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Seven Wajib Ghusl

By: Allamah Sayyid Sa'eed Akhtar Rizvi

1. Seven kinds of ghusl are wajib
(1) Janabat, (2) Haiz, (3) Nifas. (4) Istihaza (5) Mayyit, (6) Mass al-Maiyit. and (7) The ghusl of nadhar, qasam or ‘ahd

2. How to do ghusl
There are two ways of doing ghusl: (1) Tartibi and (2) Irtimasi.

Ghusl tartibi
In this way of ghusl, the body is washed in three stages. First, the head down to the chamber-bone is washed including the face and neck; second, the right side of the body is washed from the shoulders down to the feet; third the left side of the body is washed likewise. This ghusl is preferable, even if you are bathing in a pool or river or sea. In a bath-room no method can be used other than the tartibi ghusl.

Ghusl Irtimasi
It can be done in pools or rivers only. In it the whole body is immersed in the water at once after the niyyah, not gradually.

3. Conditions of ghusl:
All the conditions of wudhu (mentioned in lesson No. 20) apply to the ghusl also, except conditions No: 5, 7, 8. 12 and 13.
The difference in these conditions are as follows:

5. The whole body must be tahir (clean);
7. Tartib is necessary in ghusl tartibi only. In ghusl irtimasi there is no tartib.
8. There is no muwalat in ghusl tartibi. It means that if you wash your head then you go out and come again after some time and wash your right side and then left side, your ghusl is correct.
12. There is no fixed law as how should you wash the body. If you maintain the tartib, i.e. if you wash your head first, then the right side, then the left side, It is enough. There is no rule that you should begin the washing of head, for example, from the upper side and then come down; or wash the right side, for example, from shoulder and then come down to the foot. You may begin from the foot and go above up to the shoulder.
13. There is no masah (wiping) in ghusl.

Ghusl of Janabat

1. When is it required?
There are two things which cause "janabat" and it is wajib to do ghusl of janabat after them:-
(a) Discharge of semen in sleep or while awake;
(b) Sexual intercourse. (both parties become junub).

2. For which Purpose?
Ghusl is wajib for all the things for which wudhu is required. Also, it is wajib to validate a sawm (fast), as will be explained later.

3. Things which are forbidden before performing Ghusl janabat:
The following things are haraam if a person has to do GhusI janabat: (a) Reciting even a single verse from those Surahs in which sajdah is wajib; Touching the writing of the Qur’an or the names of Allah, the Prophets, or the Imams (in any script}: (c) Entering any mosque. (If necessary, he/she may pass through the mosque without stopping for a single second). But so far as the Mosque of the Prophet, at Medina and Masjid al-Haram, at Mecca, are concerned, even passing through them is not allowed. (d) Putting anything into a mosque even from outside; and entering into a mosque to take out anything.
Note 1. The shrines of Imams are like the mosques in every detail.

4. Things which are makruh in the janabat:
For a person who has to do ghusl janabat, it is makruh to (1) read Quran more than seven ayats. (This applies to the Surahs in which no sajdah is wajib); (2) touch the Quran (not the writing, which will be haram); (3) take a Quran or carry it from one place to other, even without touching it.

Ghusl of haidh and nifas

(1) Haidh
"Haidh" means "menstruation" generally known as monthly course' or 'period'. Every adult and healthy woman has her periods regularly. Shari’ah has laid down some rules for this period, a summary of which is given here:
1. Any blood seen before completion of 9 years or after 50 years of age is not "haidh", It is called 'istihadha', rules of which will be explained later on.
2. Duration of "haidh" is not less than 3 and not more than 10 days. Blood which comes for less than 3 days, or which comes after 10 days, is called 'istihadha'.
3. There are detailed rules concerning woman which are based on whether in condition of haidh she has regular date and/or number of days or not; and whether she is having her period for the first time, or whether she has forgotten her date and number of days.
But it is not possible to give all the details in this small booklet.

(2) Nifas
The bleeding after child birth is called nifas. If blood appears before the delivery is not nifas; it is istihadha.
The bleeding after 10 days from delivery is not nifas; it is istihadha. But there is no minimum time for nifas. Even if it stops 5 minutes or less after delivery, it is nifas.

(3) Things which are haram in haidh and nifas
1. All the things which are haram in the condition of janabat, are haram in the condition of haidh and nifas, before doing the ghusl. Likewise, all the things which are makruh in janabat are makruh in haidh and nifas also.
2. In addition, it is haraam to give divorce to a woman in the period of haidh or nifas. Some other things are also haraam in these periods, but it is not the place to go into details.
4. The woman during haidh or nifas is exempted from prayers, and every such 'ibadat' which requires ghusl, wudhu or tayammum. But she may recite du’a etc, (without touching the writings of the Qur’an or the names of Allah, the Prophets or the Imams, which is haram for her as mentioned earlier). She is not required to pray qadha of the prayers left during the period of haidh and nifas.
5. A woman in haidh or nifas cannot fast; but she must fast its qadha after that period.

