Question # 392: Assalamu Alaikum, I would like to know that after intercourse with wife, is it compulsory for wife to wash full hair? wife is having problem with frequent hair wash. is there any way to avoid hair wash while performing ghusl?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: What is required in ghusl in the case of janabah is to wash the entire body with water, except that the woman, whose hair is in braids, is not obliged to undo them, but she should pour the water on her head three times, in such a manner that it reaches all of her hair. [There is a difference of opinion among scholars as to the obligation of undoing braids when performing ghusl after periods and when performing ghusl after intercourse because of the frequency of occurrence.] However, if using water will harm her and lead to her hair falling out, then she should just wipe her head and perform tayammum and wash the rest of her body. This tayammum is permissible before or after ghusl. Lastly, it is essential that the hair loss should be a real sickness and not just something imagined or feared, in order for a woman to avail this concession.

Long Answer: Washing the hair when doing ghusl (full ablution) after having intercourse is obligatory. The evidence (daleel) for that is the hadith narrated by Aaish’ah (رضي الله عنها) who said: When the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did ghusl after having intercourse, he would start by washing his hands, then he would pour water with his right hand onto his left hand and wash his private parts, then he would do wudu as for prayer, then he would take the water and put his fingers in his hair till he reached the roots, and when he saw that the water had reached the roots, he would pour water over his head three times. Then he poured water over the rest of his body, then he washed his feet. (Reported by Muslim) Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen said in his commentary on Buloogh al-Maraam: This also indicates that it is obligatory to make the water reach the roots of the hair when doing ghusl after intercourse, and if the hair is thick, one does this by putting one’s fingers in one’s hair and pouring water over one’s head three times after the water has reached the roots of the hair.

This ruling does not differentiate between men and women, but the scholars did discuss undoing the hair if it is braided, in the case of women who do ghusl after intercourse and after finishing their period. The most correct view is that it is not obligatory to undo braided hair. [Hence,] what is required in ghusl in the case of janabah is to wash the entire body with water, except that the woman whose hair is in braids is not obliged to undo them, but she should pour the water on her head in such a manner that it will reach all of her hair. That is because of the reports narrated by Muslim from Umm Salamah (رضي الله عنها) who said: “I said: O Messenger of Allah, I am a woman with tightly braided hair; should I undo it for ghusl from janabah? He said: ‘No; it is sufficient for you to pour three handfuls of water over your head, then pour water over you, and you will become pure.’” According to another report: Should I undo them for (ghusl following) menses and janabah? He said: “No.”

Further evidence is to be seen in the hadith of Ubayd ibn Umayr, who said: Aaish’ah (رضي الله عنها) heard that Abd-Allah ibn Umar was commanding women to undo their braids when they did ghusl. She said, “This is very strange on the part of Ibn Umar! He is telling women to undo their braids when they do ghusl why doesn’t he tell them to shave their heads? The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and I used to do ghusl using one vessel, and I never did more than pour water on my head three times. (Reported by Muslim)

Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Sharh Muslim: “Our view and that of the majority is that if a woman has her hair in braids and the water reaches all of her hair, inward and outward, without undoing the braids, she does not have to undo her braids, but if the water cannot reach all of her hair without undoing the braids, then she must undo them. The hadith of Umm Salamah is to be interpreted as meaning that the water reached all of her hair without her undoing it, because making the water reach all parts is obligatory. It was narrated from al-Nakha’i that it is obligatory to undo (braids) in all cases; it was narrated from al-Hasan and Tawoos that it is obligatory to undo braids when doing ghusl following menses, but not in the case of janabah. Our evidence is the hadith of Umm Salamah.”

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen said in his commentary on Buloogh al-Maraam: “…There is a difference of scholarly opinion on the matter. Some scholars said that it is obligatory for women to undo their braids when doing ghusl after their periods, but not when doing ghusl after having intercourse. The difference between the two is obviously that ghusl after intercourse is done frequently, and it would be too difficult for a woman to undo her braids in the morning and put them back in the evening or vice versa, but ghusl following ones period is usually done only once a month, so it is easy for a woman to undo her braids for this purpose.”

[Next,] if using water will harm her and lead to her hair falling out, then she should do tayammum and wash the rest of her body, because Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “But if you are ill or on a journey, or any of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (i.e. sexual intercourse), and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth” (Soorah al-Maa’idah, 5:6) This verse indicates that the sick person who will be harmed or his recovery delayed by using water should do tayammum. Allah has explained the wisdom behind this legislation in the verse where He (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favor to you that you may be thankful” (Soorah al-Ma’idah, 5:6)

If she can wipe her head, she should do that and do tayammum and wash the rest of her body, because she is able to do that and because Allah has not burdened any soul beyond its scope.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah be pleased with him) was replied to a similar question: “If you will be harmed by washing your head in the case of janabah and following menses, it will suffice to wipe it and do tayammum too, because Allah says: “So keep your duty to Allah and fear Him as much as you can” (Soorah al-Taghaabun, 64:16) And the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whatever I forbid you to do, avoid it; and whatever I tell you to do, do as much of it as you can.” (Fataawa Islamiyyah)

This tayammum is permissible before or after ghusl, because washing the parts of the body in a particular order is not essential in ghusl.

It should be noted that some women exaggerate their fear about hair loss. It is essential that the hair loss should be a real sickness and not just something imagined or feared, in order for a woman to be allowed the concession of not washing her hair and wiping it and doing tayammum instead.

(The above reply is based on various answers provided by Islamqa.info on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam