Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.
As to what follows:
In response to your question, we say, and with Allah Almighty lies all success:
The scholars have differed on the issue of a menstruating woman reciting the Qur’an. The three main opinions are:
The first: It is permissible for the menstruating and post-natal woman to recite the Qur’an without touching it directly. This is the madh'hab of Imam Malik; a narration from Abu Hanifah and Ahmad; and the view of Bukhari, Abu Dawud and Ibn Hazm.
The second: It is permissible for a menstruating and post-natal woman to recite parts of the Qur’an, like a verse or two; and it has been said that there is no prohibition on less than a verse.
The third: It is not permissible for the menstruating or post-natal woman to recite any part of the Qur’an. This is the opinion of the majority of Hanafi, Shafi`i, Hanbali and other scholars. Tirmidhi said, “It is the opinion of most of the People of Knowledge from amongst the companions, their successors and those after them.”
All of the above groups based their opinions on various evidences.
As for what is apparent to me, the opinion of permissibility for the menstruating and post-natal woman to recite the Qur’an is closer to being correct. For, if the menstruating or post-natal woman was prohibited from reciting the Qur’an, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have made it clear, and it would have been narrated by the trustworthy narrators, as was the case with the prohibition of menstruating women praying and fasting.
Furthermore, this matter is confined to a hadith whose weakness the scholars have agreed upon. That being what has been narrated by Tirmidhi and others, on the authority of Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace be upon him), “The menstruating woman and the one in a state of sexual impurity should not read anything from the Qur’an.”
Imam Ahmad said about it, when asked by his son, as `Uqaili recorded in al-Du`afa’ (p. 90), “It is false, as Isma`il bin `Iyash rejected it.” Abu Hatim said likewise, as his son has transmitted from him in al-`Ilal (1/49). Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah has said about it, “It is a weak hadith by the consensus of those acquainted with hadiths.” [Majmu` al-Fatawa (21/460)]
He also said about it, “This has no origin going back to the Prophet (peace be upon him), nor was it narrated from Ibn `Umar, Nafi`, or Musa bin `Uqbah, by their well-known companions who transmitted the hadiths from them. Moreover, women used to menstruate at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). So if reciting the Qur’an was impermissible for them, like praying, it would have been from amongst what the Prophet (peace be upon him) made clear to his Ummah, from what he would have taught the Mothers of Believers (i.e. his wives), and from what was passed on to the people. So when nobody related a prohibition from the Prophet (peace be upon him) regarding that, it is not permissible to make it unlawful, while knowing that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not prohibit it. And since he did not prohibit it, while menstruation was widespread at his time, it became known that it is not prohibited.” [Majmu` al-Fatawa (26/191)]
Shaykh al-Islam summarized the evidences of those who say it is permissible, after mentioning the weakness of the aforementioned hadith, as he said, “It is well-known that women used to menstruate at the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and he did not prevent them from reciting the Qur’an. Likewise, he did not prevent them from dhikr or du`a, rather he commanded the menstruating women to come out on the Day of Eid and make the takbir (words glorifying Allah) of the Muslims. He also commanded the menstruating women to complete all the rituals (in Hajj and `Umrah) except for tawaf around the Ka`bah. She makes talbiyyah (utterances glorifying Allah at Hajj and `Umrah) while menstruating, likewise at Muzdalifah and Mina, and other rituals.” [Majmu` al-Fatawa (21:460)]
Dr. Khalid al-Muslih
13 / 9 / 1424 AH