The blood which is not haidh or nifas is called istihadha. lstihadha has been divided into 3 categories:

1. Istihadha qalila
If the blood does not penetrate the cotton-pad used for protection, it is called "istihadha qalila" (minor istihadha).
There is no ghusl for this category of istihadha; but she must do wudhu for every prayer. She is not allowed to pray two prayers with one wudhu.

2. Istihadha mutawassita
If the blood penetrates the cotton-pad but does not exceed it, it is called "istihadha mutawassita" (medium istihadha).
She should do one wudhu for every prayer and one ghusl daily. For example, if she had seen this istihadha before Zuhr, she should do ghusl before Zuhr and should pray Zuhr with that ghusl and one wudhu as mentioned earlier. The 4 later prayers (up till the morning prayer of the next day) should be prayed with one wudhu each.

3. Istihadha kathira
If the blood exceeds the cotton-pad after soaking it, it is called istihadha kathira (major istihadha). She should do separate wudhu for each prayer, as mentioned earlier, and should do 3 ghusls daily: One for morning prayer, one for Zuhr and Asr and one for Maghrib and Isha. She should pray Zuhr and Asr together and Maghrib and Isha together.
Note: In all cases it is emphasized that she should change the cotton-pad before every wudhu.
2. If she is unable for any reason (described in lesson 48) to do ghusl or wudhu, she should do tayammum in place of that ghusl or wudhu.
3. If a woman observes the rules mentioned above, she should not think herself as najis; she will be clean.


1. When to do tayammum
1. When there is no possibility of finding water sufficient for ghusl or wudhu;
2. When owing to old-age or the danger of thieves or beasts or unavailability of any means to get water from its place it is difficult to do ghusl or wudhu;
3. When there is any danger to life or health from the use of water;
(Note: If by using hot water, that danger can be averted then it is necessary to use hot water; tayammum is not allowed)
4. When there is water, but one is afraid that by using that water he will put himself, his companions or valuable animals in the danger of remaining thirsty or becoming ill;
5. When there is water but the body or the clothes of the person concerned is najis, and he finds that if he uses the water in wudhu or ghusl, his body or the clothes will remain najis. In this case he will cleanse his body or the clothes by water and then will do tayammum;
6. When there is no water except ghasbi or mudhaf; or there is no pot of water except a pot which is made of silver or gold or which is ghasbi;
7. When the time of prayer is so short that if he starts wudhu or ghusl his prayer will be qadha and he expects that by doing tayammum the prayer will be finished in time.
In these seven conditions a person should do tayammum; not wudhu or ghusl.

2. Things upon which Tayammum is permissible
Tayammum should be done (in order of preference) on: (a) Earth; (b) Sand; (c) Chunks of sand or earth -- other than baked in fire; (d) Stones - other than minerals; (e) If the first mentioned four things are not available then, and only then, it is permissible to do tayammum on the dust which gathers upon the mats, floors, desks etc.; (f) If the dust, also, cannot be found, then it is allowed to do tayammum on mud.
Note: Some people keep earth in a small bag and do tayammum upon its dust which gathers on the outside. It is not correct. They have earth with them, therefore, they are not allowed to do tayammum on dust, which has been allowed just as an emergency measure. They should open the bag and do tayammum on earth.

3. The conditions about the above-mentioned things:
(a) All the above-mentioned led things must be dry as far as possible. Even the mud should be
dried, if possible, to convert it into the chunk of earth;
(b) They must be tahir;
(c) And mubah - not ghasbi;
(d) The place where these things are kept, must be mubah;
(e) The place where you are standing while doing tayammum, must be mubah.

4. How to do tayammum
1. Niyyah: I am doing tayammum in place of wudhu or ghusl (as the case may be), so that my prayer or fast (as the case may be) may be correct, wajib or sunnat (as the case may be) qurbatan ilal-Laah.
2. Strike palms of both hands together upon the thing on which tayammum is correct e.g. earth or sand etc. Remember that just putting the hand upon earth etc. is not sufficient. You must hit or strike it by your palms.
3. Pull both palms together from the beginning of the forehead down to the point of the nose. Both sides of the forehead joining the ears should be included in it. Eyes and cheeks are not to be included.
4. Then pull the left palm upon the back of the right hand from the projecting small bone on the wrist up to the fingertips;
5. Then pull the right palm on the back of the left palm likewise:
6. Strike the palms together upon earth etc. second time;
7. Pull the left palm on the back of right hand, as explained above.
8. Pull the right palm on the back of the left hand, as explained above.
If a person has to do ghusl and wudhu both, and he has got water sufficient for only one of them, he will do tayammum in place of other taharat, after using the water in the taharat for which it was sufficient.
The hands and forehead must be tahir before tayammum; there should not be anything like ring or nail-polish etc. which may be a cover against the earth etc.

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