What is ghusl?
Ghusl is completely covering the surface of the body with water.
What are the obligatory elements of ghusl?
Ghusl has five obligatory elements:
4. Making water penetrate to the roots of the hair
5. Covering the entire body with water
What should one intend when performing ghusl?
The person performing ghusl should intend one of three things:
1) Performing the obligation of ghusl
2) Removing major ritual impurity
3) Permitting what major ritual impurity prevents
What are the rulings concerning consecutiveness in ghusl?
Consecutiveness in ghusl is obligatory, just as it is in wudu'. The rulings in section 28 (regarding the one who forgets consecutiveness in wudu', the one who is unable to do it and the one who deliberately introduces delays) similarly apply in ghusl:
1) If someone introduces delays out of forgetfulness, then he must build on what he has done, whether a long time has passed or only a short time. However he must renew his intention.
2) If someone introduces delays due to a lack of ability, without being himself the cause of that inability, then the ruling is the same as for the one who forgets in that he builds on what he has already done. He does not, however, need to renew his intention.
3) If someone introduces delays due to a lack of ability, when he himself is the cause of that lack of ability, then he must build on what he has already done, if only a short time has passed. If a long time has passed then he must repeat the entire ghusl with a new intention.
4) If someone deliberately introduces delays, then the ruling is the same as for the one in the last instance (number 3). If a short time has passed, he builds on what he has done. If a long time has passed, he repeats his ghusl. This ruling is for the one who deliberately introduces delays in his ghusl without nullifying his intention.
5) If someone deliberately introduces delays and abandons his intention, then he must renew his intention and begin a completely new ghusl, whether a long time has passed or only a short time.
76. What is the ruling on rubbing; is it obligatory that the one performing ghusl rubs at the same time as pouring the water? What is the ruling on the one who is unable to rub?
Rubbing is the passing of a limb over the outside of the body whether that limb is a hand or a foot, so it is enough to wipe one foot with the other. It is also permitted to rub with the back of the hand, the forearm, the upper arm or even with a cloth, even if the one performing ghusl is able to rub with the palm his hand.
[NOTE: If one is using a cloth or rope to rub his body, one holds its two ends and rubs oneself with the middle]
Rubbing does not have to accompany the pouring of the water. Provided that the body has not dried out, one may perform the rubbing after one has completed pouring the water over one's body. As for rubbing the body after it has dried, that does not fulfil the obligation of rubbing. If one immerses oneself in water (such as by getting into a bath) and then gets out of it and rubs his body, this fulfils the obligation of rubbing if his body is still wet.
If somebody is unable to rub his or her body then the obligation of rubbing is negated and he does not have to delegate somebody else to do it for him or use a cloth. It is enough for that person to cover his entire body with water.
[NOTE: Those who may be delegated to rub one's body in ghusl are limited to those who may see one's private parts, such as wife or husband or a slavegirl in the case of a man]
Making water penetrate to the roots of the hair.
It is obligatory to make water penetrate to the roots of the hair, even if it is thick, regardless of whether that hair is on the head or on other parts of the body. The water must reach the skin under the hair. This is achieved by gathering one's hair in one's hands and rubbing it whilst pouring water on it. It is not obligatory to put one's fingers underneath the hair and rub the skin with them.
It is also not obligatory to undo plaited hair unless it is tightly plaited or plaited with a lot of strings which prevent the water from reaching the skin or the inside of the hair. If that is the case then the plaits must be undone, regardless of whether it is the hair of a woman or a man. This is the well-known position.*
[*Al-Bannani and others considered it permissible for the bride who has had her hair done to not have to wash her head in her ghusl since that entails destruction of property. It is enough for her to wipe over it. As-Sawi said, "Women with a lot of threads in their hair can make use of the ruling in the Hanafi Madhhab when they are performing ghusl, because their view is that, in the case of women, it is only obligatory for the water to reach the roots of the hair, not for it to cover all of it or to reach the inside of individual strands.]
It is also obligatory to make sure water gets in between the fingers and toes and inside wrinkles and other hard-to-get-to areas in the body. It is not necessary to remove or move a ring which it is permitted to wear, even if it is tight. If the ring is of a type which it is forbidden to wear (such as a gold ring for a man), then the ruling depends on how tight the ring is. If it is tight then it must be removed; if it is loose then it is enough to move it.
Covering the entire surface of the body with water.
It is obligatory to cover the entire body with water either by immersing oneself in it or by pouring it over the body. It is obligatory for the one performing ghusl to make sure that the water reaches all hard-to-get-to parts of the body, such as wrinkles, the navel, the inner thighs, the armpits and so forth. He should try to rub all these areas, but if he is unable to do so then it is enough for him to pour water over them.
