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Why Can’t I Fast During Menstruation?!

Questioner

Amina

Reply Date

May 18, 2019

Question

As-salaamu alaikum, Thank you for this lovely page. It has helped me a lot, as I am a new Muslim, al-hamdu-li-Allah. Now, one thing I do not like about Ramadan. Why can't I fast during my menstruation!!!! I was told because I am not pure!! And, therefore God will not accept my fasting!! This, really, was very offensive! That is why I never believed it... I know God... deep at my heart much better... my monthly menstruation is a biological clock... something completely out of my hands... how can it categorize me as being "unaccepted"?? They told me, “you will be tired”. Well, sometimes I am, but sometimes I am not... so why not fast when I feel ok!! Please clarify. This is my first Ramadan and I really want to fast the whole month!! I don't want to feel like an outsider while others are fasting. I need to understand the logic behind that. God forgive me!

Consultant

Answer


Can't Fast

Assalamu Alaykum Dear Amina,

I truly appreciate your “overflow” of love and enthusiasm towards Allah and Islam!

Allow me to clarify some misinformation you were given. You don’t abstain from prayer and fasting while menstruating because you become impure!

I tell you that no believer, whatever he might have done, becomes impure in body or soul. In fact, Allah has honored us, as He says in Surah 17, verse 70:

{We have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of our creation.}

Only one thing can make a human soul impure, which is when one deliberately associates partners to Allah, as He says in Surah 9, verse 28:

{O ye who believe! Truly the pagans are impure; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque. And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.}

Understanding of the concept of impurity is what has caused this confusion. While menstruating, it is the blood, not you, that becomes impure. 

According to Islam, a believer is always spiritually pure. Also, why would Allah scorn us for a natural thing that He created in us? And if so, then accordingly giving birth and legal sexual pleasures are going to be scornful acts as they lead one to be impure!

It is only urine, the blood … etc., that are impure, not us. So when we have these impurities on our bodies we have to keep away from the things that Allah ordered us to keep away from – such as praying and fasting – till we are free from these impurities.

It is like when you don’t eat till you wash the dirt on your hands. This does not mean any humiliation – that you have turned into “dirt” yourself.

Each religion, Amina, has its own rituals and rulings. In some cases, Allah has let us know about the wisdom behind these rulings. But in other cases, He keeps the wisdom for Himself.

For example, why is it the urine that nullifies ablution and not nasal secretions that come out after sneezing? Nobody knows. And why is food inside our stomach and intestines pure, while it is impure once it comes out of the body?

You have to differentiate between two things when you hear a religious ruling that may sound illogical to you:

If this ruling is not confirmed in either Quran, sunnah, or ijtihad (independent reasoning) of recognized scholars. The other case is if it is confirmed, but still not convincing or acceptable to your mind.

For the first case, it is absolutely your right not to carry out an order, till you find a clear proof for it in the Quran, sunnah, or ijtihad. But if it is the second case, then we should never describe it as “offensive” or illogical.

This is because sometimes the wisdom behind a certain ruling is not clear to our limited human minds. But in other cases – as I stated before – the wisdom behind a certain ruling is kept in Allah’s own ultimate knowledge.

Here, we surrender ourselves to His decrees, without any kind of objection. Islam means the full and peaceful surrender to Allah’s orders – as long as they are mentioned in Quran and authentic sunnah.

Muslims are encouraged to think. They have a vast space where they are ordered to use their minds and logic to think and contemplate. However, Allah decreed specific points or issues that are considered matters of surrender.

Allah says in Surah 33, verse 36:

{It is not fitting for a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path.}

Showing true love for God, Amina, is not by worshiping Him in a way that He has not prescribed, but rather by giving His words credit – that even if you don’t understand their wisdom, I do believe deep in my heart that they must be perfect … This is just because they are from Allah, the All-Wise and the All-Knowing.

All schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that a woman in menstruation should not fast or pray. This is established in  based on the following hadith:

Mu’adhah said:

I asked `Aishah, ‘Why must we make up the fasts missed due to our menstruation, and not prayers?’ Aisha said, ‘That was what the messenger of Allah told us to do. We were ordered to make up the fasts, and we were ordered not to make up the prayers.’ (Narrated by the Group)

Think about, Amina, as a mercy from Allah because many women do not feel well during menstruation. So, why add the additional burden of fasting. It is just like a sick person who has to replace the fast at other times.

I hope this helps answer your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Why Can’t Women Pray During Menses?

Period and Ramadan – Can We Talk About It?

The ABCs of Fasting in Ramadan




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