Performing ghusl with streaming water (fountain, river, shower)
Fatwa No: 323359

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. Dear brothers, I read some books about ghusl (ritual bath) with streaming water (fountain, river, shower). It says that with sreaming water, all of the acts of the Sunnah (related to it) will be fulfilled and one does not have to wash the body parts thrice. Can you give me some hadith about this please ? May Allaah bless all of the muslim brothers and sisters.

Answer

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, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

Dipping oneself in a river or a fountain or standing under the shower while holding the intention of ritual purification from impurity fulfills the obligation of ghusl if the water reaches the whole body. However, it is not sufficient in terms of performing the acts of Sunnah of the ghusl. It is known that there are recommended acts of the Sunnah during Ghusl such as washing the private parts first, performing ablution, pouring water over the body, starting with the right side, rubbing the body, and rinsing the mouth and nose, according to the majority of the scholars. These acts of the Sunnah are not fulfilled by merely immersing the body in the river or standing under the shower or fountain. If the water is gushing with force, it may substitute rubbing the body if it resembles it. The view adopted at Islamweb is that it is sufficient in place of rubbing the body.

There are two types of ghusl: the perfect (or complete) ghusl and the minimal ghusl.

The perfect ghusl is as follows: holding the intention of purifying oneself from the impurity, reciting the Basmalah (saying ‘Bismillaah’, which means: In the name of Allaah), washing the hands three times, washing any traces of impurity on the body, performing ablution, pouring water over the head three times so that it reaches the roots of the hair, then pouring water over the rest of the body starting on the right side along with rubbing the body, and making sure that the water reaches all his body and hair.

The main evidence in this regard is the hadeeth narrated on the authority of ʻAa'ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her: “When the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, made ghusl from janaabah (major ritual impurity), he would begin by washing his hands, then he would pour water with his right hand on his left hand and wash his private parts. He would then perform ablution and then take some water and run his fingers through the roots of his hair. Then he would pour three handfuls of water over his head, then pour water over the rest of his body, and finally wash his feet.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim; this is the wording of Muslim]

Another version of the hadeeth reads, “Whenever he washed from janaabah, he would wash his hands, perform ablution like that for prayer, and then take a bath and run his fingers through his hair till he felt that the whole skin of the head had become wet, then he would pour water thrice over himself and wash the rest of his body.

It has been narrated that Maymoonah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her said, “I placed water for the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, to bathe with, and he poured water over his hands and washed them twice or thrice; then he poured water with his right hand over his left and washed his private parts. He then rubbed his hand in the ground and then rinsed his mouth and nose. Then he washed his face, his forearms and head thrice and then poured water over his body. He then withdrew from that place and washed his feet.

The manner of the minimal ghusl is as follows: that one removes any traces of impurity, if there are any, hold the intention of performing ghusl, recite the Basmalah, then let water reach his whole body.

Allaah knows best.

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