79. What is the ruling on a person who experiences doubt as to whether a part of his body has been washed or not?
If he is someone who experiences this sort of doubt a lot (i.e. once a day or more), then he does nothing. However if he is not somebody who normally experiences this sort of doubt and he is unsure about whether water has reached a part of his body or not, then he must wash that place by pouring water on it and rubbing it.
The Sunna elements of Ghusl
How many sunna elements of ghusl are there and what are they?
Ghusl has five sunna elements:
1) Washing the hands before putting them in the vessel, provided that there is only a small amount of water, that it is possible to pour from the vessel and that the water is not flowing. If there is a lot of water, or it is not possible to pour from the vessel (such as a bath tub which is fixed to the ground) or it is flowing, then he may put his hands in it.
2) Rinsing the mouth.
3) Sniffing water up the nose.
4) Blowing water out of the nose.
5) Wiping the ear holes. The one performing ghusl should not go too deep or be too forceful when wiping, because it might harm his hearing. As for the outside and inside surfaces of the ears, it is obligatory to wash them because they are part of the outside of the body, which it is obligatory to wash.
The recommended elements of Ghusl
What are the recommended elements of ghusl?
The recommended elements of wudu' are also recommended elements in ghusl. Ghusl, however, has four additional recommended elements:
1) Removing impurities (such as semen) from the body first, whether the genitals or elsewhere. This is done after washing the hands.
[NOTE: It is not necessary or even recommended to wash the hands again (as part of the wudu' element of the recommended way of performing ghusl) after washing the genitals].
2) Washing the genitals (and backside) after removing the impurity.
3) Inserting the fingers under the hair and rubbing the skin underneath it, when washing it.
4) Washing the head three times, covering the entire head each time.
82. What is the recommended way of performing ghusl?
The recommended way of performing ghusl is the manner in which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, performed it. Thisghusl contains all the obligatory elements, sunna elements and recommended elements and is thus the most complete way of performing it:
The one performing ghusl begins by washing his hands three times, as in wudu', intending by that the sunna of beginning with the hands. Then he washes any impurities from his body and makes his intention to perform the obligation of ghusl.
After making his intention he begins by washing his genitals, inner thighs (which are next to his genitals), anus and between the buttocks once. Then he rinses out his mouth, sniffs water up his nose and blows it out. Then he washes his face and completes his wudu' washing each limb once only.
Then he pours water onto his head and, using his hands, making sure the water penetrates to the roots of the hair and covers his entire head. He does this three times. Then he washes his neck, shoulders and upper arms to the elbows.
Then he washes the right side of his body down to the ankles, front first, and then does the same with his left side. He must make sure he rubs every inch of his body if he is able. If he is unsure about whether he has washed a part of his body, and is not someone who is regularly subject to doubt, then he must wash it as soon as he remembers it. Otherwise (if he is someone who is regularly subject to doubt) he may ignore that doubt and does not wash the place he has doubt about.
Does the recommended form of ghusl take the place of wudu'?
A ghusl performed in the manner mentioned in section 82 or in any another way (provided that all areas of the body are washed) takes the place of wudu', even if the one performing the ghusl does not intend to remove the state of minor ritual impurity. The intention of removing the state of major ritual impurity is enough, as removing the state of major ritual impurity entails the state of minor ritual impurity also being removed.
Does ghusl take the place of wudu' when the one performing ghusl realises that he is not in a state of major ritual impurity (janaba)?
When the one performing ghusl makes the intention of removing the state of major ritual impurity, believing himself to be in a state of janaba, and then it becomes clear to him that he is not in a state of janaba, his ghusl still takes the place of wudu' and he can perform the prayer with it. Similarly, if he steps into a bath intending by that to remove the state of major ritual impurity, without calling to mind the state of minor ritual impurity, that is also sufficient.
What is the ruling if the one performing ghusl loses his wudu' during the ghusl?
If the one performing ghusl has not completed the ghusl and something happens to him which breaks his wudu' (such as breaking wind or touching his penis) after he has already completed washing the limbs of wudu' or after he has completed washing some of the limbs, then he repeats the wudu', washing each limb only once. If he has already completed his ghusl when something happens to break his wudu', he repeats his wudu', but this time with a new intention and washing each limb three times (in other words he performs a normal wudu' as it is no longer part of the ghusl).
What is the ruling on the one who performs wudu' with the intention of removing the state of minor ritual impurity and then completes the ghusl with the intention of removing the state of major ritual impurity?
If someone does wudu' with the intention of removing the state of minor ritual impurity and then it becomes clear to him that he is in a state of major ritual impurity, he may complete his ghusl with the intention of removing the state of major ritual impurity. He does not have to re-wash the limbs of wudu' in his ghusl, even if he forgot that he was in a state of janaba while he was performing wudu'.
