It is prohibited for any person who is junub (in a state of impurity following sexual activity) to pray, perform tawaf, stay in the mosque, or touch the Qur’an. However, everything else is permissible. There is a common misconception that a woman cannot touch plates or dishes or do her housework while she is in a state of janabah (major impurity following sexual intercourse). This is baseless and has no place in Islam. A woman can do all her duties and touch everything except the above three things, while in a state of janabah. These things are, namely performing prayer, tawaf or touching the Qur’an.

Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim scholar and lecturer, states that: “There is nothing wrong for a woman who is junub to cook, look after her house, take care of her children or fulfil any other needs. It was narrated from Abu Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) met him on one of the roads of Madinah when he was junub. He (Abu Hurairah) said, “I turned back and went and performed ghusl (purifying bath), then I came back.” He (the Prophet) said, “Where were you, O Abu Hurairah?” I said, “I was junub and I did not like to sit with you when I was not in a state of purity.” He said, “Glory be to Allah! A Muslim does not become impure.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said, “This indicates that it is permissible to delay performing ghusl (purifying bath) from the time when it first becomes obligatory, and that it is permissible for the one who is junub to go about his business.”

At the same time, it is better for the one who is junub to hasten to perform ghusl (purifactory bath), lest he forgets that he is junub. And it is recommended for him to perform wudoo’ before he touches food and drink and before going to sleep. That is better and more pleasing to Allah than doing these things when he is junub. However, ablution in this case is not obligatory, rather it serves to reduce the impurity, and so it is recommended. There are a number of hadiths concerning this issue. It was narrated that `A’isha said, “When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was junub and wanted to eat or sleep, he would perform ablution as for prayer.” (Muslim). It was narrated from Ibn `Umar that `Umar ibn al-Khattab asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “Can any of us go to sleep when he is junub?” He said, “Yes, if he performs ablution then he can go to sleep when he is junub.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). An-Nawawi said, “This indicates that it is recommended to perform ablution and to wash one’s private parts before doing any of these things, especially if the man wants to have intercourse with a wife with whom he has not yet had intercourse. In that case, it is definitely recommended to wash one’s private parts. Our companions have stated that it is reprehensible to sleep, eat, drink or have intercourse before performing ablution, and these hadiths provide proof. There is no dispute among the scholars that this ablution is not obligatory. This is also the view of Malik and the majority of scholars.

According to Imam Ibn Taymiyah, it is recommended for the one who is junub to perform ablution if he wants to eat, drink, sleep or have intercourse again, and it is reprehensible for him to sleep if he has not performed ablution. It was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked, “Can any of us go to sleep when he is junub?” He said, “Yes, if he performs ablution as for prayer…” (Majmu` Al-Fatawa)”