Having sexual intercourse is included as one of the major impurities in Islam. It means that after doing it, we are in the state of junub. In other words, we are obligated to perform ghusl before doing observance to Allah.
As it commonly known that there are some worships forbidden to do when we are in the state of junub, such as salat, reciting Al-Qur’an, fasting, and tawaf in Ka’bah. Ghusl itself becomes one of common types of purification in Islam.
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ فَٱغْسِلُوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْمَرَافِقِ وَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْكَعْبَيْنِ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُمْ جُنُبًا فَٱطَّهَّرُوا۟ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰٓ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَآءَ أَحَدٌ مِّنكُم مِّنَ ٱلْغَآئِطِ أَوْ لَٰمَسْتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا۟ مَآءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا۟ صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُم مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُۥ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ“O believers! When you rise up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, wipe your heads, and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in the state of ‘full’ impurity, then take a full bath. But if you are ill, on a journey, or have relieved yourselves, or have been intimate with your wives and cannot find water, then purify yourselves with clean earth by wiping your faces and hands. It is not Allah’s Will to burden you, but to purify you and complete His favor upon you, so perhaps you will be grateful.” (Al-Ma’idah: 6)
In the case whether the intercourse is accompanied by the discharge of semen or not, performing ghusl is still compulsory. It is not determined by the discharge of semen. In Islamic law, sexual intercourse is defined as the penetration of the glans into the vagina of the woman. Thus, when it happens, both woman and man are required to perform ghusl.
The obligatory to perform ghusl after sex is not illogical order from Allah. We as His creature must know what He orders is the best thing for us. Fundamentally, according to some sources, there are two reasons below why we should do ghusl after sexual intercourse.
- It Reflects Clean Lifestyle
Performing ghusl after sex is the act of purifying ourselves for we want to clean it from the major impurity. It has a high value in Islam since in Al-Baqarah verse 222 it is mentioned that Allah loves those who have care for cleanness.
And a message from Rasulullah undoubtedly most of us have known that cleanliness is half of faith. It can be implied that cleanliness in Islam is necessary.
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلتَّوَّٰبِينَ وَيُحِبُّ ٱلْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ…“…Surely Allah loves those who always turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves.” (Al-Baqarah: 222)
“…عَنْ أَبِي مَالِكٍ الأَشْعَرِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ الطُّهُورُ شَطْرُ الإِيمَانِ“Abu Malik at-Ash’ari reported that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Cleanliness is half of faith…’” (Muslim)
While in the sight of humans, applying cleanness as our lifestyle will be valued positively. Another important thing is, viewed from scientific perspective, clean lifestyle will make us healthy, fresh, and productive.
- A Form of Refreshing the Spirit
According to Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America, sexual intercourse is not just an ordinary matter like urination or defecation. When it happens, not only does our physic involve, but also our mind and spirit.
It makes one feel lazy and dull. In this point, ghusl after sex takes a role to refresh body and spirit so that a person will be physically and mentally ready to do observance to Allah and other activities.
As in other kinds of ghusl, there is no difference in how to perform ghusl after sex. The compulsory things in doing ghusl are certainly niyyat and washing the whole body. A slight difference between ghusl after sex and other kinds of ghusl only lies in its niyyat, that we intend to purify ourselves from janabat.
In every act we do, niyyat occupies the first place we must aware. It is because different niyyat will be followed by different action. And in sacred thing about our obligation in Islam and our relationship with Allah, this thing should be extremely emphasized. It will determine the validity of our observance and whether reward or punishment we will get from Allah.
In performing ghusl, niyyat can be recited either implicitly in our hearts or explicitly. It is up to one’s preference. If we want to say the niyyat orally to make ourselves surer, there is niyyat of doing ghusl after sex as presented below.
نَوَيْتُ الْغُسْلَ لِرَفْعِ الْحَدَثِ اْلاَكْبَرِ فَرْضًا ِللهِ تَعَالَى“I intend to perform full purification to cleanse the major impurity from janabah fard of Allah ta’ala.”
- Washing the Whole Body
Because ghusl means full purification, we have to ensure that the water we use in ghusl reaches all part of our bodies. Even the smallest part of our body not reached by the water will make our ghusl unaccepted and influence other observances we do.
This is included in 15 things that nullify mandatory bathing. The body is washed in three steps. First, head down to the neck; then the right side of the body from the shoulder down to the foot; and the last one is the left side of the body.
Other than that, there are also recommendable acts or sunnah of ghusl. It means that if we do it we will gain more reward from Allah. And if we leave it, it is no problem because our ghusl is still valid. But one thing we must keep in mind is that there is importance of sunnah in Muslim life.
- Cleansing the Hands up to the Wrists
It is done for three times after reciting the niyyat. Then, cleanse the dirt in private area using the left hand.
- Washing the Hands after Cleansing the Private Area
To get rid of the dirt after cleansing the private area, wash the hands using water and soap, or just rub them to the soil. Make sure that there is no dirt left.
- Performing wudu
The wudu performed is the one we always do before salat; rinsing the hands as the beginning and ended by rinsing the foot.
- Washing the Whole Body from the Right Side First
When we have finished with the right side, then continue with the left side.
- Observing the Part of the Body that is Hard to Reach
Our hair, especially the hair-roots, is one part of our bodies which is hard to reach by the water. Hence, we should comb the hair with the fingers to ensure that water reaches it. Moreover, we can wipe the hands to the whole body to ensure that every part has been washed.
As mentioned before, the main point in how to perform ghusl after sex is niyyat and washing the whole body. When these two things are fulfilled, we can say that we have done the requirement of doing the valid ghusl and may Allah accept this deed as a good deed. And we can gain benefits of good deeds in Islam. Allah will not ever burden us but to complete His favor upon us.