Cleanliness after Intercourse


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?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Jazāk Allāhu khayran / Thank you for your question and your interest in knowing the religous 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 (salāh) 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 ...” (al Māidah 5:6)

There are three mandatory actions of ghusl:

  • To rinse the mouth
  • To rinse the nose
  • 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 Dāwud)

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 Allah Knows Best.

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