In traditional Islam, a menstruating woman was considered polluted; therefore she could not pray, fast, or have sexual intercourse.  Menstrual blood was najis, polluted, haram, very dirty, as were all blood, excrement, and reproductive fluids.  Islamic tradition emphasizes that Allah values people who are clean and pure,

Women throughout the Muslim world used henna, and cleansed after menstruation, because the Prophet Mohammed recommended it.
Different sects and tribes had different henna and cleansing techniques, visual symbols, exorcisms, and rituals reflecting local culture.  Henna was frequently part of postmenstrual ghusl, the purification bath, applied in patterns and techniques varying according to local taste.
 
Islam did not create these concepts about reproductive blood and henna; Islam adapted pre-existing Semitic traditions.
Islamic menstrual taboos were based on a concept of pollution and vulnerability versus purity and strength. 

 


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