Major Ritual Purification (Ghusl)

It means washing the whole body with water. It is necessitated by one of the following:

  • Ejaculation (of semen) because of coitus, masturbation, wet dream, or other reasons. This is based on the meaning of the Qur’anic guidance which is translated as: “If You are in a state of sexual impurity, purify yourselves.” [5:6]
  • The Prophet ( s ) said: Ghusl worshipped.(major ritual bath) is a must after ejaculation of semen.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Ahmad)
  • Sexual intercourse by inserting the glans completely into the vulva, even if no ejaculation takes place, in which case both spouses are required to take a bath (ghusl). The Prophet ( s ) said: “If he (the husband) sits between her legs and penetrates her, ghusl (bath) is obligatory, whether he ejaculates or not.” (Muslim)
  • The stopping of bleeding resulting from menstruation or postpartum (confinement) period. The Qur’an states: “They ask you about menstruation. Say, ‘It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves’.” [2:222]
  • Allah’s Messenger ( s ) said to Fatimah Bint Abi Hubaish: “Leave prayer throughout the days of menstruation, then perform ghusl and do prayer.” (Agreed upon)
  • Death. If a Muslim dies, living Muslims are required to bathe him or her. Umm ‘Atiyyah, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated: “Allah’s Messenger ( s ) came to us when his daughter died and said: ‘Wash her three, five or more times with water and sidr(4) (lote-tree leaves) if you think it is required and sprinkle camphor or something of it on her at the end.’ When we finished, we informed him and he gave us his waist-sheet and told us to shroud her in it.” (Agreed upon)
  • If a disbeliever embraces Islam, he should take a ritual bath. This is base on the tradition reported by Qais ibn Assem: “I came to the Prophet ( s ) to embrace Islam, so he ordered me to bathe with water and sidr.” (Abu Daud & Nasai)
  • Abu Hurairah narrated that: “When Thumamah Al-Hanafi embraced Islam the Prophet ( s ) sent him to Abu Talha’s farm and required him to perform a ritual bath. There, he took a bath and performed two rak’at, upon which Allah’s Messenger said: ‘The faith of your brother has improved.” (Ahmad)

Description Of Complete Ritual Bath (Ghusl)

  • He intends (in his heart) to perform ghusl to remove major ritual impurity (sexual impurity, menstruation or postpartum period) without uttering such intention, because nothing has been reported that proves that the Prophet ( s ) uttered the intention to perform ghusl, wudu’, prayer or any other act of worship(5). Besides, Allah is Best Aware of what is in the minds of mankind. This is based on the Prophet’s tradition narrated by Omar, may Allah be pleased with him: “Acts are based on intention. Each one shall have (the harvest of) what he intends.” (Agreed upon)

  • He says: ‘Bismillah!’ (In the name of Allah). Then he washes his hands, then his private parts and removes the filth. A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, reported: “When Allah’s Messenger ( s ) bathed because of sexual intercourse, he first washed his hands, he then poured water with his right hand on his left hand and washed his private parts. He then performed ablution as is done for prayer. He then took some water (in his hand and put it on his head) and put his fingers and moved them through the roots of his hair. And when he found that these had been properly moistened, then poured three handfuls on his head and then poured water over his body and subsequently washed his feet.” (Muslim)

  • Next, he performs complete wudu’ (like that for prayer), except for his feet, which he can delay until he finishes his bath. This is based on the above-mentioned tradition reported by A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, in which she says: “He then performs ablution as is done for prayer.”

  • He pours three handfuls on his head and runs his fingers through his hair and beard so that the water should reach his scalp. Maimounah, may Allah be pleased with her, reported: “I placed water for the Prophet ( s ) to take a bath. He poured water over his hands, and washed them once or twice. Then he poured water with his right hand over his left one and washed his private parts. He rubbed his hand over the earth (and washed it). He rinsed his mouth and washed his nose by putting water in it and blowing it out. He washed his face and forearms, then his head three times. He poured water over his body and then withdrew from that place and washed his feet. I brought him a piece of cloth (towel), but he returned it. He (only) shook water off his hand.” (Agreed upon)

  • A person should pour water over the whole of his body, rubbing whatever he could of his body, beginning with the right side, then left side. He should take care to make water reach the arm-pits, ears, the navel, and the recesses of skin, as in the case of fat people in whom the upper layers of flesh prevent water from reaching those areas of the skin concealed beneath the fatty areas of the body. A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, reported: “When Allah’s Messenger ( s ) took a bath because of sexual intercourse, he called for a vessel and took a handful of water from it and first (washed) the right side of his head, the left, and then took a handful (of water) and poured it on his head.” (Agreed upon)

