Closed Doors and Opened Eyes: Spirituality for the Non-Fasting


Originally posted in August 2009 | Updated and revised

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Ramadan is a blessed time of year often characterized by certain specific forms of worship. Fasting, reading Qur’an and performing salah (five times a day prayer) are the main focus of many people’s time and energy during this month. However, for most women a portion of Ramadan – or in some cases the month in its entirety – passes by without being able to engage in these acts, due namely to menstruation or postnatal bleeding. Often this leads us to feeling disconnected from the sacredness and specialness of Ramadan, and feeling deprived of that spiritual rejuvenation and increase in faith many believers experience in these days.

In order for us to find a sense of spirituality during this time, we may need to amend our way of thinking about it, and perhaps even the paradigm we construct about worship and spirituality as a whole.

The vast majority of women’s lives are structured in such a way that there are intervals of time in which worship is restricted. Firstly, we must understand and appreciate this as part of Allah’s creation, which He has fashioned in perfection, order and beauty. He has created us in the best of molds1, and this includes the varying physical phases we experience. A similar pattern can be found in many aspects of His creation. God grants set phases for such things as in the sun and the moon,2 and even assigns certain days for triumph and for failure in the lives of man, as He states in Surat Al-`Imran: “Such days (of varying fortunes) We give to men and men by turns: that Allah may know those who believe and may choose witnesses from among you.”3

We are told in the Qur’an that for everything Allah has “appointed a due proportion,”4 that “for every matter there is an appointed time given,”5 and we can include in this our physiological cycles. Everything is done with a set purpose in a set time; “what has passed you by was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to pass you by.”6 Recognizing and believing in this is a righteous action on our part, an action of the heart and mind in confirming that Allah indeed is the One who controls and manages everything in a perfect order, and that His will is always realized in the best time, manner, and place.

It is also important for us to understand that in the times of menstruation or post-natal bleeding, one is not ‘dirty’ as we may have been taught culturally. While blood itself is considered a material impurity (najas), a menstruating woman or one with post-natal bleeding is considered to be in a state of ‘ritual impurity’ (hadath). This distinction, which can be found in any basic text of Islamic jurisprudence, is not insignificant. Being in a state of ritual impurity really has no deeper connotation or implication as to a person’s worth or standing before Allah. Both men and women are at times in this state, and ritual purity (tahara) and ritual impurity are interesting concepts that are not always connected with what we would normally consider ‘filthy’ or ‘clean.’ For example, one can perform tayammum, literally dusting one’s hands and face with earth, and then legally be considered in a state of ritual purity.7 There is even a hadith in which ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrates that at a time when she happened to be on her menses, the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) rested his head on her lap in a moment of repose, and even recited from the Qur’an.8 If she were truly impure in the ordinary understanding of the word, would our noble Prophet ﷺ have rested on her in such a way?

Being in a state of ritual impurity, therefore, does not necessarily mean one is ‘unclean’ in the conventional use of the term. Accordingly, the related prohibitions do not necessarily imply that one is forced to be distant from Allah and the means of getting close to Him. If this premise were true, then all acts of worship and communication with the Divine would have likewise been made prohibited, like saying dhikr (certain formulations of remembrance) with the tongue and making du`a’ (supplication). These are very intimate spiritual actions which put a person in direct connection and communication with Allah, yet are allowed for us during this time.9

All these things strengthen the idea that the restrictions during menstruation and post-natal bleeding are an expression of Allah’s mercy and kindness towards us, more so than as a type of forced estrangement from Him. They can be regarded as a dispensation, to allow us an interim for comfort and rejuvenation while in a state of physical weakness and tiredness. This may also lead us to return to salah, fasting and reading Qur’an with renewed energy, interest and passion.

Another wisdom of these intervals of time and the related prohibitions may be in expanding our understanding of worship, its types, and the means by which we can draw nearer to Allah Most High. It may be that other commendable, but often overlooked, righteous actions are being omitted in our enthusiasm for those that are more commonly performed. Perhaps it is only when the doors are closed on some that we begin to see and appreciate the others. For example, du`a’ and salah `ala an-Nabiy (Sending peace and blessings to the Prophet  Muhammad ﷺ) are two of the most virtuous and beautiful types of worship that we often neglect, and they can be performed at any time. The Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said, “Du`a’ is the very essence of worship,10 and in many places in the Qur’an, Allah calls upon us to invoke Him in du`a’. “And your Lord says: Pray unto me: and I will hear your prayer”11; “Call upon your Lord humbly and in secret.”12 Sufficient to explain the virtue of salah `ala an-Nabiy is the hadith reported by Ibn Mas`oud (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet ﷺ said, “The nearest people to me on the Day of Rising will be those who have said the most prayers on me.”13

There is also immense reward in helping and being in the service of other people. This too is a type of worship and means of drawing closer to Allah Most High. If everyone is busy in personalized worship – superogatory prayers and recitation of Qur’an, then who will have time to assist their brother or sister in their needs, help the poor or hungry, and take care of other problems and issues of the community and society?

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah is in the service/assistance of [His] servant, as long as the servant aids his brother.”14 He also said, “Whoever feeds a fasting person will have a reward like that of the fasting person, without any reduction in his reward.”15

A deeper lesson we can discern from the time of ritual impurity and the prohibition of salah and fasting can be in changing our perception of dhikr. A sister insightfully commented on this issue:

“Such is the way to teach us, perhaps, that dhikr of Allah is not just praying or fasting, but must be manifested in everything, [in] all parts of our lives. Perhaps we make fasting and prayer a crutch, and expect that it is enough, that that in itself is our dhikr. But it is when it is taken away from us that we have to think about how we are actually remembering Allah along with our everyday actions.”16

A sagacious shaykh (scholar of Islam) once said that a person is inside of salah what they are outside of it; meaning that the state of focus, devotion and humility we all want in our prayer is something we must develop and cultivate outside of it, in the wider arena of our daily lives. Do we simply remember Allah at the times of prayer, and otherwise live in a relative state of ghaflah (heedlessness)? The times when the doors to salah are closed may be when our eyes are opened to our true spiritual state, and give us opportune moments for introspection and reflection.

May Allah help us make the best of Ramadan and use every moment of its blessed days and nights to be in dhikr and worship to Him. May He make it a means of uplifting us spiritually, enlivening our hearts and awakening our hope and desire to draw ever nearer to Him. May He accept our deeds and grant us sincerity and devotion. Ameen.

Here are a few additional suggestions as to what a non-praying/fasting person can do during Ramadan:

  • If there are iftars being hosted at the masjid, volunteer to serve and help clean up afterwards.
  • Buy a jug of Zamzam water and pour it into little bottles and distribute them to everyone at the masjid with dates.
  • Babysit during Taraweeh so that the mothers (and everyone else!) can pray with khushu’ and concentration.
  • Cook iftar for sisters who are expecting, elderly, students away from home, etc. in your community and deliver it to their homes.
  • Do any deep cleaning, laundry, Eid shopping etc. that needs to be done now, so that you can fully focus on Qur’an/salah/etc when you are fasting. You can also prepare and freeze some food now so that you don’t have to cook iftar on other days when you are fasting.
  • Spend a lot of time in du`a’, and memorize the du`a’s for different actions (entering the masjid, leaving the home, etc).
  • Listen to this du`a’: http://jannah.org/jannahradio/ghamdi_dua.mp3 with the translation: http://jannah.org/jannahradio/dua_ghamdi_trans.txt
  • Spend time in salah `ala an-Nabiy, an often overlooked and neglected type of dhikr.
  • Memorize Allah’s names and their meanings.
  • Make a CD of beautiful Qur’an recitation and du`a’s in mp3 and distribute it to people at the masjid.
  • Make Eid/Ramadan goodie bags for the kids so that they love and feel attached to Ramadan.
  • Do the adhkar (remembrance of Allah) for morning and evening narrated from the Prophet ﷺ.
  • Remember to seek out Laylat ul-Qadr throughout the month and do not let even one night go by without making du`a’. Laylat ul-Qadr could possibly be on any night in Ramadan, not just on the 27th.
  • Find out who is sick in your area or in the hospital and go visit them.
  • Look for new converts, those who are newly practicing or people who have lost touch with the community and invite them over for iftar.

