"Blood Moon" Art Print
BLOOD MOON. ART PRINT of original painting, 5ft x 4ft, acrylic on canvas.
I started my cycle at the age of 12 in the 7th grade. Outside of my immediate family, the messages I received from the outside world surrounding menstruation were negative. Always made to feel embarrassed and ashamed about it. At school, there was an unspoken rule to NEVER let anyone know, especially a boy, that you were on your period. If you did, you'd be immortalized as The Girl Who Was On Her Period That One Time.
Within my faith it is true that women are excused from offering the 5 daily prayers during this time. Before I truly understood my body and my Lord, I always felt a little uncomfortable with this, especially when it came up with non-Muslims. As a wife and mother that has birthed 5 children and bled out, almost to death on 3 occasions during child birth, I now understand so much more on how blood and and any commandment regarding it is inherently tied to God's Mercy.
You know when you pray from your core, when you are just pouring out the contents of your soul to God, snot dripping ugly crying, expressing all of your grief, joy, heartache and gratitude, flowing straight from the heart? That type of prayer is called du'a (doo-ah). This is separate from the 5 daily prayers. Anyone can make du'a at any time for any reason. There is never a restriction on that type of prayer.
The Islamic daily prayers are offered at specific times throughout the day, while reciting specific words and passages. Whether we're at work, at a family BBQ, on our way home from school, if it's time to pray, we stop and we pray (or at least we should) . Periodt.
Now, menstruation is different for every woman but generally speaking it is emotionally and physically unpleasant. It can range from severe conditions like Endometriosis and Adenomyosis, where there is abnormal tissue growth that causes severe menstrual cramps, abdominal and back pain and heavy bleeding. On the other end of the spectrum, some women don't experience any discomfort while on their cycle. But consistently across the board, women experience a surge in hormones that cause mood swings, sadness and irritability. I be tripping hard every month y'all and I can't help it lmao! Hep! Some months I'm doubled over in pain unable to even stand or sit, I literally have to be curled up in a ball to feel some type of relief. If I was obligated to stop and offer prayers 5 times a day during this state, CHILE! That would be such a hardship. It's during this time that I need to speak to God the most, straight from my heart, whether I'm lying down or curled up in a ball, just me and my Lord and my emotions. Our spiritual tradition teaches us to increase our du'a and dhikr (remembrance of God) at this time. Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten this tradition and it's practice has been forgotten along the way.
Now, let's talk about blood. It is literally our life force. The whole reason for a woman's period is that her uterus is preparing every month to house a life. Every soul is born from their mother's blood. By God's will, we wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the blessing of a woman's period. Over time, millions of mothers have died during/after childbirth because they lost too much blood. I bled out during 3 births and needed blood transfusions twice. Giving your life for another is the ultimate sacrifice. In the Islamic tradition, if a woman dies due to child bearing or child birth she is considered a martyr and is guaranteed paradise. Blessit!
Child birth is A BEAST. Do you hear me?! Your body just opened a portal to bring a soul earthside. You are the conduit between two dimensions, the unseen and the seen. After 10 moons of hardship, pain and difficulties it all comes to a head. Whew. Your bones literally widen and seperated, making a passageway for your child to be born. Literally torn and cut open in many cases to give life. And that's just a fraction of the physical, I haven't even touched on the spiritual, psychological and emotional mountains that are climbed during this months long ceremony. Lawd!
Post childbirth and our 40 days of post partum bleeding is another time when a woman does not offer her 5 daily prayers. But she is never exempt from du'a. Do you see the mercy yet? I could not imagine having to get my behind up before sunrise to stand in prayer after I just gave birth. Couldn't imagine doing that 4 more times that day while dealing with my physical and emotional pains, WHILE CARING FOR A WHOLE NEWBORN BABY, which entails nursing them on and off 24/7, no sleep, having painfully engorged breasts, wincing in pain every time the baby latches to nurse, getting pooped and peed on, trying to comfort a colicky crying miserable baby, and having your first bowel movement after birth (MY GOD). And I know some of you may be uncomfortable with all of this, but that's the problem. THIS IS REALITY. It isn't spoken about enough and that needs to change. Some may think all that I'm sharing is inappropriate but how? Why? How is the truth about the way in which EVERY HUMAN is born inappropriate? Quit playing.
My Lord commanding women to not offer prayers during menstration and post childbirth is a MERCY. Yes, some women have very easy periods and births but what about all those who don't? The God I know shows me every day that Mercy is the foundation of every commandment ever given.
The first two of God's 99 names is Ar-Rahman, The Entirely Merciful & Ar-Raheem, The Bestower of Mercy. We cannot recite the Holy Quran or begin our 5 daily prayers without beginning with, "In the name of God, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem." The root letters ra-haa-meem also mean "womb." The womb which provides protection and nourishment, and from which all of creation is brought into being. During our 5 daily prayers we call on God by Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem at the very least 22 times a day! So when we are thinking deeply enough, we cannot even pray except that we also remember the womb where all life is brought forth. Whew.
God Almighty is The One that commands the blood to leave our uteruses at a set time each month. Don't you ever let someone make you feel like you are worthless or deficient because of it. Our wombs are a sacred passageway between sky and earth, akhirah and dunya, life and death, between The Infinite and the finite. Our wombs are literally connected to the throne of God. Surely there are signs in this for those who believe. What a Mercy that God recognizes my humanity by giving me a time each month to rest, retreat and remember on a more intimate level. This is the meaning of this painting. The Arabic in white surrounding her says "Ar-Rahman." May we always see God and the beauty in our bodies and blood. May we never curse ourselves for the very gifts God has given us. Insha'allah I am always in tune with The Infinite (shout out to Jay Electronica), PERIODT - pun most definitely intended. 💗🤲🏾💗