Toilet protocols, as prescribed in Islam, are mandatory to all Muslims.? Islamic toilet instructions contain obnoxious, tasteless, indecent, and uncivil manners and customs.? Allah will never forgive a Muslim for deviating from His standard of Islamic toilet habits as demonstrated by Muhammad.
Qur’an says a Muslim must emulate Muhammad’s manners, traditions, and practices at all time. In verses 3:132 and 4:80 Allah says that obeying Him and Muhammad (i.e., Muhammad?s examples) is mandatory. This means Muslims have no choice but to follow Muhammad’s deeds, as this constitutes the obeying the commands of Allah. A similar command is echoed in verse 33:36 where Allah stipulates that provisions (rules and examples, even toilet rules) set by Allah and Muhammad is binding to all Muslims; there are no alternatives. Ibn?Kathir adds more punch to Allah?s command He writes that this verse is general in meaning and applies to all matters, i.e., if Allah and His Messenger decreed a matter, no one has the right to go against that, and no one has any choice or room for personal opinion on that case.
Allah decrees in verse 33:21 that He has made Muhammad an excellent example for the believers to follow and in verse 68:4 Allah reminds the Muslims that Muhammad is the exalted (ultimate/excellent) standard of character. Ibn?Abbas says that Muhammad has great character traits with which Allah has honoured him.
Allah promises great rewards for emulating Muhammad’s habits, manners, and instructions. In verse 33:71 Allah declares that obeying Allah and Muhammad are the highest achievements, and in verse 3:31 Allah sets a condition that if any Muslim loves Allah then he/she must follow Muhammad, and Allah will forgive his/her sins. Verse 4:13 guarantees paradise for those who blindly obey Muhammad.
Allah prescribes sever punishment for not emulating Muhammad. In verse 47:33 Allah says that if Muslims do not obey Muhammad, then He will nullify all their good deeds. In verse 48:13 we read that Allah has prepared a blazing fire for those who reject Him and his apostle Muhammad. In verse 58:5 Allah has decreed that those who reject Allah and His messenger (Muhammad) will be reduced to dust.
Here is what Ash?Shifa (p.316) writes about imitating Muhammad absolutely:
It is also known that the Companions were in the habit of imitating the actions of the Prophet, whatever they were and in every way, just as they obeyed whatever he said. They threw away their signet rings when he threw his away. They discarded their sandals when he discarded his. They used as a proof for facing Jerusalem when going to the lavatory the fact that Ibn ?Umar saw him doing so. Others found a proof for other actions both in the category of worship and general custom by saying, ?I saw the Messenger of Allah do it.?
Once we acknowledge Allah?s dicta in the above paragraphs we will understand why the Muslims follow a few weird toilet manners, though those habits were the customs of the Arab Bedouins millennia ago. In Islam, there is no date?of?expiry of Muhammad?s traditions and practices?they are eternal.
It is also important to keep in perspective the primitive toilet facilities in Muhammad’s household. The truth is: Muhammad, including his wives, used to relieve themselves in the open desert, under the open sky. The males could defecate any time of the day or night, but Muhammad’s wives were restricted to answer their calls of nature only at night. Described by a few ahadith, we have a glimpse of the abject toilet facilities in Muhammad’s family. Here are a few examples:
Wives of Muhammad answered the call of nature in the open field…(Sahih?Bukhari, 1.4.148, 149). During Hajj some of Muhammad?s companions had their penises dripping with prostrate fluid?(Sunaan?Abu?Dawud, 2.10.1785)
When defecating together (two men) do not converse, do not look at each others private parts?(Sunaan?ibn?Majah, 1.342)
Carry three stones while relieving yourself in desert?(Mishkat, 1.186)
To be certain, let us read in full, one hadis from Sahih?Bukhari:
Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Number 148:
The wives of the Prophet used to go to Al-Manasi, a vast open place (near Baqia at Medina) to answer the call of nature at night. ‘Umar used to say to the Prophet “Let your wives be veiled,” but Allah’s Apostle did not do so. One night Sauda bint Zam’a the wife of the Prophet went out at ‘Isha’ time and she was a tall lady. ‘Umar addressed her and said, “I have recognized you, O Sauda.” He said so, as he desired eagerly that the verses of Al-Hijab (the observing of veils by the Muslim women) may be revealed. So Allah revealed the verses of “Al-Hijab” (A complete body cover excluding the eyes).
