Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ghusl غسل (Complete Ablution): when it is necessary and how to perfect it

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم

What is Ghusl: Ghusl غسل is an arabic term that refers to complete ablution (the ritual of washing one's self before prayer or other religious duties).

When do I have to preform Ghusl: Ghusl is fard (mandatory) immediately after or before taking one's shahada. It is also required after the completion of a woman's menstrual cycle, before prayer after sexual intercourse between a husband and his wife, any discharge of semen or sexual fluid, before prayer after giving birth, and death by natural causes (in this case another Muslim will be preforming Ghusl for you inshaAllah). It is also mustahaab (recommended) before the Jummah (Friday) and Eid prayers, before entering a state if ihram (preperation for religious pilgrimage/Hajj), and after having lost consciousness.

How do we know that Ghusl is required of us and what it entails: The Qu'ran requires Ghusl in the chapter called "The Women": O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (Except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body. If ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands. For Allah doth blot out sins and forgive again and again... (4:43 An-Nisa).

What do I need to preform Ghusl: You need one of the following; rain water, well water, spring, sea or river water, water of melting snow or hail, pond water, and I myself, city girl that I am, often use bottled water (make sure to leave off on the flavoured or you will be sticky---JJKN). Basically---you need clean water, nothing too complicated. Don't use unclean or impure water, water extracted from fruit and trees, water that has changed its colour, taste and smell and becomes thick because something was soaked in it, small quantity of water in which something unclean has fallen, eg. urine, blood, stool or wine or some animal had died after falling into it , used water from previous ghusl or wudu, water left over by drinking by haraam animals suchs as pigs, dogs, or animals of prey, and water left by a person who has just drunk wine is unclean. Tap water is what most people use these days. The answer to this question is CLEAN WATER. An exception is made for places where no water is available, where sand may be used. This is something you will study later. For now, we'll keep you moving forward, mastering the basics of prayer.

Method: Because Ghusl is a prelude to prayer or another significant religious duty niyaah (an intention) must be made before starting the act of purification. The intention/niyaah of the act of ghusl is to do so to please Allah and to make you prayers acceptable to Allah (He loves that you be clean and pure in both body and soul) so in your heart [saying in your head---not aloud] you say: "Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem." (which means "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful"). Niyaah is not said aloud in the case of ghusl, nor is the name of Allah to be spoken aloud in a bathroom or place of toilet (this is respect for Allah).

1.) Start by making niyyah silently "Bismillahir Rahamnir Raheem" with the intention to preform ghusl and cleanse yourself of impuritues.

2.) Wash the right hand up to and including the wrist (and between the fingers) three times, and then do the same with the left hand.

3.) Wash the private parts and remove dirt or filth from the body.

4.) Rinse hands and then rinse the mouth three times.

5.) Rinse the nostrils three times using the right hand to bring water to the nose, and the left to expell it or rub it away.

6.) If not in a bath tub but sitting on a seat while bathing then the feet should also be washed, starting with the right, three times, and between the toes, and ending with the left.

7.) Water should be poured over the head three times so that it flows all over the body.
Pour water over both the shoulders three times each. Hands should be passed all over the body when water is poured so that no part of the body is left dry.

One of the wives of the Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W) [Aisha bint Abu Bakr] narrates:

When Allah's Messenger bathed because of sexual intercourse, he first washed his hands; he then poured water with his right hand on his left hand and washed his private parts. He then performed wudu as is done for prayer. He then took some water and ran his fingers in the roots of his hair. And when he found that it had been properly moistened, he poured three handfuls on his head and then poured water over his body and subsequently washed his feet.

(which is subsequently where our method is derived from).

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