Answered by Shaykh Yūsuf Badāt
After sex, can we just take some water and wash off ourselves and go for prayers or do we have to have a complete bath?
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Jazāk Allāh Khayr / Thank you for your question and your interest in knowing the religious rules of cleanliness.
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 (ṣalāh) is only valid after one purifies themselves, 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‘ān 5:6)
There are three mandatory actions of ghusl:
- To rinse the mouth [by gargling]
- To rinse the nose [up to the soft bone]
- 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.
‘Alī (may Allāh be please with him) 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 Abī Dāwūd)
Ibn ‘Abbās (may Allāh be please with him) 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-Dāraqutnī)
May Allāh keep us pure and clean. May He accept our prayers and acts of worship.
And Allāh Knows Best