A Muslim woman should utilize the seasons which Allaah has endowed with great benefit and made a source for accumulating rewards. A woman can increase her reward in Ramadhaan by strengthening various aspects of worship and obedience to Allaah, by being keen in performing virtuous deeds and refraining from anything that could affect the rewards of her fasting adversely.
Sincerity during Ramadhaan:
One of the aspects of servitude to Allaah, which a woman practices during the month of Ramadhaan is sincerity. Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported: “The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “Allaah the Exalted and Majestic said: `Every act of the son of Aadam is for him, except fasting which is (exclusively and sincerely) for Me, and I will reward him for it … (The person observing fast) has abstained from food and drink and sexual pleasures for My sake”[Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]. Therefore, a woman should refrain from all that invalidates her fast, and should guard this pledge that is between her and her Lord from dawn to sunset. Sincerity during this month trains her to be sincere afterwards in other acts of worship.
Rulings of Ramadhaan:
One of the matters, which a woman must endeavor to learn, is the jurisprudence rulings pertaining to the month of Ramadhaan, in order for her fasting to be perfect. There are many rulings related to this month that concern women, like the rulings regarding menstruation, purity, postpartum bleeding in connection to fasting -- if the bleeding stops after twenty days she must perform a ritual bath (i.e. Ghusl) and start fasting, but she must intend fasting the obligatory fast, as the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam informed us that without having an intention to fast prior to the break of dawn, her fast is not valid.
Adhering to the command of Allaah and His Messenger, may Allaah exalt his mention:
Adhering to the commands of Allaah and His Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, during this blessed month is another aspect of servitude, which a woman practices. For example, a woman is commanded to break her fast as soon as she goes into her menses, yet she is not deprived from the reward because she broke the fast in adherence to the command of Allaah, and she is rewarded for this adherence.
Some women become grieved when they get their menses whilst fasting, and start saying things like: ‘Why do I get menses’, or ‘I wished I never got this’, or ‘I wish I was a man so that I do not get it and thus fast the full month’. One must be content with the decree of Allaah, as He is The One who created women as women and men as men. Thus, a woman should be content with her decree, and should not have these feelings, because Allaah does everything with Ultimate Wisdom, the essence of which we can never comprehend.
Bashfulness during Ramadhaan:
Women must learn that when it comes to enlightening and educating themselves in matters of religion, they should not be too shy to ask questions. For example, some young women are too embarrassed to inform their families that they have reached the age of puberty and thus continue to break their fast and do not observe fast. This is a serious mistake and a great crime in Islam, as a woman is obliged to fast whenever she is not in her menses. Another example are women who are too shy, thus when they have their menses they continue to fast lest those around them would find out, which is also prohibited in Islam and by doing so they are disobeying Allaah.
Many sisters ask questions about situations similar to the ones mentioned above, but only after a long time, after they have already committed the mistakes due to being bashful at the wrong time in their lives. Those who did not observe fast after reaching the age of puberty -- for whatever invalid reason -- must make up all the days they missed.
Despite the fact that some scholars have permitted the use of the pills that delay the menses (if they have no harmful side effects), we believe, and Allaah knows best, that not taking them is more rewarding, as it reflects the woman’s contentment with what Allaah Has decreed on her.
Attending the Qiyaam prayers and study circles:
Attending the Qiyaam prayers (i.e. the optional night prayers) in the mosque is a recommended act of worship. ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, used to designate a prayer area especially for women so they could attend the prayers without intermixing with men. It is a good thing for a woman to attend the prayers with the congregation, but it is more rewarding for her to pray at her house. When the woman goes to the mosque -- whilst fulfilling the conditions permitting her to attend -- she will expose herself to the blessings bestowed upon those who attend the mosque. For example, the mercy of Allaah will descend on them, the angels will surround them and ask forgiveness for them for attending lectures that teach people matters of their religion; saying Aameen after the supplications of the Imaam which makes them deserving of whatever the Imaam supplicated, increasing submissiveness to Allaah that results due to the Imaam’s recitation during the prayer, learning the proper way to pray and correcting any mistakes in recitation. Having said this, it is still more rewarding for a woman to pray in her house whilst reading from the Quran than praying with the congregation.
A woman must be keen to get to know those who attend the congregation with her as some of them could be very pious sisters, who could be a means for steadfastness and remind her at times of heedlessness.
When in the mosque, a woman should be ready to receive knowledge, learn her religion and be open-minded to accept the truth even if it goes against her desire or that which she practices. She must adhere to the proper Hijaab, not wear perfume, not adorn herself, not mix with men outside the mosque or in the parking lot, so as to avoid making the mosque a social club and turning the prayers into a meeting-place to talk and laugh with other sisters, disturbing other people.
Religious exemptions for women during Ramadhaan:
Allaah granted women many exemptions during this month out of His Mercy. One of these exemptions is that a pregnant woman or a breastfeeding woman is permitted to break her fast. Allaah The All Knowing, Knows what feelings a woman has towards her infant and thus permitted her to break her fast to breastfeed him. All she is required to do is to make up the days she missed, and if she is unable to fast then she is only obliged to feed a needy person for every day she missed. The ruling that is applicable to her is just like that for old people who are unable to fast.
Another exemption is that a woman who unwillingly submits to her husband’s will for intercourse during the day in Ramadhaan is excused and not considered a sinner.