[Note: My recap of week 2 of Ramadan will be up later in the week, Inshallah. I just felt that this was worth posting sooner.]

The first week of Ramadan I wasn’t fasting, but I still wanted to reap the rewards of this blessed month, obviously. I know many sisters get peeved and feel down when they get their period in Ramadan – like it’s a major obstacle in preventing them from enjoying all the blessings of the month. I disagree with this attitude, mainly because I believe that periods are a blessing from Allah. Yep, that’s right. All that mess, pain and inconvenience is a blessing. How? Well, for a start it’s what distinguishes us from men, and I, for one, am grateful I’m not a bloke. Then there’s also the fact that it’s a sign of fertility, and sure, while I don’t want kids any time soon (just as well, seeing as I’m not married – my dad will be relieved. 😉 ), just looking at the women who do have them and how they wouldn’t be without their little monsters is proof enough of how big a miracle motherhood is. It’s a miracle I wouldn’t like to not have. Lastly, any woman who’s ever had trouble with their periods knows just how much of a blessing a normal one is. And boy have I had trouble.

Besides, the only thing that a period stops a girl from doing is praying and fasting, and there is a wisdom in both, I’m sure. (The most obvious to my mind is not having to get up for fajr. I love me some extra zzzz’s.) So, how can us girls make the most of Ramadan when we’ve got old Aunt Flo paying us a visit? Well, here’s some of my ideas:

– You’re not praying, so you’ve instantly freed up some time. Five minutes, five times a day at the least, making a total of 25 minutes. Instead of wasting that time on chores, etc, use it to read Qur’an, or, even easier, to make dua. Maybe you can read an Islamic book? Or memorise a new surah? Basically think of something that you want to do (Islamic, of course) that you haven’t had the time to do. Break it up into little chunks if possible and do it instead of praying. If that doesn’t work for you, simply try to take 25 minutes out on a different type of Ibadah.

– Use the fact that you can eat and drink wisely. Don’t go on a week-long caffeine or sugar craze – you’ll hate yourself for it when you go back to fasting. Also, keep to the fasting schedule of having your dinner after Maghrib, this will reduce the whole having-to-re-adjust thing later. Notice the difference in how you function with a little fuel and liquid inside you and appreciate it. Say Alhamdulillah and give thanks to Allah when you do notice it. See? You’ve just been grateful.

Sleep more. If you’re performing Tarawih / Qiyam ul-layl at night, or simply if you have young kids who keep you going all day long, make the most of this time to catch up on your sleep a little. Sleep deprivation is nobody’s friend.

– You’re eating and drinking, therefore you should be more alert (theoretically, at least). Try to focus more on things that you tend to let slip: try to avoid backbiting – really think about what you’re going to say about someone and ask if they’d like to hear it. If the answer’s no, then don’t say it. Focus on your intention behind doing things. Intend every action to please Allah and you will be rewarded for even the most mundane of things.

Support those around you who are fasting. Make something nice for Iftar, or better yet, for dessert, (mmmmmmm…). If people get stroppy, try to calm them down, remind them that they’re fasting and try to remove the stressor.

– Use this time to prepare for Eid. Nobody wants to spend the last ten days – one night of which is better than a thousand nights (Laylatul Qadr: the night of power.) – making cakes, or sorting out decorations, or Eid clothes, etc, etc, etc. Get it done in advance and you can make the most of the time you have in the last ten days. (This piece of advice is great unless, of course, Aunt Flo decides to come in the last ten days.)

– Perhaps one of the best things that you can do when you’re not fasting is to host Iftar dinners and basically feed other people. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person.” (Tirmidhi)

How else can someone make the most of their Ramadan when they’re not fasting? What do you do when you can’t fast?