  1. Qur’an, 95:4
  2. Quran, 39:5
  3. “If a wound hath touched you, be sure a similar wound hath touched the others. Such days (of varying fortunes) We give to men and men by turns: that Allah may know those who believe, and that He may take to Himself from your ranks martyr-witnesses (to Truth). And Allah loveth not those that do wrong.” (Qur’an, 3:140)
  4. “And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out, and He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.” (Qur’an, 65:2-3)
  5. “And verily We sent messengers (to mankind) before thee, and We appointed for them wives and offspring, and it was not (given) to any messenger that he should bring a portent save by Allah’s leave. For everything there is a time prescribed.” (Qur’an, 13:38)
  6. “…Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. Get to know Allah in prosperity and He will know you in adversity. Know that what has passed you by was not going to befall you; and that what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.” (Tirmidhi)
  7. Qur’an, 5:6
  8. Sahih al-Bukhari
  9. There is also a difference of opinion among the scholars on whether she can recite Qur’an from memory.
  10. Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Hasan Saheeh
  11. Qur’an, 30:60
  12. Qur’an, 7:55
  13. Tirmidhi
  14. From al-Arba’een an-Nawawiyya
  15. Tirmidhi
  16. The Madina in discussion Spiritual Elements of Menstruation
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40 Comments

  1. hs says:

    Jazaki Allah khairan Sr. Shazia for a great post and for drawing attention to this issue Our menstruation days are truly a blessing from Allah (swt), if we use them well.
    One thing I’ve found useful is planning for these days by having books ready to read and a list of things to do, not just during Ramadan but through out the year.
    It helps me to think of it this way: by not praying, menstruating women are obeying Allah (swt) just like men and other women who are praying, and inshaAllah all will be rewarded.

  2. M says:

    subhan Allah, mashaAllah, what a beautifully beneficial piece on a subject not often discussed! jazaki Allahu alf khayr!

  3. Suzanne says:

    Glory to Allah who decided that I would cycle in and out of ritual purity. May He reward you for this beautiful post. I appreciate this special challenge. On days of ritual purity, I know automatically how to be close to Allah. On days of ritual impurity, I have to pay more attention in order to stay close to Him. I’m grateful for your very helpful thoughts.

  4. Muslim Girl says:

    Jazak’Allah for this! I was actually in DESPERATE need of reading this article since I did feel somewhat disconnected and deprived from the benefits of Ramadan.

  5. maisoon says:

    That was a useful post.. i think menstruating women can listen to quran recitation, meanings, read hadiths etc as well..

  6. knannan says:

    Hi, the link to dua’s is not active. Is there any other place where i can find the text of the du’as.
    Jazakmullah kharian.
    P.S: Good Info.

  7. Aisha Neem says:

    such a well-written post! I’ve heard the same sort of information elsewhere but NOBODY has conveyed the message so well. I really feel revived now. I was so devastated when I found out my fast was broken. Also jazakallah for the hadith about Nabi (SAW) resting his head in Aisha (RA) ‘s lap during her period. I was starting to think I really was impure and was considering getting out of the house for a while as a favor to my fasting family
    May Allah reward you, and Ramadan Kareem!

  8. Shazia says:

    as salaamu alaykum,

    Jazakum Allahu khayran for all the generous comments, may Allah accept from you and all of us in this blessed month.

    I talked to the webmaster at Jannah.org and I think that the link should be fixed now – if it is still not working for you, you can go to http://jannah.org/jannahradio/ and click on the link to the mp3 from there.

    wasalaamu alaykum,
    shazia

  9. RaihanahMM says:

    Jazakum Allahu khayran

    We sisters need to dispel the cultural ‘lessons’ of our past and re-define the state of menstruation for what it is, Allah’s mercy and gift. We are not and never were in a state of impurity, rather its “ritual impurity”. i love that phrase.

    On another note, I am one of them who always feel very disheartened to mense during Ramadan as i feel i am deprived from joining in the multitude of muslims in performing saum, tadarus and taraweeh. But alas, what a plesant and gentle reminder sister shazia has given me through this timely article. Freedom from our apprehensions allows us a greater confidence with which to perform our ibadah. Jazakum Allahu khayran for this too.