If the one performing wudu' remembers he is in a state of janaba, then he builds on his wudu' with a new intention (of removing the state of major ritual impurity), so long as he does this as soon as he remembers. If he remembers but does not build on his wudu' immediately and lets a long time pass before completing his ghusl, then that ghusl is not valid and he must perform a complete new ghusl. If, however, he does not even remember that he is in a state of janaba until a long time has passed, then he may still build on his wudu', provided he builds on it as soon as he does remember. [In other words what is important is that there is no delay between time of remembering and the act of completing the ghusl.]
Is it valid to combine the intention of an obligatory ghusl and the intention of a recommended ghusl? Is it valid to intend that the obligatory ghusl takes the place of the recommended one?
If someone is in a state of janaba and performs his ghusl intending both the removal of the state of janaba and performing the recommendedghusl, that is valid and he obtains the reward for both the obligatory and the recommended ghusls. An example of this is like the one who intends, along with removing the state of janaba, to perform the Jumu'a ghusl (which is a sunna), or intends, along with removing the state of janaba, to perform the ghusl for the 'id (which is recommended).
Intending that the ghusl for the removal of janaba takes the place of the recommended ghusl is similarly valid and fulfils both aims. However, intending for the recommended ghusl to take the place of the obligatory ghusl is not valid and neither aim is fulfilled. The one making such an intention remains in a state of janaba and has not fulfilled the conditions of the recommended ghusl.
Is the wudu' of someone in a state of janaba valid? What breaks it?
It is recommended that if someone is in a state of janaba and wants to go to sleep, whether during the day or at night, that he should perform a full wudu' like that done for the prayer, just as it is recommended for anybody intending to go to sleep to perform wudu'. The wudu' performed by the one who is in a state of janaba is only invalidated by actual physical intercourse, as opposed to that wudu' performed by anybody else intending sleep. Their wudu' is broken by all those things listed in section 51. If the one who is in a state of janaba cannot find any water when he wants to go to sleep, then there is no recommendation for him to perform tayammum.
What is the ruling on omitting something in ghusl?
The ruling on omitting something in ghusl is the same as that on omitting something in wudu' (see section 67), except in one case: If the one performing ghusl omits an inaccessible part of his body and then remembers it soon after, he must confine himself to only washing that part which was omitted, and does not wash those areas which come after it in the preferred way of performing ghusl.
The Things which Make Ghusl Obligatory
What are the things which make ghusl obligatory?
There are four things which make ghusl obligatory:
1. The emission of semen
2. The disappearance of the head of the penis into the vagina (or anus)
4. Lochia (post-natal bleeding)
Does the emission of semen always make ghusl obligatory?
The emission of semen from the penis of a man, or ejaculatory fluid from the vagina of a woman may occur while that person is asleep or awake. If it occurs while he is asleep, then ghusl is always made obligatory, regardless of whether he feels pleasure or not, and regardless of whether he is aware of its emission or not. If someone wakes up and finds the traces of semen, but cannot remember ejaculating, he must still perform ghusl.
If the emission occurs while he is awake, then ghusl is only made obligatory when there is customary pleasure, resulting from looking or touching (or thinking). If it emerges after the experience of pleasure has gone, then ghusl is made obligatory. This is regardless of whether he performed a ghusl before the emission of semen or not. This is for when semen emerges without intercourse.
If the pleasure comes about through intercourse (by the disappearance of the head of the penis into the vagina) and there is no ejaculation, aghusl is still made obligatory. If semen emerges (resulting from the pleasure experienced during intercourse) after he has performed a ghusl, he does not have to perform a new ghusl, and only wudu' is made obligatory. The difference between this case and the previous case (i.e. ejaculation resulting from looking etc.) is that the ghusl he performed was for the state of janaba. In the first case ghusl was not made obligatory until he actually ejaculated. The same ruling applies to a woman. If ejaculatory fluids emerge from her vagina after she has had a ghusl for state of janaba caused by intercourse, then she only has to perform wudu'.
If semen emerges without customary pleasure, then only wudu' is made obligatory. Examples of this include semen emerging when someone scratches scabies or gets into a hot bath. More details on this may be found in section 54. The same ruling also applies if semen emerges without any pleasure at all, such as when it is emitted because of illness.
What is the ruling on someone who is unsure about whether the discharge is semen or madhy?
If someone wakes up from sleep and finds dampness on his garment or on his body and is unsure about whether it is semen or madhy, then he must perform a ghusl because being in a state of doubt affects the obligation of purification. However if he is more than 50% certain that is madhy then ghusl is not obligatory for him.
What is the ruling on the one who finds the traces of semen and does not know when it emerged?
