(The Ritual Bath)

There are two types of ghusl, the obligatory (compulsory) ones (farz) and the recommended ones (sunnat). There are seven obligatory ritual baths. The ritual bath should be preceded by Istinjaa and wuzu as described earlier. While doing wuzu you should take the name of the ghusl for which you are purifying yourself. Certain important guidelines are been set by our Imaams for the obligatory ghusl which should be followed strictly.

First the impurity should be removed from the private parts with water and thereafter water should be poured freely over the whole body. The hands should be used to cleanse that part of body, which they can reach. No part of the body should remain dry and being not washed by water and massaged by the hand. Water should reach the skin underneath the hairs. You should turn your bracelet or a ring or any other ornament so that water reaches the skin beneath it. Maulana Ali (AS) said, 'If one has dealt with the whole of the body, rubbed it with the hands, washed away every kind of uncleanness and poured water on the hairs so that it has reached the skin underneath it, and has performed Istinjaa and wuzu prior to ghusl, then, indeed, he has been purified himself.'

The niyyat of obligatory ghusl is given below. One has to insert the name of the particular ritual bath, which is due, in the niyyat below.

"Allahumma inni aghtaselo -- (name of the ghusl) -- farzun alaiya bismillahe allaho akbar."

"O Allah! I am taking this ritual bath to purify myself because of -- (name of ghusl) -- which is obligatory on me. In the name of Allah Who is the Greatest."

The names of the obligatory ghusl are enumerated below with their individual instructions.

1: The ghusl of an unbeliever embracing Islam:
Allah Ta'ala says in the Qur'an;

"Innamal Mushrekoona najasun."
"Indeed the unbelievers are impure."

If an unbeliever embraces Islam, he has to perform ghusl which is obligatory. The name of the ghusl, "le quboole deenilahe" should be inserted in the Niyyat mentioned above.

2: The ghusl of 'ehtelaam' (wet dream):

If a man dreams of sexual act and upon waking he finds the signs of gushing thick liquid (mani, semen) on his clothes, ritual bath is necessary for him. If upon waking he finds no liquid has in fact exuded from the sex organ, there is no obligation to have a bath. However, if the liquid is not semen, but a minute quantity of mucus or other liquid has flown from the organ, there is no obligation to have bath.

Rasulullah (SAWS) said, 'If a woman sees in a dream what a man sees, which results in a wet dream, then a bath is prescribed on her too. A woman surely possesses a liquid like the liquid of a man, but in her Allah has hidden what is manifest in a man. Thus if a woman dreams of sexual intercourse during the sleep as a man dreams, a bath is obligatory on her.'

If a man, after having wet dream, desires to purify himself, he should first pass urine to remove any semen left over in his penis and do Istinjaa. Where a man fails to do this and purifies himself, and even if a drop of semen flows from his penis, he should have to renew his bath. When this ritual bath becomes obligatory on you, then you're reciting of the Qur'an, going to the mosque or ziyaarat, taking the meal, fasting is unlawful without taking the bath.

For the ghusl of wet dream, you should insert the name "lil ehtelaame" in place of the name of the ghusl in the Niyyat given above.

3: The ghusl of 'janaabat' (sexual intercourse):

This ritual bath is obligatory in two instances; first when during wakefulness a man and a woman meets, where there is no sexual intercourse or meeting of two circumcised parts, and if a man or a woman ejaculates, then ghusl is obligatory on both of them. If there is no ejaculation then no bath is obligatory. The other instance where there is 'meeting of the two circumcised parts', in other words, sexual intercourse, then bath of janaabat is obligatory on both, man as well as woman. The expression 'meeting of the circumcised parts' means the penetration of the penis into the vulva. If this takes place, a ritual bath is obligatory on both of them, whether ejaculation takes place or not.

Everyone who has had intercourse should purify himself before sleeping or eating of drinking. If, however, the man desires to have intercourse second time, it is not necessary to purify himself unless he feels satisfied or the hour of prayer has set. If the time of prayer has come he should not delay the act of purification.

Sexually impure person should not go to the mosque or sit in the mosque should not go for ziyaarat or recite the Qur'an or do the fasting unless purified. Women should untwist her hair while performing ritual bath. She should allow water to reach the skin of her hair and all of her hair. Bracelet or ring should be turned around during ghusl so that water reaches the skin beneath and water should be poured on the ornaments. Once Rasulullah (SAWS) having completed his bath after sexual impurity, he found that water has not reached a part of his body. Thereupon he wetted his hand in his damp hair and rubbed that particular part.

Before doing this obligatory bath you should follow the steps described in the ghusl of ehtelaam. The name of the ghusl, "lil janaabate" should be inserted in the Niyyat given above.

4: The ghusl of 'haiz' (menstruation):

The menstrual period usually lasts for minimum 3 days to maximum 10 days. The blood of menstruation is to be distinguished from that of constant haemorrhage (istehaaza). The blood of menses is dirty, thick and fetid while the blood of haemorrhage is thin and watery. When the blood of menses begins to flow, the woman should observe the rules governing menstruating women, and when it stops she should take the ritual bath.

Woman should take ritual bath after she finds that the blood has stopped. When a woman discovers that she is free from menstruation, and she misses or delays taking a ghusl, it becomes incumbent upon her to offer that prayer, as well as any other prayer which she has missed during the time of her purity. The evidence of the stoppage of menstruation is that the cotton pad or any other thing inserted in the private parts is found to be free from impurity. When this is confirmed, the woman is free to perform the ritual bath and offer her prayers.

