1. Eat, drink and be moderate
I see many sisters, who are ma sha' Allaah, very enthusiastic about their prayers, duas and Ibaadah during the month of Ramadhaan. But, come their time for menses, it's like someone turned their switch 'off'. They completely stop all forms of worship and think that their menses is a reason to take a 'vacation' from remembering Allaah....totally. They start spending their time shopping, watching TV or just doing other stuff, just because they are 'on it', although previously they were very eager to spend their time remembering Allaah.
And then, there are some of my sisters, who are genuinely very distraught and feel kind of deprived and sad and so helpless that they cannot pray or fast during these days.
Naturally, they stop praying and fasting, as per the orders of Allaah, but then, they also stop all other forms of worship and means of coming close to their Rabb.
This is so much so that even during the last ten nights of Ramadhaan, instead of searching for Laylatul Qadr, the night in which worship is better than a thousand months, although they feel bad about missing out, they sleep through it, just because they are having their menses, thinking there is nothing they can do.
And thus, they lose out on the countless blessings, tremendous goodness and precious moments of this beautiful month.
So what's a woman to do during this time?
1. Submit to the decree of Allaah:
Dear sister, don't feel sad or deprived. Realize that Allaah has decreed for all women to have menses. It's not just you. All women have to go through this. And when the time for it comes, it comes.
Once our Mother, Aaisha Radhi Allaahu Anha was accompanying the Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) on Hajj when she got her period. This made her sad and she started crying.
The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) consoled her, saying:
"This is something which Allaah has decreed for the daughters of Adam.” (Bukhaari)
Dear sister, never forget that Islaam means submission....submission to Allaah and His rules. Submitting to His rules IS Ibaadah. And it was Allaah Who ordered you to stop praying and fasting in the first place. So when you give up praying or fasting during your menses, realize that you are obeying Allaah and worshipping Him by submitting to His Orders. Realize that not praying or fasting during your menses is Ibaadah itself.
Remember, it's all about doing things the way Allaah wants. That's Islaam. That's Ibaadah.
Also know that if you can not fast due to a valid Shar'i reason then Allaah will reward you, just as if you were fasting. The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) said:
"When a slave of Allaah falls ill or goes on a journey, he is credited with the same amount of recompense as he used to do in his state of health or when he was at home". (Bukhaari)
2. Reciting the Qur'aan:
Although there is a difference of opinion, many of the scholars, including Ibn Abbaas, Imaam Bukhaari, Ibn Taymiyah, Ibn Baaz, Shaikh al-Albaani, etc said that it is okay for a woman on her menses to read the Qur'aan, without touching it directly.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: “There is no clear, saheeh text to indicate that a menstruating woman is forbidden to recite Qur’aan… It is known that women used to menstruate at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he did not forbid them to recite Qur’aan, or to remember Allaah (dhikr) and offer du’aa’.”
And Shaikh Ibn Baaz said: "It is permissible for the woman who is menstruating or bleeding following childbirth to recite Qur’aan according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions. " (Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn Baaz, 10/209)
If you want to be extra careful about not touching the Mushaf, you can also read the Qur'aan off of the Internet or on your cell phone.
3. Read the meanings and tafseer of the Qur'aan:
Pick up a good tafseer of the Qur'aan and read it. There is no Tahaarah required for it. Reflect on the words of your Rabb, ponder over the meanings and understand what Allaah is saying to us. These ayaat,my sister, are not there just for us to read; rather to interact with them, and implement them in our lives. Allaah says:
"(This is a) Book that We have sent down to you, full of blessings, so that they may ponder over its aayaat, and that those of understanding may remember." [Surah Saad:29]
And what better time would we have than now, to read the translation and tafseer, to understand the meanings of this Noble Book, so that we can achieve guidance?
"And We have indeed made the Qur'aan easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)?" (Surah al-Qamar:17)
4. Listening to the Qur'aan:
There's nothing like listening to a beautiful recitation of the Qur'aan, especially at times when you are feeling down, such as because of your period. It fills the heart with such tranquility, such peace that no words can describe. It increases Imaan and brings you great rewards since listening to the Qur'aan with an attentive heart is an act of Ibaadah in itself.
