Do you remember the days when after finishing a long year at school we finally got a couple of months of vacation? There was so much anticipation for it and the first thing we wanted to do was NOTHING! We knew that although we had homework or projects or we just needed to brush up in some subjects we all just wanted to curl up in bed without having to worry about waking up early the next day. However if we kept doing this for all our vacation we realized that when we went back to class we had become rusty. We’ve neglected on stimulating our brain, now that we needed to get back to our studies we found it more difficult than ever.
Sometimes something similar happens when we get our period. We’ve been doing all our Salahs on time, our fasting and our Qu’ran reading but as soon as we get our period we fall into this “vacation” mode that makes us fall into this false idea that we cannot do anything during these days so might as well just “chill”. But here we err; this could be the best time for a Muslimah to increase her good deeds and her learning of the Deen.
Rasullullah (salallahu alaihi wasalam) said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah’s is the most regular and constant even though it were little” (Sahih Bukhari)
The hadith indicates that our Lord has great love for deeds that are constant and regular; this means that there is really no “off-time” for men or women from doing that which is right. Even while we cannot move or speak just thinking about the attributes of Allah can count as Ibadah.
Now it is important for us women to understand that our menstruation is not a problem or a barrier that stops us from reaching a higher state. Often we are plagued with misconceptions, sometimes cultural baggage or societal representations that show this monthly cycle as more of a burden than a blessing. Yet as Muslimahs we know that everything sent from above is good and Allah does not burden a soul, instead He has sent us this deen to ease our burden. If we think about it, this monthly gift (as we sometimes sarcastically refer to) it is indeed a gift. If it weren’t for it we wouldn’t have the joy of becoming mothers or of being healthy women. So in order to better deal with this we have to restructure our way of thinking towards menstruation, this way we can pass this positive influence to other women in our life.
So now that we have accepted this as a blessing and not an impediment, how can we make the best of these couple of days? Well below are some of the many things we can do to maximize our Ibadah during our period:
Seeking forgiveness (Istighfar): we’re all committing sins all the time, consciously or not. Your heart needs a regular repentance to clear itself from all the dirt caused by sins, just like your home needs a regular cleaning. It is mentioned in a Hadith:
“When a slave (a person) commits a sin (an evil deed) a black dot is dotted on his heart. Then if that person gives up that evil deed (sin), begs Allah to forgive him, and repents, then his heart is cleared (from that heart covering dot); but if he repeats the evil deed (sin), then that covering is increased till his heart is completely covered with it. And this is Ar-Ran that Allah mentioned (in the Quran),
“Nay! but on their hearts is the Ar-Ran (covering of evil deeds and sins) which they used to earn” (83:14)”
During the month of Ramadhan wherein Allah promises forgiveness for those who sincerely repent is the perfect time to seek forgiveness to Allah for all those wrong actions we may have involved ourselves and to all those we wronged in the process. A favourite Istighfar Dua is :
اللّهـمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّـي لا إلهَ إلاّ أَنْتَ ، خَلَقْتَنـي وَأَنا عَبْـدُك ، وَأَنا عَلـى عَهْـدِكَ وَوَعْـدِكَ ما اسْتَـطَعْـت ، أَعـوذُبِكَ مِنْ شَـرِّ ما صَنَـعْت ، أَبـوءُ لَـكَ بِنِعْـمَتِـكَ عَلَـيَّ وَأَبـوءُ بِذَنْـبي فَاغْفـِرْ لي فَإِنَّـهُ لا يَغْـفِرُ الذُّنـوبَ إِلاّ أَنْتَ .
‘O Allah, You are my Lord, no one has the right to be worshipped except You, You created me and I am your servant and I abide to your covenant and promise as best as I can, I take refuge in you from the evil of which I committed. I acknowledge your favor upon me and I acknowledge my sin, so forgive me, for verily no one can forgive sin except you.’
Listening to the Qu’ran and reading the Tafseer: Listening to the recitation of the Quran is the perfume of the souls, the calmer of hearts, and the food of the spirit.Read the tafseer and meanings of the Qur’an. To reflect upon the verses of Allah is a form of worship; it is something that will draw one close to Allah.
We should try to understand the Qur’an. This will ensure that you are constantly reminded of the commands of Allah.
Ibn Kathir says regarding tafsir of [Soorah al-A’raf (7): 179]:The similitude of the one, who memorizes the Qur’an but does not act in accordance to it, is like a donkey, which carries a load of books, but does not understand!
We should read and study the deeper meanings of the Qur’an and act upon everything we read as this is what the Sahaba did. Some of the Sahaba took a very long time finishing the Qur’an because they wanted to implement everything they read before moving on to the rest of the Qur’an. A woman in menses can read the Tafseer of the Qur’an as long as she does not touch the actual verses of the Qur’an.
Listen to a lecture: You can listen to lectures of renowned scholars. These are freely available on the internet.
Dawah: With the extra time in our hands, during these days we are not praying, we can use it wisely to start a new project. Ever wanted to start a new charity? Maybe your own halal business? Maybe a writing project. The sky is the limit!
Dhikr: Often when we have our period we feel like we are missing out on our ibadah since we cannot perform Salah. So a good option would be to keep track of the Salah times and use them to instead perform some dhikr. Our connection with our Lord does not have to suffer any throwbacks but can instead be strengthened during this time. We must remember that the remembrance of Allah can be done at any instance. Allah says in the Quran:
“Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): “Our Lord! not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.” (Surah al Imran 3:191).
Shopping: Complete your Eid shopping. If you have to buy gifts, do it now, instead of disrupting your prayers and fasts later.
said: “Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make a path to Paradise easy for him.” (Ibn Majah). In this day and age we have been blessed to have knowledge at our fingertips. No longer must we walk great distances to find a book or attend a class. Intelligently using the many electronics we have we can have access to great books, articles or even watch lectures online. But gaining knowledge is just half of the equation; the other half is sharing the knowledge with the rest. One idea would be hosting a halaqa at your place where you and other sisters can talk about different topics and learn from each other.
Charity: You could volunteer to become a member of your local Islamic aid organization. You can involve yourself in charity work in the locality and work for various projects to raise money and awareness for good causes.
A woman in her menses during Ramadhan can feed a fasting person and gain the reward of their fast:
Rasulullah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever feeds a fasting person will have a reward like that of his reward (the fasting person)”, (Ahmad and Al-Nasai)
Dua: Ramadhaan is the month of blessings, mercy and forgiveness. It is the time wherein Allahs mercy is showering upon us. He is the Giver and we are in desperate need of His mercy. So go ahead and make dua, lots and lots of it; for dua is one of the best acts of Ibaadah.
Rasulullah (salallahu alaihi wasalam) said, “Dua is ‘Ibaadah (worship).” (Tirmidhi-).
Make Dua for your dunya. Make Dua for your journey to the Aakhirah. Make Dua for yourself and for your family. And for the Ummah.
Spread out your hands in humble submission to the One who gives all and sustains all from His limitless treasures and bounties. Ask and He will give you.
Dear sister there is absolutely nothing preventing you from worshipping your Rabb and gaining tremendous rewards during the month of Ramadhaan during your menses or even at other times. Your menses is NOT a hindrance in your path to attaining hasanat (good deeds and rewards). All that is needed is your effort, the right good intentions and sincerity on your part.
Some information has been adapted from Habib Halqah