My personal (e.g. not based on fiqh) reasoning as to why women can’t read salah on their periods:
Someone asked me today about reading salaah while menstruating (she wasn’t Anon so I didn’t publish the ask) and wanted to know why it was not allowed. We of course don’t know all the reasons why Allah SWT and His Messenger have instructed us not to read salaah in this state, but here is what I have observed.
I used to practice a lot of yoga, and I was always told to either take a break during my period or to do really light, restorative yoga, and to especially avoid vigorous poses or inversions, as these can all put a lot of strain on the uterus. Some poses can even cause an increase in flow. (For those who argue that there are no inverted poses in salaah, sujood is definitely an inverted pose, and some of us hold that pose for a long time while making duaa.)
And when you look at salaah, it has some of the same characteristics as yoga poses. I’m not saying it’s based off yoga or anything like that, I’m just talking about the positions and the muscle flexibility required. We don’t think of salaah as something that takes a lot of energy and physical endurance, but it really does. Moving from a fully prostrated position to a fully standing one in a few seconds takes a lot of energy and muscle usage. Don’t believe me? Get a non-Muslim to move from one position to the other for you. Unless they’re physically fit they are going to struggle with it. (Heck just ask a revert. We can tell you.)
And if you think about all the things that can come with menstruation, it just makes sense to me:
- We can get bloated, which makes going into sujood that much harder
- The hormone that causes menstruation to begin also causes the bowels to become more active, and women on their periods pass a LOT more gas than usual. That makes it really hard to keep wudhu
- Many women get lower back pain with their periods, which can be made worse by the positions in salaah, especially rukoo’ and sujood
- Because menstruation isn’t a passive process, we use more calories and require more liquids and sleep during our periods. This makes staying up for isha and/or waking up for fajr more difficult for some women
- The women whose moods are affected by their periods may not be able to achieve the right state of mind for salaah
Overall, I find not being required to make salaah or fast during my period to be a huge barakah from Allah. If I’m feeling good, then I can devote my time during salaah to researching fiqh or making dua or making dhikr or listening to lectures or learning Qur’an (as I follow the Maliki position that reading Qur’an for the purposes of learning is allowed during menstruation).
And I think this notion that women shouldn’t be prohibited from something while menstruating is from Western influences. I’m not saying it’s bad; I’m just saying that it’s not something the majority of Muslim women even thought about for centuries. Western feminists historically have rejected beliefs that women are different at all from men, aside from those things which cannot be rejected (such as differences in genitalia etc). I accept that I’m different from men, and therefore having slightly different rules doesn’t make me feel inferior. If anything, it helps me to understand why Allah is the Most Merciful, because His rulings take into account the difficulties women go through that men could never fully understand.
At the end of the day, however, these are just my opinions. I know there have to be women out there who are the exception to the rule - that is, they barely even notice their periods. But I think talking about the exceptions to the rule in this conversation is disingenuous, as most women experience at least one or two symptoms during their period.
I asked ‘Aisha: ‘What is the reason that a menstruating woman completes the fasts (that she abandons during her monthly course), but she does not complete the prayers?’…. She said: ‘We passed through this (period of menstruation) and we were ordered to complete the fasts, but we were not ordered to complete the prayers.’
Q:When making ghusl do you wash your ears?
as salaam alaikum,
When making ghusl, you’re either
1) doing the steps of wudhu in the shower
2) getting the entire body wet
And the ears are part of the entire body. So yes, you wash them with water and your fingers at a minimum. You do not need to use soap or a wash cloth in/on them.
Q:Do you have any advice for a sister who struggles with wearing hijab? /:
as salaam alaikum,
My advice is to work towards building your iman (faith). Make extra salah. Read more Qur’an. Listen to lectures.
If your iman increases then by default your ihsan should also increase. Ihsan is the worldly application of our faith. So if one has a great increase of iman from fasting Ramadan, it should be reflected in ihsan (extra fasting throughout the year, moderation in eating, and also giving in charity to those who fast without choice).
Also, you can take baby steps towards hijab. You can lengthen your sleeves and pant legs. You can start wearing your hair back instead of fixing it. You can wear less makeup. You can buy wider clothing. There are a thousand tiny actions towards hijab that you can do which should help both strengthen your iman and your resolve.
Also remember that if you have a ton of clothing at the end of the transformation that is no longer appropriate, donate that to charity so that people who are ignorant about hijab but need clothing can benefit inshaa Allah.
May Allah give you the strength, courage, and faith to wear hijab. And may He give you the best of the duniya and akhira. Ameen.