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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ghusl

The Principles of Ghusl (Islamic bath)

1, The intention
This involves distinguishing the acts of worship from the customary acts. The intention is only in the heart, and there is no need for it to be verbally stated.

2, Washing all bodily parts
This is based on the following: Says Allah, "If you are sexually impure, cleanse yourselves," that is, perform ghusl, and "They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: 'It is an harm, so leave women alone at such times and go not in unto them until they are cleansed," that is, until they perform ghusl. The proof that cleansing means ghusl is in the verse, "O you who believe, draw not unto the prayer when you are drunk until you know what you utter, nor when you are polluted, save when journeying upon the road, until you have bathed (taghtasilu)." This shows that ghusl, the washing of all bodily parts, is meant.

How ghusl is performed

According to the practice of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, the correct manner of performing ghusl is:

-1- wash both hands three times,

-2- wash the penis/vagina

-3- make a complete ablution (like the one made for prayer--the Prophet used to delay washing his feet until the end of his ghusl if he was using a tub, and so on),

-4- rub water through one's hair three times, letting the water reach down to the roots of the hair,

-5- pour water over the entire body, begining with the right side, then the left, washing under the armpits, inside the ears, inside the navel, inside the toes and whatever part of the body can be easily rubbed. This account is based on the following report from 'Aishah (ra - may Allah be pleased with her): "When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, took his bath after sexual intercourse, he would begin by washing his hands. Then he would pour water from his right hand to his left and wash his sexual organs, make the ablution for prayer, take some water and put his fingers to the roots of his hair to the extent that he sees that the skin is wet, then pour water over his head three times and then over the rest of his body." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) In one narration it states, "He used to rub his head with his hands until he was certain the water reached his skin, and then he poured water over it three times." It is also related that she said, "When the Prophet (saw - may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) would perform ghusl after having had sexual intercourse, he would call for some water, which he would pour on his right hand to wash the right side of his head and then the left. He would then take water with both hands and pour it over his head." Said Maimunah (ra), "I put water out for the Messenger of Allah to perform ghusl. He washed his hands two or three times, and then he poured water from his right hand to his left and washed his private parts, wiped his hands on the earth, rinsed his mouth and nose, washed his face and hands, washed his head three times, poured water over his body, and finally moved from his place and washed his feet. I brought him a towel, but he did not take it, for he shook the water off with his hands." (Related by "the group.")

Ghusl for women

A woman performs ghusl just as a man does, except that if she has plaited hair she does not have to undo it, provided that the water can reach the roots of her hair. Umm Salamah (ra) said, "O Messenger of Allah, I am a woman who has closely plaited hair on my head. Do I have to undo them for ghusl after sexual intercourse?" He said, "No, it is enough for you to pour three handfuls of water on your head and then pour water over yourself. After doing this, you shall be cleansed." (Related by Ahmad, Muslim and at-Tirmizhi)

It is preferrable for a woman performing ghusl to cleanse herself from menstruation or post-childbirth bleeding to take some cotton smeared with musk or perfume and wipe it over the traces of blood. This will remove the bad smell of the menstrual blood. 'Aishah (ra) reported, "'Asma bint Yazid (ra) asked the Messenger of Allah (saw) about ghusl after menstruation has ended. He said, "She should use water mixed with the leaves of the lote-tree and cleanse herself. Then she should pour water over her head and rub it well till it reaches the roots of the hair, after which she should pour water over it. Afterwards, she should take a piece of cotton smeared with musk and cleanse herself with it." 'Asma (ra) asked, "How should she cleanse herself with it?" He said, "Praise be to Allah, she should cleanse herself with it." 'Aishah (ra) said in a subdued tone that she should apply it to the traces of blood. 'Asma (ra) then asked about bathing after sexual intercourse. He said, "She should take water and cleanse herself or complete the ablution, pour water on her head and rub it till it reaches the roots of her hair, and then she should pour water over herself." 'Aishah (ra) observed, "How good are the women of the 'helpers' that shyness does not keep them from learning their religion." (Related by "the group," except at-Tirmizhi.)

