Ghusl, in Islamic law, is the process of washing the body in a specific way in order to purify it from spiritual impurities. Ghusl can be performed in two ways:
Tartibi or Sequential
Irtimasi or by Immersion.
The instant immersion Ghusl is that you make your intention to perform Ghusl for the pleasure of Allah, and then immerse your whole body into a large body of water all at once, like diving into a pool or river in a way that water covers the entire your body. In this simple way, you have performed Ghusl.
Now the Sequential Ghusl. You have to follow these steps:

  • First you make the intention to perform Ghusl for the pleasure of Allah.
  • Next, wash the head, face and neck completely, and be sure to include the ears. It is not necessary to wash the inner parts of the ears.
    To ensure that all parts have been washed completely, it is recommended to wash a little bit extra of the connected part as well.
  • Washing here means to ensure that water reaches the skin. This can be done by standing under the shower, or by using a hosepipe or pouring water over oneself using a bowl.
    Be sure that no dry area is left during the Ghusl and to be assured of this, you can rub water over the parts of the body using your hands.
  • The next step is to wash the right side of the body, Here you have to start a new “wash”. Move your body out of the flew of the water, or close and open the tap before starting this step. Now, wash the right side of your body including the shoulder, arm, chest, stomach, back, genital areas, thigh, calf and the foot. As a precaution, wash some of the others side parts with it.
  • Then wash the left side of your body and the genital areas just as you washed your right side.
    After washing the left side, the Ghusl is completed.

An important note; know that some of our scholars don’t stipulate the right side before the left. And just say after the head and neck, the rest of the body should be washed.

What are the conditions that should be observed while performing Ghusl?

  • The water should be pure or Tahir and not Najis. It shouldn’t be usurped. It should be clean and not mixed with or have something dissolved into it.
  • The water should reach the skin. So any substance that prevents water from reaching your skin has to be removed. It is also not sufficient to only wash the hair without letting water reach your skin.
  • The parts of your body which you wash must be Tahir, and it is sufficient if they become Tahir during the process of Ghusl.
  • The process must be done in sequence. That is to firstly wash the head and the neck, then the rest of the body. According to some of our scholars you have to wash the right side before the left. Check this issue in your Islamic Laws book. Because it may differ from Marjaa to Marjaa.
  • It’s obligatory to wash your body by yourself if it’s possible.
  • If you can’t do Ghusl for a justified reason such as not having water or the water being harmful to you, then you have to do Tayammum in place of Ghusl.
  • There are a few points that make the performance of Ghusl easier:
  • Firstly, it is not required to wash the parts of the body from top to bottom, but rather just be ensured that water touches the skin.
  • Secondly, it is NOT necessary to perform the actions immediately one after the other. So, it is permissible to wash the head and neck, and then after some time to wash the rest of the body, even if the head and neck have dried.
  • Thirdly, according to some scholars, the obligatory and the recommended Ghusls can be substituted for Wudhu. This means that after performing Ghusl you don’t need to make Wudhu.
  • Fourthly, you can make the intention to perform many Ghusls by only making one Ghusl. For example you make your intention for Ghusl Janabah and Jumuah and just make one Ghusl.

    OK now, When is it Obligatory to perform Ghusl?
    Ghusl becomes obligatory in five instances:
    Two are mutual between men and women and they are:
  • Ghusl of Janabah which will be explained soon and Ghusl for touching a corpse after it has become cold and before it has been washed.
  • And three are exclusive for women:
    The Ghusl of Menstruation (Hayz) or the monthly period
    The Ghusl of Nifas which occurs with the discharge of blood from a pregnant lady during or after giving birth.
    The Ghusl of Istihadha which happens by any discharge of blood which cannot be considered to be Hayz or Nifas.

Apart from the five mentioned obligatory Ghusls, there are many Mustahab or recommended Ghusls. They could be for a specific time, like the Ghusl for Jumuah; or for specific places, like entering the Mecca shrine. For more information regarding these Ghusls, please refer to the recommended Ghusls in the books of Islamic Law.

Now, since Janabah is a common issue, we will mention some of its rules:
The state of Janabah occurs by:

  1. For men by the mere ejaculation of semen with or without orgasm.
  2. For women if liquid discharges only during orgasm.
  3. Sexual intercourse.

A person in the state of Janabah should avoid the following:

  • Touching the script of the Holy Quran, the Word Allah, the names of Allah and His exclusive attributes like the word The Creator.
  • To recite the obligatory prostration verses in Suras: As-Sajda, Fussilat, an-Najm, and al-`Alaq.
  • To stay in a mosque, or to take or drop something from it. The same is for the shrines of the Holy Imams peace be upon them. But crossing the mosque is allowed like entering from one door and exiting from another. However, this is also not permissible for Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabi in Medina.
  • Before performing the Ghusl, men in the state of Janabah should ensure that no semen is left inside the urethra. This can be done by urinating first. Then he can follow the steps of Ghusl mentioned in this video.