Who is bothered when boys attain puberty?
When a female child in a Muslim family gets her first menses, the whole family gets to know about it! Boys in the family start giggling that something has happened to their sister or cousin. Some shameless Muslim families even ‘celebrate’ the occasion! ‘Our daughter has attained puberty’!!
In case of boys, neither the boy knows the Islamic indication and implication of attaining puberty nor his parents bother to teach him the etiquette of puberty and the responsibilities it brings alongside.
Attainment of puberty means start of accountability. A boy or girl who has come of age must take care of hijab, learn about taharah, observe awrah in all strictness, refrain from haram things and all things obligatory in Islam will start applying henceforth. He or she even gets the right to disobey parents, or anyone for that matter, when they order him or her to go against the teachings of Islam. He or she must know what his religion tells about sex and marriage etc.
As this post is not about sex education, I will restrict the discussion to matters relating to puberty and cleanliness.
In case of boys, parents take things for granted. Some parents feel shy to talk about certain things to their children. This type of shyness is nothing but a misunderstanding!
Our Prophet sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam was the shiest of all men in history. But he never found shyness coming his way in clarifying things related to puberty and hygiene. Even female companions used to go to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and ask him questions about menstruation, ghusl janabah etc.
What is the sign of attaining puberty?
Puberty is reached when one of three things happens in the case of boys:
1. Wet dreams, that is ejaculation or emission of maniy with desire when awake or asleep.
2. Growth of coarse hair in the pubic area
3. Reaching the age of fifteen (15 according to hijri calendar)
If one of these three things occurs, then the boy has reached puberty. In the case of girls, there is a fourth sign as mentioned above, namely the onset of menstruation.
Please know that Puberty is related to the growth of coarse hair in the pubic area, that is around penis in case of boys and vagina in case of girls. With regard to hair other than pubic hair, such as the hair of the beard or moustache or armpit hair, it is of no significance even if it is abundant, because Islam connects puberty only to the ruling related to the growth of pubic hair.
Basic teachings with regard to physical cleanliness after puberty
Cleanliness is half the faith. It is one of the basics of Islam. Parents must take care to teach their children about matters concerning taharah, purification. This is a very serious issue. Without proper purification, no prayer is valid!
1. Things that make bath compulsory in case of unmarried boys and girls:
a. Ejaculation or emission of maniy (semen) from its exit in the male or female, which happens either when one is awake or when one is asleep.
If it is emitted when one is awake and it was emitted out of pleasure, then ghusl is required. If it was emitted without pleasure, then ghusl is not required. Emission may be due to sickness also.
If it is emitted when one is asleep – and this condition is called ihtilaam, erotic or wet dream – then ghusl is required, whether it happened due to pleasure or not as one is not sure about it.
If a sleeper wakes up and finds traces of maniy, then he must do ghusl. If he had an erotic dream but no maniy came out and he does not find any trace of it, then he does not have to do ghusl.
b. Ghusl is obligatory on girls upon the completion of her monthly cycle, that is at the end of menstruation.
I request all girls/women reading this post to visit this Girls Only page, InshaaAllah.
2. Shave pubic and armpit hair:
It is from the established sunnah that a Muslim male or a female must shave armpit and pubic hair preferably once in forty days.
Important Points related to bath, that is ghusl:
a. Essential Requirements of Ghusl/bath
There are two essential requirements which need to be fulfilled for Ghusl to be valid. These are as follows:
1. Intention to perform Ghusl is necessary because it is the dividing line between acts performed as a mere custom and deeds which are rewardable acts of worship. However, the intention is only by heart and need not be uttered.
2. The entire body should be washed. Water should reach and flow freely over every part of the body.
b. How Ghusl is Performed
Besides the above two essential requirements, there are also other voluntary acts recommended for Ghusl. Both the essential and the voluntary acts are now integrated here below to demonstrate how the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to perform the Ghusl:
Intend by heart to perform Ghusl.
Wash both hands up to the wrists three times.
Wash the private parts properly.
Perform Wudhu/ablution as usual except, that the washing of the feet would be delayed until later when all the rest of the body is bathed.
Pour water over the head three times, massaging the hair to allow water to reach its roots.
Pour water liberally over the entire body, beginning with the right side and then, the left side ensuring that no part of the body is untouched by water such as the armpits, inside the earlobes, inside the navel, between the fingers and toes, etc.
Finally, move a little further from where you were and wash your feet, beginning with your right foot and then, the left.
May Allah guide us on the Right Path. May He bestow upon the Community the blessings of knowledge and wisdom, and the grace to understand the difference.
Sal-lal-laahu Ala Muhammad, Sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-Sallam.
Further readings and references: