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How do I perform ghusl? When is it obligatory?

Question: How do I perform ghusl? When is it obligatory?


Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahim

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuhu

The ghusl is a purificatory shower that can be obligatory (fard) or sunna to perform.

Taking a ghusl is obligatory in order to exit a state of major ritual impurity.

Thus, the situations that necessitate taking the ghusl are:

  • after engaging in marital relations, even if ejaculation did not occur
  • after ejaculating or climaxing through foreplay, wet dreams, or the like
  • after menstruation (hayd) ends or the menstrual maximum of 240 hours is reached
  • after lochia (nifas) ends or the lochial maximum of 960 hours is reached

The Obligatory Actions Of Ghusl

The obligatory actions of the ghusl must be performed in order for the ghusl to be ruled as valid.

Simply put, the obligatory actions are to rinse the nose, mouth, and entire body with water at least once. Water must reach every part of the outer body that is possible to rinse without undue hardship.

Thus, during the ghusl a woman must:

  • rinse the nose, mouth, and entire body with water at least once;
  • ensure that water reaches underneath the skin of the clitoral hood, the external orifice of genitals, and the skin underneath the eyebrows;
  • and thoroughly wet the inside of the bellybutton and the inside of any hole that is not sealed, like earring holes.

The ghusl is achieved with the use of water. There is no requirement to use soap, shampoo, or conditioner.

In the Hanafi madhhab, making the intention to perform the ghusl is not obligatory, but rather, it is a sunna action.

The Complete Ghusl With Sunna Actions

The wives of the Prophet ﷺ explained how the Prophet ﷺ performed the ghusl.

The following is the step-by-step process:

  1. Make an intention in the heart to perform the ghusl for the sake of Allah Most High, while saying ‘bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahim‘ with the tongue before revealing one’s nakedness (`awra). This should be done while also washing the hands up to the wrists.
  2. Wash away any filth (najasa) that may be on any part of the body.
  3. Wash both private parts, even if they are free of filth.
  4. Perform a complete ablution (wudu) with the sunna actions like for the prayer.
  5. Pour water over the body three times, making sure that the entire body is rinsed each time. This is easily achieved under a shower head. It is related that one begin with the head, then the right shoulder, then the left shoulder, and then rinse the remainder of the body.
  6. It is sunna to use the hand to help the water flow along the limbs (dalk) during the first washing, and thereafter it is recommended. The body parts should be washed successively.

Its proper manners (adab) are the same proper manners as in ablution (wudu) except that one does not face the qibla or talk/say the dhikr aloud while naked.

The actions disliked in the ablution are disliked in the purificatory bath.

Check out our courses for more details about the general rulings of worship.

Jazak Allah khayran

Naielah Ackbarali


  • Imam Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah
  • Imam Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi
  • Imam Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya

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Naielah Ackbarali

Ustadha Naielah Ackbarali is the founder and CEO of Muslima Coaching. She is passionate about inspiring Muslim women by way of spreading the beauty of living an Islamic life. Ustadha Naielah is a trained strategic relationship coach, certified life coach, and a certified NLP Master Practitioner. Combined with her knowledge of the shariah sciences, coaching experience, and personal marriage of 15 years, she also offers faith-based marriage coaching and relationship advice.