How To Perform Ghusl (Ritual Bath)
The causes that make ghusl obligatory are:
1. The emission of semen
2. Contact between the genitals
3. Menstruation and nifaas (post-natal bleeding)
1. The emission of semen, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“What requires water (ghusl) is if you see water (i.e., semen) coming out of you.”
[Reported by Muslim, no. 1/269]
2. Contact between the genitals, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“If one part enters the other part (in another report: if one part touches the other part), then ghusl becomes obligatory.”
[Reported by Ahmad and Muslim, no. 526]
This ghusl is obligatory whether or not fluid (semen) is released. “touching” here refers to the entry of the tip of the penis into the vagina, not mere touching.
3. Menstruation and nifaas (post-natal bleeding), because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“… And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allaah has ordained for you…”
[al- Baqarah :222];
and because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Faatimah bint Hubaysh, may Allaah be pleased with her:
“When your period starts, stop praying, and when your period ends, perform ghusl then start praying again.”
[Reported by al- Bukhari, Fath, 309]
4. Death: the dead – apart from a martyr slain in battle – must be washed (ghusl), because when his daughter Zaynab died, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Wash her with water three or five times, or as many times as you see fit”
[Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 1175];
and when a man who was in a state of ihraam was killed by his riding-beast, he said:
“Wash him with water and lotus leaves and wrap him in his two garments, but do not embalm him or cover his head, for he will be raised on the Day of Resurrection pronouncing the Talbiyah.”
[Reported by al- Bukhaari, Fath, 1186]
There are other types of ghusl about which the scholars differed as to whether they are obligatory, such as performing ghusl on Fridays, or whether a person who becomes Muslim needs to perform ghusl upon entering the Faith.
There are types of ghusl which are encouraged, such as: ghusl on the two Eids; ghusl after washing a dead body; ghusl before entering the state of ihraam or entering Makkah; ghusl for a woman who is suffering from istihaadah (abnormal non-menstrual bleeding) before every prayer; ghusl after being unconscious; and ghusl after burying a mushrik.
[Tamaam al-Minnah by al-Albaani, p. 120].
In all cases mentioned above the Ghusl is the same method
HOW TO PERFORM THE BATHING
Complete ghusl means doing what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did it, with all the sunnahs of ghusl.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked about how ghusl is done. He replied:
Ghusl may be done in two ways:
1 – By doing the obligatory parts of ghusl only, which is making water reach all parts of the body, and includes rinsing the mouth and nose. If a person makes the water reach all parts of his body, by whatever means, then he has removed the major impurity and purified himself properly, because Allaah says [interpretation of the meaning]:
“If you are in a state of Janaaba (i.e. after a sexual discharge), purify yourselves (bathe your whole body)”
2 – The complete way, which is doing ghusl as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did it. When he wanted to do ghusl in the case of janaabah, he would wash his hands, then wash his private part and anywhere else that the impurity had reached, then he would do complete wudoo’ (ablution), then he would wash his head three times with water, then he would wash the rest of his body. This is how complete ghusl is done.
End quote from Fataawa Arkaan al-Islam, p. 248.
Secondly: There is no difference between ghusl in the case of janaabah and ghusl following menses except that it is more mustahabb (acceptable) to rub the hair in the case of ghusl following menses than in the case of ghusl following janaabah. It is also mustahabb for the woman to apply perfume to the site of bleeding, to remove any unpleasant smell.
Muslim (332) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that Asma’ asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about ghusl following menses. He said: “Let one of you take her water and lotus leaves and clean herself well, then let her pour water over her head and rub it vigorously so that it will reach the roots of her hair. Then let her pour the water over herself, then take a piece of cloth scented with musk and purify herself.” Asma’ said: How should she purify herself? He said: “Subhaan-Allaah! Purify yourself with it.” ‘Aa’ishah said – as if she whispered it to her – Follow the traces of blood. And she asked him about ghusl in the case of janaabah. He said: “Let her take water and clean herself well – or clean herself thoroughly – then let her pour water over her head and rub it so that it reaches the roots of the hair, then let her pour water over herself.” ‘Aa’ishah said: How good the woman of the Ansaar were! They did not let shyness prevent them from understanding their religion properly. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) differentiated between ghusl following menses and ghusl following janaabah, with regard to rubbing the hair and applying perfume.
Thirdly: Saying Bismillah when doing ghusl and wudoo’ is mustahabb according to the majority of fuqaha’, and the Hanbalis said that it is obligatory. Shaykh ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Saying Bismillaah is obligatory according to our madhhab, as in the case of wudoo’. There is no text concerning that but they said: It is obligatory in the case of wudoo’ so it is more so in the case of ghusl, because that is a greater purification. But the correct view is that it is not obligatory in the case of either wudoo’ or ghusl.
End quote from Sharh al-Mumti’.
Fourthly: Rinsing the mouth and nose is essential in ghusl, as is the view of the Hanafis and Hanbalis. Al-Nawawi said, discussing the difference of opinion on this point: the views of the scholars on rinsing the mouth and nose are four:
1- That these actions are two of the sunnahs of wudoo’ and ghusl. This is our view (Shaafa’i) .
2- That they are obligatory in both wudoo’ and ghusl and are conditions of them being valid. This is the well known view of Ahmad.
3- That they are obligatory in ghusl but not in wudoo’. This is the view of Abu Haneefah and his companions.
4- That rinsing the nose, but not the mouth, is obligatory in wudoo’ and ghusl. This was narrated from Ahmad, and Ibn al-Mundhir said: This is my view. End quote from al- Majmoo’ (1/400).
The correct view is the second one, which is that rinsing the mouth and nose is obligatory in ghusl, and that is a condition of it being valid. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Among the scholars are some who say that ghusl is not valid without them (i.e., rinsing the mouth and nose), as is the case with wudoo’. And it was said that it is valid without them. The correct view is the former, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “purify yourselves (bathe your whole body)” [al-Maa’idah 5:6] ,and this includes the entire body. The inside of the nose and mouth are part of the body which must be purified. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined that in wudoo’ because they are included in the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning): “wash your faces”
As they are included in washing the face and are included in that which must be purified in wudoo’, they are also included in ghusl, because purification in that case is even more important.
[End quote from Sharh al-Mumti’].
Fifthly: If in the past you did not rinse your mouth and nose when doing ghusl because you did not know the ruling on that or because you were following the opinion of someone who does not regard that as obligatory, then your ghusl is valid and your prayers offered following that ghusl are also valid, and you do not have to repeat them, because of the strong difference of opinion among the scholars concerning the ruling on rinsing the mouth and nose, as stated above. May Allaah help us all to do that which He loves and which pleases him.
And Allaah knows best