Rules to be Observed in Public Baths

There is no religious drawback to going to a public bath for ghusl or in order to clean the dirt on one’s body thoroughly if certain rules are observed.

The Companions went to the public baths in Damascus and made ghusl there; some of them said, “Public baths are nice. They clean the body from the impurities and remind people the Hellfire due to its heat.”

Others said, “Public baths are bad because they cause mahram parts of the body to open and harm the feeling of modesty.”

The first statement expresses the advantages and the second one the disadvantages of public baths.

It is deduced from the following narration that it is permissible to make the rubber rub one’s body and give massage.

During a journey, the Prophet lay face down and made one of his black slaves rub his back. When he was asked what happened, he said, “I fell of the camel; therefore, I am having my back rubbed.”

There is no drawback to going to public baths if one is careful and observes the rules.

A person who goes to a public bath has to be careful about the following issues:

1 – Not to open his mahram parts and not to show them to anybody.

2 – Not to let anyone touch his parts of the body between his navel and the knees. That is, not to let a rubber to rub those parts. He can have the other parts rubbed. 

3 – It is wajib not to show his mahram parts and not to look at other people’s mahram parts. If mahram parts of a person are opened, it is necessary to remind him about it if possible; otherwise, one must not look at that side. 

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If those three rules are observed, it is permissible to go to public baths. Otherwise, it is more appropriate to clean oneself and make ghusl in one’s own house.

There is no drawback to going to public baths that have separate rooms for everybody; it is better to prefer those kinds of public baths because it is easier to ensure tasattur in those baths.

The other manners of going to public baths are as follows:

1 – To have a nice intention; that is, not to have a worldly aim like to be cleaned bright and beautiful but to perform prayers as a clean person and to have a lofty aim like to be clean in the presence of Allah.

2 – To enter the public bath with the left foot.

3 – To utter the prayer, “Allahumma inni audhu bika mina’l-khubthi wa’l-khabaith” (O Allah! I seek your refuge from all sorts of harmful and vicious things) while entering the bath.

4 – It is more appropriate to prefer times when there are fewer people in the bath because some of the people in the public bath may not be religious, understanding and cultivated people. They may open their mahram parts without feeling modest. For this reason, it is better to prefer times when there are fewer people.

5 – Not to waste water.

6 – To connect a relationship between the heat in the public bath and the Hell fire and try to draw lessons.

7 – It is not appropriate to say ‘salamun alaykum’ while entering the public bath. Instead an expression like, ‘may it be healthy’ can be used. Shaking hands is also appropriate.

Not to talk much. The Quran is not read aloud. It is appropriate to say basmala silently. It is not recommended to go to a public bath just before the evening or between the evening and night prayers. 

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