There is nothing shameful about women having their period during Ramadan. Breaking our fast because weâ€™re bleeding is a God given right, a mercy to women. The stigma around our bleeding needs to stop. The fact that we menstruate is only by Allahâ€™s choice and command, so why are we ostracised for something that He (swt) himself has granted as a mercy?
I distinctly remember hiding away at prayer times, and secretly eating behind closed doors whenever I was bleeding in Ramadan. The pressure to keep my periods a secrets was overwhelming, confusing and difficult. Having to hide my periods from my father was probably the most difficult task. I would constantly be in pain – and despite my father asking what was wrong I wasnâ€™t allowed to say. Cultural beliefs and societal practices made my bleeding cycle so â€˜impureâ€™ that I couldnâ€™t even talk about it. My period was a major part of my identity – it is what made me a woman. Treating my cycles like a disgraceful event only made me feel less appreciative of myself.
What Does Islam Say ?
Allah exempts women from praying or fasting during their periods – not as a punishment but as a mercy. Women who are menstruating are in a weaker state struggling with cramps, bloating and hormonal changes in the body. Prayer and fasting can be resumed after cycles are completely finished and women have taken the necessary hygiene steps; which includes : a thorough shower, pubic/armpit hair removal, and clipping of the nails. Hygiene is a major part of faith – all necessary steps for cleanliness are clearly defined within the religious text. However the fact that women are required to perform a thorough cleansing after their periods does not that they were impure in need of purification. Islam has guidelines for cleansing for various events. There are rules on how to cleanse after using the bathroom, how to cleanse after intercourse, and how to cleanse before prayers. These cleansing guidelines do not imply that intercourse is impure – it implies that intercourse is halal but there are necessary steps you must take afterwards to be clean for health and spiritual reasons. The same practice applies to women on their periods – they are not impure while on their cycles, but in order to pray and fast they must complete the necessary hygiene guidelines. For more in depth information about purification after periods, and intercourse please checkout this article. (https://www.al-islam.org/the-ritual-ablutions-for-women-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi/introduction)
Bleed With Pride !
We shouldnâ€™t have to hide our cycling just because it makes others feel uncomfortable. It is a natural event that Allah has granted upon women and no one should ever feel ashamed for it. So this Ramadan I encourage my fellow sisters to BLEED WITH PRIDE ! If your menstruating take a break and relax – eat healthy, yummy meals to nourish your body. Use this opportunity to explore other ways of being spiritually active during Ramadan. Not being able to pray or fast in Ramadan because your cycling is difficult – there is a disconnect from worship. Not being fully involved takes a spiritual toll. But donâ€™t be disheartened there are plenty of ways to reap the fruits of Ramadan. During my cycles I focus on reading various religious text , increasing my donations and cooking yummy meals for others who are fasting. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to be more involved during your cycles check out this article. (http://www.habibihalaqas.org/2012/08/maximize-your-ibadah-during-your-period.html)
Support Women on Their Cycles
Support the women in your life who are cycling during and outside of Ramadan. Brothers, husbands, and fathers please encourage your daughters, wives and sisters to stay nourished and hydrated. Pay extra attention to their needs and try to take the burden of chores and other responsibilities of their hands. Periods can be painful – please ask what and how you can make this time as comfortable as possible.
Ramadan Kareem Everyone !
Thank you for reading.