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August 23, 2010

36

What can the menstruating woman do in Ramadan (apart from twiddling her thumbs, of course)?

by Umm Muawiyah

Asslamu Alaikum.

Twiddle.

Twiddle.

Twiddle.

That’s what happens to many a woman when that time of month strikes her at this time of month. They think that Ramadan is over and start to twiddle their thumbs.

Two sisters asked me what a menstruating woman could do during Ramadan so here goes:

1) Sisters, we should understand something. As I mentioned in one of my reminders, we were created to worship Allah.

If one assumes that one cannot do any ibaadah whilst menstruating, then this would mean that one cannot fulfill one’s purpose of creation at this time! Does that even make sense? Does it make sense that we were created to glorify and praise Allah, but that there would be certain days where we could not do this?

Of course not. So obviously, a menstruating woman can worship Allah but just not through praying and fasting.

The main problem is that many people do not understand the meaning of “ibaadah”. An ibaadah is anything that Allah loves and is pleased with. It includes internal actions (e.g. love, hope, fear) and external actions (e.g. praying, fasting, etc).

You have the ibaadaat (acts of worship) like praying, fasting, paying the zakaah, going for Hajj and Umrah, etc. These cannot be done for other than the sake of Allah.

You have other acts which are the aadaat (i.e. the daily life activities). These include things like being good to your family, being clean, feeding the poor, etc. You can do these just for the sake of doing them. However, if you do them intending to seek the Face of Allah by these acts, then they turn into ibaadat as well.

The early generations did a great job of turning their daily life habits into acts of worship.

And sadly, we have done an even better job of turning our acts of worship into daily life habits.

2) Women often ask: “What can a menstruating woman do during Ramadan?”

The question itself is misleading because it could lead one to think that there were very few things that a menstruating woman was allowed to do during Ramadan.

The question should actually be: “What can a menstruating woman NOT do during Ramadan?”

Why? Because the things that she cannot do are very few but the things that she can do are vast.

If someone states: “Such and such thing is haram for a menstruating woman to do”, then he/she needs to bring proof, because the general rule is that everything is halal for her except what is PROVEN to be haram.

The few things that she cannot do are of two types: 1) Acts of worship and 2) Some acts which fall under the fiqh of marriage and divorce. I’ll only discuss the first category here.

a) Fasting and prayer are prohibited for her by ijmaa (consensus of the scholars).

b) She cannot do tawaf of the Kabaah. However, she can do all the other acts of Hajj.

What about Umrah? She can assume ihram for Umrah but she needs to wait until she is clean before she does tawaf.

If she starts to menstruate after her tawaf, she can still do saee (as that can be done in this state).

[In Umrah, saee needs to be preceded by tawaf. However, the saee of Hajj can precede the tawaf of Hajj. If you need the proof, feel free to ask.]

c) Apparently, there is a consensus of the scholars that those in major impurity (like the menstruating woman) cannot touch the mushaf  (the Quran) with their bare hands.

I say “apparently” because Imam Ibn Taimiyyah (rahimahullah) said that there was an ijmaa but Imam Ibn Rushd (rahimahullah) said that this was a majority opinion.

Either way, it’s best to be on the safe side and wear gloves if one wants to touch the mushaf while menstruating.

This prohibition applies to the Arabic text, not to the translation, the tafsir or books that contain supplications.

d) Can she read the Quran while in menses?

The scholars different over this as well. The majority said no, but a group of scholars said yes. They pointed out that there was no evidence for this prohibition.

I follow the latter opinion. After all, if the menstruating women were not allowed to read the Quran, then wouldn’t we have tons of narrations from the wives of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam)? They spent ages with the Quran so they would have told us if we were supposed to keep away from the Quran during this time.

However, this is still a matter of dispute as I said, so if you’re not sure, then don’t read the Quran.

However, you can still read the translation, listen to the recitation and read the tafsir. Don’t deprive yourself of that.

e) The scholars also differed over whether she could sit in the masjid (she can pass through it).

Some said yes. Others said no. Still others said no, but she could if there was a necessity (e.g. if she was attending classes).

3) So the above are the only things that she cannot do. She can do everything else.

So, if one is menstruating, then one should not think that she has a break from Ramadan! Rather she should increase in other aspects of her ibaadah like doing dua, reciting the adhkar, giving in charity, seeking forgiveness, doing dawah, keeping away from sins, keeping family ties, seeking knowledge, feeding the poor, displaying good manners, etc.

As a matter of fact, a menstruating woman should increase in these acts at this time. Why?

Well, now she no longer has to pray (so she has more time) and she is not fasting (so she has more energy)!

Also, if one is menstruating during the last ten nights, then she should not go to sleep just because she can’t pray. This is a grave error that many sisters make and it is only due to ignorance.

