Administrator on April 12th, 2008
Sisters Monthly Study Cirles
Sisters monthly Study Cirles take place every last Saturday of the month after zuhr parayer. A wide range of topics are covered, including, purification, prayer, friendship, Islam and other faiths and raising of children etc.
The talks are given both in English and Urdu.
Sisters Weekly Gathering
Sisters weekly gathering takes place on Sunday from 11am to 1pm at Al-Madina Jamia Mosque 31 Brudenell Grove Leeds LS6 1HR.
Come learn the beautiful teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the sunnahs of the beloved Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)
Ramadan and Women
Ramadan is the blessed month in which Muslims abstain from food, drink, marital relations, and all negative human characteristics such as lying, back biting, using obscene language and arguing from dawn until sunset, for the sake of gaining Allah’s pleasure. It is a month in which Muslims give up worldly pleasures in favour of great reward from Allah (swt) and the pleasures of the life after death. In a hadith narrated in Muslim, Allah says:
“Every action of the son of Adam belongs to him except the fast. It is Mine, and I repay him for it.”
From this hadith it is evident that the reward for fasting comes directly from Allah. Fasting is a very personal act of worship; unlike e.g. performing salah or giving zakat, it is not something which a third party can see a person performing. The fact that a fast is being observed is only truly known to the fasting individual and Allah (swt). Because of the personal nature of the fast, Allah (swt) promises a personal reward for it.
Fasting during Ramadan is made obligatory on Muslims in the Holy Quran:
“O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain unto piety.” (Al-Qur’an 2 : 183)
“So every one of you who is present during that month (Ramadan) should spend it in fasting.” (Al Qur’an 2 : 185)
Fasting is obligatory for one who:
(a) is Muslim;
(b) has reached puberty;
(c) is sane;
(d) is capable of bearing the fast; and
(e) if female, is not in the period of menstruation or postnatal bleeding (nifas).
There are a number of issues which specifically relate to women and fasting which can sometimes cause confusion. For example, it is well know that women are not permitted to fast during their menstrual period or during postnatal bleeding. It is perhaps not as well known that fasts missed due to menstruation and postnatal bleeding must be made up after Ramadan.
This article seeks to address some of the issues which relate to fasting women and to clarify some of the more common issues which can arise.
When does the obligation to fast arise?
The obligation to fast arises when a person reaches puberty; for women this is deemed to be when they begin menstruating. From this point onwards, the female is obliged to fast (subject to fulfilling the various other conditions outlined above).
Fasting and Menstruation
Women are not permitted to fast during their monthly menstrual period, but any fasts missed because of their period must be compensated for in the year following Ramadan (before next year’s Ramadan arrives). Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be well pleased with her) said:
“During the period we have been ordered to make up the fasting but not the prayer.”
The requirement not to fast applies only to bleeding which is caused by menstruation only, not to other non-menstrual bleeding a woman might experience (known as istihaadah).
For the majority of women, this ruling is simple to follow; they will have a regular menstrual cycle of e.g. 6 days every 28 days and they will know not to fast during this time. For other women, the issue is more complex due to irregular periods, periods which last for longer than the average, or bleeding in between periods. In such cases:
The maximum length of the menstrual period is considered to be 10 days. If a woman continues to bleed beyond 10 days, she should have a bath to purify herself after the 10th day and resume daily prayers and fasting even if she continues to bleed. In this case, she should perform fresh wudu before every prayer.
If a woman’s period usually lasts for less than 10 days, e.g. 8 days, but in a particular month extends beyond 10 days, she must consider all days after her usual 8 days as non-menstrual bleeding and compensate for prayers and fasts missed during those 2 days.
- For women who experience irregular bleeding throughout the month and are unsure as to whether the bleeding is due to menstruation or something else, the minimum period of time between menstrual bleeding is considered to be 15 days. So if a woman begins bleeding again less than 15 days after her normal monthly period, that bleeding is not considered to be menstrual bleeding and she should continue praying and fasting as normal (performing fresh wudu before each prayer). In cases of frequent bleeding in between periods, medical advice should be sought in relation to whether the bleeding is caused by menstruation or otherwise.
- If a woman begins a fast and her period starts before the breaking of the fast, the fast is not considered to be valid and she must compensate for it. However, if a woman’s period starts after she has broken the fast, then the fast will be valid.
- If a woman knows that her period will start the following day, she must still fast until her period actually starts (i.e. she should not break her fast until she actually sees blood).
- If a woman’s period ceases in the middle of the night but she doesn’t have time to perform the purifying bath before the next fast begins, then she can make the intention to fast, keep the fast and have her bath as soon as she can after the fast begins.