    May Allah shower mercy and barakah upon her and continue to allow her the wisdom and clarity of thought to express her ideas which will help the muslimah of the world. salam ramadan.

  10. Nakia says:

    I wish I’d seen this earlier. I’m nursing an underweight little boy, so fasting is out. But I’ve spent more time with the Qur’an this year than any other, so alhamdulillah.

  11. Mifrah Abid says:

    Assalam Alaikum,

    Thank you for the post. However, I have a specific query. The local aalimas say that we can even recite the Quran during menstruation if make sure we are touching the copy of the Quran with gloves on. What do the scholars say about this? I have heard there is conflicting opinion over this issue and wanted to know what specific scholars have to say about this.

    The ability to read the Quran in Ramadhan, especially during the last ten nights, irrespective of your state of menses would indeed be a great relief. Besides, if we are indeed not ‘unclean’, surely this should be allowed?

    Hope you can provide me with an answer. Jazakallah Khair.

    Wassalam.

    • Shazia Ahmad says:

      as salaamu alaykum,

      While one may not be ‘dirty’ in the cultural or normative sense of the word, one would be in a state of hadath, or ritual impurity, that has special rulings attached to it that we should seek to learn. The opinion you mentioned is one some scholars subscribe to (though there are a number of opinions on this issue) so there shouldn’t be a problem in subscribing to and applying it, inshaAllah.

      salaam,
      Shazia

      • mifrah says:

        Assalam Alaikum, Shaziya; I found an article bu Dr Bilal Philips that states that women are actually ALLOWED to touch and read the Quran during menstruation. I also talked to a student of Islam from the Islamic Research Foundation, Mumbai, India and even she said that this was the view followed by the majority of the women there. Your comments?

  12. Amal says:

    Jazak Allahu khairan for this article

    I just wanted to point out one thing – that in the suggestions it has suggestions about going to the masjid but it is not permissable for women to stay in the masjid during their period

    http://islamqa.com/en/ref/33649
    http://islamqa.com/en/ref/60213

    May you have a fruitful Ramadan
    Assalaamu ‘alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

    • Shazia Ahmad says:

      as salaamu alaykum,

      Jazaki Allahu khayran for your comment. I think while it may be more precautionary for a menstruating woman not to enter the actual musalla (area specified for prayer), there is nothing wrong with entering other parts of the masjid, such as rooms intended for mothers with children, classrooms, etc. Most Islamic centers in the U.S. today house more than just a musalla or have rooms that are multi-purpose and have more than one function.

      The fact that some Islamic centers in the U.S. may not actually take on the technical definition of a ‘masjid’ from the perspective of fiqh (because they are not a waqf, and for other reasons) and other special circumstances should also be considered, as well as the fact that another scholarly opinion does exist, that it is permitted for a menstruating woman to enter the musalla as long as she can ensure that no blood will affect the area in which she sits (though I do not know the relative weakness/strength of this opinion)

      Allah knows best.

      wasalaamu alaykum,
      Shazia

  13. Thank you so much for this great informative article. I used to become very sad during that time of the month but this article has inspired me to have a more positive attitude and to be more productive. Thank you for listing all the things that we can do when we are going throught that part of the month.

  14. Diana says:

    Definitely motivating! Thank you.

  15. n says:

    May Allah give u thabat, keep u on ikhlas, and bless you
    more in conveying the message.

    loved the article. mash’allah Allahuma barik. i always feel peace emenating from your writing.

    Naureen =)

  16. Knox says:

    Jazakh’Allah khair for this post – you have no idea how timely it is. I have been unable to fast since the beginning of Ramadan this year, being forced to break my fast on Monday afternoon. Since then, I’ve felt increasingly empty and removed from the involvement of being able to fast and pray – this posting came at a perfect time. Allah Bless you.

