TMI, but thanks for sharing

I warn you now that this will likely not be my most popular post with the brothers, or even the sisters for that matter. But it has been something I have wanted to discuss for a while and now seems the appropriate time as I am taking a break from my fasting as I take a break from salah each month.

When I first learned that I am not supposed to perform salah, go to Mosque or read the Qu’ran while I am menstruating, I thought it was a joke. Sort of like being told I should not go swimming when ‘aunt flo’ is visiting. But I follow the guidance and my goal here today is not to debate this.

What I am interested in is how do the sisters feel about this whether it is during Ramadan or any other month? Is it a nice break? Do you feel left out? Disconnected? Out of rhythm? Happy to sleep in?

And what do you do instead? Du’a at each prayer time? Read books on Islam and the Prophet (saw)? Listen to the Qur’an on an iPhone or similar device? Read an English interpretation of the Qur’an with no Arabic? Catch up on that mystery novel?

Maybe you don’t want to share this, but do you even follow the guidance? I’ve read a few articles with a ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge’ that no woman is ever menstruating during Eid al-Fitr.

Personally, I feel a bit disconnected not fasting etc. but am planning to do lots of du’a and listen to the Qur’an in the evening as we enter the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Certainly with everything happening in the world today this is not a burning platform or critical issue. I am just curious about the sisters’ viewpoint on this. (Happy to have a brother’s viewpoint as well.) πŸ™‚

22 responses

  1. My 2 pence as a Brother in faith:
    Islam is total submission to the Will of Allah (swt). This means every action/act of ours is for seeking nearness to Allah (swt) and for His Pleasure and in absolute obeyance to His Command. There is no personal choice or preference or like/dislike in it – specially when it is pertaining to the Compulsory Acts i.e. Salaat, Fasts, Zakat and Hajj.

    Women are given that levy by Him in His Absolute wisdom each month – where on one Hand your Salaat is excused – as in do not have to pray its Qadha but Fast you have to later on.

    A women should enjoy the great feeling that whatever she is doing or not doing is but “Obeying His Command” – without letting her mind go astray with thoughts of feeling left out or disconnected.

    However, on the other hand, I can relate the feeling of a women/girl wanting to take a break of one’s connection to Him (had a teenage daughter – who I know will be reading this – who used to behave as if its holiday time and she need not do anything whatsoever).

    But other than Salaat and Fast, there are as you very rightly believe and have the good intention of performing Inshallah – read the Quran, read Islamic books of History/Hadith, seek/gather knowledge. Do not disconnect yourself from HIM. God Forbid if He decides to disconnect his Grace/Mercy/Blessings from us – hence if nothing at least one should continue Praising Him and Thanking Him for his Infinite Nehmat.

    Was salaam alaykum

    Hasnain

    • Salam Brother. I always appreciate your knowledge and insight, so thank you. As to the first part – that is exactly what one of my friends always tells me. πŸ™‚ I recently read an article that said to not fast and not perform sarah during this time is itself an act of worship, which also gets to your point. So I am focusing on du’a and reading as such. Masha Allah.

      One a different note, I viewed the video you posted about challenges of other converts in the US. Made me think how lucky I am.

  2. Once you are interacting in a community with more sisters, inshaAllah, you will find inevitably there are others not fasting either either due to illness, pregnancy, or menstruation. This does help one from becoming too detached from the feeling of community. Spending Eid alone is much more depressing than not being able to pray that day. There often are events or dinners or something else going on to bring you back into the festive feel of it all. On the rememberance issue, reading, listening, attempting to memorize, etc are all good ways to keep dhikr on your lips.

    • Thank you sister. I think sometimes despite the fact I don’t want to take ‘a break’ I end up getting a bit lazy during this time. So I aimed to do these things you and others suggested – and it helped. Alhamdulilah.

  3. This is completely just my own random thought on the matter, but upon hearing how women are not to pray, etc during menstruation reminded me right away of the disclaimer on my at-home-yoga-video thing (like the kind you play on TV and do in your living room) which was “If you are menstruating you should not attempt many of these positions.”

    I don’t think it would kill you by any means to still perform some of those yoga poses during your period, but then again some of them might be sort of uncomfortable, and since Salat has that physical aspect to it, i guess it makes sense that physically it’s not the best state to be praying in. (Salat has often reminded me of Sun Salutations in yoga, and before I offend any of your readers -no I’m not trying to say that it’s the same thing at all! Just a connection I made personally). I know there’s much more in depth and Islamic analysis of the whole thing out there, LOL, but I always think back to that silly yoga video! And then, consequently think “well yeah, I guess it makes sense!”

  4. One has to be able to fast…..and fasting is not for everyone. My understanding is that those that cannot fast for various reasons should perform charitable deeds and dua to the best of their abilities as is the case for some elderly with disabilities. I’m sure there is a lot of controversy as you are pointing out but the bottom line in Islam is that everything that you do or don’t do is between you and Allah…..there is no third party. Everyone is equal in the eyes of Allah. Inshallah everyone will recognize the importance of the last 10 days and capture a deeper spiritual experience.

  5. While I understand and accept the ruling (and occasionally when in pain, am also very grateful for it!), I still hate it when I miss the beginning/end of Ramadan as I feel so out-of-step with everyone else. As you mention, refraining from prayer in obedience to Allah is also worship, and not a deficiency. The same principle applies for other ruksa (Allah’s concessions from the general rule) such as shortening prayers during travel, where it is considered better practice to accept the ruksa, than not.
    I liked this article on the subject (possibly the one you’ve already read?):
    http://seekersguidance.org/ans-blog/2010/08/29/worship-in-ramadan-for-a-menstruating-woman/

  6. I feel the same as you. It was really disconcerting. You just…lose your rhythm. And for new Muslims, the rhythm once you FINALLY get into it, is so important.

