Cleanliness after Intercourse

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

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

This answer was collected from It’s an Islamic educational institute based in Canada. The questions are generally answered by Sheikh Yusuf Badat and Sheikh Omar Subedar.

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