There’s a time in the month when I don’t quite feel like myself, if I had to describe it I would say I feel rather lost, yet this description doesn’t really describe it well enough. You see, when a Muslim woman is in the state of menstruation, she is not allowed to perform salaah (prayers). She can make verbal prayers, she can still connect with Allah, she can recite praises of Allah and the Beloved Prophet (PBUH), but she cannot perform salaah (physical prayers).
I was shocked to find that some women believe this to be a form of injustice. I’ve always been taught that it’s a mercy from Allah, and I agree. If you are a woman you will know that during that time of the month you don’t really feel all that well. Besides physical pain and discomfort, emotionally you may feel irritable and uncomfortable, and I’ve found that intellectually you are affected as well. Your concentration seems to be impaired and your mind doesn’t seem to work all that well (maybe it’s different for other women, but the women I know tend to agree with this). So in any case, it is a blessing when you feel that way and you don’t have to perform salaah. This is of course just my opinion, and people are welcome to differ with me if they feel the need, but I just think that Salaah performed when you are feeling well, and when you are calm and able to concentrate is much better than Salaah performed when your mind is all over the place and you are experiencing physical pain and discomfort.
In any case, let’s not digress any further than we need to. People wonder how Muslims find time to pray five times a day, but once this becomes your routine then somehow everything just seems to work around it. You start planning your day, your work and your entire life around the times of Salaah. For instance you’ll be thinking; “Okay, after Fajr (early morning) prayer I am going to begin writing my research report”, or “after Esha (evening prayers) I am going to read a book”, or “after Maghrib (early evening, just after sunset) prayer we will have supper”. Everyone has their own examples and their own way of working things out, but for people who have established the prayer 5 times daily, you will find that every task which needs to be done revolves around the Salaah times. All Praise is due to Allah!
So what happens when you’re not performing salaah is basically chaos. You believe that you have more time, but find out that you get far less done, because you have no set timetable (so to speak) to follow. Everything gets done at any time and at the end of the day you end up feeling that your day wasn’t very productive at all, even though you are utterly exhausted. Or, you find yourself doing many things without any break in between and after a while you realize that you haven’t sat down the entire day. There are many more examples I could give you, but basically life without Salaah tends to be chaotic and disordered.
Salaah centres your life, it brings peace and tranquillity, it allows you the time to phase out and stop doing everything else. It gives you a perfect form of stress management, and besides this it helps you to remember what is truly important, which is Allah Almighty and the hereafter. So even if you are having a terrible day where the world seems to be coming to an end, when you make your wudhu (ablution before salaah), the water calms you down and when you remove your shoes and step onto your prayer mat reciting the words of Allah Almighty, then all the problems in the world immediately seem insignificant. When you raise your hands testifying that Allah is the Greatest, you gain perspective about life, and when you bow down, you realize how needy you are and that Allah is the only One who can actually help you, and when you prostrate, with your head on the ground, facing your Creator, you remember that in the end of the day, you are the slave of Allah, and you should not be slaving and working for any other purpose. Salaah helps you to remember your position in this world in relation to the One Creator, and it helps you to remember your purpose in the world. And once you remember who you truly are (i.e. a weak servant of Allah) and why you are truly on this Earth (i.e. to worship Allah alone to the best of your ability) then everything else becomes trivial, and life just somehow makes sense.
So perhaps now you can understand why I feel lost when I do not have Salaah in my life. You may be doing fine, but once you’ve tasted the pleasure and beauty of truth, then it becomes very difficult to live without it.
Life without salaah feels empty, and although I am still me, I feel like a huge part of me is missing. But please remember that I am not protesting here, because I understand fully the mercy of Allah on a menstruating woman, so this is not a complaint (May Allah save us all from complaining against His perfect system). Another thing that strikes me here is that during this time, even staying away from prayer will be rewarded Inshaa-Allah (If Allah wills) because this is also obeying Allah’s laws. So like many things there is a time and place for everything, and Allah Almighty gives rewards for different things at different times, and this complete and eternal knowledge of Allah is beyond our feeble comprehension.
So yeah, we will never fully understand the complete benefits of Salaah, but from what I can see in my very limited capacity, I can say absolutely that Salaah is indeed a gift, a blessing that benefits me (as Allah does not need anything from his servants). Without Salaah my life is just not the same and I pray that Allah always keeps me on this path and does not take away this beautiful gift that He has given me, Inshaa-Allah.
Images from here: http://forums.islamicawakening.com/f41/~*-amazing-salaah-pictures-*~-15442/
SubhanAllah this site has some amazing pictures of Salaah so please follow the link and have a look!