If someone finds actual semen or what he suspects is semen and does not know when it emerged, he performs a ghusl and repeats his prayers from the last time he slept, whether in the night or day. He does not repeat any prayers before that. The same applies to a woman when she sees menstrual blood on her garment and does not know when it happened. She performs a ghusl and repeats the prayers from the day she put it on because of the last uncertainty.
Does the disappearance of the head of the penis always make ghusl obligatory?
When the whole head of the penis of the adult male (NOTE: If the head of his penis is cut off, then the disappearance of a similar amount of his headless penis takes the same ruling), disappears into the vagina or anus of someone able to have intercourse, regardless of whether that someone is male or female, adult or child (if that child is able to have sex), human or animal, alive or dead, then it is obligatory for him to perform a ghusl, even if he did not ejaculate. It is also obligatory for the one who was penetrated to perform a ghusl, provided that she is an adult.
If the penis is inserted into other than the vagina or the anus, such as between the breasts or buttocks, then ghusl is not made obligatory, just as it is not made obligatory if it is inserted into the vagina or anus of someone not capable of intercourse (such as a very young child).
The one who is not legally responsible (such as a madman or a child) does not have to perform a ghusl, even if he ejaculates.
What is the ruling on intercourse if it occurs between two children, or between a young boy and an adult woman, or between a young girl and an adult man?
If a boy who has reached the age in which he is commanded to pray (ten years old or more) has intercourse with a girl capable of intercourse (in other words she is close to the age of puberty), then ghusl is recommended for him but not for her. The same ruling applies when a boy has intercourse with an adult woman, however she must have a ghusl if she experiences orgasm and ejaculates.
If an adult man has intercourse with a girl capable of it, then ghusl is obligatory for the man and recommended for the girl. If the boy who has reached the age in which he is commanded to do the prayer is in a state of wudu' and has intercourse and then prays, without first performingghusl, then his prayer is valid. It is, however, disliked for him to do that. This is why they say that the intercourse of a child does not break wudu'.
Do menstruation and lochia (post-natal bleeding) always make ghusl obligatory?
Both menstruation and lochia always make ghusl obligatory, even if the menstruation is only one gush of blood, and even if the child emerges in lochia without any blood at all. The ghusl for menstruation and lochia must take place immediately after the bleeding has stopped. It is not valid while the blood is still flowing. Ghusl is not made obligatory by the emergence of the blood of false menstruation, but it is recommended for it when it stops.
What are the preconditions of ghusl?
The preconditions of ghusl are the same as the preconditions of wudu'. They are divided into the three categories: preconditions of obligation, preconditions of soundness, and preconditions concerned with both obligation and soundness.
There are four preconditions concerned with obligation:
1. The arrival of the time (of the prayer)
3. The ability to perform ghusl
4. The occurrence of one of the things which makes ghusl necessary.
There are three preconditions concerned with soundness:
2. The lack of a barrier (between your skin and the water)
3. The absence of something occurring which negates ghusl.
There are four preconditions concerned with both obligation and soundness:
The absence of the blood of menstruation and lochia (for women)
The presence of enough pure water (to perform ghusl)
The lack of sleep or absentmindedness.
What is Prevented by Major Impurity
What is prevented by major ritual impurity?
The state of major ritual impurity, whether on account of intercourse, menstruation or lochia, prevents all the things that the state of minor ritual impurity prevents: prayer, tawaf and touching or carrying the Qur'an. The state of major ritual impurity resulting from intercourse or ejaculation also prevents the recitation of the Qur'an, even from memory and even for a teacher or student, as opposed to that resulting from menstruation or post-natal bleeding, which does not.
Even when someone is in a state of major ritual impurity resulting from intercourse or ejaculation, there are times and situations in which a small amount of recitation is allowed. These include: Seeking refuge when going to sleep or when one experiences fear, by reciting verses such as the Ayat al-Kursi, Surat al-Ikhlas, Surat al-Falaq and Surat an-Nas; or for the purpose of healing or as a charm for oneself or someone else from pain or the evil eye; or for providing the evidence for a ruling, by quoting a verse from the Qur'an such as "Allah has made trade lawful and forbidden usury."
The state of janaba also prevents the entering of a mosque, whether congregational or otherwise, even if the one entering is only passing through, heading from one door to another. However it is permitted for the one in a state of janaba who must do tayammum to enter the mosque with his tayammum for the prayer and he can even spend the night in it if he has to. It is also permitted for a healthy person to enter the mosque when he is in a state of janaba, even if he is not a traveller, if he cannot find any water outside the mosque and knows there is water inside (i.e. in order to perform his ghusl).
The one in a state of major ritual impurity resulting from menstruation or lochia is also prevented from having intercourse.