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The Etiquettes of Relieving Oneself

March 6, 2010

Shaikh ‘Abdullaah bin Saalih Al-‘Ubaylaan
His Book As-Salaat (pg. 7-12)
Al-Ibaanah.com

I will begin first with that which is related to wudoo (Ablution). But before that I will speak about the etiquettes of relieving oneself, such as by urinating or defecating.

It is prescribed for the Muslim, when he desires to relieve himself, that he distance himself (from the people). This is based on what has been reported from Al-Mugheerah bin Shu’bah (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) who said: “Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Hold this container.’ Then he walked away until he disappeared from me and relieved himself.” Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.

This hadeeth is proof that one must conceal himself from the eyes of the people when relieving himself. In the Sunan of Abu Dawood, with a good chain of narration, Al-Mugheerah bin Shu’bah also reported: “When Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) needed to urinate, he would distance himself.”

And in the Sunan of Abu Dawood, with a hasan li-ghayrihi (acceptable due to support) chain of narration, Jaabir bin ‘Abdillaah (radyAllaahu ‘anhumaa) reported: “When the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would want to excrete, he would walk away until no one was able to see him.”

It is also prescribed for the Muslim, before entering the bathroom, whether he is in a building or at home or outside, to say before entering the bathroom or when sitting down outside: “Allaahumma Innee ‘Audhu bika min-al-khubuthi wal-khabaa’ith.” [O Allaah, verily, I seek refuge in You from the male and female devils]

This is based on what Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim reported from Anas (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) that he said: “When the Prophet would enter the bathroom, he would say: “Allaahumma Innee ‘Audhu bika min-al-khubuthi wal-khabaa’ith.” [O Allaah, verily, I seek refuge in You from the male and female devils]

The meaning of ‘Audhu bika is: I seek refuge in You. Al-Khubuth means the male devils and Al-Khabaa’ith means the female devils. So one seeks refuge in Allaah from their evil. This is since the bathroom areas are the abode of the devils, as has been reported by Zayd bin Arqam (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) in Sunan Abee Dawood, who said that Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily, these bathroom areas are inhabited. So when one of you enters the bathroom area, he should say: ‘Allaahumma Innee ‘Audhu bika min-al-khubuthi wal-khabaa’ith.’” Its chain of narration is authentic.

One should say Bismillaah before saying Allaahumma Innee ‘Audhu bika min-al-khubuthi wal-khabaa’ith due to what has been reported from ‘Alee (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) who said: “Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘The screen that is between the Jinn and the private parts of human beings, when he enters the bathroom area, is that he says: Bismillaah (In the Name of Allaah).’” Reported by At-Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah and its chain of narration is acceptable (hasan) due to supporting evidences.

One should not lift up his garment until he lowers himself to the ground, based on what Al-Bayhaqee reported with a good (jayyid) chain of narration from Ibn ‘Umar (radyAllaahu ‘anhumaa) that: “Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would not lift up his garment until he lowered himself to the ground.” Likewise, he would screen himself from the eyes of the people, based on what Abu Dawood reported from ‘Aa’ishah (radyAllaahu ‘anhaa) with a hasan chain of narration according to Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr, that she said: “Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Whoever desires to defecate, then let him screen himself.’” It is also based on what Muslim reported from ‘Abdullaah bin Ja’far, that he said: “The most beloved of things that Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would conceal himself with when relieving himself was a wide area with large obstacles or an enclosure of date-palm trees.”

It is forbidden for the Muslim to relieve himself on a road, which the people use or in an area of shade, where the people sit under. This is based on what Abu Hurairah (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) reported from Allaah’s Messenger, that he said: “Beware of the two things which provoke the curse (of people falling on you). The one who relieves himself on the road the people use or in their area of shade.” Reported by Muslim.

This applies generally to everything the people use, whether it be a road, some shaded area or an area where there are trees with fruits or in their water area (i.e. for washing). It is not permissible for him to relieve himself in these places, because he will cause them to become impure for other Muslims.

It is also forbidden for a Muslim to face or turn his back to the Qiblah when relieving himself, especially when excreting. This is due to what Abu Ayoob Al-Ansaaree (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) reported from Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that he said: “When you go to excrete, then do not face the Qiblah nor put your back to it. Instead turn (your direction) to the east or the west.” This hadeeth is agreed upon (i.e. Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim). Furthermore this hadeeth was directed to the people of Madeenah because to them the Qiblah was facing the direction of the south.

It is also based on what Muslim reported from Abu Hurairah (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) that Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When one of you sits down to relieve himself, then he should not face the (direction of the) Qiblah nor turn his back to it.”

As for what is related to Istainjaa, which is removing impurities from the front and the rear private parts after relieving oneself, then the Muslim has the option of choosing between using water or stones when performing the Istainjaa.

So if he succeeds in purifying himself with water, then his Istinjaa is valid, based on what Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim reported from Anas (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) that he said: “Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘ayahi wa sallam) would enter the bathroom area, so I and a youth would hold up a water pitcher and a spear on either side, and he would make Istinjaa with the water.” The spear would be pitched in the ground and a garment would be placed on it, such that he would be concealed from the eyes of the people.

And if he succeeds in purifying himself by using stones or whatever takes its place, such as toilet paper and its types, his action is valid and acceptable. This is based on what has been reported by Al-Bukhaaree from the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah (radyAllaahu ‘anhu), that he said: “I followed the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when he went out to relieve himself, and he used to not turn around. So I drew near to him and he said: ‘Bring me some stones that I may wipe (clean) myself with, and do not bring me any bones or dung.’ So I brought him some stones (gathered) in the corner of my garment and placed them next to him. Then I turned away from him and when he finished relieving himself, he used them (to clean himself).”

When using stones, the Istinjaa is not valid if less than three stones are used based on the hadeeth of Salmaan (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) who said: “Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade us from facing the Qiblah when defecating or urinating. And (he forbade us) from making Istainjaa with our right hand and from using less than three stones when making Istainjaa.” Reported by Muslim.

It is also based on what Al-Bukhaaree reported from Ibn Mas’ood (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) that he said: “The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went to defecate so he ordered me to bring him three stones.”

Combining the use of water and stones is what is most preferable. But if this is not possible then water is better because it terminates any traces of impurity. One must not use his right hand when cleansing the impurities from his private parts, based on the afore-mentioned hadeeth of Salmaan (radyAllaahu ‘anhu).

One must also not grasp his penis with his right hand while urinating. This is due to what Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim reported from Abu Qataadah that Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “None of you should touch his penis with his right hand while urinating. And no one should clean himself with his right hand when defecating.”

Likewise, it is forbidden for the Muslim to make Istinjaa with excrement or bones or something that holds sanctity based on the afore-mentioned hadeeth of Salmaan, and also from the hadeeth of Jaabir (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) which is found in Saheeh Muslim: “Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade us from wiping ourselves with dung or bones (when answering the call of nature).”

The reason for this forbiddance has been mentioned in Saheeh Muslim from the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood in that the bones are the food of the Jinn. (By the time the bone reaches them), Allaah will cover it for them with more meat than it had before. And as for the dung (feces), then it is the food of their riding animals.

This goes the same for the food of human beings and the food of their riding animals – it is not permissible for a Muslim to make Istinjaa with them.

Lastly, when one wishes to exit from the bathroom area, he should say what has been authentically reported in the Sunan of Abu Dawood from the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah: “When Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) exited the bathroom area, he would say: ‘Ghufraanaka.’” Meaning I ask for Your Forgiveness. The reason for this is because since Allaah has relieved him from this harmful thing (excrement), it is the proper place to ask Him to also free him from the harm of sins.

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