Is there any special procedure in bathing after menstruation and sexual defilement apart from the normal bathing?
Bathing after menstruation and sexual uncleanness is a part of the Abrahamic customs and traditions and was adhered to by the Arabs even before the advent of Islam. The Qur’an has referred to the bathing after sexual uncleanness in Surah Al-Nisaa and Surah Al-Maaidah and after menstruation in Surah Al-Baqarah. The words used by the Qur’an in each of the three instances, connotes bathing and washing oneself with special care. Thus, the prescribed bath is not merely to throw water on oneself, on the contrary, as the Arabic verbs “إغتسل“,”اطهر” and “تطهر“1 imply that this bathing should entail special care of cleaning oneself. The example set by the Prophet (pbuh) relating to bathing after sexual uncleanness, as reported in a number of narratives, entailed the following, sequential, steps:
Carefully washing hands;
Carefully washing and cleaning the organ, using the left hand;
Conducting the complete ritual ablution, prescribed for prayers, except for washing the feet;
Thoroughly washing the head while rinsing the hair;
Wash the whole body;
Wash the feet.
It may be mentioned that even though the directive of the Qur’an shall stand fulfilled if one thoroughly washes ones body with due care; yet every Muslim should try his best to follow the footsteps of the Prophet (pbuh), as his ideal and the standard of excellence in all matters relating to worship (man’s relationship with God) and morality (man’s relationship with other human beings).
November 1, 2000
- All these Arabic verbs have the same connotation of bathing with special care. [↩]