It causes us so much pain, disgust, anxiety, and tiredness every single month. It doesn’t let us pray or fast. And it doesn’t let us play basketball. If it sometimes makes you cry, you’re not alone— you’re in the same boat as our mother Aisha, because it made her cry too.
A Special Superpower
Allah gave us, the daughters of Adam, a special superpower– the ability to give birth to the human race. And the period is nothing but a by-product of that superpower.
Think about it: why did Allah make our reproductive system such that our womb is washed off and newly prepared for receiving a baby every month? Why didn’t He just make it easier?
Apart from the biological reasons, this hardship is a special test for us, a test of whether we’re worthy of receiving the great blessing of becoming a mom. It’s such a huge blessing that the prophet Muhammad said to a man who wanted to go out to fight in jihad:
Stay with [your mother], for Paradise is beneath her feet. (An-Nasa’i 3104)
Blessing in the Test
Even if some of us don’t ultimately become a mom in this world (we can have as many (nappy-free) babies as we want to cuddle, in Jannah!) menstruation itself is a huge test. It tests our dedication to physical and ritual cleanliness for the sake of Allah.
In the Quran, Allah called menstruation adha or “harm” and ordered the men to keep away. Now this very thing which is adha is what we carry around with us seven days a month, in the meanwhile trying to protect our bodies, clothes, and surroundings from it.
And especially trying is the wait at the end– the anxiety of, on the one hand, missing a prayer by becoming pure without realizing it, and on the other hand, being in too much of a hurry to pray and finding out later that we’re still impure. Only a woman can understand the heaviness of this test.
But in this very test there is another blessing; every hardship we suffer increases our degree in the sight of Allah by His will, because the prophet Muhammad said:
The believer is not afflicted by the prick of a thorn or what is worse than that, except that by it Allah raises him in rank and removes sin from him. (At-Tirmidhi 965)
This adha, this impurity, is actually a cleanser— it cleanses our souls from sins. Now calculate the number of days in the last twenty or so years in which you’ve menstruated— holding other variables constant. In sha Allah we’re that many steps higher up than men towards Jannah!
The Prophet’s Advice to Aisha
Our mother Aisha also had this same issue. And yes it made her cry— when she had it during Hajj. The Prophet Muhammad, the best of husbands, on seeing her weeping immediately understood what was up. (An-Nasa’i 348)
He simply taught her how to continue with her hajj even during period, and that’s how we too get to learn about these rules!
In another narration it says that Aisha completed hajj but couldn’t complete the umrah. After telling her to get into ihram again after her period was over, he said:
… and (the reward of this Umrah) is for you equal to your hardship, or your spending. (Sahih Muslim 1211)
Imam Nawawi commenting on this part of the hadith saying:
“This is clear from the fact that the reward and goodness of the act of worship increases by increase in the level of hard work and expenditure.”
So to sum up, the benefits of having a period every month are as follows:
1- It’s a monthly clean-up program for our sins.
2- It’s a ladder towards Jannah.
3- It’s a means of increasing the rewards of such acts of worship that are affected by it, such as Hajj and Umrah.