  17. jannah says:

    Salam,

    Great article as usual shazia!! I have hotlinking protection on so I added suhaibwebb.com as one of of the exceptions so ppl should be able to directly access the mp3 from here now iA

    ws

  18. nini says:

    Salam,
    Alhamdulillah, this article came at the right time for me.
    But I am wondering, is it alright for a menstruating woman to read the tafseer Al Quran?(without reciting). Your comments will be deeply appreciated. Thank you and may Allah bless us all during this month of Ramadhan

    • Shazia Ahmad says:

      wa alaykum as salaam wa rahmatullah,

      As far as I know, there should be no problem with reading tafseer.

      May Allah bless you and all of us,

      wasalaam,
      Shazia

    • Uzma Mazhar says:

      There is no problem with reading the quran either. It defies basic logic to think that that is not allowed, we read the quran with our tongue, the same tongue that we use for dua or dhikr.
      Especially if we consider that women also memorize the quran… so during menses they are supposed to erase it from their system??? Reading quran surah’s that you have memorized or reading from a book or the internet… what is the difference?

      • Shazia Ahmad says:

        There are some differences of opinion on these issues, but the majority opinion (that of the four madhabs) is that it is not permissible to recite the Quran, not to touch the mushaf when one is in a state of janaba or otherwise ritually impure. (‘Mushaf’ meaning the Quran in its original Arabic form, in a book form, that has little or nothing else contained in it such as commentary or translation.)

        While it (and many other fiqh rulings) may not make sense to us or follow our own line of reasoning, these rulings are not based on our own rationale or our own thoughts and feelings but on textual evidences. We seek out the wisdom in them, we can explore the breadth of the differences of opinion regarding them, but in the end, fiqh is based on religious teachings from our sacred texts, and not our own personal opinions. This is an important place where an element of deference, submission, and loving obedience as a Muslim comes in.

        Allah knows best,
        salaam,
        Shazia

  19. Amatullah2 says:

    I cannot fast due to health issues and will never be able to unless Allah (SWT) makes a way for me to do so, inshallah. I am a revert of several years and have never been able to fast. I admit, I struggle with feeling like an outsider, during Ramadan, even though I know this is the will of Allah (SWT). The article reminds me that I just need to worship in a different way. The way I’m supposed to, inshallah. Jak for the reminder.

  20. aisha says:

    Great article.

    However, it should also be mentioned that women that are pregnant or nursing may not be fasting, so it’s not just women that are in a state of ritual impurity that can benefit from this advice.

  21. sara says:

    I was wondering, since i was 12 lets say, i missed some fasts during the month of Ramadan. I was young and not that religous. I played a lot of sports on a professional level by age 16-18 so i missed most of my fasts. I am 19 now and i learned Islam better and i am more religious now. I quit sports and realized how important fasting is and how this life is just temporary. I feel really guilty for all the fasts i have missed, so one day i sat down and tried to count up all the fasts i might have missed and my approximate is atleast 130 but i am not 100% sure. Is there a way i can make up these fasts, i did try during spring break but i always end up doing something and now i have multiple jobs and college too. I am trying my best but i am not sure how to make this up. I thought i could feed atleast 130 people two meals or something because my days are adding up as years come along when my time comes for menstruation. I did not count this years in the number because i will try to make those up some how but the rest from before when i was not that serious about Islam, i feel really guilty about it and i want to do something. Do you think i can feed the poor or i have to make them up by fasting? And what do i do when i dont know the exact number of fasting i missed? JazakAllah Khair.

    • Shazia Ahmad says:

      as salaamu alaykum Sara,

      Thanks for your great question. I first want to tell you that it’s really a wonderful thing, and a very positive sign that you are seeking to make amends for the past, and I ask Allah to accept from you your good deeds and forgive you for any mistakes or missteps that may have made, and the same for me and all of us (Ameen). Allah Most High loves the repenting person, and there are so many texts that talk about the esteem and position of one who turns back to Allah sincerely, seeks to make amends and seeks His forgiveness, so this is a very blessed state to be in, inshaAllah.

      As for how to make up a large number of fasts that you may have missed in the past: I will put this question to Imam Suhaib and a few others here on the blog that are more well-versed in the fiqh of these issues, and try to post as response as soon as I hear from them, inshaAllah.