Satisfactory Ghusl

  • He should clean filth with water.
  • He intends (in his heart, not tongue) to remove major ritual impurity (hadath) .
  • Pours water all over his body or plunges himself into water so that it should reach the armpits, ears, navel, and recesses of the skin (for fat people). The Prophet ( s ) said to Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, about ghusl: “It is enough for you to throw three handfuls of water on your head and then pour water over yourself, and you shall be purified.” (Muslim)

Cases In Which Ghusl Is Recommended

  • Friday Prayer: Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: “The Prophet ( s ) said, ‘He who takes a bath and then comes to Al-Jumu’a (Friday) prayer and then prays what was fixed for him, then keeps silent till the Imam finishes the sermon, and then prays along with him, his sins (committed) between that time and the next Friday will be forgiven and with an addition of three days more.” (Muslim)
  • Prayer of the two Festivals (Eids), based on the tradition narrated by Al-Fakeh ibn Saad that: “The Prophet ( s ) used to perform ghusl on Friday, and for Fitr and Adha festivals.” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Bazzar)
  • Entering the state of Ihram for Hajj or Umrah. “Zaid ibn Thabit saw the Prophet ( s ) take off his clothes and take a bath for Ihram.” (Tirmidhi, Daraqutni, Baihaqi and Tabrani)
  • Entering Makkah. “Whenever Ibn Omar wanted to enter Makkah, he slept at Dhu Tuwa till the morning, performed bath and then went to Makkah in the daytime. He mentioned that the Prophet ( s ) did it.” (Muslim)

Acts Of Worship That Cannot Be Done When One Is In A State Of Janabah (Sexual Impurity)

  • Prayer (Salat): The Qur’an states: “O you who have believed, do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying or in a state of janabah, except those passing through [a place of prayer], until you have washed [your whole body]. And if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and find no water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and your hands [with it]. Indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Forgiving.” [4:43]

  • Circumambulation (tawaf) of the Sacred House (Ka’bah). A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “I came to Makkah while in my monthly period, so I could not circumambulate the Sacred House or go between Safa and Marwah. I complained to Allah’s Messenger ( s ). He said to me: ‘Do what a pilgrim does except for circumambulation of the Sacred House until your period is over.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

  • Touching or carrying the Holy Book (the Qur’an), as stated in Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn Amr’s (earlier) tradition: “That the Prophet ( s ) wrote to the Yemenites a letter which included this rule: ‘Nobody should touch the Qur’an unless he is pure.” (Nasai, Daraqutni and Baihaqi)

  • Recitation of the Holy Qur’an. Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I saw Allah’s Messenger ( s ) perform wudu’, then read some passages from the Qur’an. He said: “This is for those who are not in a state of Janabah. Those who are in a state of Janabah are not allowed to recite even a verse.” (Ahmad and Abu Ya’la)

  • Staying in the mosque. Allah’s messenger ( s ) said: “A mosque is forbidden for a woman during her monthly period and (both man and woman) in a state of Janabah.” (Ibn Majah & Tabrani)

Some Offenses And Errors In The Ritual Bath (Ghusl)