    It’s just really weird when it hasn’t been your experience in life up to your conversion.

    And my understanding is that according to the prevailing fatwa, you can read TRANSLATIONS of the Quaran.

    • Salam. Yes – it is odd when it is not something you are used to. And in the beginning just after I converted I really did not want to stop as I just just getting into the rhythm. But with each month I try to find ways to stay engaged. It helps. πŸ™‚

  7. salaams! You can still go to the mosque (the whole not going is a cultural thing). You just sit at the back and not along the line of prayer (which also drives me nuts when people insist on sitting and praying right at the back when they should make room for sisters who are not praying and want the reward of having their sins cleansed from one Friday to the next. πŸ˜€ As for the prayer thing, it’s for ease. And the Quran thing, it’s purity. But like, make duas and know that Allah intends ease for you πŸ˜€ Lovely post! You raise a very good point!

      • Greetings!

        It’s funny, I find it easier to chat via WordPress than email.. haha.. Alhumdulillah, I can’t complain… overall, I’m definitely hoping this period is the ‘twice the ease’ as promised after like 6 years or more of grueling difficulty, alhumdulillah… I am soo thankful for what Allah has provided. Including such great sisters like you! I LOVE your gravatar pic! πŸ˜€

        Pink.

  8. Assalamu alaikum!
    Dear sister!
    First I want to say if even for a second you thought of a deed but you couldn’t perform you already got it registered in your book of Go0d deeds, that is in the sayings of Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wa’salam) in Sahih Bukhari and sahih Muslim and other Hadith books.

    Here are few of the easiest deeds:
    Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wa’salam) has said: Allah likes ” Subhan Allahi Wabi humdi” very much and whosoever recites it daily 100 times before sleep, on the day of judgement he/She will have light (noor) in his both hands that if he/she distributes in entire humanity it will not end.

    And if you recite it once it holds equal to 124,000 go0d deeds. (Narrated by Ibn Umer r.a)

    Holy Prophet ((Sallallaho alaihe wa’salam) said: He/She who recites Surah/Chapter IKHLAS for 10 times, Allah will create a house for him/her in heavens.

    Holy Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wa’salam) has also said: “Don’t think any smallest of Go0d deed as inferior”
    Sister whether small or big go0d deed, they both carry weight…………..And Allah (Subhan Wa’Ta’aala) has made everything easy for us to earn.

    Narrated by ‘Urwa:
    A person asked me, “Can a woman in menses serve me? And can a Junub woman come close to me?” I replied, “All this is easy for me. All of them can serve me, and there is no harm for any other person to do the same. ‘Aisha r.a told me that she used to comb the hair of Allah’s Apostle (Sallallaho alaihe wa’salam) while she was in her menses, and he was in Itikaf (in the mosque). He would bring his head near her in her room and she would comb his hair, while she used to be in her menses.”

    β€œBlessed be He in whose hand is the Kingdom – He is powerful over everything –
    who created death and life, that He may try you which of you is fairest in works…”
    [The Quran 68:1-2]

    And sister whatever happens with us in this world is nothing more than a trial and it might get stiffer as our belief gets stronger but again this life is very short in front of ETERNITY whose 1 day is 1000 years of this world.

    Take care
    ALLAH HAFIZ.
    Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great)

  9. The only one of those things that I leave off during that time is the salah (as a couple others have mentioned too) since technically you could still go to the mosque and read Qur’an during this time. But, I don’t go to the mosque that often in general these days so that part does not often come up. Regarding reading Qur’an, what I have heard is that reading the translation or even reading the Arabic from a copy that does not just contain the Qur’an in Arabic (e.g. also contains the translation or commentary) is fine. In fact I am in doubt as to whether it’s really prohibited to hold the Qur’an in Arabic during this time though I have heard such. However, all my copies also include the translation anyway so it hasn’t really come up.

    As for me, I am really exhausted during “that time of the month” with numerous “side effects” we’re probably mostly familiar with other than cramping. The amount of fatigue that sets in is extreme. I also have some other health issues that may be related to that and make my condition worse than “usual” though. However, suffice to say the break from salah, and in Ramadan, from fasting as well, is welcome in one sense because it means I get more sleep which is much-needed at that time. Personally, I have no doubt that fasting during one’s period is not healthy, even for otherwise healthy people, because of the bodily changes that happen at that time, so I don’t have trouble accepting this concession for fasting either. However, as some of the others mentioned, it’s more annoying if it comes at the beginning or end of Ramadan or overlaps with Eid. I do feel like I get out of the Ramadan “rhythm.” Plus it seems like there always crop up people at this time who want to know why I’m not fasting (who never appear when I have any other reason for not fasting)! So that can be a bit awkward πŸ˜› (if it’s a guy or a non-muslim).

    I tend to still read Qur’an and even have iftar (including joining other people) at this time to try to keep the same pattern for the most part. It can be rough transitioning back into fasting again though. Also I have been known to attend Eid prayer (without actually praying) if it falls during that time, as some hadiths actively encourage this.

    It is much harder the times I’ve gone the entire Ramadan without fasting (2 years in a row when I was pregnant and nursing); then I really felt sort of “disconnected” then even though fasting was out of the question for me at the time, though that might have been different if I had been around other people who were observing Ramadan. With the health condition I have now I also had to stop fasting in this last week, which has been making me feel incredibly guilty and bad even though the ramifications could be serious, and the prospect of potentially not being able to fast Ramadans in the future is depressing… I’m hoping that things will improve for me or maybe will be more bearable when it’s not as hot.

    • Salam sister. Thank you for sharing so openly! All the information really is incredibly helpful to me, and helps me to feel much more connected.

      I am so sorry to hear about your current health condition. I will pray that you feel better soon.

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