      May Allah accept from you and all of us in this blessed month,

      wasalaamu alaykum,
      Shazia

  22. Tricia says:

    I’m always the one to ask the tough questions, it seems. :) This article leaves a lot to be researched and questioned. For example, the whole ban on a menstruating woman in a masjid: is it because they are innately impure (refuted by the Prophet’s reply to Abu Hurairah when he avoided him in a state of major impurity) or is it due to concern over real soiling of the masjid? And even if the issue is soiling a masjid, how fair is it to ban women for this when we know that dogs and other animals entered the Prophet’s masjid, not to mention children who don’t exactly care to observe ritual purity? I think more scholars and Muslims need to ask why this ban that was accepted by early scholars (and was in line with Jewish practices) is so firm while lacking a clear hadith from the Prophet, the understanding of which has been seriously questioned: http://en.islamtoday.net/node/622

    • Shazia Ahmad says:

      as salaamu alaykum,

      Jazaki Allahu khayran for your comment – there’s nothing wrong with asking questions, tough or otherwise, as long as one puts in the time, energy and effort to find the answers sincerely via the right resources and people. I am not sure how detailed or academic an article you are looking for, considering that this is a blog with relatively short pieces, but I was hoping to touch on a topic that I have rarely seen discussed at all. Obviously, there is much more to be said, done, and discussed on this and many other issues related to women, Islam, and fiqh.

      I have heard the scholarly opinion that if a sister can ensure that the musalla is not affected by impurity due to menstruation, then she would be permitted to enter it. As I mentioned earlier, I do not know the relative strength or weakness of this opinion, since I have not done research on this particular topic in detail and do not know all the opinions and what they are based on. This would lead me to conclude that at least according to some scholars, the concern is in the actual physical space being affected by actual, physical impurity.

      A larger point that can be made here is that though it may be possible to find opinions that minimize the prohibitions on menstruating women, there are obviously certain distinctions made for her that we cannot navigate around. It may be in our best interest to stop and reflect on this, as opposed to immediately working to remove, minimize or edit what we dislike through our own ijtihad, in an attempt to establish our own personal ideas of equality. In short, though it is great to be inquisitive, honest, and open to debate and discussion, we should be wary of interpreting Islam into non-existence, or a certain interpretation that is not really an honest, objective reading of the texts.

      This idea – that we should not regard menstruation and its related ahkaam as a punishment, but instead as something with deeper spiritual meanings that we should seek to appreciate, was the main point of the article, and not necessarily to delve into the fiqh of menstruation which obviously has many different issues involved as well as a wide array of differences of opinion.

      As ever, Allah knows best.

      salaam,
      Shazia

  23. mifrah says:

    Assalam Alaikum. I would like to know if there is any authentic hadeeth that prohibits menstruating women from either touching/reading or reciting the Quran? I have come across some people who say that one can read the Quran if we have gloves on, or read verses of Quran like the Ayatul Kursi, Surah Yaseen, etc from a book (if one does not have it in memory) as well. Can the author of this article please elucidate on this issue? Jazakallah Khair.

  24. Aliya says:

    As one who has been questioning the issue of menstruation for quite a while, I almost feel like the term ‘ritual impurity’ is nothing more than a euphemism for being dirty. I keep reading the paragraph that says we shouldn’t consider menstruation as being dirty in the physical sense, but just dirty in the ritual sense over and over again, but it just sounds the same to me. Dirty is dirty. Not being able to touch the Qur’an, recite the Qur’an, pray salah, fast, or even enter a masjid because we are bleeding naturally sounds more of a punishment than a blessing. The fact that men can pray qiyaam and taraweeh while I am forbidden from doing so because I am menstruating doesn’t sound like spiritual equality to me.

    I don’t understand why we can’t even enter the musalla because we are bleeding, naturally. That’s great that the Prophet (SAW) would lie on Hadhrat Aisha (RA)’s lap, but she still could not touch the Qur’an herself because she’s considered dirty.

    Haha maybe if I was better at ‘womanly’ work such as babysitting, cleaning, and cooking I probably wouldn’t be so frustrated right now. It’s Laylutul Qadr and I am jealous that the rest of my family is performing taraweeh, while I’m staying at home with my dhikr :( . Salah has always felt more spiritually fulfilling than dhikr, on a personal level.