Questions related to Ghusl

It is sufficient to perform one ghusl for both menstruation and sexual impurity, or for the Friday prayer and the 'id prayer, or for sexual impurity and the Friday prayer, if one has the intention for both of them. This is based on the Prophet's saying, "All acts are based on intentions."

If a person performed post-sex ghusl but did not make ablution, the ghusl will suffice.

It is acceptable for a person in post-sex uncleanliness or a menstruating woman to remove their hairs, cut their nails, go to the markets, and so on, without any dislike. 'Ata said that such people can get cupped, cut their nails and their hair, and that this is allowed even if he (or she) has not performed the regular ablution. (Related by al-Bukhari).

One may enter a public bathroom. As long as he keeps his private parts from being seen, and he does not look at others' private parts. Says Ahmad, "If you know that everyone inside the bathroom is wearing a loincloth, you may enter. If not, then don't enter." The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "A man should not look at another man's private parts, and a woman should not look at another woman's private parts."

There is no problem in drying one's self with a towel or other cloth after performing ablution or ghusl during the summer or winter.

It is permissible for a man to use the water left over by a woman and vice-versa. This is derived from the fact that it is permissible for them to perform ghusl from the same container. Ibn 'Abbas narrated that some of the Prophet's wives were performing ghusl from a container. The Prophet came and performed his ablution or ghusl from it. They said to him, "We were sexually unclean." He said, "The water does not become impure." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i and at-Tirmizhi, who called it hassan sahih). 'Aishah used to wash with the Messenger of Allah from one container, and they would take turns taking water until he said, "Leave some for me, leave some for me."

It is not allowed to bathe in the nude in front of people. It is forbidden to uncover one's private parts. If you cover it with some clothes, it is permissible. The Messenger of Allah would cover Fatimah with a curtain when she performed ghusl. If one performs ghusl in the nude, far away from the people, it is not prohibited. The prophets Musa (Moses) and Ayyub (Job) did so, as al-Bukhari, Ahmad, and an-Nasa'i recorded.

Actions Forbidden For Those Who Require Ghusl

1, Circumambulating the Ka'bah
The reasoning behind this can be found in What actions require the ablution as a prerequisite.

2, Touching or carrying the Qur'an
The companions were all agreed that it is forbidden to touch or carry the Qur'an while one is in a state of impurity.

3, Reciting the Qur'an

According to most scholars, one who is physically unclean (because of sex or menstruation) may not recite any portion of the Qur'an. This is based on a hadith from 'Ali (ra), in which he stated that nothing kept the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, from the Qur'an save being sexually impure. This is related by "the four." At-Tirmizhi graded it sahih.

4, Staying in the mosque

It is forbidden for one who is physically unclean (because of sex or menstruation) to stay in the mosque. 'Aishah (ra - may Allah be pleased with her) said, "The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, saw that his companions' houses were practically in the mosque. He said, 'Direct those houses away from the mosque.' He then entered the mosque, but the people did nothing, hoping that Allah would reveal to Muhammad (saw) that what they were doing was permissible. After he came out, he said, 'Direct those houses away from the mosque, for it is not permitted for a menstruating woman or sexually impure person to be in the mosque." (Related by Abu Dawud.)

Umm Salamah (ra) related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, came to the mosque's courtyard and said at the top of his voice, "The mosque is off limits to menstruating women and the sexually impure persons." (Related by Ibn Majah and at-Tabarani.) Such people can, however, pass through the mosque, for says Allah, "O you who believe, draw not near unto prayer when you are drunk until you know that which you utter, nor when you are impure save when journeying upon the road, until you have bathed" (an-Nisa' 43). Said Jubair (ra), "One of us used to pass through the mosque though he was impure." (Related by Ibn Abu Shaibah and Sa'eed ibn Mansur in his Sunan.) Zaid ibn Aslam said, "The companions (ra - may Allah be pleased with them all) of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, used to walk through the mosques while they were sexually impure." (Related by Ibn al-Munzhir.) Yazib ibn Habib reported that the companions' doors opened up into the mosque, and that when they were sexually impure, they could find no water or any path to water save through the mosque. Then Allah revealed, "...nor when you are impure, save journeying upon the road..." (Related by at-Tabari.)

