What is Ghusl?


What is ghusl in islam? Why is ghusl important?

Ghusl means to wash the whole body with the intention of performing ghusl without leaving any part of the body dry.

Ghusl is required to rid the person of the circumstances which are an obstacle for particular ‘ibadat. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves.”[1] And regarding the ghusl of a woman: “… And 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…[2] The purification process that is mentioned in the verses refers to performing ghusl to get rid of the legal impurity that comes with menstruation for women (post-child birth bleeding also). A person who is in a state of janabah becomes pure after performing ghusl.

I. Circumstances Requiring Ghusl

With the occurrence of the following, it is fard to perform ghusl:

  1. Emission of Mani: The emission of discharge from the genitals (semen for men) as a result of pleasure or arousal; whether it occurs during sleep or while the person is awake.
  2. At the end of a woman’s menses period or post-labour bleeding. The end of bleeding may be noticed by the following:
  • Emission of white discharge.
  • Complete dryness; no trace of blood or discharge of any colour.

Menses: The yellow or red coloured discharge that comes from a woman’s genitals, indicating that she is able to reproduce. The minimal duration of menses is any one time that the discharge is emitted. The maximum duration is fifteen days for the first time, and for regulars, it is three days in addition to the longest experienced duration. A woman who normally experiences it for thirteen days adds two days to this, and a woman who experiences it for fourteen days adds one day. A woman whose menses lasts for fifteen days does not add anything. The blood that comes after this period is considered istihaza and she must perform ghusl, continue to pray, fast, and she is permitted to have intercourse with her husband.

Post-Natal bleeding: This is the bleeding that a woman experiences after giving birth to a child or miscarriage. This period is considered that which directly follows the labour. The minimal period of post-natal bleeding is the same as the menses. The maximum period for this bleeding is sixty days.

  1. Sexual Intercourse.
  2. Converting to Islam (Becoming a new Muslim).

II. What a Person Requiring Ghusl Can and Cannot Do

A person who is in a state of ritual impurity and requires ghusl cannot do the same things that are prohibited for a person who does not have wudu. In addition to that, they may not enter places of worship or recite Qur’an. However a person who does not have ghusl may recite small sections of the Qur’an for purposes such as supplication to Allah, healing, or to put forward the evidence of a ruling for a particular matter. Furthermore, a woman on her menstrual or post-natal period who is learning Qur’an, may follow the verses with her eyes, and if she is a teacher, she may correct her students when they err.

III. The fard acts of ghusl

  • To make the intention,
  • Washing the whole body without any place left dry,
  • Rubbing the body after or while wetting it,
  • Wetting the roots of the hair and beard: If a man or woman’s hair is braided or tied in a manner that the water is able to reach the scalp, the hair does not need to be undone. However if it prevents the water from reaching the scalp, it should be undone.
  • Not taking long pauses during the ghusl, all parts of the body must remain wet at the same time.

IV. The Sunnah Acts of Ghusl

  • At the beginning of the ghusl; washing hands until the wrists,
  • Rinsing mouth,
  • Rinsing nostrils (the nose),
  • Blowing out the water from the nostrils,
  • Wiping inside the ears.

V. The Mustahab Acts of Ghusl

  • Getting rid of the dirt on one’s body,
  • Then washing the wudu’ limbs,
  • Washing top before bottom and right before left,
  • Washing head thrice,
  • Using the water effectively by washing well without wastage.

VI. Performing ghusl in the appropriate mannerFirstly, hands are washed until the wrists three times.Then dirt or visible impurities are washed off the body.Then, the intention to “be pure from the major hadath” and to perform “the fards of ghusl”.Then, the private parts, buttocks and between the buttocks are washed once .Then the mouth and nose are rinsed, the inhaled water from the nose is blown out.The whole face is washed.For the water to reach the scalp, the hair is wet from the roots thrice. Each time, the whole hair is washed.Then the neck is washed and shoulders until elbows.Then water is poured on the right side of the body until the right heel, the same is then done on the left side.Both interior and exterior of the body is washed, ie. holes etc.Performing ghusl counts as also having performed wudu’.[1] Surah Ma’idah, verse 6[2] Surah Baqarah, verse 222

Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Maliki School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications

The Contents of Fiqh as a Science (Maliki)

The Importance of The Science of Fiqh (Shafii)