    • Shazia Ahmad says:

      as salaamu alaykum,

      It’s interesting to note that for many different fiqhi rulings, one can raise similar objections. The same state of ‘ritual impurity’ occurs after a man or woman engages in intimacy – One could argue that sexual relations between a husband and wife is something natural and beautiful, and even rewarded and commended in some texts – how then can we say that after intimacy such individuals are ‘impure’? Similarly, one is in a minor state of ritual impurity after one goes to the bathroom. One could argue that relieving oneself is a natural, human function – Why then are we ‘punished’ for something beyond our control, by being considered impure? I think, by these examples, it should be clear why this line of thinking is problematic. You may also find the following article of benefit, especially the portion on rulings related to worship: http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-studies/islamic-law/the-top-six-mistakes-in-usul-part-4/

      Secondly, I can understand your offense to some of the suggestions mentioned at the end of the article. These were collected from a number of people (see footnote in the article) and were simply meant to give the reader different ideas to think about and consider. Two non-”womanly” suggestions made were to perform duaa, and engage in dhikr with one’s heart, mind, and tongue – very intense and powerful forms of worship, that are not in any way prohibited for a menstruating woman.

      To clarify, one of the main points of the article was to suggest using this time as an opportunity to stop focusing on individualized acts of worship, and instead consider serving others as a way of getting closer to God.

      The ideas listed at the end were simply suggestions, and if one does not feel comfortable or suited to enact some of them, I’m sure there are countless other ways and opportunities one can seek out. A famous poet once said, “there are as many paths to God as there are breaths” — which I understand to mean that each of us has certain passions, skills, interests and abilities by which we can work to get closer to Him and worship Him (whether they are in line with certain gender-specified roles or not!)

      May Allah Most High forgive us and accept from us. May He help us to remember Him, be grateful to Him, and worship Him in the best and most beautiful of ways.

      Allah knows best,

      wasalaamu alaykum,
      Shazia

  25. enie hermal says:

    Assalamu’alaikum Sis Shazia…nice your article. Hope we can meet again in ramadan next year. And then atmosfer ramadan on eleven next months bring us to added value worship to Allah (swt). For women on this shawwal so dont forget to qadha fasting (from menstruation, nifas, or breasting) and then to shaum 6 days on shawwal.

  26. Anna says:

    Peace and blessings to you, Sister Shazia. I find myself moved and entirely grateful for your well-researched article. Due to medical reasons, I am unable to fast for Ramadan this year. At first, I was experiencing anxiety over my doctor’s choice, and was unsure how to make the efforts this Ramadan to be sure that I could still conduct myself in a way that is helpful to the community. Your article was reassuring and your suggestions for activities appreciated and entirely welcome to this sister who was otherwise feeling a bit ‘left out’ from the Holy Month. Thank you so much for your research and your time, and may Allah bless you and your efforts.

  27. Sarah says:

    Jazakh’Allah, as a “revert” and someone who cannot fast for medical reasons I have totally felt disconnected from Ramadan. When you cannot “participate” in the fast and don’t have the family either it can make Ramadan a very lonely time.

  28. Amel says:

    essalam alaikoum warahmatouAllah sister Shazia,
    mashaAllah this is an amazing post. I truly pray that Allah rewards you. I always get disheartned when i discover that my fast was broken, and feel very much empty inside for the rest of period esp when it happens right at begining of Ramadan: i feel i am missing the train. This year i was prepared elhamdouliAllah so I had a plan to go through but your timely article was sent to me elhamdouliAllah by a blessed dear person, to really revive more spirituality in me and make me feel better and motivated about the whole aspect of it…and I loved the Hadith of the prophet sala Allah alayhi wassalam who used to read Coran while his head rested on Aysha (radiya Allah anha)’s lap. I love the expression of “ritual impurity” as opposed to “impurity” in short..it really brings a huge psychological difference and makes me strongly believe that mensturation is a blessing from Allah to carry out what we do not get time to carry out in other days nchaAllah, in addition to being able to rest physically.
    Jazakoum Allah kheiran katheeran

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