Is it necessary to take Ghusl [bath] if there has been slight passing of sexual fluid, without sexual intercourse or orgasm? Such a situation is nocturnal emission or arousal but only when there has been ‘very slight’ emission. I hope I’m clear and you can answer.
The Qur’an says, “If you are in a state of janabah, then take a bath [for cleaning yourself]”. Janabah in the Arabic language implies a state of sexual uncleanness. In other words, the word janabah is applied to a state in which a person has had sexual intercourse (with or without orgasm) as well as to a state in which a person has had an orgasm (with or without sexual intercourse). Thus, according to the Qur’an , bathing has been prescribed for Muslims after sexual intercourse or orgasm. In case of anything less than sexual intercourse or orgasm, bathing is not obligatory. The case of Ihtilaam (nocturnal emission of semen due to a wet dream, for instance) can sometimes be indeterminable as to whether or not Ihtilaam really occurred. Thus, in such a case, it seems more coherent with common sense as well as the general teachings of Islam that a person should opt for the path of apparent certainty, rather than doubt. When the Prophet (pbuh) was asked about the directives that follow Ihtilaam, he is reported to have given a reply based on the same principle of opting for the apparent rather than doubt. In such a situation, the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said that a person should rely on the apparent evidence. Thus, if the person sees the wetness of Ihtilaam, even though he believes that he did not have a wet dream or that he did not ejaculate, he should take a bath before offering his prayers. On the other hand, if a person believes that he had a wet dream or that he ejaculated but does not see any wetness of Ihtilaam, he does not require to take a bath (Ibn Maajah, Kitaab al-Tahaarah).
In view of the above explanation, in my opinion, if there is any noticeable emission of semen during the night, a person should take a bath before offering his prayers.
15th May 1999