- If a woman does not know exactly how many fasts she has missed, she should fast until she is fairly certain that she has made up for the days she has missed.
In the case of women who are not permitted to fast due to menstruation (or postnatal bleeding), they may eat during the day, but should respect the sanctity of the month of Ramadan by not eating in the presence of others who are fasting.
In order to avoid missing fast, some women prefer to take medication to suppress their monthly period during Ramadan. It is considered to be better for women to remain natural and accept what Allah (swt) has made natural for them instead of trying to prevent the bleeding.
As with women experiencing their periods, women experiencing post childbirth bleeding are also not permitted to fast but must compensate for fasts missed after Ramadan.
Postnatal bleeding is considered to last for a maximum of 40 days. If a woman’s bleeding ceases before 40 days, then she must resume prayers and fasting after having had a purifying bath. If within the 40 days the woman starts to bleed again, then that would be considered to be a continuation of her postnatal bleeding and she must cease prayers and fasts.
However, if a woman continue to bleed beyond 40 days, then the bleeding is no longer considered to be due to child birth and the woman should pray and fast on all days beyond the 40, even if she continues to bleed. As with bleeding that is not considered to be menstrual, the woman should perform fresh wudu before each prayer. This would not apply if the bleeding beyond 40 days coincides with her normal monthly menstrual period, in which case the normal rules relating to menstruation apply.
Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women
A woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding is permitted not to fast if she fears for her own health or the health of her child. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Allah has lifted the obligation of fasting and part of the prayer from the traveller, and He has lifted the obligation of fasting from the pregnant and breastfeeding woman.” (Al-Tirmidhi).
Whether or not fasting is likely to cause harm to a woman or her child will depend on her medical circumstances. It might be difficult for a woman to asses this herself. It would therefore be sensible to take medical advice from a doctor before Ramadan begins and heed that advice; if the medical advice is that fasting is likely to cause harm, then the woman should not fast as Allah (swt) does not wish harm on any person, including the unborn foetus.
This article has hopefully addressed some of the more common issues relating to Ramadan for women. In the event of further queries, please contact us on email@example.com
Menstruating Women and the Mosque
Are women permitted to enter and remain in the Mosque during their monthly menstrual period? This is a frequently asked question, and one this brief article aims to examine.
In short, the answer is no. There are numerous restrictions on a woman’s activites during her monthy period (and during the bleeding she experiences after child birth), and one of those is the restriction on entering and remaining in the Mosque.
Why is this Important?
The Mosque is the house of Allah, and in the same way that we all try to keep our own homes as clean and tidy as possible, we are under an obligation to keep the house of Allah in a clean and pure state. In order to do this, we must understand the circumstances in which individuals are not considered to be in a state in which their presence in the Mosque is permissible.
Today, by the grace of Allah, many Mosques hold activites beyond the five daily prayers which are aimed at attracting both men and women. These include study circles, nasheed events, inviting guest speakers to give talks and even exhibitions during which the Mosque is open to those of all backgrounds and faiths.
The importance of encouraging women to come to the Mosque cannot be underestimated, and nothing in this article is intended to discourage women from coming to the Mosque when they are permitted to do so. The Mosque should be the hub of the Muslim community and of Muslim family life, and it can only become that hub if it is open to all. Coming to the Mosque gives us a real sense of belonging to the Muslim community, and provides an opportity to draw nearer to Allah. It is just as important for women to benefit from this as it is for men. The Mosque is a great place to learn about Islam, and the obligation to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave is one our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) placed on all Muslims, regardless of their gender. In fact, women are seen in Islam as the prime educators of the next generation, and therefore any activity which increases their Islamic knowledge is to be encouraged as far as possible.
It is therefore extremely important that Mosques are open to women and that women make the effort to attend whenever they can. Having said that, it is just as important that we observe the rules of entry and make sure that we are not transgressing the rules of Allah (swt), who’s pleasure we are ultimately seeking to gain by going to the Mosque, by entering the Mosque when we are not permitted to do so.
What is a woman not allowed to do during her period?
