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This post is mainly for the female readers of this blog, particularly the Stay-at-home-moms (like me at the moment). The men seem to have a better salaah habit than we do due to peculiar factors that keep us away from salaah like our clothing, vaginal bleeding (physiologic and abnormal), the lack of a female section in many masajid, children, chores etc.
We do not want to pray outside our houses because we will need to perform ablution and risk exposing our hair, and face for those who wear the niqab. It can seem cumbersome trying to remove the gloves, flip the niqab to wash the mouth, nose, face; manoeuvre the fingers through the hair, wipe the ears, wipe the socks or wash the feet…Mentally calculating these can discourage some of us from making the effort outside our homes. Some of us are simply too shy to pray in the open. To make matters worse, most masajid do not have a female section. The few that have are inadequate with inappropriate ablution spaces. So, while we search for these, the prescribed time for Salaah passes.
Other times, our clothes are inadequate and may not be up to par for Salaah. Our sleeves may be short, our hemline not long enough, or veil too light. Sometimes, our daughter peed on us or our son decorated our clothes by throwing up his lunch. With children, 1001 reasons often exist to cause us to delay or even miss Salaah. Infants may be fussy and refuse to allow us perform ablution properly. They may refuse anyone else and insist on us carrying them for prayer. They may need to be cleaned up just after we’ve performed ablution or even begun praying. You can hardly concentrate because from the corner of your eye, you spy them trying to leap on their sibling from the top bunk or a desk! Or she’s been sick all night and just woke up with a cry. Sometimes, we are simply sleep-deprived and cannot get up to pray even though we hear the adhaan.
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Our cyclical bleeding, bleeding after childbirth, prolonged bleeding from contraceptive use, abnormal bleeding can also throw a spanner in our works. Sometimes, we feel some wetness but the unavailability of a restroom to confirm can be annoying. Perhaps, our period has stopped during the day but we cannot find somewhere convenient to bathe. Other times, our menses go on for longer than is usual and we become confused on whether to go ahead and perform ghusl and pray, or wait it out. Other times, we forget to even perform ghusl!
Associated with this is pregnancy, hormonal changes and the weather. Sometimes, we just don’t feel like praying after the long break after childbirth bleeding. We seem to fall out of the habit of being regular and punctual with Salaah after cessation of our menses. Other times, it’s the weather that’s too cold for ablution or too hot to wear the hijab for prayer.
For young mothers without help, any free time is spent rushing to complete house chores or catching a nap before one of the kids wakes up. Before the chores are completed, the patter of little feet can be heard approaching us and it continues. It can be very discouraging for a mother to get up to pray when she knows she has to rush it or cannot pray with the attention she desires.
I bet we can think up more excuses/reasons/challenges but that is the point; these are excuses, challenges meant to be surpassed. We just have to strike a balance constantly and make Salaah a priority instead of a burden. Allah knows the challenges we face and even if others do not seem to get it, the Prophet (SAW) did:
Narrated `Abdullah bin Abi Qatada Al-Ansar i(RA):
My father said, “Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Whenever I stand for prayer, I want to prolong it but on hearing the cries of a child, I would shorten it as I dislike to put its mother in trouble.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 868
Suggestions on how to overcome these challenges in the next post in sha Allah.
I would love for you to share any peculiar challenges you may have (had) too.