Narrated Asma’ bint Abi Bakr:
A woman asked Allah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), “O Allah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)! What should we do, if the blood of menses falls on our clothes?” Allah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied, “If the blood of menses falls on the garment of anyone of you, she must take hold of the blood spot, rub it, and wash it with water and then pray in (with it).
Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 6, Hadith 12
“Some women used to send the pads of cotton with traces of yellowish discharge to ‘Aa’ishah (radi Allahu anha) (for the verdict to know whether they had become clean from menses or not). and ‘Aa’ishah (radiAllaahu anha) would say:”Do not hurry till you see Al-Qassatal’ Baydaa’ (white discharge from the womb; the cotton pad will be white) meaning the perfect disappearance of menses.”
[Saheeh Al-Bukhari (Arabic-English) V.1, Chapter 19: “The beginning and the Ending of menstrual Period”]
Question: Is there any difference in the manner that a man and a woman wash themselves after sexual defilement? Does a woman have to undo her braids or is it sufficient for her just to pour three handfuls of water over her hair as mentioned in the hadeeth? What is the difference between the washing after sexual defilement and the washing after menses?
Response: There is no difference between men and women when it comes to ghusl after sexual defilement. Neither of them have to undo their hair for ghusl. It is sufficient to pour three handfuls of water over their hair and then to pour water over the rest of their bodies. This is based on the hadeeth of Umm Salamah who said, “O Messenger of Allaah, “I am a woman who has closely plaited hair on her head, should I undo it for making ghusl from sexual defilement?” The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) told her, “No, it is sufficient for you to throw three handfuls of water on your head and then pour water over yourself, and you will be purified.” (Muslim) However, if the man or woman has sidr, dye or something of that nature in his hair that would keep the water from reaching to the roots of the hair, he or she must remove that. If it is something light and does not keep the water from reaching the roots, it does not have to be removed. As for the woman making ghusl after her menses, there is a difference of opinion over whether she must undo her hair or not. The correct opinion is that it is not obligatory upon her to do so. This is because it is mentioned in one of the narrations from Umm Salamah, recorded by Muslim, that she said, to the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) ‘O Messenger of Allaah, “I am a woman who has closely plaited hair on her head, should I undo it for making ghusl from menstruation and sexual defilement?” The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) told her, “No, it is sufficient for you to throw three handfuls of water on your head and then pour water over yourself, and you will be purified.” This narration is a clear text that it is not obligatory upon the woman to undo her plaits after either menses or sexual defilement. However, it is best for her to undo her hair while making ghusl after menses as a precautionary measure, as a means of avoiding the thing in which there is a difference of opinion and as a way of reconciliation of the different evidences.
And with Allaah lies all success and may Allaah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) and his family and his companions.
The Permanent Committee for Islaamic Research and Fataawa
Q: If one’s hair is braided, should one undo the braids? ￼
A: No, a woman does not need to undo her braids, except for that which is actually on the head. As for the braids in her hair which starts after her head, she does not need to wipe them during Wudu’. However, during Ghusl (full ritual bath), water must be poured over all of the hair. As for Wudu’, you only need to wipe over it from where the hair begins up to the back of the head which is followed by the neck. If the hair is longer than that, then it needs not to be wiped. However, during Ghusl she needs not to undo the braids, but she must soak them so water will reach all of it.