This article makes a comparison between Islam and Hinduism on purification after urination and defecation.
According to the Holy Quran and saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Islam pays great attention to the purity and cleanliness, especially from urine, as well as Hinduism has instructions on cleansing from the human urine.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Beware of (smearing yourselves with) urine, because it is the main cause of punishment in the grave”. (1)
Do and don’t of purification in Islam
It is permissible to cleanse with water alone, or with anything clean that can remove the dirt and impurity such as paper napkin, cloth, etc. But with water is better, because it is more suitable for cleaning and purification. It is recommended in Islam to cleanse first with anything dry and then to purify with water. Allah the Almighty praised those companions who were extra careful of their cleanliness and used water urinating or defecating. Allah the Almighty says:
There in are those who desire to be well purified and Allah loves the pure. (At-Tawbah9:108)
It is recommended to recite bismillah before entering the toilet seeking refuge with Allah from devil.
Whenever the Prophet (peace be upon him) went to the lavatory, he used to say: “Allahumma Inni a`udhu bika minalkhubthi Wal khaba’ith. “O Allah, I seek refuge with You from devils – males and females.”(2)
It is obligatory to hide his/her private parts from people during defecating or urinating and it is recommended to put the left foot first when entering the toilet, and the right foot when leaving.
It is disliked in Islam to cleanse with right hand. And should not to be undressed until is close to the ground or commode. It is not recommended to face the sun or the moon to show the back to them when urinating or defecating. It is not allowed to urinate towards the current of the wind, so that the urine droplets will not return to the body or dress and contaminate them. It is also disliked to speak during answering the call of nature, except for what is necessary like guiding a blind who is going to fall and will be harmed if was not guided. It is also prohibited to urinate or defecate in burrows or holes. It is also not to enter with something containing blessed names of Allah the Almighty or Verses of the Glorious Qur’an, except in necessity. It is also disliked to pass urine standing except for the compelling situations and to make the face towards the Ka’abah or the direction of Makkah, or to urinate or defecate on the way or street, or in a place where shade is taken, or around a water fountain, or under a fruit tree. It is also disliked in Islam to stay in the toilet more than needed.
We did not mention the Hadeeth for these provisions and etiquettes lest the article is lengthy, but these provisions are based on Hadith or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Bathroom Etiquette in Hinduism
Hinduism also has some etiquette for urinating and defecating. We will mention some of them here and then we will compare the provisions of Hinduism and Islam to know the differences between them. The Shastr has mentioned some of these provisions. The Mantras in Manu Shastr from 45 to 52 details these rulings:
- Let him not void urine on a road, on ashes, or in a cow-pen (enclosure for cow).
- Nor on ploughed land, in water, on an altar of bricks, on a mountain, on the ruins of a temple, nor ever on an ant-hill.
- Nor in holes inhabited by living creatures, nor while he walks or stands, nor on reaching the bank of a river, nor on the top of a mountain.
- Let him never void feces or urine, facing the wind, or a fire, or looking towards a Brahmana, the sun, water or cows.
- He may ease himself, having covered (the ground) with sticks, clods (a piece of earth or clay), leaves, grass, and the like, restraining his speech, (keeping himself) pure, wrapping up his body, and covering his head.
- Let him void feces and urine, in the daytime turning to the north, at night turning towards the south, during the two twilights in the same (position) as by day.
- In the shade or in darkness a Brahmana may, both by day and night, do it, assuming any position he pleases; likewise when his life is in danger.
- The intellect of (a man) who voids urine against a fire, the sun, the moon, in water, against a Brahmana, a cow, or the wind, perishes. (3)
And a Brahmin must wrap the holy thread around the ear when defecating and urinating and to sit making the face towards the north in the daytime and making the face towards the south at night he should move the private part three times.(4)
Commonalities between Hinduism and Islam in Etiquettes of Urine and Feces
After we mentioned the etiquettes of purification from urine and feces, you will note with me that both have some common rulings in this regard:
It is prohibited in both religions to urinate on a road in water in holes, standing, on the bank of a river that will go to the water, towards the wind or sun, talking, uncovering his body or private parts to the people. While covering the head is recommended. It is not allowed to pass urine against a fire, the sun, the moon, in water, the wind and talking is prohibited in both religions during that.
It is really good thing that both religions have wonderful common ground in this subject.