A menstruating woman should not read the Qur'an, or enter a mosque, or pray, or perform fasts, or go for ziyaarat, or have sexual intercourse until she is purified. When she becomes pure from menstrual impurity, she may perform the fasts, which she was not able to perform, but not the prayers which she missed during her periods.

Imaam Mohammad Baaqir (AS) said, 'A menstruating woman should perform the ablution fully for every prayer and should face the qibla but without imposing prayers on her, she should recite the tasbeeh of 'Subhaan allah', 'Alhamdo lillah', and 'laa ilaha illallaah' at the time of prayers.'

Physical contact with a menstruating woman is permitted, the way that she should wear an undergarment below the navel to the knee, and the husband is entitled to make love above the garment. He who has sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman has, indeed, done an act which is not lawful to him. It is incumbent on him in such a case to ask for Allah's pardon and to repent of his act. A child, as a result of conception at the time of menses, would contract the disease of Leprosy. If a woman conceives a child in her womb at the time of her periods, then, the child would be the enemy of the Progeny of Mohammad Rasulullah (SAWS), says in his Hadees-e-shareef,

"Ya Ali, Laa yubghezannaka minar rejaale illa man howa le ghaire rushdatin aw man hamalat behi ummohu le ghaire tohrin."

"O Ali, only he would be the person with your hatred and enmity in his heart among the people, to whom, Allah has not given guidance or who might be the result of conception in her mother’s womb at the time of her impurity."

A woman who discovers blood during her period of purity, and if the blood is like that of menses, then she should observe the rules accordingly. On the contrary, if the blood is thin and watery not matching to the characteristics of menstrual blood, she should insert a piece of cloth or a cotton pad in her private part as a precaution against bleeding and she should perform ablution before every prayer and her husband has access to her. A woman who experiences continuous bleeding (istehaaza) due to some disease and the character of the blood does not match with that of menses, then she should bathe before every two prayers i.e. namaaz of zohr and 'asr, namaaz of maghrib and 'isha il-aakherat, and namaaz of fajr. A woman who suffers from continuous bleeding is deemed to be menstruating. The rule is the same when blood is discovered by a woman who is pregnant. Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (AS) said, 'Allah will cure every woman who suffers from istehaaza if she faithfully observes these rules.'

If a woman, who has purified herself, intends to observe fast in atonement, she should first observe the obligatory fasts of Ramzaan which she has missed during her impurity. A woman who was impure during Ramzaan, should fast the same number of days to make expiation for those that were lost by the reason of impurity. One should take the Niyyat of the day that was missed in the month of Ramzaan, for example; if fast of 13th of Ramzaan is missed then the Niyyat of 13th date is taken in any month if one wishes to fast in its atonement. To fast in atonement (for the days lost in Ramzaan) during first ten days of Zil-Hajj is disapproved. The fasts of the month of Rajab should not be observed unless you have not compensated your missed obligatory fasts.

Maulana Ali (AS) said, 'The ritual bath after menstruation or childbirth is like the bath after sexual impurity. When a sexually impure woman menstruates, one bath of purification will suffice for both the impurities.' If such situation arises then one should take the names of both ghusl simultaneously in the Niyyat. The name of the ghusl, "lil haize" is added in the Niyyat given above.

5: The ghusl of 'nifaas' (after childbirth):

A woman experiences bleeding for maximum of 40 days after childbirth. Whenever the bleeding stops, the woman should perform ritual bath. Praying and fasting are forbidden to woman who is in her puerperium (period of bleeding after childbirth). She should not enter mosque, or recite Qur'an, or have sexual intercourse before purifying herself.
The name of the ghusl, "lin nafaasate" is added in the Niyyat given above.

6: The ghusl of 'mayyet' (dead body):

To give bath to the dead body before its burial is an obligatory ghusl. The details of this ritual bath and the procedure are being dealt with elsewhere. The name of the ghusl, "lil janaazate" is added in the Niyyat given above.

7: The ghusl of 'majnoon' (lunatic):

The ritual bath is obligatory after the lunatic or one who loses his consciousness recovers his senses. The name of the ghusl, "le tehseelil 'aqlis saleeme" is added in the Niyyat given above.

The ghusl is obligatory after one has fallen into filth or dirt and has spoiled the whole body. The name of the ghusl, "le tahaaratil jisme" is added in the Niyyat given above.

The above mentioned seven ghusl are obligatory. Apart from the obligatory ghusl, there are other ghusl of sunnat which Rasulullah (SAWS) recommended. To perform these ghusl is praiseworthy. These ghusl are: of Friday before prayers, of the two festivals namely 'eid-ul-azhaa and 'eid-ul-fitr, of ehraam at the commencement of Hajj, for entering the Mecca, for entering the Ka'ba, for entering the Medina, on the Day of 'Arafa, on the 1st and 27th night (Lailatul Me'raaj, Shab-e-Me'raaj) of Rajab-ul-Morajjab, on 15th night (Lailatun Nisf, Shab-e-Baraat) of Sha'baan, on the three nights of Ramzaan-ul-Mo'azzam namely the 17th, 19th, 21st night and the 23rd night (Lailatul Qadr) of Ramzaan. The bath of these nights should be taken before the commencement of its prescribed prayer (washsheek) and these nights be passed in wakefulness and prayer. Likewise the bath is to be taken after giving bath to a dead person.

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