Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
I am going through a difficult time in my life. Allah is testing me, and I am patiently waiting for my du'as to be answered. At times of purity, I am at peace because I can come to Allah. But during my menstrual cycle, I am reduced to a state of drepression, self-pity, tears... I don't know how to soothe myself. I can't pray, I can't read the Qur'an, I can't enter a masjid.
It's a week of hell. What can I do to end my grief? It comes back every month, and I can't deal with these feelings.
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
I pray this message finds you in good health and spirits.
First off, if you are suffering from serious depression during your menstrual cycle, it may be advisable to see an OB-GYN. Some women experience mood swings right before and during their menstrual cycles. However, serious depression is not typical and should not be overlooked.
The beauty of our way of life is that the believer is never cut off from her Lord, no matter what her state. Even if a woman is menstruating or experiencing postnatal bleeding, there are still ways for her to strengthen her iman and draw nearer to Allah Most High.
While you are menstruating, there are specific acts of worship, which are prohibited. The reason for the prohibition is the lack of ritual purity, and not a deficiency in you. There is no reason to be depressed. It is not a punishment that you can't pray. Rather, it is a mercy from Allah Most High that He has lifted these obligations from women experiencing menstrual or postnatal bleeding, while at the same time not taking anything away from them in terms of reward or good deeds.
According to the Hanafi School, the acts of worship which you cannnot do during your period (or postnatal bleeding) are as follows:
1. Prayer, whether obligatory or voluntary
2. Fasting, whether obligatory or voluntary
3. Sexual intercourse, although it is permitted for the husband and wife to kiss, cuddle, and lay together, as long as the husband avoids direct contact with the area between her navel and knee
4. Making tawaf (circumambulation of the Kaaba)
5. Entering a masjid
6. Touching the Qur'an
7. Reciting the Qur'an with the intention of recitation
These are the things you can't do. However, there are things you can do to keep your connection to Allah Most High:
1. Listen to the Qur'an. Either have someone recite it to you, or listen to a tape or cd.
2. The Hanafi School recommends that menstruating women make ablution at the time of prayer, sit in a quiet place, and supplicate Allah. Although the ablution does not lift the state of ritual impurity, it still puts one in a good frame of mind.
3. Constant remembrance of Allah. Remember that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, remembered Allah in all his states. There is nothing preventing you from supplicating Allah and making remembrance of Him (dhikr). Furthermore, even if the supplications contain verses from the Qur'an, as many do, it is permitted to say these supplications, provided that you do so with the intention of remembrance, and not recitation.
4. Study Sacred Knowledge. It is permissible to handle books of tafsir (Qur'an commentary), fiqh (Sacred Law), and hadith, provided that they do not contain more Qur'anic text than commentary.
5. Listen to uplifting tapes and cds. There are many nice productions to listen to, for example, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf's Purification of the Heart. Since you're not praying, why not take the extra time to listen to some of these?
6. Get a sisters' gathering together. Even if you're not praying, chances are someone else is. Have this sister recite Qur'an for you. Being in good company lifts one's spirits.
7. Join a class here at SunniPath. Since the courses are available online, you can log on at your convenience and listen to traditionally-trained scholars. I can personally vouch for the quality of these courses. Furthermore, when I felt bad, nothing strengthened my iman and uplifted my spirits more than going to SunniPath and benefiting from the blessed knowledge offered in a wide array of courses. I personally recommend the 77 Branches of Faith, taught by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.
Last, but not least, here are some useful articles right here at SunniPath:
What kind of worship can one do if menstruating? Especially these last days of Ramadan?http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=2600&CATE=6
The Fiqh of Menstruation at http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=4926&CATE=3
Feeling very lonely and depressed, and far from Divine Mercy at http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=5131&CATE=239
What is the famous dhikr against depression? http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=2528&CATE=17
May Allah Most High alleviate your depression and accept your deeds and give you peace of heart.
And Allah knows best.
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