Among the signs of the greatness of the blessed Islamic shariah (law) is the fact that there is no good thing, major or minor, that it has not commanded us to do or pointed the way to it, and there is no bad thing, major or minor, that it has not warned us against or forbidden. It is perfect and complete in all aspects, a fact which has often greatly astonished non-Muslims and earned their admiration. (At the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), one of the mushrikeen (polytheists) said to (the Prophet’s Companion) Salmaan al-Farsi (may Allaah be pleased with him): ‘Your Prophet has taught you everything, even how to defecate!’. Salmaan said: ‘Yes, he forbade us to face the qiblah (direction of prayer) when urinating or defecating’ (Al-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Muslim).
Islamic shariah includes a number of rules and manners to be followed when answering the call of nature, including the following:
It is not proper for one to carry something that has Allah’s name on it while he is going to the bathroom. Anas (ra – may Allah be pleased with him) related that the Messenger of Allah (saw – may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him), had a ring engraved with “Mohammed, the Messenger of Allah”, which he would remove when he went to the bathroom.
He should move and hide himself from others. A person should be concealed from the sight of others when answering the call of nature. The Messenger of Allah (saw) used to prefer to go behind a rise in the ground or a garden of date palms. (Reported by Muslim, 517). If a person is out in an open space and cannot find anything to conceal him when he needs to answer the call of nature, he should move far away from the other people around him, because al-Mugheerah ibn Shubah said: ‘I was with the Prophet (saw) on a journey, when he felt the need to answer the call of nature, so he went far away.’ (Al-Tirmidhi).
Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Quraad said: ‘I went out with the Messenger of Allah (saw) to an open space, and when he needed to answer the call of nature, he moved away.’ (A-Nisaa-i)
A person should not uncover his awrah (private parts) until after he has squatted close to the ground, because this is more concealing, as Anas (ra) reported: ‘When the Prophet(saw) wanted to answer the call of nature, he would not lift his garment until he had squatted close to the ground.’ (Al-Tirmidhi). If a person is in a (modern) toilet, he should not lift his garment until he has closed the door and is out of sight of other people. With regard to this point and the one before, it is worth noting that the habit of many people in the West and elsewhere, of urinating in a standing position in front of other people in public toilets (using urinals) is something which goes against good manners, modesty and decency, and is repulsive to anyone who possesses sound common sense and wisdom. How can anybody uncover in front of other people the awrah (private parts) which Allah has placed between his legs to conceal it and commanded him to cover it? The idea that it should be covered is well established among all wise and decent people of all races. It is wrong in principle to build restrooms of this shameful type, where the users can see one another, thus making them worse than some kinds of animals whose habit is to conceal themselves from one another when urinating or defecating.
One should mention the name of Allah and seek refuge in Him when entering the Bathroom. Anas (ra) reported that when the Messenger of Allah (saw) entered the privy he would say, ”Allaahumma innee a-oodhi bika min al-khubthi wal-khabaaith (O Allah, I seek refuge with You from male and female devils).”
One should not talk. One should not greet a person who is answering the call of nature, or return a greeting whilst one is answering the call of nature, out of respect to Allaah by not mentioning His name in a dirty place. [note: the Islamic greeting is ”al-salaam alaykum (peace be upon you); one of the names of Allah is al-Salaam (the Peace)]. Nor should a person repeat what the caller to prayer is saying. He may speak if there is some necessity (e.g.. to guide blind man who fears he may be harmed). If he sneezes, he should praise Allah within himself.
Ibn Umar (ra) related that a man passed by the Prophet (saw) and greeted him while he (the Prophet) was urinating. The Prophet (saw) did not return his greeting. (Ibn Maajah)
Abu Sa’eed (ra) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah say, “Is it not true that Allah detests those who converse whilst they relieve themselves”. (Abu dawood, Ibn Majah, Ahmad)
One should neither face nor turn his back to the Qiblah while relieving himself. Not to face the qiblah (direction of prayer, i.e. the Kabah which was built in Makkah by Ibrahim, upon whom be peace, as commanded by Allaah) when urinating or defecating. This is out of respect for the Qiblah and for the symbols and rituals of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: ‘When any one of you sits down to answer the call of nature, he should not face the qiblah or turn his back towards it.’ (Muslim)
One should seek a soft and low ground to protect himself from impurities. Abu Musa (ra) related that the Messenger of Allah (saw) came to a low and soft part of the ground and urinated. He then said, “When one of you urinates, he should choose the proper place to do so.” (Abu Dawood)
One should not use a hole in the ground. Qatadah related from Abdullah Ibn Sarjas who said, ” The Messenger of Allah (saw) forbade urinating in a hole.” Said Qatadah, “What is disliked about urinating into a hole?” Said he, “It is the residence of the Jinn.” (Ahmad, An-Nasai, Abu Dawood)
One should avoid shaded places and those places where people gather and walk.
