Ghusl and Janaabah

waterThe things that make ghusl (the ritual bath) obligatory are six things. If one of them happens then the Muslim has to do ghusl.

1 – Emission of maniy (semen) from its exit in the male or female, which happens either when one is awake or when one is asleep. If it is emitted when one is awake, there is the condition that one feels pleasure when it is emitted. If it is emitted without pleasure, then ghusl is not required, such as if it is emitted as the result of sickness. If it is emitted when one is asleep, this is what is called ihtilaam (erotic dream) and ghusl is required in all cases because he was not aware (of whether there were feelings of pleasure or not) and he may not experience feelings of pleasure. If a sleeper wakes up and finds traces of maniy, then he must do ghusl. If he has an erotic dream but no maniy comes out of him, and he does not find any trace of it, then he does not have to do ghusl.

2 – Penetration of the penis into the vagina, even if no ejaculation takes place, because of the hadeeth narrated by Muslim and others from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “When a man sits between the four parts (arms and legs of his wife) and has intercourse with her, then ghusl is obligatory.” So ghusl is required of both parties involved by mere virtue of penetration having taken place, even if no ejaculation takes place, because of this hadeeth and because there is scholarly consensus on this point.

3 – According to some scholars, ghusl is required when a disbeliever becomes Muslim, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told some of those who became Muslim to do ghusl. Many scholars think that it is mustahabb, not obligatory, for a kaafir who becomes Muslim to do ghusl because it is not narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told everyone who became Muslim to do that. So it may be understood that it is mustahabb, so as to reconcile the evidence.

4 – Death – the deceased person must be washed, except for the shaheed (martyr) who falls in battle, who is not to be washed.

5 + 6 – Menses and nifaas (post partum bleeding), because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When your menses ends, then do ghusl and pray.” And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And when they have purified themselves” [al-Baqarah 2:222], referring to menses – they should purify themselves by doing ghusl after their menses ends.

And Allaah knows best.

The proper method of ghusl (ritual bath) involves the following steps:

1. Make the niyyah (intention) to perform ghusl for purification, and say In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful in your heart.

2. Wash your private parts thoroughly with water.

3. Perform wudhu’ (ablution) except for washing of your feet, which you can do later while bathing the body. See image below.


4. Wash the entire body, starting with your head and the right side, followed by the left.

5. It is preferred that the whole body be washed three times. The minimum is once.

PerfumeImaam, Aboo Daawood (d.275) collected in his Sunan (#4174) that Aboo Hurayrah encountered a woman who was wearing perfume, and the tail of her garment was dusty. He said,

“O servant of al-Jabbaar! Have you come from the Masjid?”

She said, “Yes.” He said,

“And you have perfumed yourself for that purpose (i.e. praying in the masjid)?”

She said, “Yes.” He then said,

“I heard my beloved Abul-Qaasim (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) saying:

“The prayer of a woman who wears perfume to go to the masjid is not accepted until she returns and takes a bath, like the bath of janaabah (after sexual intercourse, i.e. a full bath).”

Understanding the Hadeeth:

[1] The hadeeth was also collected by Ahmad, Ibn Maajah and others, with a weak chain because of ‘Aasim ibn ‘Ubaydillaah. However, it is strengthened by another chain found in Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah (1682). The latter chain is also weak, however they strengthen each other and thus the hadeeth is considered authentic, classified as: hasan lighayrihi. Ibn Khuzaymah considered the hadeeth to be authentic. Al-Albaanee authenticated it in as-Saheehah (1031).

[2] The statement, “like the bath of janaabah” specifies that the intention is not to just remove the perfume from the place it was applied, but rather a full bath must be taken.

[3] Some people may misunderstand the hadeeth to be specific to women who go the masjid for prayer, however this is clearly not the case. The mention of the Masjid is not restrictive in this hadeeth, and the ruling applies to women going out anywhere. Since the Masjid is a place where the men have been encouraged to dress well for and wear perfume, then it is not disliked for the smell of the perfume to be in the masjid. So the problem with women wearing perfume to the masjid is the distraction they would create and the potential fitnah that would ensue. This is the ‘illah (reason) for the prohibition. Thus, if this is the ruling for being around the best people, the people who pray in the Masjids, the people whom Allaah has praised in His Book as being those who truly believe in Him and that they are men who are not distracted by trade, then how much more does the prohibition apply to the most evil places, the gathering sites of the wicked (fujjaar), the most despised places on earth to Allaah…!! So it is as if he was using the Masjid as an example of the best case scenario, where one would never imagine someone acting upon his desires and chasing after a woman… so then if it is not allowed to wear perfume in such a place, then what about the places where illicit behavior is very common!

This general application of the hadeeth seems to be what Aboo Daawood understood when he gathered the hadeeth in his Sunan and entitled the chapter: “The Chapter of What has Been Reported About Women Wearing Perfume Outside”

[4] A similar hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim (#444) forbids women from attending ‘Eshaa’ Prayer in the masjid if they have been affected by bakhoor (burned fragrances, like incense). It is also to be understood in light of point #3.

[5] The hadeeth shows that the Companions used to enjoin the good and forbid the evil with women who were not in their family.

[6] The hadeeth also shows the practical implementation of tathab-but (being certain before acting), since Aboo Hurayrah asked the woman, “And you have perfumed yourself…?” Notice that he did not assume that the scent was hers without asking.

And Allaah knows best.