The above hadis also tells us why Muhammad imposed veils on Islamic women.
We will now examine a few outstanding features of Islamic toilets.
Jinns and Devils Haunt Islamic Toilets
If we happen to be in an Islamic Paradise, we might be completely surprised that many Muslims still believe these Islamic voodoos. For example, if you are in a village in Bangladesh or Pakistan, you will come across with many devout Muslims who will vouch that they had seen jinns inside their primitive latrines. A few of them might even swear that the local Imam or an Islamic mendicant had been able to chase out jinns and devils from their toilets when the jinns or devils caught their women in the toilets. Note that it is usually the women (pretty ones) who fall victims to the jinns and devils residing in rural Islamic latrines.
Please do not laugh. If we were to believe the following ahadith then it is certainly true that Islamic toilets are the perennial abodes of jinns and devils.
In Sunaan?Abu?Dawud (1.0006) we read that toilets are frequented by jinns and devils. Sunaan?ibn?Majah (1.296) writes that devils visit public toilets.
Let us read in full the first hadis:
Sunaan?Abu?Dawud, Book 1, Number 0006:
Narrated Zayd ibn Arqam:
The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: These privies are frequented by the jinns and devils. So when anyone amongst you goes there, he should say: “I seek refuge in Allah from male and female devils.”
Pray Before Entering an Islamic Toilet
Since jinns and devils visit Islamic toilets, Muhammad instructed his followers to offer prayer when entering a lavatory. We have already read a hadis on this. Here are a few more.
Pray when answering the call of nature?(Sahih?Bukhari, 1.4.144)
When you enter a lavatory say, ?O Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from wicked and noxious things.??(Sahih?Muslim, 3.0729)
When entering a toilet, say a prayer: O? Allah I seek refuge with you from all offensive and wicked things (evil deeds and evil spirits)?(Sunaan?Nasai,?1.19)
To screen you from jinns, when visiting toilet say Bismillah?(Sunaan?Tirmidhi,?130)
Do Not Hold Your Penis With Your Right Hand
Please do not be offended when you read this weird Islamic Toilet manner. In Islam, it is haram to hold your penis with your right hand when you defecate or urinate. Regarding your penis manner while in an Islamic Toilet, there are many ahadith, in all the Sahih Sitta (the six authentic) on this specification of Allah. In many of these ahadith Muhammad (that is, Allah), specified that when inside a toilet one may use his left hand to hold his penis. We may wonder about women, I am yet to find a hadis where Allah has specified that women cannot hold (OOPS! touch) their pudenda with their right hand. So we may assume that women are free to use either hand to cleanse themselves.
Here is a collection of a few interesting ahadith on Islamic manners of cleaning yourself in the toilet.
Do not breath while drinking water; do not touch penis in lavatory and do not cleanse private parts with your right hand…(Sahih?Bukhari, 1. 4.155)
While urinating, do not hold penis with your right hand…(Sahih?Bukhari,?1.4.156)
While in a toilet do not touch penis with your right hand?(Sahih?Muslim,?2.0512)
While urinating or defecating do not touch your penis with your right hand?(Sunaan?Abu?Dawud, 1.1.0031)
When urinating do not touch your penis with your right hand?(Sunaan?Nasai,?1.24,?25)
Use left hand for private parts?(Mishkat, 1.185)
Do not touch male organ with right hand?(Mishkat, 1.183)
Use left hand for touching private parts?(Mishkat, 1.185)
Rules on Islamic Defecation
In the Qur’an there is very little or none about Allah?s stipulation on Islamic Toilet procedures. However, some Islamic scholars believe that Allah revealed verse 9:108 in connection with the proper method of cleaning oneself after defecating. Let us read verse 9:108 from the Qur’an and a hadis from Sunaan?Abu?Dawud:
9:108. Never stand you therein. Verily, the mosque whose foundation was laid from the first day on piety is more worthy that you stand therein (to pray). In it are men who love to clean and to purify themselves. And All?h loves those who make themselves clean and pure (i.e. who clean their private parts with dust [i.e. to be considered as soap) and water from urine and stools, after answering the call of nature] (Tr. Hilali and Khan).
Please note that the translators have inserted their own comments. They are of the opinion that in Islamic ritual of defecating dust may be considered as soap.
