Hafssa El-Bouhamouchi, 27, is from Germany with Moroccan origin. She is enrolled in the Madina Institute Bachelor of Arts in Usul Al Din Program, together with her husband. They came to Cape Town in order to learn and study at Madina Institute, with the intention of transmitting Islamic knowledge in Germany.
A Sister’s Struggle: Maintaining the Feeling of Ramadan during Menstruation
Muslim women sometimes feel that their menstruation can set them back in Ramadan; they feel excluded from the Ibadat that brings a believer closer to Allah. Fasting is no longer an obligation, like the prayer. Moreover, not being able to participate in the uplifting prayers of tarawih at night is difficult for many. But do we believe that menstruation is a disadvantage? This mindset is not what Allah ascribed to the noblest of His creatures. Allah says He created the human being and thus also the woman “in the best of stature“ (95:4) and this also includes the physical functions of the body.
The Origin of Life
A woman’s menstruation is the origin of the offspring. Therefore, it is a form of sustenance (rizq). If we assume this, then staying away from the Ibadat is an act of devotion to God in itself. Allah has given us relief in a phase that is physically challenging. In fact, staying away from Ibadat enables a new start when one returns to it after the period. With this knowledge, Muslim women would find it easier to devote herself to other Ibadat. So how can we keep close to Allah during our period? At the times of prayer, we can retreat and remember Allah.
Keep up the Connection
The best way to keep up the connection is to make Istighfar; meaning to ask Allah for forgiveness often. Especially since we know that Ramadan is the month of forgiveness. We can use the time that we do not spend in prayer to take ourselves into account. From this, we have to become more aware of our mistakes and ask God for forgiveness. To make Istighfar is a Sunnah of the prophets and women can follow this practice during their menses.
The Prophet used to say: “My Rabb! Forgive me and pardon me. Indeed, You are the Oft-Returning with compassion and Ever Merciful” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi).
Many women feel physically weakened and vulnerable during their periods. This is the right time for Du´a. Because in those moments of weakness it is especially important to ask Allah for strength and patience. Du´a is so important in Islam that the Prophet – peace and blessing on Him – said “Dua is The essence of worship” (Musnad Ahmad Tirmidhi).
Service as Ibadat
Worship is not limited to remembrance. With the right Niyyah, our deeds throughout the day can be considered a service; cleaning up, looking after children, taking care of parents and brothers and sisters, shopping and cooking. We also receive the reward for their fasting through the cooking and eating of the fasting family members alone.
The possibilities are infinite because the month of Ramadan is for the believer no matter what condition we find ourselves in. We owe only the effort, the success comes from Allah.