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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

Ghusl: The Ritual and Spiritual Purity

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What is Ghusal

Ghusl is an Arabic term that refers to the act of washing or cleansing. It is a type of ritual purification that involves washing the entire body with water. Ghusl is also known as “Major Ablution,” compared to wudu, which is “Minor Ablution.” Ghusl is essential after specific impure states, such as sexual intercourse, wet dreams, menstruation, childbirth, and death, before performing certain acts of worship, such as prayer, fasting, Friday prayer, Eid prayer, pilgrimage, and reading the Quran.


For more information about the Wudu, read our blog, How To Perform Wudu/wazoo According To Sunnah.


The purpose of ghusl is to attain both physical and spiritual cleanliness. According to Islamic teachings, ghusl removes the state of major impurity (Janabah) that prevents a person from performing certain acts of worship or touching the Quran. Ghusal also helps us renew our intention and focus on Allah Almighty, the Most Merciful.


Taharah or Ritual Purification

Ghusal, also known as “Taharah” or “Ritual Purification,” is significant in Islamic tradition. We perform a cleansing ritual to purify ourselves spiritually and physically. Ghusl plays a crucial role in helping us to maintain ritual purity. It also enables us to fulfill our religious responsibility with cleanliness and devotion.

Surah Al-Maidah Ayat no 6 in which Allah Almighty talk about the Ghusal
O believers! When you rise up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, wipe your heads, and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of full impurity, then take a full bath. But if you are ill, on a journey, or have relieved yourselves, or have been intimate with your wives and cannot find water, then purify yourselves with clean earth by wiping your faces and hands. It is not Allah’s Will to burden you but to purify and complete His favor upon you, so perhaps you will be grateful. [Surah Al-Maidah Ayat 6]
Surah Sad Ayat no 42
We responded, “Stomp your foot: now here is a cool and refreshing spring for washing and drinking.” (Surah Sad Ayat 42)
Surah An-Nisa Ayat no 43
O believers! Do not approach prayer while intoxicated until you are aware of what you say, nor in a state of full impurity—unless you merely pass through the mosque—until you have bathed. But if you are ill, on a journey, or have relieved yourselves, or been intimate with your wives and cannot find water, then purify yourselves with clean earth, wiping your faces and hands. And Allah is Ever-Pardoning, All-Forgiving. (Surah An-Nisa Ayat 43)

Types of Ghusl

There are six types of obligatory ghusal that one must perform, and they are listed below:


Ghusl Janabat

Ghusal Janabat is a type of ritual purification that is required for Muslims who have had sexual intercourse or any other act that causes significant ritual impurity. It is a way of cleansing yourself from such acts’ physical and spiritual effects and preparing yourself for worship and daily life.

Narrated by Hazrat Aisha (RA):

Whenever the Prophet (SAW) took a bath after Janaba, he started by washing his hands and then performed ablution like that for the prayer. After that, he would put his fingers in water and move the roots of his hair with them, then pour three handfuls of water over his head and all over his body.

(Sahih al-Bukhari 248)

Ghusl Hayd

In Islam, menstruation is regarded as a state of ritual impurity, and Muslim women are required to perform a specific type of purification ritual known as “Ghusl Hayd” or “Ghusl for Menstruation.” This ritual is performed after the menstrual period has ended to help women regain their ritual purity and resume their acts of worship and other religious activities. It plays a significant role in maintaining Muslim women’s spiritual cleanliness and ensuring the sanctity of their religious practices.


Ghusl Nifas

Ghusal Nifas is the ritual washing of the whole body that a Muslim woman must perform after giving birth. When a woman is bleeding following childbirth, she should not pray or fast. Her husband should also refrain from connecting with her until she becomes pure from her nifas, which typically lasts forty days. Doing ghusl nifas when the bleeding stops after delivery, whichever comes first, is obligatory. The ghusal nifas is similar to the ghusl of janabat, except that washing the mouth and nose is unnecessary. The ghusl nifas purifies the woman from the state of impurity (Najasat) caused by the post-natal bleeding (Nifas) and allows her to resume her prayers, fasting, and other acts of worship.


Ghusl Mayyit

Ghusl Mayyit is the ritual washing of a dead Muslim in Islam. It is an obligatory act for us who touch a cold dead body that has not been given a ghusl. It is also a recommended act for those who participate in the funeral prayer or burial of the deceased. The purpose of ghusal mayyit is to purify the body from any impurities and honor the deceased’s dignity. Typically, family members who are of the same sex as the dead person carry out this ritual. It involves washing all body parts with soap and water in a specific way while maintaining privacy and dignity.


Ghusl Istihada

Ghusal Istihada is a type of ritual purification that is performed by a woman who experiences abnormal bleeding outside her menstrual period. A woman experiencing istihadah must not perform ghusal for every prayer but make wazoo for every prayer. She may also pray, fast, recite the Quran, touch a copy of the Quran, and have intercourse with her husband.


