The Prescribed Prayer: Chapter One (cont.)

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Ghusl, generally speaking, is a complete bath. It is different from an ordinary bath in both the Niyyah and procedure.

First of all, Ghusl is Fard that is required if one is junub, defiled, with any one of the following major impurities:

  1. When there is discharge of semen coupled with lustful feelings, awake or at sleep.

  2. After intimate intercourse.

  3. Upon expiration of the menstrual period haid, or confinement period of nursing women, nifaas.

  4. Upon the death of a Muslim.

  5. Upon embracing Al-Islaam: that is, when a person embraces the religion of Al-Islaam, he or she should take a Ghusl before observing any of the religious duties.

When a Muslim is defiled by major impurities, as in the items mentioned above, it is prohibited for him to do the following:

  1. Salaah, whether it is Fard or Sunnah, such as Jum'ah and 'Eid.

  2. Tawaaf, circumambulation around the Ka'abah during Hajj.

  3. Performing any Sujuud, whether it is the Prostration of Forgetful ness or Prostration of Recitation.

  4. Handling Al-Quran or reading it, except for those teaching it, such as teachers in the schools.

  5. Staying in the Masjid. According to the Prophet's wife, 'Aaishah (r.a.), the Prophet said:

    "The masjids are not for the bonded, or the Junub, the defiled persons, nor for the women who are on their menstruation or confinement." (Ibn Maajaa)

    However, if one is passing through the masjid, there is no prohibition. Allah says:

    "O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say, nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (except when traveling on the road), until after washing your whole body..." (Al-Quran, 4:43)


The Sunnah Ghusls are those worth doing because one is rewarded for doing them:

  1. Ghusl for performance of Jum'ah. According to Abu-Saeedul Khudaree, the Prophet (s.a.s.) said:

    "It is essential for every adult attending Jum'ah prayer on Friday to take Ghusl, to brush the teeth and scent oneself, if available." (Al-Bukhaaree)

  2. For the performance of Ihraam (intention for Hajj or `Umrah), Zaid bin Thaabit reported that the Prophet took his clothes off and performed Ghusl when he came to intend Ihraam. (Tirmidhee)

  3. Before entering Mecca or standing on the mountain of `Arafaat. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet took a bath before entering Mecca and before standing on 'Arafaat.

Additionally, one may have Ghusl before `Eid prayers, according to certain ahadeeth reported in that respect. One may also have Ghusl after giving Ghusl to a deceased Muslim.


Al-Ghusl is achieved by two things: Niyyah, intention, and a complete bath. However, the Sunnah recommends the following sequence:

  1. Bring Niyyah into the heart.

  2. Wash the hands three times.

  3. Wash the private parts once.

  4. Perform Wuduu, except that one may delay washing the feet until the Ghusl is complete.

  5. Wash the head three times; one should be sure that the water reaches the scalp.

  6. Pour water on the whole body, beginning with the right side, then the left side.

The Ghusl of a Muslim sister is the same as that of a Muslim brother. Ummu Salmah reported that a sister asked the Prophet: Messenger of Allah, I am a woman who has closely plaited hair on my head, should I unplait it before taking a Ghusl because of my Janabah (intimate intercourse) ? The Messenger replied:

"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/Ahmad)

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