Learn About Ghusl (the Ritual Bath)


Ghusl becomes wajib (obligatory) on some occasions for example in the case of Janabah (the state of ritual impurity that follows an orgasm, ejaculation or penile intromission), or before circumambulation of the Ka’ba in Makkah. Ghusl can also be mustahab (recommended) for example the ghusl on Friday (Jumu'ah), or before some spiritual activities like the prayers of the Night of Qadr in the month of Ramadan. However, the method of performing ghusl is the same, only the intentions are different.

What is the method of performing ghusl?

Ghusl can be performed in two ways:

  • Tarteebi (sequential washing) or
  • Irtimaasi (by complete immersion in water at once)

In ghusl Tarteebi, one must start by washing the head and neck, and then the rest of the body and it is better to wash the right half of the body followed by the left half of the body.

In ghusl Irtimaasi one can immerse the entire body under water at once or in stages. Therefore, for ghusl Irtimaasi, the amount of water must be enough to make it possible for someone to be able to submerge their complete body under the water.

What are the conditions for a correct ghusl?

Conditions for a correct ghusl are same as those for wudhu:

All the conditions that were necessary for a correct wudhu, such as the water being Tahir, Mubaah (permissible for use), and Mutlaq (unadulterated) etc, are necessary for a correct ghusl, except for muwalat (sequential washing without disrupting interruptions.

Can I do just one ghusl with the intention of many?

Yes. If many ghusls become wajib on you, one ghusl can suffice by simply intending that it is for the different reasons. Also one can combine a mustahabb ghusl with a wajib ghusl, e.g. combing the mustahabb ghusl for Friday with the ghusl for Janabah with one ghusl to suffice for both.

Should I perform wudhu after performing ghusl for my prayers?

No. If you performed ghusl al-Janabah, it is not necessary to perform wudhu for your prayers; However, if you performed any other ghusl, you must do wudhu to pray as well. However, according to some jurists, there is no need for wudhu after performing any type of ghusl except the ghusl for Istihadha (blood flow for a woman that is not caused by menses or postpartum bleeding) since she cannot perform the ritual prayers directly after performing ghusl because she needs to perform wudhu in addition to it.

What should I do if any part of my body is wounded and covered with a bandage?

In this case you must do ghusl al-jabirah (passing the wet hand once over the bandage and washing the rest of the body.

How many types of wajib ghusls are there?

There are seven types of wajib ghusls: four types for both men and women and three related to women only:

  1. Ghusl al-Janabah (related to sexual activity)
  2. Ghusl al-Mayyit (the ghusl given to a dead body)
  3. Ghusl al-Mass al-Mayyit (the ghusl taken after touching a dead body before it is given the ghusl al-Mayyit)
  4. Ghusl made wajib by a nadhr (making promise)
  5. Ghusl al-Haidh (the ghusl at the end of a menstrual cycle)
  6. Ghusl al-Istihadha (a ghusl during non-menstrual and non-postpartum bleeding in certain amount)
  7. Ghusl an-Nifaas (the ghusl for postpartum bleeding)

Which is the most common ghusl?

The most common ghusl is ghusl al-Janabah and this is wajib for everyone.

When should we perform ghusl al-Janabah?

When semen is discharged or one experiences orgasm either in sleep or due to sexual activity, or if one had intercourse with penile intromission with or without the discharge of semen, one should perform ghusl al-Janabah for salah, touching the words of the Holy Qur’an, and other acts that require one to be in a state of ritual purity (taharah).

What actions are forbidden (haram) for a person who is in the state of Junub (the same as Janabah)?

From the time a someone becomes Mujnib (the state of being in Junub) until they perform the ghusl, or tayammum (an alternative to ghusl), the following five acts become haram for them:

  1. Touching the Qur'an with any part of the body, and the names of Allah, and, as per obligatory precaution, touching the names of the Prophets and the Imams (peace be upon them all).
  2. Entering the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid an-Nabi (peace be upon him and his progeny) in Medina- even if one is passing through one door and exiting through another.
  3. Staying in any masjid (mosque), and, as per obligatory precaution, staying in the holy shrines of the Imams (peace be upon them), however it is permissible if they only intended to enter one door and exit through another, or if they just went there to retrieve something.
  4. Going into a masjid to place something in it.
  5. Reciting one of the surahs of the Qur'an that contains a verse that requires a wajib sajdah on reading, even if it is only one letter of these surahs. These surahs are as follows:
  6. Surah Sajdah 32:15
  7. Surah Fussilat 41:37
  8. Surah Najm 53:62
  9. Surah 'Alaq 96:19

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