Here is what a hadis says:
Sunaan?Abu?Dawud, Book 1, Number 0044:
Narrated Abu Hurayrah:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The following verse was revealed in connection with the people of Quba’: “In it are men who love to be purified” (ix.108). He (Abu Hurayrah) said: They used to cleanse themselves with water after easing. So the verse was revealed in connection with them.
One compulsory provision of Islamic toilet manner is that during defecation a Muslim must position himself in such a manner that neither his face (that is, penis or women?s vulva) nor his back (that is, buttock) should face the Qibla (Kaba). Muslims must obey this rule whether defecating in an open desert or inside a latrine in his house.
Here are a few ahadith on this:
While defecating in the open space neither face nor turn your back towards Qibla (Kaba); instead, face the east or the west?(Sahih?Bukhari, 1.4.146)
While excreting or urinating do not face the Qibla?(Sahih?Muslim, 2.0504)
When defecating in the desert do not face Qibla nor turn your backside towards Qibla; use three sods and your right hand to cleanse your private parts?(Sunaan?Tirmidhi, 128)
While defecating do not face or show backside to Allah?(Mishkat, 1.185)
Interestingly, Muhammad, at times, had violated Allah?s rules. Here is the proof:
Muhammad urinated by turning his face towards the Qibla?(Sunaan?ibn?Majah,?1.325)
Muhammad defecated facing Jerusalem?(Sahih?Bukhari, 1.4.147)
Muhammad stipulated that if you wear a ring, you must remove it when going inside a toilet. True to this funny Islamic Toilet protocol, a hadis in Sunaan?Abu?Dawud (1.0019) and Sunaan?ibn?Majah (1.3033) state that Muhammad used to remove his ring when visiting a toilet.
Another interesting hadis in Sahih?Muslim (7.2942) says that a Muslim can defecate in a river. In this case there might not be any necessity to cleanse his anus, as river water will do the job. Curiously, a hadis in Sunaan?Nasai (1.50, 51) says that having defecated, and having cleansed yourself, you should rub two hands on earth.
Here are a few more interesting ahadith on defecating in Islamic manner:
After defecating do not use bones or dung; use stones to cleanse yourself?(Sahih?Bukhari, 1.4.157)
Use odd number of stones (minimum three) to clean your private parts…(Sahih?Bukhari, 1. 4.162)
Use three stones to clean yourself after defecating…(Sunaan?Abu Dawud,?1.0040)
When visiting a toilet carry three stones with you?(Sunaan?Abu?Dawud,?1.1.0040)
After you defecate, use two clods of earth; do not use dung?(Sunaan?Nasai,?1.42)
If you defecate in a desert use three stones, no need to use water?(Sunaan?Nasai, 1.44)
Rules on Islamic Urination
If we are confounded with bizarre Islamic rules on defecating, here are more rules on urinating Islamically.
Do not urinate in stagnant water?(Sunaan?ibn?Majah, 1.343)
Do not urinate standing; Umar did that but Muhammad reprobated him?(Sunaan?Tirmidhi, 133)
During night you may urinate in a vessel?(Sunaan?Nasai, 1.32)
At night Muhammad used to urinate on a wooden vessel…(Sunaan?Abu?Dawud, 1.0024)
Do not urinate in a hole?(Sunaan?Nasai, 1.34)
Urinate in a soft ground?(Mishkat, 1.185)
Do not urinate in a place of bath and then take bath there?(Sunaan?Nasai,?1.36)
Do not return salutation when you are urinating?(Sunaan?Nasai, 1.37)
After urinating sprinkle water on your private parts?(Sunaan?Nasai,?1.136,?137)
As was often the case, Muhammad had violated his own rules on urination.
Muhammad urinated standing…(Sahih?Bukhari, 1. 4.226)
Muhammad had urinated standing?(Sunaan?ibn?Majah, 1.305
Islamic Bathing Rules
Here are a few interesting rules on Islamic bath (ghusl):
Females cannot use the leftover water by males, but the males can use the leftover water by females…(Sunaan?Abu?Dawud, 1.0081)
Muhammad forbade the use of leftover water by females to be used by males…(Sunaan?Abu?Dawud, 1.0082)
Muhammad and his wives took bath from the same vessel of water?(Sunaan?ibn?Majah, 1.379)
Leprosy is caused by taking bath in water exposed to the sun?(Mishkat,?1.245)