The Sahaabah loved to listen to the Qur'aan being recited and even the Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) would sometimes listen to the Qur'aan from other people and he would cry.
Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood said: "The Messenger of Allaah (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said to me: “Recite the Qur'aan to me.” I said: O Messenger of Allaah, should I recite to you when it was revealed to you? He said: “I like to hear it from someone else.” So I recited al-Nisa’, and when I reached the verse, “How (will it be) then, when We bring from each nation a witness and We bring you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) as a witness against these people?” [al-Nisa’ 4:41], I raised my head....and I saw his tears flowing.. (Bukhaari, Muslim)
So play a beautiful recitation of your favorite Qaari, close your eyes and listen attentively. Let the Words of the Lord of the Worlds echo in the room, filling your ears, your mind, your whole being. Let those ayaat penetrate deep into you until your heart shakes and your skin shivers...and then Believe. And Submit.
5. Do a lot of Dhikr:
Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allaah, when you are on your period and when you are not. There is nothing like it. It is one of the most beloved deeds to Allaah and His Messenger (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) and gets you tremendous rewards. And yet, it's so easy, Alhamdulillaah.
The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said:
"The uttering of the words: "Subhaan Allaah, Alhamdulillaah, La ilaha illAllaah and Allaahu Akbar' is dearer to me than anything over which the sun rises.'' (Muslim)
And he (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said to Abu Dardaa', "Shall I not inform you of the best of your action which is the purest to your Rabb, which raises your status, which is better for you than spending gold and silver, and better for you than that you meet your enemies and cut off their necks or you yourselves achieve martyrdom?'' They said, "Certainly.'' He (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said, "It is the remembrance of Allah the Exalted.'' (Tirmidhi-hasan)
"He who utters a hundred times in a day these words: `La ilaha illallahu, wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu, wa Huwa `ala kulli sha'in Qadir (there is no true god except Allah. He is One and He has no partner with Him; His is the sovereignty and His is the praise, and He is Omnipotent),' he will have a reward equivalent to that for emancipating ten slaves, a hundred good deeds will be recorded to his credit, hundred of his (minor) sins will be blotted out from his scroll, and he will be safeguarded against the devil on that day till the evening; and no one will exceed him in doing more excellent good deeds except someone who has recited these words more often than him. And he who utters: `Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi (Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise)' one hundred times a day, his sins will be obliterated even if they are equal to the extent of the foam of the ocean.'' (Bukhaari and Muslim)
Subhaan Allaah! Could anyone ask for more? So keep yourself busy with the dhikr of Allaah and recite the morning and evening adhkaar (supplications) and other forms of dhikr prescribed from the Sunnah, while eating, drinking, sleeping, wearing clothes, going out of the house, etc. and Allaah will remember you in turn.
Besides, there is also no need for Tahaarah to remember Allaah. You can do this even when you are cooking, cleaning, driving the kids to school, etc.
Such immense rewards for such easy tasks....Subhaan Allaah!
6. Make lots and lots of dua:
Ramadhaan is the month of blessings, mercy and forgiveness. And it is also the month for begging. Yes, begging. For, He is al-Kareem, the Most Generous and we are destitute. He is the Giver and we are in desperate, desperate need of His Mercy, His Kindness, His Blessings and His Forgiveness.
So go ahead and make dua, lots and lots of it; for dua is one of the best acts of Ibaadah.
The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said, “Dua is ‘Ibaadah (worship).” (Tirmidhi-saheeh by Albaani).
And don't just make dua. Beg. Beg for you dunya. Beg for your Aakhirah. Beg for yourself and for your family. And for the Ummah. Beg for every possible thing you can think of.
Spread out those hands in humble submission to the One Who gives all and sustains all from His limitless Treasures and Bounties. Ask and He will give you. Beg and He will suffice you.
7. Do plenty of Istighfaar:
My sister, Ramadhaan is THE month of repentance.
