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Periods: "Ain't you observing fast?"

Scholars have issued a statement (fatwa) that whoever fasts during periods is a sinner. So don't make them a sinner.
by TNN Editor - 01 Apr, 2023 1679

Humaira Aleem

Though Pakistani women are facing innumerable issues at home and outside the home and they write about them and raise their voices regarding them. However, there are such problems talking about which is considered a sign of immodesty. Although these matters are related to human health and purity.

In Ramadan, women face great shame when they do not fast and are eating and drinking and a family member or a colleague in the office sees them and considers he is obliged to ask: "Ain't you observing fast?"

In modern times, schools teach children about the human body and its systems. The Internet has also given awareness to children. So today's kids are aware of everything. When the Holy Quran discussed this topic in the first Surah Al-Baqarah, it means that even a seven-year-old child will read these verses and understand them. Because the meaning of reciting the Qur'an is to read the text in such a way that its meaning is understood. Then why do we hesitate to discuss it?

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Some Ansari women came to ask the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) some questions, some of which were about periods and some about wedded life. Aisha

Radiyallahu Anha heard them asking these questions and was surprised, upon which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "How good are the women of the Ansar that they do not have shame and modesty in gaining knowledge of religion." (Bukhari 68/1)

We are facing many problems because of this unnecessary hesitation and shame. Children are not aware of the rulings of purity after puberty and often face these issues even after marriage. Although Islam has assigned this task to parents to teach their children about cleanliness. Because ablution and purity are mandatory for every act of worship, therefore cleanliness is considered half of faith.

One such issue is periods. Allah Ta'ala has described it in Albaqrah: "And people ask you about menstruation, tell them that it is impure and harmful blood. So stay away from your menstruating women. And do not approach them until they are purified, then approach them when they are thoroughly cleansed of blood." Al-Baqarah 222

It means women are suffering these days. Scientific research has also proven that 91% of women experience dysmenorrhea, while for another 29%, it causes severe discomfort. They have mood swings, headaches, backache, and stomach pain. For some, the condition worsens to the point where they are unable to move and require pain-killer injections.

Allah the Exalted has given so much freedom to women during these days that He exempted them from prayer, fasting, and other acts of worship. Facilitate two women as witnesses because of memory loss these days, if one forgets, the other will remind her.

But we have two extremes, one that completely outcasts women with periods. They cannot touch the Quran, prayer mat, rosary, etc and like the Bishali of Kailash, the Chopadi of the Hindus, they have to remain outside the residential area till the end of these days. And on the other hand, we do not give them permission to eat, drink, or perform prayers even during Ramadan.

In most houses, women eat Suhoor and Iftar these days as well just to pretend that they are fasting.

I remember when we were reading verses about periods, my teacher, Dr. Farhat Hashmi, told about her family saying: "Our father was a religious scholar he taught Quran, hadith, and Fiqh to our mother and all of us. Every morning he used to wake up all of us for Fajr prayer. Those of us who didn't have to pray would tell him and father never asked any questions."

Aren't our male family members aware of the fact that every woman has periods every month, it's a natural process, not a contagious disease that they should be ashamed of themselves. If a female family member is not praying or fasting, should they be sentenced and imprisoned for this sin?

They should be given a little relief and be helped with chores so that they can relax physically and mentally. Many western countries have such facilities for women, even in Spain women can take holidays these days.

In India, women are allowed to take leave during their periods from August 2020 in Zomato Food Delivery Company. Their diet is also taken care of during these days. Then why can't this happen to us? While it is also the duty of our men to take care of female family members in every way.

It is mandatory for a wife that if the husband calls her to fulfill his needs, even if she is kneading the dough, she can't refuse. But Allah Ta'ala exempted her during these days because Allah Ta'ala knows that she is in agony. Then why our men can’t realize this?

Periods are a natural process just like other systems such as the digestive and excretory systems. So talk about it. Tell the children that there is an exemption for women with periods. Even if they do not perform any acts of worship they won't be sinful.

Mothers and sisters-in-law should explain to fathers and brothers that they should not ask girls why ain't offering prayer or observing fast. If they can't be relaxed n comfortable in their own homes where will they go?

Show some respect to Ramadan and not eating in front of the fasting person is good. But this does not mean that one should not eat or drink anything for the whole day just for fear that someone will see them eating.

Even if someone sees you eating and drinking, there is no shame in it because it is the exemption that you have received from Allah Almighty.

Scholars have issued a statement (fatwa) that whoever fasts during periods is a sinner. So don't make them a sinner.