Do I Need a Ghusl to Recite the Basmala and Dhikr?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


If I am in a state of major ritual impurity, can I say Bismillah before making wudu or drinking water? And can I say dhikr and dua from the Quran?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

It is recommended to recite the basmala when performing the purificatory bath, whether for menstruation or a state of sexual defilement (janaba). Still, one should intend dhikr, not Quran recitation thereby. It is permissible to recite dhikr, supplication, Salawat, etcetera, but not the Quran in the state of major ritual impurity, and Allah knows best.

Remembering Allah Frequently.

Allah says: “O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance. [Quran, 33:41]

Purificatory Requirements of Ghusl.

Ghusl (ritualistic bath) and Wudu (ablution) are not requirements for general forms of dhikr, except for the recitation of the Quran and Prayer (Salat). They are recommended, and being in a pure state would be more beneficial to derive the most spiritual benefit from dhikr, and Allah knows best. [Nawawi, Minhaj]

How to Say the Basmala Before a Ghusl

According to Imam Nawawi, when a person intends to perform the ritual bath (ghusl) from a state of sexual defilement (janaba), they should begin by mentioning the name of Allah the Exalted.

The manner of the basmala (tasmiya) is similar to what was mentioned concerning the ablution (wudu), saying “Bismillah” (In the name of Allah). If one adds “Al-Rahman Al-Rahim” (The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful), it is permissible, but it should not be done with the intention of reciting the Quran. [Majmu‘]

Other Views in the Shafi‘i School

This recommendation of mentioning Allah’s name (tasmiya) during the ritual bath (ghusl) is the correct opinion, and it is the consensus (qat’) of the majority of scholars. Some, including Qadi Hussain, Al-Mutawalli, and others, have mentioned another view that it is not recommended to mention Allah’s name (tasmiya) during the ritual bath (ghusl) from a state of sexual defilement (janaba).

However, this view is weak because mentioning Allah’s name is a form of remembrance (dhikr) and cannot be considered Quranic recitation unless it is done with the intention of doing so. [ibid.]

Please view this related answer.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.