  • A man may neglect taking a bath after sexual intercourse, and even does not tell his wife to take a bath, unless he ejaculates. In fact, both must perform the ritual bath (ghusl). This is clear from the tradition quoted above: “If he (the husband) sits between her legs and penetrates her, ghusl (bath) is obligatory, whether he ejaculates or not.” (Muslim)
  • A man may have intercourse with his wife then delays ghusl till before dawn, thus he is sleeping without wudu’. This is in conflict with the Prophet’s Sunnah. Ammar ibn Yasser, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Allah’s Messenger ( s ) has recommended the person who is in a state of Janabah to perform wudu’ (the same as that for prayer) in case he wants to eat, drink or sleep.” (Ahmad & Tirmidhi)
  • Some people may sleep in a state of major ritual impurity (janabah), then if he wakes up a little before sunrise he performs tayammum instead of ghusl, which is not proper or permissible for him. Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Baz, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, delineated the right practice in such a case by saying to the one who asked him about this matter: ‘You must perform ghusl and complete your purification, then perform prayer; tayammum is not permissible in your case. That is because a person who is asleep or forgets a prayer is required to hasten to perform it along with all its requisites as soon as he wakes up or remembers it. Allah’s Messenger ( s ) was asked about a man who forgets prayer or sleeps and misses it. He said: “He should perform it when he remembers it.” (Ibn Majah)
  • It is well-known that prayer cannot be accepted without purification, based on the Prophet’s tradition: “Allah does not accept charity from goods acquired by embezzlement as He does not accept prayer without purification.” (Abu Daud)
  • If one has or finds water, he must use it for purification; otherwise, he can perform tayammum for prayer. Allah says which meaning is translated as: “And [you] find no water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and your hands [with it]. Truly, Allah is ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.” [4:43]
  • Some women who become pure of puerperium (postpartum period) before the elapse of forty days do not take a bath (ghusl) and observe prayer or fast (in Ramadan). In this regard, Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Baz, may Allah’s mercy be upon him, said: If a woman who is in a childbirth (confinement) period becomes pure before the elapse of forty days, she must take a bath (ghusl) and perform prayer, as well as observe the fast in Ramadan. It is also permissible for her husband to go to bed with her, as this is unanimously agreed upon among Muslim Scholars. There is no limit to the minimum time of the postpartum period. (Islamic verdict by a group of scholars. p1/225)
  • Some men go to bed with their wives after the elapse of their confinement, but before ghusl. Sheikh Abdul Aziz ibn Baz said about this: Having sexual intercourse with a wife during her monthly period is forbidden. Allah, glory be to Him, says which meaning is translated as: “They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: That is a harmful thing, therefore, keep away from women during menses and go not unto them till they are purified (from menses).” [2:222]
  • If one commits such an act, he will have to ask Allah for forgiveness and give one or a half gold coin out of charity in atonement for (this offense). Ahmad and other compilers of Sunan books narrated, on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Prophet ( s ) said (about the person who goes to bed with his wife during her monthly period): “Let him donate one or a half dinar (gold coin).’ He may donate either of the two values.” (Abu Daud)
  • However, he must not have sex with her before she stops bleeding and has a bath. This is based on the Qur’anic verse which meaning is translated as: “And go not unto them until they are purified (from menses). And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah has ordained for you.” [2:222]
  • Thus Allah has not permitted sex with a wife until the blood of menses stops flowing and she takes a bath. If sexual intercourse is practiced before she takes a bath her husband would thereby commit a sin and should pay the atonement value. If she conceives a child after having sex during her monthly period and prior to taking a bath, her child cannot be said to be a bastard; it is a legitimate child. (Islamic verdict by a group of scholars. p1/218)
  • Some people think that a woman should not go out of her house before her postpartum period is over. The truth is that she, like any other woman, may go out if she needs to. If she does not need to go out, it would be more appropriate not to go out though. The Qur’an states: “And stay in your houses, and do not display your selves like that of the former times of ignorance.” [33:33]
  • Some women think that reading books on Hadith and commentaries on the Holy Qur’an is a sin at this time. Sheikh Ibn Baz said in his reply to a question about this: It is no sin for a woman in her menses or after childbirth to read commentaries or the Holy Qur’an without touching it. That is in accordance with the more correct verdict of Muslim scholars. As for the person who is in the state of janabah, he or she must not recite the Qur’an at all until after taking a bath. They can read the books on Hadith and commentary books etc., without reciting the verses included therein. It was narrated that nothing prevented the Prophet ( s ) from reciting the Qur’an, except janabah. In another tradition, narrated by Imam Ahmed (with a good chain of transmitters) the Prophet ( s ) said: “As for one in a state of janabah, he cannot recite even one verse.”
  • Some women whose monthly period is over would postpone taking a bath until the end of the time allotted for a prayer. Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Uthaimeen said: A woman may get purified of her menses during the time of one of the daily (five) prayers, but she postpones bathing to a later time on the plea that the remaining time would not allow complete purification. Such a plea is not acceptable, for she can perform the minimum requirement of purification and perform the prayer on time. Later, she can have sufficient time for complete or longer purification. (The book “The Natural Blood of Women” p, 41.)
  • Some women, after their menses are over and they have a bath, do not perform the prayer they missed when their menses started. Sheikh Muhammad ibn Uthaimeen said: If the monthly period commences after the time of a prayer has begun (e.g. half an hour after the beginning of Noon prayer), she can make up for the missed prayer after her period is over. The Qur’an states: “Indeed prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” [4:103] (Fatawa about women: p25
  • A woman who is purified of her menses may not perform the prayer incumbent on her at that time; she performs the next prayer. Sheikh Ibn Uthaimeen says: If she is purified (of the menses) and there is still enough time for one rak’ah before the time of the next prayer begins, she must perform the prayer during whose time she was purified The Prophet ( s ) said: “Whoever completes one rak’a of the afternoon (Al-Asr) prayer before sunset, he has the whole prayer within its time.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
  • Thus, if her period is over during the afternoon prayer or before sunset and there was time enough for one rak’a before the sun sets, she performs the afternoon prayer as it is due upon her. (Fatawa about Women: p, 25.)