Maximizing worship during menstruation
By: An Ghela
Source: Jamiatul Ulama
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
‘Aisha narrated : Allah’s Apostle 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 previous 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:
1) Seeking forgiveness (Istaghfar): Let’s be real, most of us have probably spent the week before our period becoming a female Muslim version of the incredible Hulk (after all green is a very Islamic color). It is known that hormonal changes before menstruation paired with sensitivity in the body and water gain are the perfect combination to turn us into snapping, oversensitive sometimes sad, mad, glad adorable beings. So now 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. My favorite Istighfar dua’a 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.’
2) The healing properties of Listening to the Qu’ran: When we have our menses especially the first few days most women suffer from cramps caused by the contraction of the uterine muscles. These could be trying times for any Muslimah but Alhamdulillah we have the best medicine at our reach. “And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss”(Surah Al-Isra 17:82). Even though women who have their period cannot touch or read the Qur’an we can still benefit from listening to its beautiful verses. These verses would calm the tension in our bodies and at the same time help us reflect on the bounties of our Lord thus helping us endure any pain or discomfort. Some verses and ayahs to focus are Surah al Fatiha, Ayah-ul-Kursi and the last two verses of Surah al Baqarah.
3) Improve your relationship with your Husband: As single women we believe that when we get married we will fulfill the duties posed to us by our religion and desired by our society. Yet we don’t realize that after marriage we have just started the road towards fulfilling these duties. While we are not menstruating we are allowed to have physical relations with our husbands but while we are on our period we are mandated to stay away from doing so. This is a great time to explore another phase of relationship with our life partners. Al-Aswad narrated it from ‘A’isha (radhiallahu anha) that she observed: I used to wash the head of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa salam), while I was in a state of menstruation (Sahih Muslim). Even small gestures can count; being in a relationship is about always rekindling that friendship we have with our husbands. After all, paradise may lie on their hands as well.
4) New life, New Projects: As women Allah has used our bodies as a vessel for His creation. New life is formed in our bodies and we are fortunate to live this incomparable miracle. During our menses our body is internally getting ready to be able to foster life once again. Now even though we might not be married or wanting to get pregnant, we are unconsciously prone to create things during this phase of the month. 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? Or a Dawah project. The sky is the limit!
5) Increase your love for Dhikr: Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet said, “I love repeating Subhan Allah , Walhamdu lillah , wa La ilaha ill-Allah, wa Allahu Akbar (Glorified is Allah, all praise is due to Allah, and there is no God but Allah, Allah is the greatest) more than all that the sun shines upon.” (Muslim and Tirmidhi). 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: “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).
6) Knowledge can come in many forms: Prophet Muhammed salAllahu aleyhi wasallam 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, you can even use this opportunity to educate others about the rules of menstruation and share some tips on how to strengthen your deen on these days.
This is just the beginning please share with us the many other tips that we can use to maximize our Ibadah during our period. Let’s join in the hassanat!