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Hajj and Umrah

Rulings related to relieving one's self - part 2

Whilst relieiving one's self

Clearing the throat

The scholars are generally of the view that making a noise with the throat to communicate with another person whilst in the toilet is disliked. However, if there is a chance that someone can come in and one does that to indicate they are relieving themselves, this is something permissible.

Honouring the right hand by not using it when relieving one's self

"...when one of you urinates, he should not touch his private parts with his right hand and when one of you has to touch, he should not use his right hand to touch"

(Bukhari from Abu Qatadah al Ansaari)

There were differing opinions on the ruling from this:

Some said using the right hand in relieving one's self is disliked.
Others including the Hanbali scholars said it is haraam except when there is some necessity (e.g. if someone's left hand is paralysed/injured.)

It is important to note here that the prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam would always use his right for things which are clean.

"He would use his right hand for eating, drinking, making wudhu, for dressing, for taking and for giving and he would use his left hand for other purposes."

(Ahmad from Hafsah)

"One of you should eat with his right, drink with his right, take with his right and give with his right as surely the shaytaan eats with his left, drinks with his left, gives with his left and takes with his left."

(ibn Maajah from Abu Hurayrah)

Therefore, the conclusion is that those things which do not involve dirt/dishonour should be done with the right whilst those things which do should be done with the left.

Cleaning one's self

Narrations mention using water and/or earth (in the form of stones) to clean one's self. There is discussion on which is better and whether they have to be done together. Both are permissible and considered sufficient. Some said that water should be preferred as this is the primary source of tahaarah and only when this is unavailable do you use the earth.

In some narrations, using three stones is mentioned. Also, using dung was specifically prohibited. Anything that is najis cannot be used for cleaning as najaasah cannot be used to remove najaasah.

"We were ordered not to face the qiblah (while relieving ourselves), not to clean ourselves with our right hands, with less than three stones, nor with dung or bone."

(ibn Maajah and Ahmad from Salmaan al Faarisi)

Preventing urine from touching one's body/clothes

This is something that the prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam mentioned was the cause of someone's punishment in the grave:

"The Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam passed by two graves and said: They (their occupants) are being tormented, but they are not tormented for a grievous sin. One of them carried tales and the other did not keep himself safe from being defiled by urine. He then called for a fresh twig and split it into two parts, and planted them on each grave and then said: Perhaps, their punishment will be mitigated as long as these twigs remain fresh."

(Bukhari and Muslim from ibn 'Abbaas)

In some wordings, it is mentioned that the prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said "but indeed it is something major". This is because both actions lead to major sins. The carrier of tales can lead to the shedding of blood and not keeping one's clothes/body pure from urine can lead to the invalidity of the prayer. Both issues (the prayer and bloodshed) are from those that will be accounted for first on the day of judgement.

"The majority of the punishment of the grave is because of the urine."

(ibn Maajah, Ahmad and Abu Khuzaymah from Abu Hurayrah)

Thus it is very important that one takes care of this.

Rulings related to the places of relieving one's self

In pathways which are used by people and places of shade where people sit/gather:

"Fear the two cursed ones... the one who relieves himself in the pathway used by people or in the places of shade"

(Muslim from Abu Hurayrah)

The majority considered doing so to be haram whilst the others considered it to be makruh.

Under a tree:

There is a dislike of relieving one's self under a tree that gives fruit. This was considered disliked by Hanafi, Shaafi' and some Hanbali scholars. The other Hanbali scholars considered it haram. Some said this applies to trees at the time when they produce fruit.

The Hanafi scholars said this also applies to trees that produce flowers and is more severe for those trees that produce fruit and the fruit is collected from underneath like the date palm. The rule also applies to anywhere where food is grown like farms.

Some scholars said this is not disliked as there is no evidence that doing such an act spoils the growing fruit.

Sources of water:

There is a difference between stationary and flowing:

"He (the messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) prohibited urinating in stationary water"

(Muslim and ibn Maajah from Jaabir ibn 'Abdillah)

"One of you should not urinate in still water that is not flowing and then take a bath in it"

(Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah)

There are also similar narrations for flowing water, however, the matter is much more serious for still water. There is also discussion on whether the body of water is small or large but this is more academic.

An Nawawi mentioned that there is no question that urinating in a small amount of still water is impermissible. As for a large body of flowing water, this is not haram but it is preferred that someone refrain from this.

Urinating in the places of wudhu or ghusl:

The majority of scholars disliked urinating in a place where he makes wudhu or ghusl. This is based on the following hadith:

"The messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam prohibited... urinating in one's place of ghusl"

(Abu Dawud from a companion)

The scholars mentioned that if this is done on a material where the urine is not absorbed, water is flowing/can be thrown on it and it will not make it smell, then it is permissible to do this as there is no fear of contamination in this.

In the masjid:

It is impermissible to urinate or defecate in the masjid as is agreed upon by all. This is proven in the hadith mentioned previously:

"In these mosques it is not right to do anything like urinating or defecating; they are only for remembering Allaah, praying and reading Qur`aan,"

(Muslim from Anas)

This is wh the scholars have mentioned that the area of the toilets of bathrooms should be seperate from the masjid and should not open into the masjid even if attached.

Some said it is permissible to do this for some necessity as one of the companions urinated inside a vessel whilst doing i'tikaaf. However, as this is a report of the actions of a companion, it does not reach the same level of authority.

In the honoured places where 'ibaadah is done:

The scholars mentioned that in the valley between as safa and al marwah or around the jamaraat, it is disliked to urinate/defecate there. However, in places like 'arafah where people stay for longer periods, there is no problem with having toilets there.

In the places of worship of other religions:

It is disliked to urinate/defecate in the places of worship of others as they would then do the same in our mosques. This is like the issue of swearing at the Gods, which is not permitted as they would then swear at Allah in return:

"And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge..." [Al An'aam:108]

On or close to the graves:

The Hanafi, Shaafi' and Hanbali scholars mentioned that this is haraam if one does this on the grave and disliked if on does this near them, although this distinction varies.

In a hole:

"The messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam forbade urinating in a hole."

(Abu Dawud, An Nasaai and Ahmad from Abdullah ibn Sarjis)

There is some discussion on the authenticity of the hadith, however, the four madhaahib are in agreement that one should not urinate in a hole in the ground. Some said this is the place of the snakes and scorpions. When of the narrators said they are the places of the jinn.

In a vessel:

This is generally disliked although the following narration shows that it is permissible in times of :

"The prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam had a cup in which he urinated and put it under his bed"

(An Nasaai from Umaymah bint Raqeeqah)

This was during the time of his illness and so if there is some necessity, one can urinate in a vessel.

Hanbali scholars dislike this without a need. Maaliki scholars mentioned that it is haram if the vessel is made from gold or silver as it is not permissible to use such vessels.

Moving away from people

If one is outside, they should move away from people to protect them from the stench and to safeguard their own 'awrah. It is known that the messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam would go to the end of the area he is in to the boundary (such as the fence) and relieve himself there.

It is also important to not expose one's self:

"The prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam would not lift his garment until he was close to the ground"

(At Tirmidhi and At Tabaraani from Anas)