer considered Quran.
This is the juice from the fact, that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) sent messages to the kings of Bizantium and Persia, etc. which had verses of Quran in it. He (SAW) knew full well that these people were going to be in a state of Janaba, that they were kafr and that they would probably tear it up, maybe step on it or whatever.
So we know that it is permissible that once the words of Allah (SWT) are drowned out by the words of other than Allah (SWT), which is the case of the translations of the Quran, then in such case this is not considered to be Quran and as such it is perfectly allowable for a woman to read it under any state.
Information from "Duties of a Muslim Husband" a lecture by Shaikh Abu-Ameenah Bilal Phillips
It is Permissible for a Menstruating Woman to Recite the Quran and Books of Supplications
There is no harm in a menstruating or post-partum bleeding woman reading the books of supplications that are written for the rites of the pilgrimage. In fact, there in nothing wrong with her reciting the Quran according to the correct opinion. There in no authentic, clear text prohibiting a menstruating or post-partum bleeding woman from reciting the Quran. The thing that is narrated is concerned with the sexually defiled person only, as such should not recite the Quran while he is sexually defiled. This is based on the Hadith of Ali (RS). As for the menstruating or post-partum bleeding woman, there is the Hadith of Ibn Umar (RS) which states:
"Neither the menstruating woman nor the sexually defiled person is to recite anything from the Quran."
However, this is a weak Hadith. This is because it is from the narration’s of Ismail ibn Iyyash on the authority of people from the Hijaz and he is weak when he narrated from them.
However, she may recited from her memory without touching the Quran. As for the sexually defiled person, he/she may not ever recite the Quran from memory or touch the mushaf until he/she makes ghusl.
The difference between the two is that amount of time one is sexually defiled is very short as he may make ghusl as soon as he has done the act with his spouse. The amount of time is not long and he is in control of its length as he may make ghusl whenever he wishes. Even if he cannot find water, he can make tayammum and pray or recite the Quran.
However, the menstruating or post-partum bleeding woman does not have control over their lengths, such control is in the hands of Allah (SWT). Menstruation and post-partum bleeding take days. Therefore, it is allowed for them to recite the Quran so that they do not forget what they have memorized and so they will not lose merits of reciting it. It is also so they may learn the laws of the Shariah from the Book of Allah (SWT).
Therefore, it is even more so permissible for her to read the books of supplications that have verses and Hadith intermixed with them. This is the correct view and is the correct opinion of the scholars - may Allah (SWT) have mercy on them - on that point. - Shaikh ibn Baz (ra)
Menstruation & Post-Partum Bleeding In Relation To The Musalla (Praying Place & Masjid)
Getting Menses While in the Masjid
If a woman is not able to depart the masjid by herself, then there is no harm in what she does. However, if a woman is able to leave by herself, it is obligatory upon her to exit as quickly as possible. This is because the menstruating woman, post-partum bleeding woman and sexually defiled person is not allowed to sit in the masjid. - Jamaal Al-Din Zarabozo
These fatawas are from Islamic Fatawa Regarding Women
Compiled by Muhammad bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Musnad
Translated by Jamaal Al-Din Zarabozo