Menstruating During Ramadan
The Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, when Muslims worldwide traditionally fast between sunrise and sunset. Not eating and drinking during the daytime is seen as a way to learn self-discipline, clean the soul and thank Allah. This year, Ramadan will start on Monday, May 6. It will end on Wednesday, June 5, with the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr.
Menstruating women (haa’idh) are not allowed to fast during Ramadan. They have to make up for the missed days of fasting, but not for the missed prayers (as these occur five times a day and the fasting only happens once a year). Women who want to make up for the missed days, first have to be absolutely certain that their bleeding has stopped at night. Only then they can start abstaining from food and drink the next day. If the period stops during daytime, the woman should still eat and drink normally that day and begin fasting the day after.
Menstruating women (and their husbands) have to adhere to more rules in Islam; sexual intercourse, for example, is forbidden during the monthly period. Hugging, kissing or touching outside the genital area is still permitted. In some Muslim societies, women are discouraged from using tampons. This is a cultural thing rather than a religious one and has to do with the taboo on premarital sex. Bloodstained sheets are (wrongly) considered a proof of virginity. Fearing inserting a tampon will break their hymen, girls rather use sanitary pads.
Other options: doing dhikr, using prayer beads, volunteering
So why can’t you fast, pray or enter a mosque on your period? In Islam, which has a strict hygiene regime, menstruating women are considered ritually impure for the duration of their bleeding. Afterwards they have to do a full body ceremonial wash, called a Ghusl. Another point of view is that menstruation temporarily releases women from their religious duties. Especially when suffering from heavy, painful periods, with low iron levels and fatigue, it’s important to nurture and nourish your body. Not only menstruating women have to abstain from fasting. Also small children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly and the sick should keep on eating during Ramadan.
Ramadan is about more than just fasting. Instead of praying and fasting, menstruating women are encouraged to participate in a different way. For examply by doing dhikr (repeating ‘Allahu Akbar‘, ‘Alhamdulillah‘, and ‘Subhanallah‘ 33 times each), using prayer beads or volunteering. Seeing as eating during daytime while all others don’t is the equivalent to screaming ‘I’m on my period!’, some women hide the fact they aren’t fasting. Not the Whelsh-Arab Hanan Issa – read her story on The Express Tribune. And on Patheos.com, Rana S. explains why she doesn’t hide the fact that she’s on her period during Ramadan anymore. There’s of course a big chance you need to break your fasting routine during Ramadan because of your menstruation. Ramadan lasts 29 to 30 days whereas the average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, of which you spend about 5 being on your period.
Ramadan menstruation studies