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Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Purificatory Bath (Ghusl)

Among the conditions of prayer is purification from the state of major ritual impurity (hadath akbar) by performing the purificatory bath. Dry purification (tayammum) is performed when one cannot perform ghusl. One is required to perform the purificatory bath after any of these five things occur:

1. The emission of maniyy;
2. Sexual intercourse;
3. Termination of menses (hayd);
4. Termination of postpartum bleeding (nifas);
5. Childbirth.

Integrals of the Purificatory Bath (Ghusl)

The integrals of the purificatory bath are two:

1. To have the intention to clear oneself of the state of major ritual impurity (hadath akbar) or a similar intention;
2. To wash the whole body with water, including the skin and the hair even if it is thick.

Conditions of Purification (Taharah)

The conditions of purification (taharah) are:

1. To be Muslim;

2. To be at the age of mental discrimination (mumayyiz);

3. To remove anything which prevents water from reaching the part to be washed;

4. To let the water flow on the part to be washed;

5. To use purifying water, i.e., water that has not changed by being mixed with a pure material, such as milk or ink, from which the water can be shielded. If the water changes because of its mixing with something in such a way that it is not called water anymore, then this water is not good for purification. However, if the water changes because of its mixing with things which are in its original place or its pathway or the like, and from which this water cannot be easily shielded, then this does not affect the purifying property of this water. Moreover, the water must not have changed because of its contact with a najas-filth even if the change was inappreciable. If the water was less than two qullahs,1 an unexempted najas-filth must not have contacted it even if it does not change the water, and it must not have been used already in clearing someone of a ritual impurity (hadath), and it must not have been used to remove a najas-filth.

Removing Najas-Filth

Among the conditions of prayer is to be clear of najas-filth in one's body, clothes, place of prayer, and what one carries in prayer, such as a bottle carried in one's pocket. If a najas-filth contacts one or what one carries, one's prayer is invalidated unless the najas-filth is dry and one throws it away immediately, or it is an exempted najas-filth like the blood of one's wound. One must remove an unexempted najas-filth with purifying water by removing the najas-filth and its properties, i.e., the taste, color, and odor.

The najas-filth without discernible characteristics (najasah hukmiyyah) is the najas-filth the color, taste, or odor of which cannot be detected, and it is removed by pouring water on it. The najas-filth of a dog or a pig is removed by washing the najas-filthy area seven times--one of which should be mixed with purifying soil. The washes which remove the physical presence of the najas-filth are deemed one wash even if they were numerous. In the case of using little water for removing the najas-filth, i.e., less than two qullahs, it is required to pour the water on the najas-filth. However, putting a najas-filth in an amount of water which is two qullahs or more will not make the water najas-filthy unless it changes it.

Prohibitions While in a State of Ritual Impurity (Hadath)

The one who invalidated his wudu' is prohibited to perform prayer, circumambulate the Ka^bah, and to carry or touch the Book of the Qur'an (Mushaf). However, the child who has reached the age of mental discrimination (mumayyiz) and is studying in the Book of the Qur'an is allowed to carry it and touch it without wudu'.

It is unlawful for the person who emitted maniyy (junub) to do the aforementioned, and also to recite the Qur'an, or stay in a mosque.

It is unlawful for the menstruating and postpartum-bleeding women to do all the aforementioned actions, to fast before the cessation of bleeding, and to allow the husband or the master to enjoy the area between their navel and knees before they have performed the purificatory bath (ghusl). Some scholars said anything other than sexual intercourse is allowed.

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