Why do we engage in so much prayer during the last ten nights? Because we want to catch the greatest night: Laylatul Qadr. So if we cannot pray, it does not not mean that we cannot do anything else.

In fact, even those who can pray, should not just stick to praying. They should increase in all types of good deeds on these nights (remember the nights are from Maghrib to Fajr).

So, what can you do on these nights if you’re not praying? Increase in dua and istighfar, read the Quran (if you believe that it is permissible to do so), etc.

There’s so much to do so let’s not twiddle our thumbs.

PS. Sorry, I didn’t have time to stick in all the proofs and references. If you want any, just let me know. I’ll add it in the comments section, insha-Allah.

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36 Comments Post a comment
  1. Fathima
    Aug 23 2010

    Assalamu Alaikum

    Jazakillahu khair for mentioning the bit about the last ten nights. So just to confirm, can we “catch” Laylatul Qadr through dua/dhikr even if we are not praying – because after all this is something that is beyond our control right?

    And I know some sisters are left devastated if “that time of the month, strikes in this of month”, to borrow your words.

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 24 2010

      Wa Alaikum Assalam.

      Wa iyaaki.

      (Glad to see that I didn’t scare you away from commenting!)

      Yes, of course we can catch it even in that state. Allah knows our condition. He knows that we cannot do the formal prayer.

      Also, it would depend on the person’s intention. If a woman intended to stand for prayer in this night, but cannot and so does the other acts of worship, perhaps she’ll get the same reward as those who stood in prayer all night. Allah knows Better.

      Reply
  2. rashida
    Aug 26 2010

    Can u tell me dua which we recite to become pure after mensturation and also dua after having sexual intercourse. Please send me as soon as possible.

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 26 2010

      Assalamu Alaikum Sister.

      I do not know of any authentic dua that is recited after becoming pure from menstruation. However, in some parts of the world, they do teach this fabricated dua that they are supposed to say while doing their ghusl!

      I have never come across any dua that is recited AFTER intercourse. There is only the dua that is recited BEFORE intercourse.

      The only thing that one needs to do in both of the above cases is ghusl (full bathing). The minimum requirements of a ghusl are : 1) The intention – This is in the heart and not in the tongue. 2) The water reaching all the parts of the body.

      So, if you wish to become pure after menstruation or janaabah, then you simply intend to free yourself of that impurity and go have a shower (at the minimum). It is better to do the ghusl exactly the way the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) did it though.

      Hope that helps, insha-Allah. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

      Reply
  3. Aisha
    Sep 1 2010

    JazakAllah khair for this sis ;D

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Sep 1 2010

      Assalamu Alaikum Sister.

      Wa iyaaki.

      Reply
  4. Rafya
    Jul 14 2011

    Asalam alaikum sisiter
    jazak Allah soo much for this beneficial post.

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 23 2011

      Wa Alaikum Assalam Sister.

      Wa iyyaaki.

      Reply
  5. sister in islam
    Jul 14 2011

    asalam alaikum sister
    first of all i want to thank u for this post, jazakAllah!

    i also wanted to ask u something, that someone told me i couldnt sit on my musallah- apparantly that i cant sit in the place in my home where i usually pray while i have my periods. i was surprised to hear this since during my menstruating days i usually like to sit on my musalah and do dua, seek forgiveness etc.

    wat would u say to that? can i sit and do these things on the musalah?

    also, as long as there is a barrier its ok to touch the mushaf during menses right?
    whether that be gloves or any cloth i might keep between me and my hands.

    jazakAllah

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 23 2011

      Wa Alaikum Assalam Sister.

      Please forgive for the really late reply.

      The place where you pray is not a masjid so it would not fall under the prohibition. The person who told you this needs to provide some proof because it is allowed for you to sit anywhere unless there is proof of a prohibition.

      As for sitting on the prayer mat and doing the adhar, I don’t know of the desirability of that, so I can’t comment. It is permissible though.

      As far as I know, there is some dispute as to whether one can touch the mushaf with a barrier (whilst menstruating). I use gloves but some sisters don’t feel comfortable doing that so they just use an electronic device (e.g. iPad) or recite from a copy which has tafsir in it.

      Allah knows Better.

      Reply
  6. sister in islam
    Jul 14 2011

    asalam alaikum

    also i wanted to know that u said we can read tafsir, translation ect, so if we’re reading islamic books for example ,(which contain quranic verses in arabic at times for quoting puposes ), is it also preferable that we wear gloves while reading them in case we were to touch the verses ( and is same applied to the books of adhkaar?)

    jazakAllah

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 23 2011

      Wa Alaikum Assalam.

      Once again, sorry for the late reply.

      Only the mushaf comes under the prohibition, as far as I know.

      The rest can be touched. I don’t know about the desirability of having a barrier whilst touching them so I can’t comment.

      Allah knows Better.

