It is not stated who these people were who held the view that Aisha denied, but the viewthat the three quru referred rather to menstrual periods was said to have been held by over ten prestigious companion, including,
Umar, Ali and Ibn Masud,
and also, among theMadinian Successors, Said ibn al-Musayyab, and it later became that of the Iraqis.
Nevertheless, despite Sa’id Ibn al-Musayyabs contrary opinion [which would seem tolimit the generality of Abu Bakr ibn Abd al-Rahmans comment mentioned above], therewould seem to have been a large measure of agreement in Madina by the turn of thecentury that the three quru referred to three periods of purity rather than three menstrual periods.Malik himself, as so often in the Muwatta, gives no clear explanation for the Madenanview beyond the fact that it is Madinan amal[wa-huwa l-amr indana]. However, he doesinclude prophetic Hadith at the beginning of the same chapter which gives us a clue to thereasoning behind this amal, namely the hadith referred to earlier about ibn umarsincorrect divorce [he divorced his wife while she was menstruating and was told by theProphet to take her back as his wife, wait until she became pure again after her nextmenstrual period, and then divorce her if he wished at the beginning of that second periodof purity, this being the idda at which Allah has commanded that women be divorced]
.This was seen as a clear statement that it was not correct for a man to divorce his wifewhile she was menstruating; rather, he should do so during a period of purity in which hehas not had intercourse with her. [indeed, divorce should preferably take place at the beginning of such a period of purity, this being the judgment contained in Ibn Umar’sreading of ‘fa-talliquhunna li-
iddatihinna’, i.e at the beginning of the time whentheir idda may correctly begin, and not just at any acceptable time]
.Since this showed that the idda should begin during a period of purity, the conclusion wasthat menstrual periods themselves were not what was ‘counted’ [as in Q65: l’s wa-ahsu l-idda- and count the idda] in order to determine when the idda was over. Rather it was the periods of purity that were important, and the ‘three quru’ were therefore taken to refer tothree periods of purity, with no consideration being given to the menstrual periods.
This judgment is further emphasized by a report at the end of the chapter to the effect thatthe wife of one of the Ansar had asked her husband for a divorce and he told her to lethim know firstly when her period began and then when it finished, at which point hedivorced her, after which Malik sums up the chapter by saying, ‘This is the best that Ihave heard about this.’
Al-Shafii who agreed with malik on the Madinan view
, adduces this same argument inhis Kitab al-Umm, but adds the linguistic argument that the original meaning of the rootqara’a was ‘to gather’, as in the expressions huwa yaqri l-ma fi hawdihi [He is gatheringfood in his jaw’],
and that this meaning was much better suited to periods of purity,during which the blood ‘gathered’ in the womb, than to menstrual periods, when the blood was released.