Is Ghusl Valid Even without an Intention according to Hanafi School?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Sufyan Qufi

Question

Is ghusl valid if there is no intention? If this is the case, it is technically possible and valid to do ghusl unintentionally. For example, suppose you go to the beach or a swimming pool (where the water is clean of course). You jump in the water, get wet, and water gets in your nose and mouth. As a result, you simply performed ghusl without niyyah.

Is this ghusl correct?

Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

I pray this finds you in the best of states.

From a previous answer at SeekersGuidance:

In the Hanafi school, the intention of the ritual bath (ghusl) is an emphasized sunna and should not be left. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah].

However, due to the purport of the texts and the nature of the ghusl being a means and not an end, the intention is not a condition for validity – even though it is a condition in order to attain the reward of the actions [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah].

This ruling applies regardless of the factor which obligated the ghusl. Whether it be the emission of sperm or the ending of menstruation, one ghusl suffices all of the above – even if one did not make an intention. [end quote]

The Reason for This Ruling

The intention in wudu and ghusl is not obligatory according to the Hanafi school because deeming it obligatory would mean that a ghusl or wudu without an intention is invalid. This would go against the following verse of the Quran:

“O you who believe, when you rise for the prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. If you are in a state of major impurity, cleanse yourselves well (by taking a bath).” [Quran, 5:6]

Who is explicit in the fact that washing these limbs is enough to be in a state of purity and to be allowed to pray.

This would also go against the teaching of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) who didn’t teach the duty to have an intention when performing wudu to the bedouin who asked him about the rulings of wudu. [Abu Dawud] [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

Thus immersing oneself in a pond of water while opening one’s mouth will render one ritually pure even if there is no intention to do so.

And Allah knows best.
Wassalam
[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sufyan Qufi is an advanced seeker of knowledge, originally from Algeria, who grew up in France. He began searching far and wide for answers to the fundamental questions of life and was disappointed at the answers he found.

Then he connected with various traditional teachers and gradually connected with SeekersGuidance. He embarked on his journey of learning through the various teachers at SeekersGuidance, including his mentor Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

He studied numerous texts in Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith, and other areas with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and other teachers, including Shaykh Abdurrahman al-Sha‘ar, Shaykh Ali Hani, and others.

He is an active instructor at SeekersGuidance and answers questions through the SeekersGuidance Answers Service.