Of menses, death, and worship

I wake up at exactly five am. It’s dark and there’s no electricity. I grope in the dark and find my rechargeable fluorescent lamp. It lights up the room, but starts to rapidly dim out. I rush to the bathroom to make wudu. There’s hardly enough time to brush my teeth if I want to pray before the lamp dies, I think. I’m deathly afraid of the dark. I’m able to complete my ablution and rush to my prayer rug where my jilbab lays. All of a sudden, I feel a sharp pain in my lower belly and its accompanied by the urge to pee. At first I ignore it, but I’m certain my concentration would be divided in salah if I hold it. Grudgingly but hurriedly, I make my day way back to the bathroom and silently pray for the lamp not to die out. 

As I sit to pee, I hear a low sound as if something dropped into the water beneath me. I look into the toilet bowl and what my eyes meet make me both sad and angry at the same time.

Fudge. Aunt Flo is in town.

Why Lord? Why?

Just then, the power returns. Alhamdulillah.

What saddened and annoyed me wasn’t  the fact that my menses crept up on me like the proverbial thief in the night. I was mainly angry at myself, and I was saddened by my laziness and my procrastinatory tendencies and how they’ve constantly gotten in the way of my productivity. How many times had I said “I’d do it tomorrow” or “I’d do it later” or “I’ll see you tomorrow” and reneged on my words? 

If I had a dollar, guys. If I had a dollar.

The day before, I had meant to fast but told myself I’d do it on Thursday. I also wanted to pray my Witr prayer after Isha but decided to skip it because I told myself I’d wake up before midnight and ended up sleeping throughout the night. It’s just a long list of things with me, to be honest.

At times like this, my mind tends to grasp the total meaning of these Hadith of the Prophet (S.A.W) :

How many times have we made promises to ourselves that we end up breaking? How many New Years resolutions, even the relatively easy ones, have been thrown out the window just because we never found time to actually see it through? How many times have we been presented with opportunities that we’d taken for granted only to find out that such things indeed only come once in a lifetime? How many times have we failed to recognize the true nature of our situation just because we assume things would get better or there’s still a lot of time to fix everything?
The truth is, there really isn’t time. Everyday, I manage to procrastinate or waste time doing certain things that won’t benefit me in the long run. It could be tweeting when I need to pray, or engaging in a conversation that ends up draining me instead of uplifting me. I really wish i could learn to manage time better.
As Muslim women, menstruation tends to slow us down in terms of worship. We need to learn how to make the best use of our time before Aunt Flo gets here and puts a stop to our activities, just like we need to utilize our time on earth before death, the ultimate reality check, puts a permanent stop to our deeds. 
I created this death and menstruation analogy because these are times when certain actions are put on hold or stop completely. While death puts a permanent end to both good and bad deeds, menstruation merely reduces your ability to carry out ibadah you’re already used to. If care is not taken, you might not partake in any form of  ibadah for the whole week (or for the length of time your period lasts). If one, with all things being equal, can’t worship Allah, what exactly is one living for? 
Death can come anytime, so can your period. Fortunately, we can kind of calculate our period cycle (not me, I suck at math) but death has no calculation. I’m utterly guilty of leaving things till the last minute and there are times I’ve been made to pay dearly. I once had an interview to transcribe and I left it till the last minute. Just when I was getting ready to start work, I fell seriously sick with malaria. I shed hot tears of regret and shame and said I was never going to procrastinate. How easily we forget!

I hope I ended up making sense and just to sum up my point, I’d end with this Hadith:

 Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Allah said: ‘The son of Adam hurts Me by abusing Time, for I am Time; in My Hands are all things and I cause the revolution of night and day.’” (Bukhari 6/351; 9/583and Muslim 4/5581)

Assalam alaykum loves, please feel free to share ways by which you still carry out Ibadah even on your period days. Thanks.

Xs and Os. 

5 thoughts on “Of menses, death, and worship

  1. Soo true…to think that the of menses period affects a lot of us muslimahs out there and we barely even think of it,most times we do,its because we have a pressing issue we need Allah (SWT) to address and everyday, we’re closer to the grave.personally,I try to meditate and talk to Allah before getting up in the morn and give alms when I can.Great reminder Ma shaa Allah.

  2. Pingback: Periods and/of Worship – Fatimah's wandering mind

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