Answered by Shaykh Sikander Hashmi
Is it permissible to perform obligatory ghusl from a bucket of water?
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
Obligatory ghusl consists of three actions:
1. Rinsing the mouth.
2. Inhaling water.
3. Washing the rest of the body.
As long as these three are completed with clean water, the requirements of ghusl will be fulfilled, be it by means of taking a shower, swimming, or pouring water over ones self from a bucket.
Making ghusl by pouring water from a bucket (or a dish) by taking handfuls of water or by means of a cup is how ghusl had been done over the centuries before the advent of the shower. In fact, that method is still in practice in many places where there are no showers. The former is shown in how the term “pour” is mentioned in discussions pertaining to ghusl in the books of hadith and the classical texts.
Narrated Abu Ja’far (RA):
Jabir bin Abdullah (RA) said to me, “Your cousin (Hasan bin Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiya) came to me and asked about the bath of Janaba. I replied, ‘The Prophet uses to take three handfuls of water, pour them on his head and then pour more water over his body.’ Al-Hasan said to me, ‘I am a hairy man.’ I replied, ‘The Prophet had more hair than you’.” (Sahih Bukhari; Volume 1, Book 5, Number 256)
The English translation of the Arabic Hanafi text Mukhtasar al-Quduri states:
The sunnah actions of ghusl are that the one performing ghusl:
1. Begin with washing his hands and genitals.
2. Remove filth if it is on his body, then
3. Perform wudu’, like the wudu’ for salah, except for his feet, then
4. Pour water over the rest of his body thrice, then
5. Step aside from that place and then wash his feet.
(Mukhtasar al-Quduri, Book of Purification)
Therefore, it is permissible to perform ghusl by fetching water from a bucket by means of a cup and pouring it over one’s body. Care should be taken, however, that the water from one’s body does not go back into the bucket.
Verily, Allah knows best.
Sikander Ziad Hashmi