Muslim Matrimonials and More's Ask Bilqis


Monday, February 14, 2000


Dear Bilqis,


I love your site for so many reasons. It is full of knowledge and a great help for lots of people, and I love it because of its fast downloading speed.

I have a question for you and I'll be very grateful if you answer me as soon as possible. The question is,

"Is it necessary to wash your hair too,along with the whole body, inorder to get "paak" (taahir or pure) after making love?"

The reason I ask is that I've been married for 2 years and since then I've always just washed my body (not my hair) in order to get paak because my husband told me so. However, a few days ago I read a book on the subject, and what I understood was that the whole body including one's head should be washed. So I started to take a bath like this after making love, but I am still not sure what's the right way. Sometimes I have to wash my hair three or four days in a row now, or sometimes two times a day. It's not that I find it difficult and don't want to do it, but I want to know if I just wash my body and not my hair, will I get pure? Thank you so much for your time. May Allah reward you for the great service you are doing for mankind. Allah-Hafiz.

-Want to be pure



Dear "Want to be pure",

The subject of "Tahaarah" or Purification is certainly a critical subject which every Muslim should know about. I hope the following information will be of help to you regrding the proper way of "Ghusl" or complete body ablution:

In order to purify oneself for prayer, Ghusl is required after coitus (sex), nocturnal emission (a wet dream), menses, or after giving birth. It is also recommended before going to the Friday prayer, on the two Eids, after taking shahaadah and after washing the dead.

The state of being impure is called in Arabic "janaabah." The evidence that one should perform Ghusl for salaah in cases of janaabah is to be found in many places, such as the aayah “O you who believe! Approach not the prayer when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter, nor when you are in a state of janaabah (i.e., in a state of sexual impurity and have not yet taken a bath), except when travelling on the road (without enough water, etc.), till you wash your whole body…” [al-Nisaa’ 4:43] and the hadeeth of ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) in which he said: “I was a man who experienced a lot of urethral discharge (of urine), so I kept washing myself (doing Ghusl) until the skin on my back started to crack. I mentioned that to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), or it was mentioned to him, so he said: “Don’t do that. If you see discharge, wash your private parts and do wudoo’ for prayer as usual. If water (i.e., semen) gushes out, then do Ghusl.” (Reported by Abu Dawood; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani). This indicates that when semen is emitted, Ghusl is a must, but when there is discharge (of urine), it is enough just to wash the private part and do wudoo’.

A brief summary of the requirements for the Ghusl follows:

First, the Muslim should say "Bismillah" and have the intention of purification in his heart, then wash the private parts. Then make wudu like the wudu done for prayer, then pour water on his right side, then the left. Then water should be poured on the head, covering the entire body with water.

It is compulsory to wet all the hair up to the very base. If a single hair is left dry, Ghusl will not be valid. If the hair of a woman is plaited (braided), she is excused from loosening her plaited hair, but it is compulsory for her to wet each and every hair all the way to the base. If one fails to do this then the Ghusl will not be valid. As for men who grow long hair and plait it, they are NOT excused from wetting their hair. If a woman experiences difficulty or is unable to wet the very bottom of her plaited hair, then it is necessary for her to unplait her hair and wash her entire head. It is Mustahab (preferable) to clean the body by rubbing it. All parts of the body should be rubbed with the hand so as to ensure that water has reached all parts of the body, and that no portion is left dry. Rings and earrings, etc. should be moved so as to ensure that no portion covered by them is left dry. Ensure that the navel and the ears are all wetted. If they are not wet Ghusl will be incomplete.

On completion one should confine oneself to a clean place. Dry the body with a clean towel.

If, after Ghusl, one recalls that a certain portion of the body is left dry, it is not necessary to repeat the Ghusl, but merely wash the dry portion. It is not sufficient to pass a wet hand over the dry place. If one has forgotten to rinse the mouth or the nostrils, these too could be rinsed when recalled after Ghusl has been performed. The three Faraa’ids (compulsory acts) of Ghusl are:

  1. To rinse the mouth in such a manner that water reaches the entire mouth.
  2. To rinse the nostrils up to the ending of the fleshy part.
  3. To completely wet the whole body.

When one performs these three Faraa’id the Ghusl will be valid.

It is also reported in the sunnah (the example of the Prophet, saw) that the washing the feet should be delayed until the end of the Ghusl. As is reported on the authority of A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said that the Messenger of Allah (saw) when performing Ghusl from janaba (impurity) used to wash his hands, then wash his private parts with his left hand. After that he performed wudu like for prayer. Next he took some water and ran his fingers in the roots of his hair until he used three handfuls of water on his head. He would then go on pouring water on the rest of his body and wash his legs. (It was reported by Muslim). In the narration of Al-Bukhari it states that he then turned aside and washed his legs.

There are many books on the topic and many Islamic sites on the internet with this kind of basic information. Every Muslim should strive to have these kinds of books in their personal library for easy access to the correct information on your religion. Proper Ghusl is important because without it one has not fulfilled the prerequisites for making Salat.

-Bilqis Muslim Matrimonials