Unlike some other religions, Islam does not degrade the status of women when they are on their monthly periods. In fact, the Holy Qur’an refers to the menstrual period as “a hurt”, an indication that those activites which are not permitted to women during their periods are not permitted as a concession to the dfficulties a woman might experience during this time, as opposed to as a punishment. Amongst the activities that women are not allowed to engage in during their periods (and during post childbirth bleedng) are:
1. reciting the Holy Qur’an (either from memory where a complete verse is being recited or by reading it);
2. praying the five daily prayers (though dua is acceptable at all times);
3. fasting during the month of Ramadan or at any other time (fasts missed during Ramadan must be made up after Ramadan);
4. engaging in marital relations;
5. circumulating the Ka’ba during the Hajj or at any other time; and
6. remaining in the Mosque
Entering the Mosque
It is an agreed upon issue amongst many of the scholars that a menstruating woman (or a person in the seminally defiled state before they have been able to perform the ritual bath) is prohibited from entering the Mosque. Many ahadith bear testament to this, including the following:
A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) related that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah b pon him) said, ”I do not make lawful the masjid for menstruating women or for one who is in a seminally defiled state [junub]. (Sunan Abu Dawud).
Umm Salama (may Allah be pleased with her) related that the Prophet (peace and blesings of Allah be upon him) entered the courtyard of the Mosque and announced aloud, “The masjid is not permitted for the seminally defiled and for the menstruating women.” (Tabarani).
Those who seek to argue that women are not prohibited from entering the Mosque during their periods often cite the hadith of our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in which he encouraged women, including menstruating women, to attend the Eid prayer. They claim that if women were encouraged to attend the Eid prayer in whatever state they were in (whether menstruating or not), then it must follow that such women were permitted to enter the Mosque in order to join in the prayer.
The following ahadith support the importance of everyone – including menstruating women – joining the Eid prayer:
Um ‘Atiya (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated, “We used to be ordered to come out on the Day of Eid and even bring out the virgin girls from their houses and menstruating women so that they might stand behind the men and say Takbir along with them and invoke Allah along with them and hope for the blessings of that day and for purification from sins.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
Muhammad (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, Um ‘Atiyya said: ‘Our Prophet ordered us to come out (on Eid day) with the mature girls and the virgins staying in seclusion.’ Hafsa narrated the above mentioned hadith and added, “The mature girls or virgins staying in seclusion but the menstruating women had to keep away from the Musalla.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
Aiyub (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, Hafsa bint Sirin said, “On Eid we used to forbid our girls to go out for Eid prayer. A lady came and stayed at the palace of Bani Khalaf and I went to her. She said, ‘The husband of my sister took part in twelve holy battles along with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and my sister was with her husband in six of them. My sister said that they used to nurse the sick and treat the wounded. Once she asked, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! If a woman has no veil, is there any harm if she does not come out (on Eid day)?’ The Prophet said, ‘Her companion should let her share her veil with her, and the women should participate in the good deeds and in the religious gatherings of the believers.’ ” Hafsa added, “When Um’Atiya came, I went to her and asked her, ‘Did you hear anything about soandso?’ Um’Atlya said, ‘Yes, let my father be sacrificed for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). (And whenever she mentioned the name of the Prophet she always used to say, ‘Let my father be’ sacrificed for him). He said, ‘Virgin mature girls staying often screened (or said, ‘Mature girls and virgins staying often screened Aiyub is not sure as which was right) and menstruating women should come out (on the Eid day). But the menstruating women should keep away from the Musalla. And all the women should participate in the good deeds and in the religious gatherings of the believers’.” Hafsa said, “On that I said to Um’Atiya, ‘Also those who are menstruating?’ ” Um’Atiya replied, “Yes. Do they not present themselves at ‘Arafat and elsewhere?”. (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
It is clear from the above ahadith that the participation of women, even when menstruating, in Eid prayers is highly encouraged. However, anyone who uses these ahadith in support of the proposition that menstruating women are permitted inside the Mosque perhaps does not understand the full circumstances behind the ahadith. Whilst it is true that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did indeed encourage women to attend the Eid prayer even when menstruating, he also said that the Eid prayer should be held out in the open and not in the Mosque, specifically so that everyone could attend, including those who would not be permitted to do so if the prayer was being held in the Mosque. So the key thing to note is that women were encouraged to attend the Eid prayer even when menstruating – not to join the prayer but to listen to the sermon (khutba) and join the dua – but the Eid prayer did not take place inside a Mosque but out in the open.
What about designated “non-Mosque” areas within the Mosque building?
Some Mosques have certain areas within them that are not designated parts of the Mosque. For example, some Mosques have attached community centres, with a separate entrance. In such circumstances, the area that is designated as a community centre does not form part of the Mosque so the restriction on entry does not apply.
It is clear from the above that menstruating women are not permitted into the Mosque. It is important that we do not affect the purity of Allah’s house by being there when we should not be. There is no benefit to us in entering the Mosque with the intention of earning Allah’s pleasure and earning his displeasure instead. However, it is ultimately down to each of us to comply with this rule because no one else can police it. And Allah knows best.