Association during Menstruation

Comment by Dr. Basharat Ahmad

The Light (Pakistan), 8th January 1933 Issue (Vol. 12, No. 2, p. 5)


Your reply to Mr. Ibrahim’s lengthy discourse in your last issue is perfectly reasonable. I wish only to clear up a particular point which the learned writer has unnecessarily laboured beyond all proportion. It is the word Qurb. Quoting a number of verses containing this word, he deduces the conclusion that the Quran enjoins to shun the very touch of woman in the verse:

لَا تَقۡرَبُوۡہُنَّ حَتّٰی یَطۡہُرۡنَ ۚ

“Do not go near them till they have become pure.” [The Holy Quran, 2:222]

Such a view will reduce the whole relationship between a man and a woman to a farce. If the word is stretched to that extreme limit as to avoid all nearness to woman, all association becomes impossible between the husband and the wife. They must not live and dine together. They must not sit together. They must not live in the same room — nay, not even in the same house. That is also nearness. If the wife has the misfortune to fall ill during the “course”, the husband must render her no help. For, he must not go near her. In fact, no Musalman [Muslim] can come to her aid. The Quran, according to your learned correspondent, forbids going near her. All that could be done for her would be to ask the help of Hindus or Christians, who, not subject to the Quranic injunction, would be free to come near her. No Muslim doctor can treat her, no Muslim relation can come to inquire after her health. She at once becomes an “untouchable”.

This can never be the intention of the verse in question. The writer commits the mistake of thrusting the same sense on the word Qurb in the various contexts. It is not necessary that a word should have the same meaning in every context. With the change of context, the sense may certainly change too. The word Qurb does not only mean physical proximity, as the writer supposes, but it is a refined way of expressing a rather delicate thing — viz, intercourse between man and woman. The Quran has had to touch upon these topics, but it has taken every care to see that the words used are most refined and do not in the least jar upon one’s sense of decency. The context clearly shows that nothing, but intercourse is prohibited.

Dr. Basharat Ahmad

[No more controversy please. — Editor]