Some sisters can feel upset when they get their period in Ramaḍān (especially during the last ten days). Something similar happened to our mother ʿĀ’ishah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhā). She says, “We set forth with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ with the sole intention of ḥajj till we came (to the place known as) Sarif; and there I started menstruating. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ came to me and I was crying, so he asked, “What is making you cry?” I replied, “By Allah, I wish I had not come (for ḥajj) this year.” He ﷺ said, “What’s the matter? Perhaps you have started menstruating?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “This is what Allah has ordained for the daughters of Ādam. Do what the pilgrim does, except that do not do ṭawāf of the House (of Allah)” (Bukhārī).
Allah The All-Wise has decreed for women to undergo menstruation every month. During this period, women do not fast or pray ṣalāh. This is the command of Allah, which women should submit to and should not feel ashamed of. If it wasn’t for menstruation, humanity and the Ummah wouldn’t continue. It is in fact from the mercy and kindness of Allah that women are given a break from some physical acts of worship during a time when they feel weaker and may experience severe pain.
It can be easy, however, to fall into a ‘break’ mode when your period occurs. Mentally, you may think you are ‘off duty’ for a few days and subsequently neglect your relationship with Allah (subḥānahū wa taʿālā). But having this approach will actually leave you feeling worse by the end of it.
A mindset shift is therefore critical. Even when you’re on period, you can and should still worship Allah. Instead of thinking what you can’t do or feeling limited, feel like you can give more time to other acts of worship. Thus, you can’t fast during the day, but you can still fill it up with worship. You can’t recite the Qur’ān (according to many scholars), but you can still listen to the Qur’ān.
ʿĀ’ishah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhā) says, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ would rest his head in my lap whilst I was menstruating, and he would recite the Qur’ān” (Bukhārī).
Likewise, this is the perfect time to dedicate yourself to learning and reflecting on the meaning of the Qur’ān. Similarly, you can’t stand for the night prayer, but you can sit with a translation of the Qur’ān and follow the imām’s recitation. You can’t pray tahajjud in the last third of the night, but you can still wake up and sit in your place of prayer and make earnest duʿā’ and istighfār.
For the first few days, you might be unable to worship as much due to being in pain. You will be rewarded for this, as our beloved Prophet ﷺ said, “If a servant falls ill or travels, the likes of what he used to do when he was a resident (i.e. not travelling) and healthy will be recorded for him” (Bukhārī). Similarly, about Laylat al-Qadr, our beloved Prophet ﷺ said, “In it, Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is truly deprived!” (Nasā’ī). Juwaybir said: “I asked Ḍaḥḥāk, ‘Do women experiencing post-natal bleeding and menstruation, those travelling, and those asleep (due to illness) have a share of Laylat al-Qadr?’ He replied, ‘Yes. Whoever’s deeds Allah accepts, He will give them their share of Laylat al-Qadr.’”
However, as for the days when you are not in pain, try to have a spirit of striving in ʿibādah. This will prevent you experiencing a dip in your spirituality, and then having to motivate yourself once you have finished your menstruation.
Here are some specific actions you can fill your days and nights with inshāAllah:
1- Dive into the Qur’ān
– Read the translation and tafsīr.
– Listen to the Qur’ān.
– Learn the meanings of a specific sūrah/sūrahs.
– Reflect on the Qur’ān (tadabbur). [Useful resource: QuranReflect App]
2- Dhikr & Duʿā’
– Perform all the daily sunnah adhkār.
– Fill your day with general dhikr and duʿā’.
– Even if you are cooking or lying in bed due to pain, you can still do dhikr and duʿā’.
3- Tahajjud Time
– Wake up, do wuḍū and miswāk (very helpful to make you feel awake). Then sit and spend as much time as you can doing dhikr, making duʿā’ and istighfār.
– Make a plan and rotate between acts of worship, so you don’t fall asleep and lose focus, especially during the last nights (in which it is hoped that it will be Laylat al-Qadr).
– Reflect on the Names of Allah.
– Reflect on the creation of Allah.
– Reflect on your life, on your actions and on your journey to Allah.
– Reflect on your shortcomings to Allah and sincerely repent.
5- Seek Knowledge
– Read beneficial books and strengthen your connection to Allah and His words.
– Listen to beneficial lectures.
– Take notes and reflect on what you have learnt and how you can make it a part of your life.
6- Teach and Inspire Your Children
– Teach your children/nephews and nieces etc.
– Relate stories from the Qur’ān and sīrah. Use storytelling techniques to leave a lasting imprint in their minds (E.g. the story of the beginning of the revelation and its link to Laylat al-Qadr).
7- Help Others
– Cook ifṭār for those who are fasting.
– Offer to babysit for a sister so she can pray tarāwīḥ in peace.
– Volunteer for a worthy cause.
8- Optimise Your Intention
– Intention is everything.
– Intend to seek the pleasure of Allah for everything you do.
– Have a good intention even for your rest.
Don’t think of menstruation in Ramaḍān as a time to switch off and waste your time. Don’t waste these blessed hours in mindlessly scrolling through social media. Sometimes sisters might think, ‘Oh I can’t pray so let me prepare a lavish feast’ or they may start menstruating in the last ten days and think ‘Oh perfect, let me bake lots of goodies for Eid’. It would be a shame to waste such precious moments (the optimum time of the year) on baking or cooking for hours on end, instead of worshipping Allah.
May Allah al-Ḥakīm (The All-Wise) fill our hearts with contentment with His decree. May al-Karīm (The Most Generous) allow us to taste the sweetness of worship during our days of sickness and good health.