Assalaamu alaykum, this question is urgent. I want to ask you about continuity in ghusl (shower taken in case of major impurity). If I do ghusl and a day later realise that I did not wash my ear, then can I just continue to wash that part only on the next day? My next question is: if I only wash the part that I did not wash the day before, do I need to wash all other parts that grow, like the nails, skin, and hair, after I failed to complete my ghusl the day before? For your info, while sleeping last night, some hair fell (loose on my bed), do I need to wash that hair again to complete my earlier ghusl? Or should I just wash the part that I missed yesterday?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
According to the view held by most of the scholars, continuity is not a condition in performing ghusl, as Ibn Qudaamah said:
“Most scholars do not consider discontinuity in performing ghusl as a reason for its invalidation; however, Rabee’ah said, 'Whoever deliberately chooses to make discontinuity in performing ghusl, then, in my view, he must perform ghusl again.' Al-Layth held the same view, whereas Imaam Maalik had a different opinion. The Shaafi’i school has a narration about this. Nonetheless, the view of the majority of the scholars is more appropriate to be acted upon, because it is a ghusl that does not necessitate sequence, so continuity is not obligatory, like washing impurity…”
The scholars who said that continuity is not a condition for the validity of ghusl did not distinguish between a gap of a long period of time, such as a day or more, and a gap of a short period of time. Also, they did not mention that it is obligatory to wash what has grown since the first ghusl. You asking such details is most likely due to waswaas (obsessive whispering). Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said, “Allaah dislikes for you idle talk and asking too many questions.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Many scholars said, “What is meant by ‘asking too many questions’ is asking frequent questions on Fiqh issues as a way of being too fanatic about what is not revealed and asking complicated questions to investigate sub-issues. The Salaf (righteous predecessors) hated to ask too many questions, and they considered this to be as burdening oneself with something unnecessary,” as mentioned in the Tafseer of Al-Qurtubi.
Ibn Hajar said, “This hadeeth is proof of the dislike of asking too many questions and delving too deep into issues…”
Ibn al-Qayyim while describing the case of the Companions with the Prophet said, “They used to ask him about what would benefit them, and not about matters that did not take place and problematic issues or complicated questions, and they were not used to engage in classifying issues and investigating sub-issues or making assumptions; rather, their concern was limited to implement what the Prophet commanded them to do, and if any incident happened to them, then they would ask him at that time, and he would answer them.”
Therefore, whoever forgets to wash part(s) of his body while performing ghusl, he is obliged to wash it, but he is not obliged to repeat the ghusl, but the prayers that he had prayed with that incomplete ghusl are invalid and must be repeated.
For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 118955.
However, there is no doubt that in order to be on the safe side, it is better to repeat the ghusl for whoever did not observe continuity as a way of taking the statement of those who hold the view that continuity is a condition for the validity of ghusl into account.
Allaah knows best.
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