Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaikum.
I was wondering if a women’s menstruation is something to be shameful of in Islam. I grew up hiding the fact that I was on my period and lying to my father telling him I’ve prayed because I was taught that it was a shameful thing and shouldn’t be said out loud. Similarly when fasting I would wake up during suhoor and pretend I was fasting throughout the day. Is this a cultural practice or a religious practice?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.
There is nothing shameful about menstruation.
However, it is possible that it may be considered immodest in some cultures to mention it to one’s father or the like because it relates to a sensitive matter, namely vaginal bleeding. As such, the easiest thing would have been to ask your mother or another lady to mention it to him so that he doesn’t cause you undue embarrassment in your specific cultural context.
As for fasting, the basis is that a menstruating woman cannot fast nor act like a fasting person by not eating or drinking during the day. Nevertheless, this doesn’t negate the possibility of not uncovering the fact that one isn’t fasting, by not eating in front of the family during the day, for instance, for the same considerations mentioned above.
The upshot is that the principles of the religion are broad and there is room for cultural sensitivity.
And Allah alone knows best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani