Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lost Pages from Sahih al-Bukhari's Chapter on Menstruation‏ ?

They ask thee concerning menses. Say: They are a hurt. So withdraw from women in menses and do not go near to them until they purify. When they purify, go to them as God has commanded you. Verily God loveth the returners and the purifiers. (Quran, al-Baqara 222)
On the authority of Rizvana Bano, narrated by her niece Tamequa Jackson, that her great-grandmother who was a Companion of the Woman Who Loved Her Period, Bibi Moina the Truthteller (MGEH—may God empower her), said:
Behold, my period comes. I start feeling soft and melted and sexy a night or two before, and want to be held tenderly and protectively and made love to mightily, and then I want to be covered gently and left to sleep a bonus sleep that is off the clock, no babies crying no kids homework no dishes no phone calls let my partner take care of everything for a few hours. And that is how I know it is coming, and it feels like an old, familiar friend whose face I love. For behold, I love my period. (She said this latter three times.)
And verily the people said: Here comes bint khaltek, your cousin on your mother’s side, Um Kulsoum, that time of the month, Aunt Flow. On the rag. Ya muftra, ya mum, ya shakhakhet dam. Has the moon been sighted yet? And she said: Yes the moon has been sighted; let the festivities begin! I’m driving my red convertible. The queenly egg unwinds her red turban. Roll out the red carpet.
And one said: I am not pregnant. What a relief. And the other said: I am not pregnant. What a sadness. And the Truthteller said: Knowledge that comes with blood, I welcome you. Help me to witness truth for my people.

On the authority of Rasula bint Nabia, one of the many ancient female messengers and prophets of God (MGIHM—may God invent her memory): A river runs through you. It is not unclean nor has it been created to give you pain, but to keep you tender. It is your moisture like tears are the moisture of your eyes. It is permissible to use it to fertilize your daffodil bulbs and rhizomes.
And the seventh layer of commentators added: This is what it feels like to have a tradition that includes words of love for women.

On the authority of the Mother of the Believers in the Wholesomeness of Women’s Bodies Equally as with Men’s and not in Instilling Shame for Being a Woman, and on behalf of the Campaign Against Keeping Girls in Ignorance:
Menarche is a time of joyous celebration. Prepare, prepare. Let her know in the years before. Onset, the first menses, a celebration at the threshold. My little girl, you’re becoming a woman now (but it’s okay, you’re still a little girl for a while longer too). You may not find clothes that fit you for a few years—retailers don’t listen to real girls’ bodies and makes clothes for this age, neither a little girl anymore nor a woman fully. My brave one, you’re on the cusp. Mother daughter luncheon. Father daughter ballgame. A gift for your milestone day. New rituals. Make ‘em up. Old rituals: The parents cook up wheat and sugar pudding and serve it all around the neighborhood to celebrate with sweetness their daughter’s first period. The ancient rites of goddess religions honoring our fertility (instead of fearing and covering it) survive through these traces of previous customs, in the chthonically old quarters of Damascus. And in many elsewheres.
And she added: If these words seem strange to you, it is because you have become accustomed not to honor and love women. And the authorities of the Days of Rejection said: Here is a list of things you are forbidden to do. Pray. Fast. Make love. Make tawaf. Enter a mosque. With first blood comes first ban.
And She (MGSHQ–May God Strengthen Her Questioning) said: Why does God hold me at bay? Now when I feel like prayer most? Why does He reject me? I am in despair.
And the Divine Energy said: My Womb-ness prevails over my wrath. God said: I am al-Rahman. And, Full of Grace, the Mothers of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad said in unison: Rahma comes from Rahm. This is the feminine face of the Divine.

And the People Who Rejected Women for What They Are cried: You are not allowed to say that! God is neither he nor she—we say that every day to cover our tracks. But he is really He in our hearts. Jalal rules over jamal with us. And the Man Who Loved Her But Held Her at Bay said: Wrap a garment around your waist. I must not touch you below the waist. It is a harm to you and a harm to me. The Reliance of the Traveler said: ‘If a woman claims to have her period but her husband does not believe her, he may have sex with her.’ What a good way to inculcate the values of marital rape. Such are the base thoughts of men of the Days of Rejection and such are those, male and female, who revive their values. Orgasm relieves menstrual cramping. Do not hold her at bay. But if she holds you at bay then do not push against her. Some women cannot abide to be touched during their periods while others need to be touched.

Thus spake LaraLustra.And the masses of people inquired: Are you fasting? Why are you not fasting? Are you praying? Do you have an excuse? Are you pure yet? Are you not pure? Are you polluting? Are you impure? Are you impure on Arafat, are you cut off from mercy? Can you finish your Hajj? Are you cut off from prayer? Are you forbidden in the mosque?

Forbidding is the first tendency of Those Who Reject Women, and fear is their favorite feeling: ‘If a woman fear that a drop of her blood may fall in the mosque, she is forbidden from passing through. She is forbidden, in any case, from remaining in the mosque while menstruating.’ —Reliance of the Traveler again, but only by way of standing in for many other texts that encourage the Forbidding and Fear of Women.
On the other hand we have, on the authority of Hawwa (Eve), mother of Cain and Abel’s sisters Pure (Safa) and Clean (Nadifa): It is unlawful to refer to yourself as impure. No human being is impure. No living creature is impure, not even dogs and swine. All living creatures have souls. (Note of the fourth redactor: The Malikis still hold to this Clean Souls Doctrine.) Therefore do not insult the soul placed in them by calling them impure.
And she, may her memory be blessed, added: Honey, don’t douche. It is completely unnecessary and disturbs the natural moisture inside. Lo, commercial douches have been invented so large corporations can profit from the fear of women’s pollution. And verily the corporations are the ones polluting the Earth.
And she, may her memory be blessed, pointed out in an aside: You can too swim and take baths during your period.

And Our Mother Hava (Eva) also said: One last thing before I leave. You may hear ugly stories about me in later times of darkness but do not believe them. I, your grandmother, who loves you even though you are yet unborn except in my hopes, tell you: Verily, your period is not a curse but a blessing. It is one of the Signs of God, so learn to read it. And Hazrat Bint Hawwa remarked, commenting on the words of Our Mother, and explaining in a different way the refraining from namaz during menses: You do not need to pray during your period only because your bleeding is prayer. Not because it is pollution—they got it wrong, it is the other way around. It is prayer so powerful that people, if they knew, would come and touch the feet of the menstruating woman. It is the manifestation of the sacred role women are given, no matter if some of them choose to bear children and some not; for even those who do not bear children participate in the monthly rites. Contemplation of this can lead to elevated spiritual states.

And she (MSBGP—may she be given pleasure) said: Listen. This is what it sounds like to hear words that love women. Words that need no excuses and explanations. Words that do not make women curl up and die inside. And those present raised their hands and said: Teacher, can I recite Quran when I have my period? Can I touch the Quran? What about a translation of the Quran? Can I pick it up if I am dusting the shelf? Can I recite a whole sura or part of a sura? Can I recite a whole aya or part of an aya? Can I recite a dua if I am in fear? Can I recite kul a’uthu bi rab al-nas if I am in need of it? Must I keep silent?
And the teacher said, these are the questions of women living in shame. These are not the questions of those accustomed to being honored.

And the women who were not in touch with their bodies but in touch with the Set of Rules made by heavy-jowled men asked, How will I know if my period is over? And they used to send Aisha pieces of cloth from their underwear with yellow streaks to ask her scientific opinion (so says Muwatta Malik). For Aisha was a lore-learned woman. And they used to light lanterns in the desert night to check their underwear (Muwatta Malik). She Who Knew Her Own Body said, If they but knew! Lanterns and literalism. It’s over when your body tells you it’s over. Learn to read your own signs.

And Rabia al-Milwaukeeya said: My open root chakra helps me to perform my work at a deeper level. Yes of course I can still do math on the rag. Maududi claims I cannot count change or think straight during menses (in Purdah and the Status of Woman in Islam). May God reincarnate him as a tampon for spreading such half-truths and disrespecting women’s bodies and minds. I can do rocket science or keep planes from crashing into each other or grade papers or judge court cases if it is my job. Our cycles do not cause incompetence in the work world; it’s the other way around: The rigid work world needs to become more fluid, better geared toward human cycles, male and female, before it destroys the Earth and its Rivers.
And LaDawna al-Muslimah Bint Barbara al-Chicagoweeya said: This intensity makes me impatient. Give me space to be this vulnerable or I will bite your head off. My vulnerability is part of who I am. I am learning to wield my blessings gracefully. This is a gift I will share with you, if your arms are open.

And in another narration al-Chicagoweeya said: I need room to feel this way, so back off. Come not near to me. But don’t go too far, and bring leafy greens back from the grocery when you come back because my body craves to restock its nutrients. Verily, I love the Patient Returners. And at the end of it all, the Truthteller (MSBSWDA—May She Be Showered with Divine Attributes) said: I ache. From my inner labia to my nipples to that place I can’t reach in the middle of my back between the shoulder blades. A massage there would be nice now. Hurts hurt more and loves love more. I embrace this productive pain and the insights given me when I look on the world from within it. If I feel like crying, I cry. For all that is going down in the world, for the unfulfilled promises that are dissolving and bleeding out as I sit here. For all the men and boys gunned down whose bleeding goes unheeded. For women and girls raped and knifed and battered and silenced about it, for children growing thinner, beaten down, their futures trammeled. For those under occupation, and those whose souls are occupied by evil, and those in prisons of another’s making, and those in prisons of their own making.

My blood joins the river of human blood that has been shed and I am one with them. This is my purification: Let the rancor bleed out of my heart.


Mohja Kahf is the author of the novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. She is an associate professor of comparative literature at the University of Arkansas.

(Sent to us by J)

1 comment:

razia said...

thank you . its what i said from your very first time.

celebrate the flow of your humanity, your passion your being.

you are creation and creation is you.

razzmatazz