Ghusl Mas-hil Mayyit

Ghusal Mas-hil Mayyit is a ritual bathing that is obligatory for a person who touches a cold dead body that has not been given the ghusal of the dead. It is performed like the ghusal of janabah and suffices in place of wazoo for prayer. If a person touches more than one dead body or touches the same dead body more than once, only one ghusl Mas-hil Mayyit is required.


When Do We Perform Ghusl?

Ghusal can be done at any time, but it is required before certain acts of worship, such as the Friday prayer, the Eid prayer, or touching the Quran. Four situations make ghusl obligatory: after ejaculation, intercourse, menstruation, and post-natal bleeding. In addition, there are some situations where ghusl is sunnah and recommended in Islam, such as:

  1. Before going to Jummah Congregational (Friday Prayer).
  2. Before going to Eid Prayers (Muslim annual feast prayers).
  3. Before the agreement, Umrah or Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah).
  4. When a disbeliever reverts to Islam.

For more information on the Conversion to Islam – The Personal Journey.


Parts of Ghusl

Ghusl, an Islamic ritual of purification, encompasses specific mandatory acts known as Fard, without which the Ghusl is incomplete, and recommended acts known as Sunnah, which are practices performed by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).


Fard of Ghusl

Ghusl has three obligatory parts that must be done in order. If any parts are skipped or not done properly, the ghusl is invalid and must be repeated.

  1. Rinsing the inner mouth.
  2. Sniffing water and blowout.
  3. Washing the entire body.

Sunnah of Ghusl

  1. Wash both hands up to the wrists.
  2. Wash the private parts and remove dirt from the body (using your left hand).
  3. Perform wudu (ablution).
  4. Pour water over the head three times, and rub the hair so that the water reaches the roots of the hair.
  5. Then, wash the body, ensuring the water reaches all parts, starting with the right side and then the left. Rub the body with your hands so the water reaches the entire body.

How to Perform Ghusl: A Step-by-Step Guide

The method of performing ghusl varies according to the different schools of Islamic jurisprudence (madhhab), but all agree upon some common steps. The procedure for performing ghusl in Islam includes the following steps:


  1. Make the intention (Niyyah) to perform Ghusl and say Bismillah (In Allah’s name).
  2. Wash both hands three times, starting with the right hand.
  3. Perform Wazoo(ablution) as usual.
  4. Perform a complete Rinsing of the inner mouth, swishing water around your mouth three times.
  5. Sniff water and blowout: Blow it out three times to cleanse your nose.
  6. Pour water over the head three times, ensuring it reaches the hair’s roots.
  7. Wash the entire body, starting with the right side, mouth, nose, and ears.
  8. Repeat the process, washing the left side of the body.
  9. After from top to bottom washing the body, recite the Dua, which is:
“O Allah, make me among those who repent and make me among those who purify themselves.”

Finally, pour water over the body again, starting with the head.

Dua for Ghusl

ghusl ki dua
“O Allah, cleanse me of my sins and purify me from my wrongdoing, as a white garment is clean from dirt. O Allah, make me among those who constantly repent and purify themselves.”

Tayammum

Tayammum is a purification ritual prescribed for us in situations where clean water is unavailable or using it may cause harm. This is especially relevant in arid regions where water is scarce or during travel when access to clean water may be limited. The process involves striking the palms of the hands onto clean soil, sand, stone, or dust and then wiping the face and hands with them. This act of purification is a mercy from Allah Almighty, making it easy for us to maintain our purity and perform our Five daily prayers wherever we may be. Tayammum is a simple yet effective solution that demonstrates the wisdom and practicality of Islam in all aspects of life.


Discover the full Tayammum procedure in our insightful blog. To learn more, click the link: Tayammum: Step-by-Step Guide.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the conditions for ghusl in Islam?

The ghusl, accompanied by a statement of intent, must be performed whenever a state of major ritual impurity has been incurred: following sexual intercourse, seminal emission, menstruation, or childbirth.

What is the purpose and types of ghusl?

Ghusl is a form of ablution, or bath, which involves cleansing a body of impurities. There are different types of Ghusl, As Mention Above

What are the steps for ghusl?

It is recommended to make Ghusl in the following order: Ghusl Steps are Mention Above

What is the alternative to ghusl?

Tayammum is the Islamic act of dry ritual purification using purified (clean) sand or stone or mud, which may be performed in place of ritual washing (wudu or ghusl) if no clean water is readily available.

Can I pray after wet dreams?

If a person is not clean because of sex or a wet dream, or a woman is menstruating, and they pray after performing tayammum, they need not repeat their prayer after finding water, but they must perform ghusl with water when they can.


Conclusion

Ghusl is a vital ritual in Islam that involves purifying ourselves by washing the entire body. This cleansing is believed to eliminate impurities and sins from the body and soul. By performing ghusl, We can attain a higher level of spiritual purity and feel closer to Allah Almighty. Ghusal facilitates a more profound sense of focus during prayer, allowing us to connect more profoundly with the creator. Moreover, it is a constant reminder of the importance of maintaining purity, seeking forgiveness, and striving to be a better Muslim. In essence, ghusl is a fundamental aspect of Islamic practice that enables believers to feel a sense of inner peace and spiritual fulfillment.

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