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Reaping the Fruits of Ramadan Whilst Mensturating

by in Ramadan on 20th May, 2019

Having that time of the month during Ramadan often arouses mixed feelings: relief, frustration, or disappointment. We might be ready to take a fasting vacation, or we might become frustrated that we’re about to lose all the momentum that we’ve built. We might feel excluded from the congregation because we can’t partake in prayer and fasting, and we might even be shy about exercising our right to eat during the daytime. 

Remember: Although you are excused from praying and fasting: Ramadan is for you 100%, just like it is for everyone else. After all, someone may fast and pray the whole Ramadan and they have done nothing but starved and parched themselves, while a woman who could have missed every fast and prayer (like if she’s very pregnant or nursing) could have gained so much from the month. It’s what you make of it all, and what you gain from your fasts and prayers. You learn to humble your ego by fasting? When you’re excused, humble your ego by other means. Connect to Allah ﷻ during prayer? Connect by other means.

Allah ﷻ is not disadvantaging you, your period was planned for you. It would not do justice to God’s mercy to think that you get less. He gives us equal chances based on our capacities.

The fast is to understand this principle: “I want, but I cannot.” Controlling the ego by controlling stomach, desires, the tongue, etc. If you yearn to fast and pray, let the lessons of patience you learn through fasting manifest during this time, when you want to fast and pray: “I want, but I cannot.” You are patient with your circumstance despite the frustration with it.

How to keep from losing momentum

1) Don’t call it a break

It means you will simply worship by different means (easier said than done, I know)  Instead of prayer: sit during each prayer time for a couple of minutes and do dhikr, meditation, and dua. The Prophet ﷺ advised this! It keeps your prayer schedule consistent. Truth is if you could pray you would, so why not do the very best you can to uphold the routine of remembering Allah in your day?

2) You’re not just fasting from food and drink

 Fast from talking, excessive sleep, excessive phone use. If you feel the need to talk a lot or bring up your opinion, just try to hold yourself sometimes. (not completely mute, just holding your tongue on occasion) The less you talk, the more you think. Choose your words carefully. Both Prophet Zakariyyah and Sayyida Maryam (as) were ordered to fast from talking before. The whole point of these fasts is to train yourself to not have what you and/or your body wants or craves all the time.

3) Evaluate how your fasts and prayers were before.

 Use this to improve once you get back on it. Did you complain a lot from hunger, or eat too much at iftar? Are you lulled to sleep during taraweeh? Be honest with yourself and set goals to fix it when you can pray again.

4) Make dhikr goals

 We’re usually told to “do dhikr” and it ends there. You should actually create a school of dhikr for yourself. Your favorite supplications, make goals for how many you want to do each of them each day. Think of longer supplications, ones where you can indulge in the meaning each time. Prayers on the Prophet ﷺ.

 Examples:

  • سبحان الله وبحمده سبحان الله العظيم  – Washes away sins as if they were foam on the sea 
  • حسبي الله لا إله إلا هو رب العرش العظيم   morning and evening – you may get what you ask for in the dunya and aakhira.
  • الحمد لله and think about a different blessing each time

5) Internalise the blessing of your cycle

Sincerely try to be grateful for your cycle, this means you’re healthy. Many women live in anxiety over when they’ll get their next period because of various health problems, and have fertility issues because of this. Try to acknowledge this blessing, although there may be so much pain and headache that comes with.

6) Stay in touch with the Quran

Listen to the Quran, join gatherings of Quran reading. Engage with the Quran as much as you can, based on the principles of your fiqhi madhab/school of thought that you follow. If you are a Quran student and you memorize and review Quran, don’t abandon your revision.

7) Don’t ditch taraweeh

If you are able to attend your taraweeh prayers at the masjid by sitting away from the prayer area but can still listen and follow along, do so. Follow along with the recitation, try to maintain the khushu’ that you would if you were praying, and do dhikr and make duaa while the jama’a is in rukuu’ and sujood. Avoid talking and try to be alone with Allah ﷻ as much as you can during this time.

8) Don’t watch TV/listen to music

This applies to all of Ramadan but it especially applies here because it comes with the “break” sort of mindset. Hold yourself accountable for thinking that you should do/are only capable of less. Imagine that the year is a desert and Ramadan is a month of rain, and you’re trying to collect as much water as possible.

9) Give sadaqa.

 Try to give an amount per day and make duaa before and after you do so, and use it as a means of tawbah. Tawbah acceptance and sadaqa go hand in hand; it’s all about letting go of things you want to keep, for the sake of Allah ﷻ.

10) Get closer to the Prophet (saw)

Fall in love with him and be vigilant about performing as much sunnahs in your knowledge that you can. Yasir Qadhi’s lecture series is apparently amazing as I’ve heard from other people. If you’re spending less time praying and reading Quran, fill it with something different.

11) Read

Again if you aren’t reading Quran during this time, please make up for it. The whole idea is to do all that you can up to the point of your capability.

12) Sit among those who are praying and fasting

Don’t keep yourself from attending prayers and qiyaams because you cannot pray. Your presence in the masjid has much barakah, and this will give you quiet time for the dhikr and duaa you can make while others stand up to pray.

13) What about Laylat al Qadr?

What is the point of Laylat al Qadr? It is to being granted pardoning from Allah swt. Not just forgiveness, but PARDONING– not only are you forgiven, but it is wiped from your kitaab, and Allah swt says “forget about it.” Your duaa is accepted during this night, and good deeds are worth more than 1000 months. If you’re excused from praying and fasting, you can reap the benefit of Laylat al Qadr just like the one who is fasting and praying can. Remember to go heavy on your duaa, and do extra tasbeeh to account for all the tasbeeh that you would have done had you prayed. Take advantage of your nourishment throughout the day so that you have energy in the night.

Are you anticipating your period within the next few days?

When you ARE praying, don’t be lazy, don’t skip out. Prove to Allah swt that during the times when you are able to pray and fast, you take advantage to the fullest. When you’re on your period and you tell Allah swt, “Ya Allah, if I could pray, I would,” then it will have meaning.

Remember to take care of your body in your time of menstruation and EAT. Don’t end up eating/drinking close to nothing because you’re hiding from your family. Allah swt actually put your body’s rights over your worship here, for a reason. You need to stay hydrated and well nourished, especially in this heat and in the condition of your body. Your body does not belong to you, so treat it with the respect it deserves. This includes hygiene too.

Keep me in your duaas. Grant us ease during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Sara Alattar

Sara Alattar

Sara, is a Muslim Syrian-American, recent graduate, and student of knowledge who is passionate about community and charity grassroots work. She is a community organizer from Chicago. Follow her on Twitter @damuskus