Cleanliness After Sexual Intercourse
  • Question:

    After sex, can we just have some water and wash off ourselves and go for prayers or do we have to have a complete bath?


    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question. Islam is a religion that demands purity and cleanliness in all aspects of life.

    After sexual intercourse, one is considered in a state of major impurity. Hence ritual prayer (salah) is only valid after one purifies them by taking a ghusl (Islamic bath).

    “O you who believe ... If you are in a state of major impurity, cleanse yourselves well (by taking a bath), ... or you have had sexual contact with women ...” (Qur’an 5:6)

    There are three mandatory actions of Ghusl:

    1. To rinse the mouth
    2. To rinse the nose
    3. To wash the entire body

    It is important to note that:

    • All areas of the body are thoroughly washed with water. The inner part of the circumcised area must also be washed provided it can be opened without any difficulty.

    • The inner part of the navel is washed.

    • The inside of a cavity which has not sealed is washed.

    • The braids of a man’s hair are untied, even if water reaches the hair’s roots. A female is exempt from undoing her braids as long as the water reaches her hair’s roots. If a woman’s hair is so compact that it prevents the water from penetrating the roots then it is obligatory to open her braids.

    • Water reaches the skin underneath the beard, moustache and eyebrows.

    • To ensure that water reaches the external part of the vagina.

    Ali (RA) stated, “The one who leaves out the area of a hair’s span of filth from ritual impurity, without washing it, will be dealt with severely in the hellfire” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

    Ibn Abbas (RA) said, “When a person with ritual impurity takes a bath and forgets to rinse his mouth and nose, he should redo the cleaning of the mouth and nose.” (al-Daraqutni)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah Institute
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