converts to Islam must perform ghusl. Abu Hurairah reported that Thumamah
al-Hanafi was captured. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, passed by him and
said, “What do you have to say for yourself, O Thumamah?” He said, “If you kill
me, you would be killing a relative. If you give me a bounty (set me free), I
would be thankful. If you want wealth (as a ransom), we can give you what you
wish.” The companions of the Prophet preferred the ransom and said, “What would
we get if we killed him?” One time when the Prophet passed by him, he finally
embraced Islam. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, untied him and told him to go
to the garden of Abu Talhah and perform ghusl. He performed ghusl and prayed
two rak’ah. The Prophet said, “Indeed, your brother became a fine Muslim.” This
hadith is related by Ahmad. There is also a source for the story in reports by
al-Bukhari and Muslim.
c: Circumambulating the Ka’bah
The reasoning behind this can be found in what actions require the ablution as a prerequisite.
d: Touching or carrying the Qur’an
The companions were all agreed that it is forbidden to touch or carry the Qur’an while one is in a state of impurity. There are some jurists, such as Dawud ibn Hazm, who allow the physically unclean person, whether because of sex or menstruation, to touch or carry the Qur’an, and they see nothing wrong with this. He derives his support from a hadith in the two Sahihs in which it is stated that the Prophet sent a letter to Heraclius saying, “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful...O people of the book, come to a statement that is common between us and you, that we should worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords besides Allah. If they turn away, then say ‘Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).” (al’Imran 64). Ibn Hazm concludes, “This is the letter the Messenger of Allah wrote, containing this verse, to the Christians, and of course they touched it.” The majority of scholars answer him by stating that one is allowed to touch parts of the Qur’an that are used in letters, books, Tafsir, and so on, as such things are not copies of the Qur’an, nor is it confirmed that such an action is forbidden.
Reciting the Qur’an
According to most scholars, one who is physically unclean (because of sex or menstruation) may not recite any portion of the Qur’an. This is based on a hadith from ‘Ali, in which he stated that nothing kept the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, from the Qur’an save being sexually impure. This is related by “the four.” At-Tirmizhi graded it sahih. Says al-Hafez in al-Fath, “Some people declare some of its narrators weak. But, in fact, it is of the hassan class and it is satisfactory as a proof.” He also related, “I saw the Messenger of Allah perform ablution and recite some of the Qur’an, 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 and Abu Ya’la related this hadith with that wording. With that wording, al-Haithami says, “Its narrators are trustworthy.” Says ash-Shaukani, “If that (report) is authentic, that is proof enough that it is forbidden.” The first hadith does not forbid it, for it just states that it was his practice not to recite the Qur’an while he was in post-sex impurity. Similar reports do not show that it is disliked. Therefore, how can it be used as a proof that it is forbidden?” Al-Bukhari, at-Tabarani, Dawud, and Ibn Hazm are of the opinion that it is permissible for one who is in post-sex impurity (or in menstruation) to recite the Qur’an. Says al-Bukhari, “Ibrahim said, ‘There is no problem if a menstruating woman recites a verse.’ Ibn ‘Abbas did not see anything wrong with a sexually impure person reciting the Qur’an. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, used to mention Allah under all circumstances.” In Ibn Hajr’s notes to that work, he says, “There is no authentic hadith 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. ‘Aishah said, “The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, saw that his companions’ houses were practically in the mosque. He said, ‘Direct those houses away from the mosque.’ He then entered the mosque, but the people did nothing, hoping that Allah would reveal to Muhammad that what they were doing was permissible. After he came out, 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.” (Related by Abu Dawud.)
Umm Salamah related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, came to the mosque’s courtyard and said at the top of his voice, “The mosque is off limits to menstruating women and the sexually impure persons.” (Related by Ibn Majah and at-Tabarani.) Such people can, however, pass through the mosque, for says Allah, “O you who believe, draw not near unto prayer when you are drunk until you know that which you utter, nor when you are impure save when journeying upon the road, until you have bathed” (an-Nisa’ 43). Said Jubair, “One of us used to pass through the mosque though he was impure.” (Related by Ibn Abu Shaibah and Sa’eed ibn Mansur in his Sunan.) Zaid ibn Aslam said, “The companions of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, used to walk through the mosques while they were sexually impure.” (Related by Ibn al-Munzhir.) Yazib ibn Habib reported that the companions’ doors opened up 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, “...nor when you are impure, save journeying upon the road...” (Related by at-Tabari.)
Commenting on the preceding reports, ash-Shaukani says,”The meaning is so clear that there is no room for doubt.” Said ‘Aishah, “The Prophet said to me, ‘Hand me my cloth from the mosque.’ I said, ‘I am menstruating.’ He said, ‘Your menstruation is not in your hand.” (Related by the group, except for al-Bukhari.) Said Maimunah, “The Messenger of Allah used to come to one of our rooms while we were menstruating and put his head on (his wife’s) lap and recite the Qur’an. Then one of us would take his clothes and put them in the mosque while she was menstruating.” (Related by Ahmad and an-Nasa’i. The report has supporting evidence.)
Actions for which ghusl is preferred
This category of actions involves a reward for performing ghusl, and no blame if he does not. Such actions are:
To be continued