The Process of Ghusl

Many cultures and faiths have specific rules around bathing and self-care regarding menstruation. In Islam, a menstruating female is excused from the ritual daily prayers. Menstruation begins, Islamically, upon the first indication of colored discharge, even if it is just on the toilet paper after wiping. It ends when there is clear or no discharge coming from the vagina or if your period lasts more than ten days. Note: Medically, the first day of your period is when you have continuous free flow, not just spotting. There may be a difference of 1-2 days between the “medical” first day and the “Islamic” first day. For more information on how to track your cycle, please click here:

Upon completion of menstruation, the female is required to take a ritual bath to begin praying her five daily prayers. This bath is fairly simple, but there are a few obligatory acts that need to be met to be considered ritually pure. Below, we have included a step by step of the process.

Step 1: Intention (Niyyah)

The intention to make ghusl is NOT obligatory, just recommended (sunnah). In other words, if you forget to make the intention before beginning, it does not mean that your ghusl does not count.

Step 2: The Three Requirements of Ghusl

There are three requirements that are obligatory (fard) to meet in ghusl. They are:

  • Passing water through the mouth (gargling)
  • Passing water through the nostrils
  • Passing water over the entire body, including your hair

It is important to note if even one hair is left dry, your ghusl is incomplete. Use sufficient water, without being wasteful, but also without being frugal.

Step 3: The Five Recommended Acts of Ghusl

There are five recommended acts (sunnah) of ghusl. Your ghusl is still valid if you do not actively do these, but they are recommended.

  • Washing hands up to the wrists
  • Washing the private parts and the parts over which uncleanliness is found
  • Intention
  • Making wudu (ablution) before washing the body
  • Passing water over the whole body three times.

This is the basic foundation to ghusl, though it is important to note that there are many more details that you will have to learn about ghusl. There are a number of excellent resources out there, which we have listed below.

For ghusl on boys, check out!

Self CareDavid Kennedy