In the first place, we would like to stress that Islam is the religion of cleanliness. Islam requires a person to pay considerable attention to his personal hygiene and cleanliness. The Qur’an says: (Truly Allah loves those who turn unto Him, and loves those who have a care for cleanness.) (Al-Baqarah: 222) The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “Cleanliness is half of faith.”
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: Ghusl is not just any type of shower; rather, properly speaking, it is ritual bathing for the purpose of worship. It is essential to perform ghusl under the following conditions:
1. Following sexual intercourse;
2. Emission of seminal fluid regardless of whether it occurred while being awake or asleep;
3. In the case of women, following menstruation; after menstruation stops, they must perform ghusl before resuming Prayer;
4. In the case of women, again, after the expiry of post-natal bleeding; they must perform ghusl before resuming Prayer.
5. When there is a reasonable ground to believe that he/she is in contact with some form of impurity on his/her body and not sure of the precise location so as to clean it; in which case a full ghusl is necessary;
6. When a non-Muslim embraces Islam.
In each or all of the above circumstances, one must perform a complete bath before resuming Prayer or reading Qur’an or performing Tawaf (performing circumambulation around the Ka`bah).
In order for ghusl to be complete, the following conditions must be fulfilled:
1. Intention of performing the same for the purpose of worship;
2. Making sure that the whole body is bathed at least once.
The complete and full form of ghusl involves the following steps:
1.Washing the genitals thoroughly first;
2.Performing wudu` except washing of the feet, which can be done later;
3.Pouring water over the head;
4.Bathing the whole body starting from the right side;
5.Washing the entire body three times.