      Reply
  7. saabikoon
    Aug 9 2011

    assalamu alaikum sister! just wanted to ask you if it is alright if i share these beautiful posts of yours with my friends? of course i will give all credit and reference to you as well as the web page if they wish to read the blog! alhamdulillah!
    because subahanallah it is so beneficial to us all and so interesting alhamdulillah! no! oyu are not scaring any of us off! alhamdulillah and jazakallah khair dear sister for taking the time to share with us!
    May Allah reward you abundantly in this world and in the aakhira! ameen!

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 9 2011

      Wa Alaikum Assalam Sister.

      Jazakillahu kheira for your kind words.

      Yes, of course, you are free to share the article. No worries.

      I’m glad that it was helpful (and I’m glad that it didn’t scare you away).

      Wa iyyaaki.

      Ameen to your dua and may Allah grant you the same.

      Reply
  8. saabikoon
    Aug 10 2011

    Ameen wa iyaki!!! alhamdulillah! i love all your articles!!! subahanallah! im generally not a person who has the patience to read but subahanallah with your blog i can go on! alhamdulillah! alhamdulilah!!!

    yay! i can share with my friends!!! alhamdulillah!!! i loved todays introduction ot the lord of the worlds btw!!! subahanallah! the more we learn of allah the more we really really start living our lives like how He wants us to live it and the more we WANT to do so!!! subahanallah!

    take care dear!

    Reply
  9. Pulut
    Aug 19 2011

    What a denigrating title – a menstruating woman in Ramadhan does nothing all day but twiddles her thumbs. Great, thanks for the condescension.

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 19 2011

      Assalamu Alaikum Sister.

      Well, I’m assuming that you’re either being sarcastic (just like me in the post) or you really mean it.

      If it’s the former, then it would appear that you have a fine sense of humour.

      If it’s the latter, then I ask Allah to grant you a fine sense of humour, because otherwise my posts will be very painful for you to read.

      Perhaps the reason for your rather crabby reply, would be:

      a) You did not have any pulut today.

      or

      b) You don’t realise that “twiddle thumbs” is a metaphor for being idle in the English language, and idle is exactly what many women are when menstruating. This is a well-known phenomenon. There’s nothing denigrating about it.

      I used to be that way and I know many sisters who go through this same phase. The title was meant to alert them to this issue.

      or

      c) You thought that I was a man, which might explain why you found it condescending.

      Either way, Sister, in this month of Ramadan, I made 4 excuses for you and you made absolutely none for me. You just went ahead and assumed the worst. Kinda sad, isn’t it?

      Jazakillahu kheira.

      Reply
  10. Hanaa
    Aug 20 2011

    I just wish I had come across this article before or during my time of the month this Ramadan! It was extremely beneficial, and well-put! JazakAllahu khair sister. Even though I cannot make use of your valid points this Ramadan, I’m going to share this with family and friends inshaAllah, apply this round the year during my menstruating period, and use it for next Ramadan if I’m around to experience it inshaAllah!

    Reply
  11. Yumna
    Aug 20 2011

    JazakAllah Khayr Sister!
    Just what I was wondering for the past 2 days and voila! I come across this by the most indirect means.
    Allah really helps us when we’re sincere, doesn’t He?

    Reply
  12. Shakirah
    Aug 22 2011

    Subhanallah.
    even though we might know about all the things we as ladies are allowed to do during our menses,,We just go blank or cant suddenly think properly.

    And your timely reminder just put our position back in perspective.

    Jazakalla for your time and effort
    May Allah reward you abundantly
    -Shakirah

    Reply
  13. Khadija
    Aug 22 2011

    I do love your bluntness, masha Allah. Pls wat’s a woman exempted from fasting to do in expiation?

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 23 2011

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      Jazakillahu kheira.

      Well, not everybody likes it, unfortunately.

      I’m afraid that I didn’t understand your question. Expiation for what?

      Reply
  14. rehana
    Aug 23 2011

    JazakAllah Khayr Dear Sister!

    Unfortunately I am one of those in this category & since qiyam al layly started in my locality masjid since the 11th of ramadan, I have been regularly going so as to specially not to miss the witr prayer & witr dua. My question _ is it seriously not allowed to go to masjid in this condition & sit in one corner, doing dhikr – while waiting to hear the witr dua ? I ask this becos I stirred up a commotion yesterday between some old ladies – saying I am not supposed to be in the masjid & a group of young women who supported me saying there is no harm in me sitting there in the masjid. awaiting your reply – at the earliest

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 23 2011

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      Wa iyyaaki.

      Well sister, as I said, this is an issue of dispute. One group says that it is absolutely prohibited. The second group says it is allowed due to necessity (e.g. if there is a class). The third said that there is no prohibition whatsoever. However, I think that the third group is a minority, if I’m not mistaken.

