The word Ghusl in Arabic means to wash the entire body with water. Allah Says in the Quran (what means): "And they ask you [O Muhammad] about menstruation. Say: 'It is harm, so keep away from women during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure...'" [Quran 2: 222]
Herein, we continue stating other actions that require Ghusl if one is in a state of major impurity:
· Circumambulating the Ka'bah (The Sacred House in Makkah)
Ibn 'Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "Circumambulation is a type of prayer, but Allah has permitted speaking during it. Whoever speaks during it should only speak good." [At-Tirmithi & Others]
· Touching or Carrying the Quran
The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, were all agreed that it is forbidden to touch or carry the Quran while one is in a state of impurity. There are some jurists, such as Daawood bin Hazm who allowed the physically unclean person, whether because of sexual intercourse or menstruation, to touch or carry the Quran, and saw nothing wrong with this. He derives his support from a Hadeeth in the Saheehayn (the two most authentic Hadeeth sources) in which it is stated that the Prophet sent a letter to Heraclius, beginning with:
"In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful: (the he cited the verse which means): "…O people of the Scripture! Come to a word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah. But if they turn away, then say: 'Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him]." [Quran 3:64]
Ibn Hazm concluded: "This is the letter that the Messenger of Allah wrote, containing this verse, to the Christians, and of course they must have touched it." The majority of scholars answer this point of his by stating that one is allowed to touch parts of the Quran that are used in letters, books, Tafseer (Quranic exegesis), and so on, as such things are not copies of the Quran, nor is it confirmed that such an action is forbidden.
· Reciting the Quran
According to most scholars, one who is physically unclean (because of sex or menstruation) may not recite any portion of the Quran. This is based on a Hadeeth from 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, in which he stated that nothing kept the Messenger of Allah from the Quran except being sexually impure. [At-Tirmithi]
He, may Allah be pleased with him, also related: "I saw the Messenger of Allah perform ablution and recite some of the Quran, after which he said: 'This is for the one who is not in post-sex impurity. If one is in post-sex impurity, he may not do so, not even one verse." [Ahmad & Abu Ya'la] Imaam Al-Haythami stated about this Hadeeth: "Its narrators are trustworthy." Also, Imaam Ash-Shawkaani stated: "If this (report) is authentic, that is proof enough that it is forbidden. The first Hadeeth does not forbid it, for it merely states that it was his practice not to recite the Quran while he was in post-sex impurity. Similar reports do not even show that it is disliked. Therefore, how can it be used as a proof that it is forbidden?" Imaams Al-Bukhari, At-Tabaraani, Abu Daawood, and Ibn Hazm were of the opinion that it is permissible for one who is in post-sex impurity (or in menstruation) to recite the Quran. Ibn 'Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, did not see anything wrong with a sexually impure person reciting the Quran.
The Prophet would mention Allah under all circumstances. Imaam Ibn Hajar stated: "There is no authentic Hadeeth reported by the author (Al-Bukhari) concerning the prohibition of reciting by one who is sexually impure or menstruating." The sum total of what has been related on this issue informs us on this point, though the interpretations differ.
· Staying in the Mosque
It is forbidden for one who is physically unclean (because of sex or menstruation) to stay in the mosque. 'Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: "The Messenger of Allah saw that his companions' houses were practically in the mosque, so he said: "Direct those houses away from the mosque." He then entered the mosque, but the people did nothing in the hope that Allah would reveal to the Prophet that what they were doing was permissible. However, when he came out from the mosque, he said: "Direct those houses away from the mosque, for it is not permitted for a menstruating woman or sexually impure person to be in the mosque." [Abu Daawood]
Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, related that the Prophet once came out to the courtyard of the mosque and said at the top of his voice: "The mosque is off limits to menstruating women and those who are sexually impure." [Ibn Maajah & At-Tabaraani] Such people can, however, pass through the mosque, for Allah Says (what means): "O you who have believed! Do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying or in a state of sexual impurity, except those passing through [a place of prayer], until you have washed [your whole body]..." [Quran 4: 43]
Zayd bin Aslam said: "The companions of the Messenger of Allah would walk through the mosques while they were sexually impure." [Ibn Al-Munthir] Yazeed bin Habeeb reported that the Companions' doors opened out into the mosque, and that when they were sexually impure, they could find no water or any path to water save through the mosque; then, Allah revealed (what means): "…Or in a state of sexual impurity, except those passing through [a place of prayer]…" [Quran 4: 43] [At-Tabari]
Source: Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 1: Ghusl, the Complete Ablution