The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam) said: "Jibreel said to me, `May he be destroyed, the person who Ramadan comes and his sins are not forgiven,' and I said, Ameen'....." (Saheeh al-Jaami')
Subhaan Allaah! What better a chance to have your sins forgiven than this? Now is your chance. The gates of Jannah are open and the gates of Hell are shut, and the sinners’ repentance to Allaah is accepted. So don't let this chance go by just because you are on your menses. Make sincere repentance to Allaah and cry over your sins. He is al-Ghafoor, the Oft-Forgiver and He will forgive you. Allaah is calling out to you and me......
"Say: “Ya ‘Ibaadi (O my slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Surah Zumar: 53)
And don't forget to make the best form of dua when seeking Laylatul Qadr.
Aaisha RA said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, if I know which night is Laylat al-Qadr, what should I say on that night?’ He said, ‘Say:
اللهم إنك عفو تحب العفو فاعف عني
Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’affu ‘anni
(O Allaah, You are forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me).” (Tirmidhi- saheeh)
8. Send blessings upon the Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam):
Send blessings upon the Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) in abundance as this is one of the greatest means of having duas answered, and is a great way of earning rewards from Allaah. It can easily be done any time, in almost any place with no prerequisites of tahaarah.
Allaah Himself sends his blessings upon the Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) and so do the angels. And this act has been enjoined upon us by Allaah.
"Allaah and His angels praise and venerate the Prophet (Muhammad). O you who believe! Praise and venerate him (Muhammad) and pronounce peace upon him in abundance." (al-Ahzaab:56).”
9. Thank Allaah:
All Praise is due to Allaah Alone, Who gives His sinful slaves a chance to earn multiple rewards, have their sins forgiven and their duas accepted. It is only He Who gave you a chance to do this. It is only He Who blessed you with the biggest blessing that could ever be. And that is the blessing of Islaam. It is He Who made you Muslim, enabled you to live to witness Ramadhaan and Who give you the opportunity to worship Him. And even having your period is a reason for you to give thanks to Him.
So give thanks to Him from the bottom of your heart, and show your gratitude to the one Who gave you all that you possess, for this season of goodness and blessing that He has bestowed upon you, and for all the bounties and immense blessings for which He has singled you out.
10. Seek knowledge:
Seeking Islaamic knowledge is one of the best forms of Ibaadah and a great source of blessings and rewards. It is the way that leads to Jannah. The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) said:
"He who embarks on the path of seeking knowledge, Allah will ease for him the way to paradise." (Muslim)
And he said:
Allaah, His angels and all those in the heavens and in the earth, even the ants in their holes and the fish in the water, pray for those who instruct people in beneficent knowledge." (Tirmidhi)
You don't have to have Tahaarah for seeking knowledge so pick up some good books of authentic Islaamic information or go on the Internet. There are wonderful, lectures and reminders by great shuyookh as well as Imaan-boosting articles and other audio/video material where a lot can be learned.
11. Give charity:
Ibn Abbas RA said: “The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) was the most generous of the people, and he used to be even more so in the month of Ramadan....he would be more generous than a swift wind (bringing rain).” (Bukhaari)
So give and give and give for the sake of Allaah during this month. Be the most generous at the time of your menses and you will earn great rewards, bi idhnillaah. Spend in the path of Allaah, feed the poor, sponsor an orphan and donate to your masjid.
Also charity is not just about money. You can be generous with your time, with your help to someone in need, and in your manners. So having ggod manners is charity and helping your non Muslim neighbor is charity and making iftar for someone is charity. Looking after someone's young children while they can go pray at the masjid is charity and cleaning up the masjid after everyone leaves is also charity.
12. Do all kinds of good deeds:
Ibaadah just isn't about praying and fasting. It's also about how you deal with people and doing all kinds of good deeds. So you can earn rewards and worship Allaah in your menses by serving your parents, keeping up the ties of kinship, being kind to everyone, giving dawah, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong,
The bottom line, my dear sister, is that there is absolutely nothing preventing you from worshipping your Rabb and gaining tremendous rewards during the month of Ramadhaan or even at other times. Your menses is NOT a hindrance in your path to Jannah. All that is needed is your effort, the right good intentions and sincerity on your part. Just leave the rest to Allaah.
May Allaah accept our deeds from us and enable us to worship Him and thank Him in this month and at all times of our lives. Ameen.