Ghusl for Sunni Muslims
Although, like most religions, Islam has many different schools of thought the main two strands of the faith are Sunni and Shia. Whilst most of their fundamental beliefs are the same they have, over the years, developed slightly different ways of practicing Islam. Although initially the differences between the two groups were generally political they also now encompass a variation of spiritual thought as well. This is relevant to performing ablutions as how to do Ghusl in the Sunni faith is different to how it would be performed by Shia Muslims.
How to perform Sunni Ghusl
As over 80% of Muslims across the world follow the Sunni school of thought it is important that most followers of Islam know how to perform Ghusl in the way that the Sunni’s recommend. Although it is not dramatically different from the Shia method there are variations which you should be aware of.
Firstly as with all ablutions you need to begin with making your intention to perform Ghusl. This is called Niyyah. You can say “Bismillah” and make it known to Allah that you intend to clean yourself of all worldly impurities.
There are two forms of ghusl:
Acceptable form: in the sense that if a person only does ghusl in this manner, his ghusl is valid and he becomes purified from major impurity. But if a person doesnt perform this kind of ghusl properly, his ghusl is not valid.
Complete and preferred form: this is the type which it is mustahabb to do but is not obligatory.
As for the obligatory and acceptable form it is as follows:
1. Form the intention to purify oneself from impurity: janaabah (impurity following sexual discharge), menses or nifaas (postpartum bleeding).
2. Wash the entire body with water once, making sure that the water reaches the roots of the hair and the places that it cannot reach easily, such as the armpits and backs of the knees, as well as rinsing the mouth and nose, according to the correct scholarly opinion.
As for the complete form, it is as follows
1. Form the intention in the heart to purify oneself from major impurity: janaabah (impurity following sexual discharge), menses or nifaas (postpartum bleeding).
2. Then say Bismillah and wash the hands three times, then wash any dirt from the private part.
3. Then do wudoo’ as for prayer, a complete wudoo’.
4. Then pour water over the head three times, and rub the hair so that the water reaches the roots of the hair.
- Then wash the body, making sure that the water reaches all parts, starting with the right side of the body and then the left, and rubbing it with the hands so that the water reaches the entire body.
Once you have learnt how to do Ghusl the way that the Sunni faith recommends you will find it easy to follow the routines and you will soon be able to do them easily without having to refer to any guidance. Different sects of Islam have different variations. If you feel that you need any further help with understanding how you should perform your Ghusl it is always a good idea to chat to your Imam who will be happy to explain the process to you in further detail.