A person should not urinate by the roadside or in places where people seek shade, because this is offensive to them. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (saw) said: ‘Fear the two things that bring curses. They asked, ‘What are the two things that bring curses, O Messenger of Allah?’. He said: ‘When a person relieves himself in the road where people walk or in the place where they seek shade.’ (Abu Dawud)
One should not urinate in bathing places or in still water. The Prophet (saw) said, ” None of you should urinate in a bathing place and then make ablution (wudu) in the water. The majority of waswas (satanic wispers) comes from that.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood)
Also, a person should not urinate into stagnant water, because Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) forbade anyone to urinate into stagnant water (Muslim), because this makes the water impure and harms those who use it.
One may not urinate whilst standing. Aisha (ra – may Allah be pleased with her) said, “If someone relates to you that the Messenger of Allah (saw) urinated whilst standing, do not believe him. He only urinated whilst sitting.” (Muslim)
The Sunnah is to answer the call of nature sitting, making oneself close to the ground, because this is more concealing, and makes it less likely that spray from one’s urine will come back on one’s body or clothes, making them dirty.
One must remove any impurities from his clothes and body. To do so, he can use a rock, stones or any other pure matter. One may use only water to clean the area, or any combination of purifying agents. The Messenger of Allah said, “When one of you goes to relieve himself, he should clean himself with three stones.” (Ahmad)
The Prophet (SAW) passed by 2 graves and said, “They are being punished (in the grave). But they are not being punished for a great matter (on their part). One of them did not clean himself from urine and the other used to spread slanders.” (Bukhari)
Anas (ra) also related the Prophet (saw) as saying, “Purify yourselves from urine, as most punishment in the grave is due to it.” (Ibn Maajah)
One should not clean himself with his right hand. He should not touch his penis with his right hand when urinating, because the Prophet (saw) said: ‘When any one of you urinates, he should not hold his penis in his right hand or clean it with his right hand; and (when drinking), he should not breathe into the vessel.’ (Al-Bukhaari)
He should not remove najaasah (impurity) with his right hand; the left hand should be used for this purpose, because of the hadeeth quoted above, and because the Prophet (saw) said: ‘When any one of you wipes himself, he should not use his right hand.’ (Al-Bukhaari). The Prophet’s wife Hafsah (may Allaah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (saw) used to use his right hand for eating, drinking, making wudoo’ (ablution), getting dressed, and giving and taking things, and he used to use his left hand for other things. (Ahmad). Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allaah (saw) said: ‘When any one of you cleans himself, he should not use his right hand, he should use his left hand.’ (Ibn Maajah
One should remove any bad smell from his hands after cleaning himself. Abu Hurairah (ra) said, “When the Messenger of Allah (saw) relieved himself, I used to bring him a container of water. he would cleanse himself, then rub his hands against the soil.” (Abu Dawood)
One should wash and sprinkle his penis and underwear with water after urination to make sure that he has cleansed himself. Sufyan Ibn Al-Hakim said, “When the messenger of Allah (saw) urinated, he would wash his private parts and sprinkle water (over his penis). (Al-Hakim)
Any impurity should be washed or wiped three times or an odd number of times greater than three, according to whatever is needed to cleanse it, because Aaishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (saw) used to wash his posterior three times. Ibn Umar said: ‘We did this too and found it to be healing and cleansing.’ (Ibn Maajah). Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (saw) said: ‘When anyone of you cleans himself (with stones or similar material) let him use an odd number.’ (Ahmad)
Exiting the bathroom. One should enter the privy with his left foot, and exit with his right foot saying, ‘Ghufraanak (I seek Your forgiveness).
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