The word Ghusl literally translates from Arabic to “wash” or “clean”. It is a full ablution or a ritual bath taken when in a state of major impurity to purify our bodies and ready ourselves to worship Allah.
Ghusl brings up a lot of questions, especially as newly weds when there is already an overwhelming amount of information to process along with the anxiousness to do things the right way. We’re here to answer some of the questions we’ve received in our inbox, verified by an aalimah.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“O Believers [faith]! If you are in a state of major impurity [that requires ritual bath], then purify yourselves.” (Qur’an 5:6)
Ghusl is considered an act of worship. One of the most important aspects of our faith is purification and cleanliness. The purpose of Ghusl is therefore to purify ourselves physically so that we are able to fulfil our spiritual duties. Ghusl is also mentioned in the Hadiths:
Aishah (RA) narrated that Asma (RA) asked the Prophet ﷺ about Ghusl following menses. He responded, “Let one of you take her water and lotus leaves and clean herself well, then let her pour water over her head and rub it vigorously so that it will reach the roots of her hair. Then let her pour the water over herself, then take a piece of cloth scented with musk and purify herself.” Asma (RA) said, “How should she purify herself?” He said, “SubhanAllah, purify yourself with it!” Aishah (RA) whispered to her to perfume the area where blood flowed. She then asked him about Ghusl in the case of post sexual impurity to which the Prophet ﷺ said, “Let her take water and clean herself well, then let her pour water over her head and rub it so that it reaches the roots of the hair, then let her pour water over herself.”
Aishah (RA) said, The best of women are the women of the Ansaar! They don’t let shyness prevent them from understanding their religion properly.” [Muslim]
Ghusl is Fard (obligatory) to perform in the following circumstances:
* It is important to note here that most discharge in women is part of the natural cleansing of the vagina and does not indicate a wet dream. Also, if a wet dream is seen but no discharge is found, Ghusl is not necessary.
There are times when it is not obligatory to perform Ghusl, but instead recommended by the Sunnah:
There are two types of Ghusl you can perform for different circumstances. The first is the obligatory form of Ghusl. This is performed when in a state of sexual impurity and involves less steps than the complete Ghusl:
Start with the Niyyah or intention to purify yourself from the state of impurity in order to worship Allah
Wash your entire body once making sure water reaches every part, including rinsing the mouth and nose
The second type of Ghusl is the complete Ghusl, and it is recommended to do this type of Ghusl after the bleeding of menstruation and postpartum has ended as evidenced by the following hadith:
Aishah (RA) said, “When the Prophet ﷺ did Ghusl for janabah, he would wash his hands and do wudu as for prayer, then he would wash himself, then he would run his fingers through his hair, then when he thought that it [the water] had reached his skin, he would pour water over it [the head] three times, then he would wash the rest of his body.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Start with the niyyah or intention to purify yourself from the state of impurity in order to worship Allah
It is not a requirement for purification after sexual impurity but some scholars recommend it for purification after menstruation and postpartum bleeding.
Umm Salamah (RA) asked the Prophet ﷺ about that. She said, “I am a woman with braided hair; should I undo it when doing Ghusl for janabah?” He said, “No, rather it will be sufficient for you to pour three handfuls of water on your head, then pour water over yourself and you will be purified.”
Yes, based on this hadith of Aisha (RA):
Aisha (RA) said, “The Prophet ﷺ and I used to perform Ghusl from the same container. He would sometimes get to it before me, so I would tell him, ‘Leave me some! Leave me some!’” [Bukhari and Muslim]
The scholars have confirmed that ghusl is purification and does not require an extra wudu.
Scholars recommend that it is not said out loud, rather in the heart.
40 days is the maximum time period. Before this, if bleeding stops, women are required to perform ghusl and continue their prayers. If the bleeding goes past 39 days, then ghusl must be performed at the end of the 40 days.
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