While conversing with a group of international students, a Saudi friend of mine explained why polygamy is allowed in Islam. His points were not the fruits of his own thoughts; they were taken from a list of apologies for polygamy, which were taught to us in religion classes in middle, high school and beyond. One of these points was, “A woman has her period once a month which would prevent a man from having sex for an average of 7 days.”
He was attacked right there and then by the girls and some boys who could not understand why sex should stop from the first drop of blood till the very last. “We could understand that heavy days are no fun, but if they guy and girl don’t mind it on the others, why not?”
A medical student added, “Especially in a monogamous relationship where there’s no fear of transmitting sexual diseases which may be helped by the excess of fluids! Other than that, medically there’s no harm in intercourse and many studies suggest that climaxing during the period eases off the abdominal pain because of the contractions in the area.”
My “unmarried” and bashful friend found himself dragged into a conversation to which he wasn’t rehearsed at all. Student of the sciences as he was, he found himself in a spot where he had to defend why sex is forbidden throughout the monthly period. He told them, he sort of thinks it is gross to involve with a girl during the red days, but hasn’t been in that situation-yet. Googling “sex during period” he was surprised to learn how controversial the subject is.
I was reminded by this story while reading anonymous’s comment dated June 12th. He says, “If the woman has menses, all the men are blocked.” And it struck me how accurate he was to choose “blocked” as a verb without a clear doer. Who’s blocking the woman on her period? The woman, the man or the Godly orders?
Islamically speaking, the blocking is first and foremost religious. That’s how it was taught in religion classes and why after I’d gotten access to all the womanly gossip by being married myself I got to hear newly weds admit in full shame that they “slipped” at some point or another and did it on "those days”. The slipping occurs either because the man was so interested, the girl didn’t mind or both parties felt shy to discuss “which day of the month it was” until it was too late to stop!
Researching the religious basis of the “blocking”, I found it in the Quranic verse 2-222 meaning translated as, “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, then go in unto them as Allah hath enjoined upon you. Truly Allah loveth those who turn unto Him, and loveth those who have a care for cleanness.” Other translations describe menstruation as: illness, hurt, pollution and discomfort.
For the first time, I noticed how the speech is strictly directed to the men, while menstruation is fully womanish and the sex act involves both the man and the woman. So, I reread the Quranic verse above and wondered, does it block the woman on her period, or advise the men against being insensitive to their wives?