      I could advise you with one of the following:

      a) Try to sit in a place that would be technically be considered outside the masjid but where you can hear the dua.

      b) Stay at home and do your own duas. I think that this is a better option because dua is not just something that we say “ameen” to, it’s something that comes from the heart. Ultimately, a dua is a request from a slave to his/her Lord. We shouldn’t forget that.

      When I’m not able to pray, I recite the Quran and I recite adkhar and duas. I don’t go to the masjid because I don’t see any purpose to it and also because it could venture into a prohibited area as listening to the witr dua is not a necessity. I don’t think my dua will have “less power” if I don’t say it behind an imam.

      Also, a woman’s prayer is better at home. So for a woman to go to the masjid when she is NOT praying does not seem reasonable.

      This is just my advice. I would also advise you to also consult the knowledgeable people of your area, insha-Allah.

      Hope that helps.

      Jazakillahu kheira.

      Reply
  15. Asra Anwar Khan
    Aug 24 2011

    Asalamualikum Sisters,

    Allah has given the hidaya for me at the right time and Jazakallah Khair…

    i felt really bad when i had to leave my Aetaqaf today coz of menstruation…

    The article was very helpful and have taken my sorrows away..

    Jazakallah Khair,
    May ALLAH accept all our prayers and forgive us…

    Reply
  16. aanisa nazir
    Aug 27 2011

    Assalamualaikum wa Rehmatullah,
    This article has come as a light in the dark for me..JazakAllah..But i am still doubtful about one thing which is whether one can recite Quran during menstruation..Since most scholars suggest against it and as you said to be on the safe side I think one should not recite but if one can read from memory and listen to it then why not to benefit from that..May Allah show us the right path..Aameen

    Reply
  17. Rofiat
    Jul 27 2012

    As salamu alaik yaa ukhtii jazaakhallahu khairan for this article I`ve really gained alot from it. I also thank Allah for making me to be among those who read it. May Almighty Allah continue to increase ur knowledge & imaan.

    Reply
  18. fulana
    Jul 30 2012

    assalamu alaikum
    baarakAllahu feeki
    may Allah increase you in knowledge and forgive us all this ramadan..aameen

    Reply
  19. Razia
    Aug 9 2012

    As salaam O Alaikum…. I am one of those individuals who is trying to be a good human being. Unfortunately I am unable to read The Holy Quran though I have read it once as a child. Some now I do not want to read it in any other language except Arabic & a part of me is so very scared of making mistakes. I know that on the day of judgement I will have to answer Him. please help me.

    Reply
  20. Abby
    Jul 29 2013

    Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuhu sister,
    First of all, JazaakAllahu khairan for this article, clears of some doubts I had in mind.
    Secondly, you mention reading/reciting the Qur’an which is the translated copy as permissible. I was wondering if you also meant those copies which have the Arabic Qur’an and English (or any other language) translation side by side? Or do we have to wear gloves while touching those books also? Just to confirm ukhthi, bit confused about that point. :)
    May Allah reward you abundantly for your efforts.
    Wassalaamu alaikum wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuhu.

    Reply
  21. BerserkHijabi
    Aug 3 2013

    Thank you so much for this post! It’s rare to find an Islamic author who is informational and has a “fine sense of humor” at the same time.JAK.

    Reply
  22. Rida zahra
    Jul 25 2014

    Salam! I have a question in my mind that if any woman is face monthly periods during her itikaaf so what can she do in these days plzzz tell me urgently because I have need your reply plz reply here not my e mail address
    Thanks
    Best regards
    Sinner girl
    Rida zahra

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Jul 26 2014

      Assalamu Alaikum Sister.

      How are you?

      Please excuse me for the delay in replying to you.

      A menstruating woman should not be in itikaaf actually. She can do all the things that I mentioned in the above post.

      Also Sister, all of of us sin so please do not refer to yourself as “Sinner Girl”, rather it would be better to say “One who hopes in the Mercy of Allah”!

      Baarakallahu feek.

      Reply
  23. Rida zahra
    Jul 25 2014

    I am in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and plzz tell me the best dua for economical improvement and for go abroad with family plzzzzzzz reply me as soon as you can
    Thanks
    Sinner girl
    Rida zahra

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Jul 26 2014

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      At the moment, I cannot recall if there is a specific dua in the Quran and Sunnah for this. However, I do know that taubah (repentance) is one source and the proof is in the words of Nuh (alaihissalam) in Surah Nuh when he asks the people to ask Allah for forgiveness and then they would get gardens and other stuff.

      Also, you can do dua in your own language. Just ask Allah for what you want with great hope. Ask through his Names like Ar-Razzaaq and Ar-Raaziq (both of them are related to sustenance).

      I hope that helps, inshaa-Allah.

      May Allah makes things easy for you.

      Baarakallahu feek.

      Reply

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