Commenting on the preceding reports, ash-Shaukani says,"The meaning is so clear that there is no room for doubt." Said 'Aishah, "The Prophet said to me, 'Hand me my cloth from the mosque.' I said, 'I am menstruating.' He said, 'Your menstruation is not in your hand." (Related by the group, except for al-Bukhari.) Said Maimunah, "The Messenger of Allah used to come to one of our rooms while we were menstruating and put his head on (his wife's) lap and recite the Qur'an. Then one of us would take his clothes and put them in the mosque while she was menstruating." (Related by Ahmad and an-Nasa'i. The report has supporting evidence.)

Actions for which ghusl (Islamic bath) is preferred

This category of actions involves a reward for performing ghusl, and no blame if he does not. Such actions are:

1, Before the Friday prayer
Muslims are encouraged to perform ghusl before they gather for the Friday prayer. In fact, Islamic law even goes to the extent of ordering one to perform ghusl at this time as part of the overall cleanliness and hygiene of the Muslim society. Abu Sa'eed (ra - may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet said,"Ghusl on Friday is obligatory (wajib) on every adult, as is using a toothbrush and applying some perfume." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

The meaning of "obligatory" here is that it is greatly recommended. This understanding of the Prophet's (saw - may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) saying is derived from what al-Bukhari recorded about an incident from Ibn 'Umar (ra) about his father. One day, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) was standing and delivering the khutbah when 'Uthman (ra), one of the people from among the emigrants and helpers, entered. 'Umar (ra) said to him, "What time is it now?" He said, "I was busy and could not return home. When I heard the call to prayer, I did not make more than the regular ablution." 'Umar said, "And the ablution only, when you know that the Messenger of Allah (saw) ordered us to perform ghusl ?" Commenting on the incident, says ash-Shaf'i, " 'Uthman (ra) did not leave the prayer to perform ghusl, nor did 'Umar order him to do so. This illustrates that the companions knew that this order was one of choice. It also shows that it is preferred."

Muslim recorded that Abu Hurairah (ra) reported the Prophet (saw) saying, "Whoever makes the ablution and perfects it and then goes to the Friday prayer and listens attentively, will have forgiveness during (the period) between the Friday and the next (Friday), and an additional three days." Says al-Qurtubi, "This hadith shows that ghusl is preferred. The mention of ablution, the reward and acceptability points to the fact that ablution alone is sufficient.'' Ibn Hajr states in at-Talkhis, "It is one of the strongest proofs that ghusl for the Friday prayer is not obligatory. The statement that it is preferred is built upon the fact that if one does not perform ghusl, it will not harm (his prayer). But, if others are harmed by his perspiration or bad smell from his clothes and body, ghusl becomes obligatory, and not performing it detracts from the rewards of salah (prayer). Some scholars say that the Friday ghusl is a duty even if its non-performance causes no harm (to others). Their basis for this opinion is the hadith related by Abu Hurairah (ra) in which the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "It is a duty upon every Muslim to perform ghusl once every seven days, by washing his head and body."

The time for the Friday ghusl is between dawn and the time of the Friday prayer. It is preferable to do it at the time of departure (to the mosque). If one loses his ablution after that, it is sufficient for him just to make a new ablution (he does not have to repeat the ghusl).

2, Performing ghusl for the 'Id (Eid) prayers

3, Ghusl for washing a corpse
According to many scholars, performing ghusl is also preferred for one who has washed a corpse. Abu Hurariah (ra) reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "Whoever has washed a corpse must perform ghusl, and whoever carried him must perform ablution." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah and others.) According to the scholars, it is also preferable for one who is undertaking the pilgrimage or 'umrah to perform ghusl. Zaid ibn Thabit (ra) related that he saw the Messenger of Allah, when he intended to perform the hajj, perform ghusl. (Related by ad-Daraqutni, al-Baihaqi and at-Tirmizhi)

4, Making Ghusl upon entering Makkah
It is preferable for whoever wants to enter Makkah to perform ghusl. It is reported that Ibn 'Umar (ra), when going to Makkah, would spend the night in Tawa, and would enter Makkah during the day. He mentioned that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, also used to do this. (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) Ibn al-Munzhir said, "All of the scholars say it is preferred to perform ghusl upon entering Makkah, but if one does not do so, there is no expiation for him to make. Most of them say that the regular ablution is sufficient.

