Wait, Why AREN’T You Fasting?

Period Mubarak to me on the thirteenth day of Ramadan! Just before Maghrib! I fasted all day only for it to be made void because the wall of red has broken! Sigh. Always sigh.

But also: yaaaaaaaas. A whole week of not fasting. Now, I feel bad for feeling like this but also yaaaaaas food! TEA. COFFEE. DAYTIME LIQUIDS.

I go to work with a spring in my step. #SorryNotSorry

“Why are you so happy?” Rebecca asks.

“Period,” I say gleefully.

“Why are you so cheerful about that?”

“Because I don’t have to fast.” I try to keep the smile off my face.

“Oh, yeah!” Rebecca says. “I have a Muslim friend who’s also counting down the days to her period starting.”

“I feel for her,” I say. “Hey, want to get some tea?” I feel like I’ve just used a dirty chat up line.

Bex laughs. “Yeah, let’s go.”

We go to the kitchen together to get tea. DAYTIME TEA. It feels a bit weird being in the kitchen after avoiding it for nearly two weeks. I wonder if people are looking at me wondering why I’m in the kitchen. I don’t think anyone is. Any awkwardness I feel eating/drinking in daylight disappears with that first sip of hot tea back at my desk. Alhamdz.

“Suraya, what are you doing?” Natasha gasps.

I nearly drop my mug. “What happened?” Did I forget to book that cab for her meeting? I swear I did–

“You’re meant to be fasting, put that down you cheat!” She stands in front of me with her hands on her hips.

Woahhhh, since when was there a non-Muslim edition of the Haram Police?

“I’m not fasting,” I tell her.

“I can see that. What’s happened? Was it too hard?” She is suddenly all sympathy.

I can feel myself turning red. “Uh, no.”

“Then what?”

Now, I’m not ashamed of my uterus but I always wonder how much Muslamic info is too much info for my non-Muslim peers. But with the way Natasha is looking at me for an answer, the weirdness is just going to have to be unleashed. “Well, so, I’m on my period so it’s a rule that if you’re on you don’t fast or pray.”

Natasha’s eyes go wide and her cheeks turn pink. “Oh! Well. Wow. That’s great. What a lovely perk!”

Hell yeah, girlfriend.

“So do you have to redo it or anything?” she asks.

“Yeah, you make up missed fasts ideally before the next Ramadan starts.”

“Wow, learn something new every day,” she says. “Well, I’ll, uh, leave you to it. Sorry.” She smiles sheepishly and goes back to her desk.

I turn back to my computer and resume my tea drinking.

Lily walks by just as I take another glug. “Is your fasting over? Yay!”

“Uh, no,” I say.

“Oh, why aren’t you fasting then?”

“You’re not fasting?” Kathryn gasps, stopping as she walks by.

Maybe I should just send a company wide email and explain the Islamic rulings regarding one’s period.

*

At lunch, I head down the road to look for food. The sun is out and practically burning me. Who enjoys this? What is so good about sweating? Sure, it looks nice in pictures but what the cameras don’t tell you is how gross everyone smells and how clapped people’s feet look in sandals. @ me.

I find food in a pasta place and treat myself to a great big fruit smoothie. I shouldn’t be gloating but I am.

I head back towards work, wondering if there’s a special prayer I can do to bring about winter.

“Excuse me, sister?”

I look around. A brown guy in a suit is crossing over towards me.

“Excuse me,” he says again as he reaches me. “Why aren’t you fasting, sister? It’s Ramadan. You shouldn’t be having that.” He sounds so disappointed as he looks at me.

And the Muslim edition of the Haram Police has arrived.

“Why do you have a beard?” I ask.

“Huh?” His face furrows in confusion.

OK, beard is a bit of a stretch for the amateur stubble on his face but still. “Why do you have a beard on your face?”

“Because it’s sunnah, an action the Prophet, peace be upon him, encouraged,” he says proudly.

“So you have the knowledge about that but you don’t know why a woman might not be fasting in Ramadan?”

He looks at me blankly. “Everybody who is able should be fasting, sister–”

“Yeah, but I’m not able,” I say. “Do you think your mum and sisters fast through the whole month as well?”

“Sister, please don’t disrespect my family. They all fast.”

I snort. “Wow. Did you miss the fiqh class on rulings for women on their period during Ramadan?”

His face drops. “P-period?”

“Yeah, period. Menstruation. Time of the month. Ovaries. Uterus. Bleeding. The whole shebang.”

The guy just stares at me in shock.

“Tell you what, bro. When you go home, why don’t you ask your mum to explain how periods work and why we’re not allowed to fast or pray while we’re on?”

“S-still, sister,” he stammers. “You really shouldn’t eat in public, it, erm, might give the wrong idea to those of us who don’t know.”

“Did you see me eating though?” I ask. “How do you know I wasn’t taking this back to work for my boss or someone else?”

He shrinks back. “S-sorry to have bothered you, sister. Ramadan mubarak.” He does the fastest 180 I’ve ever seen and speed walks away.

“Period mubarak, brother!” I call back.

I take a big fat slurp of my smoothie.

 

 

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