Menstruation Laws in Islamic Texts

Menstruation laws in Islamic texts is, perhaps understandably, an overlooked topic of discussion, but nonetheless important. AMI teacher Nazmina Dhanji was invited to participate in a two-day workshop on the topic organised by Professor Robert Gleave of the Institute of Art and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter and sponsored by the LAWALISI Project (Law, Authority and Learning in Imami Shi’ite Islam). The text-based workshops, held at the Deer Park Country House in Honiton, allow attendees to discuss their choice of classical texts from various legal traditions to contribute to the subject matter.

Nazmina presented the relevant chapters from her current translation project of Allama Hilli’s Tabsirat al-Muta’allimin, which deals with the laws of menstruation in an especially succinct manner as a topic within his legal manual for the layperson. She presented the chapters on menstruation, irregular and postpartum bleeding. The readings presented by other participants contributed to the overall discussion and hailed from Kulayni’s al-Kafi to the Hamasa poetry of Abu Tammam hinting at the issue, and to classical texts from Hanafi and Hanafi traditions of legal thought, slightly differing from the Shia offerings. The relatively small number of participants from various institutions and universities locally and within Europe, made for an amicable round-table discussion, and made light-hearted work of an otherwise slightly cringeworthy topic.