5, Making Ghusl at Mount 'Arafah
Such an act is preferred while one stops there during the hajj. Malik ibn Nafa' reported that Ibn 'Umar used to do so before embarking upon the hajj, upon entering Makkah, and while stopping at 'Arafah.

Actions requiring Ghusl
The actions that require Ghusl are:

1, Discharge of al-Mani owing to stimulation while asleep or awake
The opinion of the jurists in general is that ghusl is a must should one have a discharge of al-mani (sperm) owing to stimulation while asleep or awake. Abu Sa'eed (ra - may Allah be pleased with him) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, say, "Water (washing) is (needed) after (ejaculation of) sperm." (Related by Muslim.)

Umm Salamah (ra - may Allah be pleased with her) reported that Umm Sulaim said, "O Messenger of Allah (saw), Allah is not ashamed of the truth. Does a woman have to perform ghusl if she has a wet dream?" He said, "Yes, if she sees the liquid." (Related by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.)


2, If one has a wet dream but does not find any traces of ejaculation
There is no need for ghusl in this instance either. Ibn al-Munzhir said, "All of the knowledgeable people known to me agree on this point." The hadith of Umm Salamah mentioned earlier supports this proposition.

3, If one wakes from sleep and finds some moistness, but does not recall any wet dream, though he is sure it is sperm, what should he do?

To be safe, he should perform ghusl. Said Mujahid and Qatadah, "There is no need for ghusl until he is sure that it is sperm, for his prior condition of purity is not ended by an uncertainty .

4, Touching the two circumcised parts

This refers to the penis and the vagina. If one's penis has entered his wife's vagina, ghusl is obligatory even if there was no ejaculation. Says Allah, "If you are sexually impure, purify yourselves." Commenting on the subject, ash-Shaifi says, "In the Arabic language, sexual impurity refers to any type of sexual intercourse, regardless of whether sperm was ejaculated or not. If someone says, 'So and so is sexually impure due to so and so,' it refers to any type of sexual intercourse between them, even if there was no ejaculation. No one disagrees that the fornication which requires the prescribed punishment is sexual intercourse, even if there is no ejaculation."

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, "When anyone sits between the four parts of her body and exerts himself (has intercourse), bathing becomes obligatory (for both)." (Related by Ahmad and Muslim.)

Sa'eed ibn al-Musayyab reported that Abu Musa al-Ash'ari said to 'Aishah, "I would like to ask you something, but I am embarrassed." She said, "Ask and don't be shy, for I am your mother." He asked about a man who had intercourse but did not ejaculate. She said, on the authority of the Prophet, "If the two circumcised parts encountered each other, ghusl is obligatory." This hadith is related by Ahmad and Malik with different wordings. There is no doubt that there must be insertion; if there is only touching, ghusl is not obligatory for either. All scholars agree on this point.

5, Women and their period
Concerning menstruation and childbirth bleeding, Allah says in the Qur'an, "Do not approach them until they become pure. When they are pure, go to them in the manner that Allah has prescribed for you." The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said to Fatimah bint Abu Habish, "Do not pray during your period. After it has ended, perform ghusl and pray." (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)


6, Death
When a Muslim dies, it is obligatory to wash his or her body, according to the consensus of the Muslims. This will be discussed in more detail later on.

7, A non-Muslim upon embracing Islam
New reverts to Islam must perform ghusl. Abu Hurairah reported that Thumamah al-Hanafi, one time when the Prophet passed by him, he finally embraced Islam. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, told him to go to the garden of Abu Talhah and perform ghusl. He performed ghusl and prayed two rak'ah. The Prophet said, "Indeed, your brother became a fine Muslim." This hadith is related by Ahmad. There is also a source for the story in reports by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

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