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Nadira & Najwa
A woman who is in her monthly cycle CANNOT:
1. Perform the five prescribed prayers (prayers missed due to menstruation do not have to be made up)
2. Touch the Quran,
3. Make tawaf around the Kaba,
4. Fast (Days of fasting missed during Ramadan may be made up within the next lunar year)
5. Engage in sexual intercourse with her husband (kissing, hugging, and other intimate touching outside of the genital area is okay).
A woman who is in her monthly cycle CAN:
1. Make dua,
2. Listen to a recitation of the Qur'an, or silently recite it to herself
3. Celebrate the praises of Allah,
4. Study Islamic texts, including hadith,
5. Attend Eid celebrations(not to pray Eid prayer but witness it)
When your menses is finished:
When your cycle is ended, then you must perform the ritual purification bath, called ghusl. It includes washing your entire body, including the head. Click the link for more info/details on how to make ghusl.
It is often difficult for new Muslimahs to understand why they are suddenly unable to make salah for five days or so. Many may feel that it is a limitation on them due to their gender. Others may misunderstand this, and think that they can not engage in any Islamic activities for the duration of their menses. This is simply not so. Many women suffer from extreme cramps, heavy bleeding, nausea, headaches, and other maladies during their cycle. It is truly a sign of the Mercy of Allah(s.w.t) that we are excused from prayer during this time.
Islam does not ask you to give up your spirituality or pursuit of Islamic knowledge during this time either. While it is true that you can't read the Quran physically, you aren't prohibited from listening to tapes of the Quran, or from listening to someone else recite it. You can still pray, through Dua, and you can still celebrate the praises of Allah(s.w.t) during this time as well. There is nothing to stop you from reading Islamic texts outside of the Quran, including hadith.
***some information above from http://www.themodernreligion.com/women/w_menses.htm***
Nadira & Najwa