Is a Woman’s Ghusl (Ritual Bath) Different from a Man’s Ghusl?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


Is a ghusl for women different from a man’s ghusl because of menstruation? What is the best way to perform ghusl for girls?


Thank you for your question. Ma sha’ Allah, your question is excellent, and I’m pleased to see a question like this, may Allah reward you.

A Woman’s Ghusl

It says in the Reliance of the Traveller:

When performing the purificatory bath, one:

  1. begins by saying, “In the name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate”;
  2. removes any unclean matter on the body (O: pure or impure);
  3. performs ablution (wudu) as one does before the prayer;
  4. pours water over the head three times, intending to lift a state of major ritual impurity (janaba) or menstruation, or to be permitted to perform the prayer, and running the fingers through one’s hair to saturate it;
  5. and then pours water over the body’s right side three times, then over the left side three times, ensuring that water reaches all joints and folds, and rubbing oneself.
  6. If bathing after menstruation, a woman uses some musk to eliminate the after scent of blood (O: by applying it to a piece of cotton and inserting it, after bathing, into the vagina as far as is obligatory (def: (b) below) for her to wash).

(N: What is meant thereby is a substance that removes the traces of filth, by any means, and it is fine to use soap.)

Two things (N: alone) are obligatory for the validity of the purificatory bath:

  • having the intention ((4) above) when water is first applied to the parts that must be washed;
  • and that water reaches all of the hair and skin (N: to the roots of the hair, under nails, and the outwardly visible portion of the ear canals, though, unlike ablution, the sequence of washing the parts is not obligatory), even under the foreskin of the uncircumcised man, and the private parts of the nonvirgin woman which are normally disclosed when she squats to relieve herself.

(N: In the Hanafi school, rinsing out the mouth and nostrils is obligatory for the validity of the purificatory bath. [al-Lubab Ii Sharh al-Kitab] It is religiously more precautionary for a Muslim never to omit it, and Allah knows best.) [Keller, Reliance of the Traveller]


Don’t forget that a girl should also rotate or twist her earrings, nose ring, rings, etc, to make sure that water reaches the skin and enters the holes. Both men and women should take care to make sure water reaches inside the belly button, and for a girl, squatting would be the best way to ensure that the exposed private parts are washed.

Please see these links as well:
What are the Requirements of an Obligatory Purificatory Bath?
Is Having a Regular Shower After an Intention Enough for Performing a Valid Ritual Bath According to the Shafi’i School?

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.