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How to Perform Ghusl

Three Parts:Finding Water for WashingUnderstanding Obligatory GhuslPerforming Ghusl

Muslim adults perform an ablution, called Ghusl in Arabic, prior to rituals and prayers. This full-body ritual is required of men and women after intercourse or other sexual acts, after menstruation, after losing consciousness and giving birth or after death by natural causes. The entire body must be washed, rubbed and covered with water while intending to remove impurities from the body.

Part 1
Finding Water for Washing

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    Find a source of clean water. This source can include rain, well, spring, sea, river snowmelt or pond water. Water which covers an area of 21 by 21 feet (6.5 by 6.5m) is generally regarded as large enough to gather pure water.[1]
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    Don’t use impure water, water from fruit or trees or previous Ghusl or Wudu water. Water that may have bodily fluids from animals or humans is also unacceptable. Discolored water should not be used.
    • Make sure to use safe water to perform this ritual; in some warmer areas of the world, water may contain naegleria fowleri, an amoeba that, if inhaled into the nostrils, can cause a rare but usually fatal type of brain infection. The CDC has guidelines on how this type of ritual ablution can be done safely. [2]
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    Use clean earth and rub it over your face and hands if you are traveling and can’t find a source of clean water. You should perform Ghusl with water as soon as you find a water source.[3]

Part 2
Understanding Obligatory Ghusl

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    Perform the act after any discharge, whether you are a man or a woman. It does not matter if you engaged in sexual intercourse or not; however, it is also required after sex.
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    Go through Ghusl ablution after you end a menstruation bleeding if you are a woman. This extends to bleeding after childbirth. If there is no bleeding after childbirth, it should be performed on the 40th day after childbirth.
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    Wash those who have died by natural causes with the same method. Those who died in Jihad don’t require Ghusl.
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    Opt to perform Ghusl voluntarily after one of the following occurrences. This is preferred but not required.
    • When a disbeliever is converted to Islam.
    • Before Friday Prayer.
    • Before Eid Prayers.
    • After washing a corpse.
    • Before undertaking a pilgrimage to Makkah.
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    Find a place of total privacy to perform this ritual.

Part 3
Performing Ghusl

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    Begin with the intention of performing Ghusl for purification. The intention is inside your heart and saying it verbally is recommended.
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    Say the Basmala: “Bismillah.” Reciting the entire phrase is recommended: "Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raheem."
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    Position yourself in front of water. Wash your right hand up to and including your wrists. Rub between the fingers and repeat three times..
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    Repeat with the left hand three times.
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    Wash your private parts. Repeat three times. Remove all visible filth on the body with water and rubbing of the hands.
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    After washing your hands 3 times, cup your right hand. Take water from the clean source and pour it into your mouth. Swirl it inside your mouth and spit it out.
    • Depending upon your preference, you can repeat this three times.
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    Sniff some water from your right hands into your nostrils. Blow the water out into your left hand. Repeat three times.
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    Move onto your face. Wash it three times from your hairline to your chin and jawbone. Extend the washing from ear to ear.
    • Men should wash their beard. They can take a handful of water below the chin and rub it through the beard. Drag the wet fingers through the beard once.
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    Wash the right arm up to the elbow three times. Repeat with the left arm.
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    Pour water over your head three times down to the roots of the hairs. If men or women have braided hair, they should wet the base of the braids and hair. If they can’t wet the base, they should un-plait the hair.
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    Wash the entire right side of the body by pouring water liberally over your shoulder and self. Repeat with the left side.
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    Pour water over your head. Rub every portion of your body with the water to ensure your entire body is clean.
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    Move away from the area you just performed your washing or stand on a platform. Wash the feet, right then left, up to the ankles. Make sure to pour water between the toes and rub with your little finger.
    • Ensure you wash the soles of the foot.
    • All washing should be completed three times.
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    Dry the body with a clean towel and dress. Don’t delay in covering your body. As long as the entire body was washed three times in this order, you are considered eligible to perform Salah.[4]


  • Just like with regular ablution, women should remove nail polish before performing this ritual. Women can also use an earring tip to allow water to enter piercing holes. Men and women must remove all things that may prevent water from washing the skin.


  • Beware that missing a single part of your body makes the ritual null. It should be performed in detail with the intention in your heart to become clean.
  • Do not speak while performing this ritual.
  • Do not perform Ghusl in the direction of Qibla, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, if the private parts are not covered.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean water source
  • Private location
  • Clean towel
  • Platform/clean ground

Article Info

Categories: Islam