Istinjaa - Bathroom Etiquette

Istinjaa: to remove the dirt, Najasah (impure substances) or lessen them after urinating. Wajib (compulsory), according to the prophet's Hadiths mentioned below.

The tools used for Istinjaa

Are either pure water, and this is the origin of all purification from Najasah, and all solid materials that can remove the dirt, like stones or paper tissues.

It is better to use BOTH (water & solid materials), but if only one is available then the priority is given to water.  If water is not available, then we use the solid material, under the following conditions: It must be dry material (not moisture), it must be used to remove the Najasah or dirt before it gets dry, the Najasah should not have touched other parts rather than the related organs, and the pieces should not be less than three pieces of the solid material being used, or more when needed, and one better make it in odd numbers (Witr): 3, 5, 7 ...etc.

"No one shall make "Estinjaa" without using three stones" (Muslim: 2622)

Materials not to be used for Istinjaa

1- We (obviously) should not use anything that is originally Najis (impure)..

The prophet SAAWS asked his servant (Abdullah Ibn Masood) to bring him three stones for "Estinja", Ibn Masood RAA only found two stones so he brought him a piece of animal's droppings (dung) that was dry.  When the prophet saw it, he threw it away and said that it is Najasah (impure). (Bukhary: 155)

2- We can not use any human's food for this purpose, neither we can use a Jinn's food (like bones) for "Estinja"

"Do not use bones for "Estinja"; they are the food for your Jinn brothers" (Muslim: 450) and (Tirmidhy: 18)

3- It is forbidden to use any of the animals parts, like it's hand or legs ...etc.  But if this part was pure and separate from a dead animal, like the skin that is tanned, it can be used.

Rules with regards to the place

It is forbidden to do urinating or "Estinjaa" in the following places:

1- Places were people sit, gather or pass by, as this would cause hurt to others.

"The prophet SAAWS said: avoid the two cursed things.  They said: and what are the two cursed things?  He SAAWS said: whoever urinate in the roads people pass by, and under the shadows where they rest"  (Muslim: 269) and others.

2- In a hole in the ground or a hole in the wall, as it might cause him hurt that it might be a shelter for snakes or scorpions, or he might hurt other weak animals.

"The prophet SAAWS forbade us from urinating in burrows (hole in the ground)" (Abu Dawood: 29)

3- Under trees that have (or might have) fruits; as a protection for the fruits from dirt.

4- Shallow water (or water that is not running). (Muslim: 281)

Rules concerning the person himself

1- It is not allowed to carry anything that has Allah's name (or any of His holy names) with him to where he is urinating..  As this is considered to be a Najis (impure) place that is not appropriate to carry or mention Allah's name(s).

Also when a Muslim passed by the prophet SAAWS while he was in the Khala, he said the greeting (Salam) to the prophet, but he SAAWS did not answer his greeting.

2- He/she should enter "Al khala" or the bathroom with his/her left leg and say: "Allahomma Inny A'ootho Bika Mina 'l 'khobothi Wa 'l 'khaba'ith"   or: "O' Allah: I seek refuge in you from male and female noxious beings (devils or evil Jinn)"

He/she should go out with his/her right leg and say: "Ghof'ranak" or "O' Allah: I seek your forgiveness".  Also the prophet SAAWS used to say when going out: "Alhamdu Lillah, Allathy Afany Wa Akhraja Al Atha Minny"  or: "All grace to Allah (thanks to Allah) who protected (cured) me, and relieved me from filth/harm"

*I personally believe the last Dua'a is so important, as it is a big grace to be able to get relieved from the filth or harm..  we only feel it when we are sick!  so I guess it's so appropriate to thank Allah for this grace.

3- One should not talk.  It is not appropriate for a Muslim while urinating to talk or discuss matters.  Many scholars said it is "dislike" or "Makrooh".

4- One should move and hide himself from others, as the prophet SAAWS only relieved himself when he was out of site.

5- One should neither face nor turn his back to the "Qibla" while relieving himself. *This is actually what Islamic Housing designs should consider when building the bathrooms or toilets.

6- One should use his left hand for the cleaning after urinating "Estinjaa", as it is more appropriate.  It is Makrooh to use his right hand for this purpose or to touch his private parts with it.

"Salman was once asked: Your prophet teaches you everything, even how to relieve yourselves?

Salman said: Certainly.... he forbade us from facing the Qiblah while doing so, from cleaning ourselves with our right hand, and from cleaning ourselves with less than three stones.  We also should not use an impure substance or a bone to clean our selves" (Muslim, Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhy)

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