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Janaba (Arabic: جَنابَة) is a jurisprudential term meaning a state of being non-tahir which is a result of discharging semen or sexual intercourse that involves penetration. The person who is in this state is called "junub" (Arabic: جُنُب). Janaba is a al-hadath al-akbar. According to Islamic jurisprudence, performing some acts of worships such as prayer, fasting, hajj, and entering mosque is prohibited.

By performing ghusl al-janaba one comes out of this state.


Lexically, janaba means to get away. In jurisprudential terminology, it is a state which causes a person to get away from the rulings of clean (tahir) people.[1] The person who is in this state is called "junub." In jurisprudential sources this topic is discussed in various chapters such as tahara, prayer, and fast.

Some rulings about janaba are mentioned in the Qur'an 4:43 and Qur'an 5:6.[2]

There are about 400 hadiths presenting detailed rulings about janaba. In hadiths, it is also defined as spiritual impurity. Therefore, it is narrated in hadiths that junub should not be present at muhtadar's bed (one who is dying) or people should not perform salat in a room in which there is a junub, or a junub should not sleep in this state as during the sleep the soul is presented before God with this spiritual impurity. This impurity is removed by performing ghusl al-janaba.


Two acts cause janaba: ejaculation and penetration.


Ejaculation causes janaba whether it is accompanied by lust, force, and weakness of the body or not, from man or woman, asleep or awake. Needless to say, the movement of semen inside the body without emission does not cause janaba.[3]

Ejaculation while Sleeping (Ihtilam) Seminal discharge during sleep is called ihtilam. This seldom occurs for women. Whether ihtilam is accompanied by an erotic dream or not, if one finds wetness on one's clothes after waking up and is certain that it is semen, one is junub.

If a man cannot ascertain whether his emission (during sleep or while awake) is semen or not, it is treated as semen provided it is accompanied by lust, force, and weakness of the body. However, there is disagreement among jurists whether the ruling is subject to all three aforementioned signs or some of them will suffice.[4] In the sick, the two signs of lust and weakness of the body is sufficient for the ruling.[5]

It is noteworthy, that there is disagreement among jurists about women discharge with lust.[6]


If a male organ penetrates the female organ up to the circumcision point (glans) both of them enter the state of janaba, whether they are adults (baligh) or not, sane or not, asleep or awake.[7] Most jurists issue that anal penetration (man or woman) also cause janaba.[8]

Ghusl al-Janaba

Main articles: Ghusl and Ghusl al-Janaba

It is recommended for junub to perform ghusl al-janaba as soon as possible, so that the spiritual impurity is removed. However, this ghusl becomes obligatory for performing religious acts that are subject to tahara, such as: prayer, circumambulation of Ka'ba (tawaf), fasting in the month of Ramadan. Ghusl al-janaba is invalid for one who is not in the state of janaba.[9] The method, rulings and conditions of ghusl al-janaba is similar to other obligatory and recommended ghusls except that ghusl al-janaba will suffice for wudu unless one does something that invalidates wudu.

Acts that Are Haram (Prohibited) for Junub

  • Reciting suras which contain obligatory prostration (al-sajda al-wajiba): However, there is disagreement whether the prohibition applies to reciting the verse of obligatory prostration (Qur'an 32:15 - 41:38 - 53:62 - 96:19) or to the whole sura.[10]
  • Touching the script of the Qur'an and the name of God (in any language): and according to most jurists touching the name of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Household (a).[11]
  • Staying or putting something in masjid: however, taking something from masjid or entering from one door and exiting from another is permissible for junub. Some jurists added the shrines of the infallible Imams (a) to this ruling.[12] Nevertheless, entering al-Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Nabi are absolutely prohibited even for traversing or taking something from them.[13]

Acts that Are Makruh (reprehensible) for Junub

  • Eating or drinking: unless junub makes wudu, or do madmada (rinsing inside the mouth) and istinshaq (rinsing inside the nose).[14] Hadiths indicate that eating and drinking during the state of janaba can cause vitiligo.
  • Reciting more than seven verses of the Qur'an: according to majority of jurists seven verses of suras that do not contain compulsory sajda.[15]
  • Touching the cover or the margins of the Qur'an.
  • Sleeping before performing ghusl or wudu.
  • Dying one's hair.[16]
  • Being present at muhtadar's bed (one who is dying).[17]

Some Rulings

  • Some jurists issued that the perspiration of one who has become junub by committing a prohibited act (for instance istimna' (masturbation) or Adultery is najis.[18] On the other hand, some believe that it is tahir (clean) but one cannot perform salat with it.[19]
  • Remaining in the state of Janaba to the dawn (fajr) in the month of Ramadan - for one upon whom fasting is obligatory - is haram (prohibited) and invalidates the fast of that day and causes qada (compensation) and expiation.[20]
  • If performing ghusl is harmful for junub, they should perform tayammum instead of ghusl.[21]
  • Performing salat in a room in which there is junub is makruh (reprehensible).[22]


  1. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 3.
  2. If you are junub, purify yourselves
  3. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 3.
  4. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 8-12.
  5. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 8-12.
  6. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 12-13.
  7. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 25-26.
  8. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 26-31.
  9. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 1, p. 46-55; Yazdī, al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā, vol. 1, p. 492.
  10. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 42-45; Yazdī, al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā, vol. 1, p. 482.
  11. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 2, p. 316:vol. 3, p. 46; Baḥrānī, al-Ḥadāʾiq al-nāḍira, vol. 2, p. 122; Ḥakīm, Mustamsak al-ʿUrwa, vol. 3, p. 45.
  12. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 49-56.
  13. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 54-55.
  14. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 64-67.
  15. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 67-72.
  16. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 3, p. 72-78.
  17. Tawḍīḥ al-masāʾil, vol. 1, p. 312.
  18. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 6, p. 71-77.
  19. Gulpāyigānī, Irshād al-sāʾil, p. 16; Lankarānī, al-Aḥkām al-wāḍiḥa, p. 95.
  20. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 16, p. 236-247.
  21. Najafī, Jawāhir al-kalām, vol. 5, p. 111.
  22. Yazdī, al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā, vol. 2, p. 401.


  • Baḥrānī, Yūsuf b. Aḥmad al-. Al-Ḥadāʾiq al-nāḍira. Qom: Daftar-i Nashr-i Islāmī, 1405 AH.
  • Gulpāyigānī, Sayyid Muḥammad Riḍā. Irshād al-sāʾil. Beirut: Dār al-ṣafwa, 1413 AH.
  • Ḥakīm, Sayyid Muḥsin al-. Mustamsak al-ʿUrwa. Third edition. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1387 AH.
  • Lankarānī, Muḥammad Fāḍil. Al-Aḥkām al-wāḍiḥa. Qom: Markaz-i Fiqhī-yi Aʾimma-yi Aṭhār, 1380 Sh.
  • Najafī, Muḥammad Ḥasan al-. Jawāhir al-kalām. Edited by ʿAbbās Qūchānī. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, [n.d].
  • Yazdī, Sayyid Muḥammad Kāẓim al-. Al-ʿUrwa al-wuthqā. Qom: Daftar-i Nashr-i Islāmī, [n.d].