Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
I was told that I had to sniff in water into my nostrils, until it “stings.” I’ve been doing that for a couple of months now, and ghusl becomes very difficult. It hurts me a lot to sniff water, and I start choking a great deal. When I was young, it used to hurt as well, so I asked my Qur’an teacher if there was anything else I could do; he said I could simply insert wet fingers into my nostrils, and clean out my nostrils that way. However, I recently found out that sniffing in water is a must. Unfortunately, it is beginning to take more and more water sniffed into my nose, to feel a “sting,” and I’m afraid I might end up sniffing in too much water into my nose. As a matter of fact, even now every time I do it, I start choking and coughing for a while. What is the correct method to (painlessly) perform the Ghusl?
Things are easier than you think.
Firstly, Our Deen Is Easy
Allah Most High said, “And He has not placed upon you in religion any hardship.” (Qur’an, al-Hajj 22: 78)
And the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “I was sent with the easy, upright religion.” (Bu`ithtu bi’l Haneefiyya’ti s-Samha) [Reported by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad from Jabir ibn Abdullah and others.]
And he said, “Verily, this religion is easy.” [Reported by Bukhari & Muslim]
Abu Sa`id al-Khadimi explained, “Because difficult and hard moral obligations were lifted from this religion.” [al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya, 1: 131]
Second, Your Question,
In the Fatawa al-Hindiyya, considered with Sayyidi Ibn Abidin’s Radd al-Muhtar among the most central Hanafi references, it says:
Its obligatory (fard) acts: Its obligatory are three: washing the mouth, nose, and entire body, as mentioned in the basic texts. The definition of washing the mouth and nose (here) is that which was mentioned in the section on the ritual ablution (wudu) from al-Khulasa. [F: It mentioned there:] The definition of washing the mouth is to wash it entirely. The definition of washing the nose is for the water to reach pliable part of the nose (marin). [al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 1: 13]
This ruling is confirmed in Imam al-Haskafi’s Durr al-Mukhtar, and by Ibn Abidin in his Radd al-Muhtar.
And washing is for water to drip from the area being washed, even if only a drop or two.
As such, you should to sniff water into your nose in a normal way. This would be sufficient. To make sure, the scholars mention, as in Durr al-Mukhtar (section on wudu), it is best to enter a finger into both mouth and nose when washing.
To close, we should not forget that when we act on fiqh rulings, or learn them, our intention should not be less then trying to implement the sunna of the Beloved of Allah (upon him be blessings & peace), for fiqh is nothing less than a systematic operationalization of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
And Allah knows best.