Urination: Should it be Standing or Sitting?
It is Sunnah to urinate sitting down. It was narrated that ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “Whoever tells you that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) urinated standing up, do not believe him, for he would not urinate except while squatting.”(5)
But this ruling has an exception and this exception has been established by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself. If the place was dirty or not suitable for sitting then it is permissible.
It has narrated on the authority of Hudhaifah (may Allah be pleased with him): Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) went to the dumps of some people and passed urine while standing. He then asked for water and so I brought it to him and he performed ablution. (6)
Health Benefits for Sitting Urination
Moreover, It is medically recommended to pass urine sitting.
“Sitting down is a better option for men with prostate conditions or men who just can’t stand up for a long time,” said Dr. Mills. “A lot of guys sit to pee if they can’t fully evacuate their bladder. When you sit down, you can use your abdominal muscles more, and you get your last few squirts out and feel like you’ve emptied better.” (7)
Why Do Hindus Urinate Standing?
It is noticeable that in general Hindus; men and women do not use water for purification after urination, as well as the practice of Hindus is to urinate in standing that leads to polluting the clothes and body with urine drops, as well as the tradition of Hindus is not to be circumcised, and this is also a cause of pollution among Hindus. On the other hand, Muslims use water to wash the private organ after urinating; also, it is a habit of Muslims to urinate while sitting and it helps a lot in cleanliness as well as Muslim children get circumcised in their childhood that is also a big source of cleanliness due to cutting off the extra skin around the penis.
However, some Hindu brothers support the practice of sitting urinating as the standing posture for urinating is a bad one, and they say, because it “causes a flow of accumulated Raja-Tama predominant energy towards the feet. As the negative energy gets concentrated there, the distressing vibrations emitting from Patal (Hell region) can very quickly enter the body through the feet.” It also “activates the flow of black energy associated with the ground, charging the entire body of the individual with Raja-Tama components.” This is from the Sanstha’s Holy Text ‘Daily Conduct and the science underlying its Acts’. (8)
It is about human urine, that is regarded as impure and dirt by Hindu culture, but Hinduism is based on exalting the cow urine and cow dung.
Hindus and Cow Urine
Many people may have been unable to imagine that there are humans on the earth who might drink cow urine and eat cow dung if the videos had not been circulated showing footage of some Hindus drinking fresh cow urine immediately after they collected it in a cup when cow urinated. The practice is based on the strong religious belief amongst the Hindus that cows are sacred and its urine is pure and curing. Some Muslims in India believe due to ignorance that baby’s urine is pure and there is nothing to do if a baby urinates in the lap on the dress and they can perform the prayer with that; without washing it because baby is like an angel. However, this thought is wrong and totally incorrect according to Islam.
First: However, we find some Hindu brothers who support the practice of urinating in standing like Muslims, but the question is if the changing in idea and practice is because of Islamic influence on Hindu mind or because of their own scripture’s instruction.
Second: According to Islam, it is forbidden to face the east and west when urinating and defecating in India, not for the east and west, but because the Holy Kaabah is in the west for the People of India and this is out of veneration and respect for Kaabah.
Third: It is forbidden in Hinduism also to face a Brahman or a cow while urinating because Brahman occupies high place in the list of caste system as well as cow is sacred and center of the Hindu gods.
Fourth: Hindu scripture allows non-Brahmins only to void feces and urine, in the daytime turning to the north, at night turning towards the south, during the two twilights in the same (position) as by day. However, for Brahmins it is allowed to relieve in the shade or in darkness. A Brahmana may, both by day and at night, do it, assuming any position he pleases; likewise when his life is in danger.
In fact, we cannot establish any logical wisdom or reason behind this discrimination between Brahmin and non Brahmin.
Fifth: According to the Hadith mentioned above it is prohibited to relieve in holes in general however, Hindu scripture has a condition and that is “inhabited by living creatures.” The reason for this ruling in Islam is not to harm and not be harmed.
Sixth: Islam has prescribed a prayer to be recited before entering the toilet and after leaving it as the dirty places are occupied by evil souls and devils. But in Hinduism we do not find such prayers.
(1) Reported by Ad-Darqutni.
(2) Reported by Al Bukhari.
(3) Laws of Manu, CHAPTER IV.
(4) Al Hunood, by Mirza Muhammad Kazim, vol.3rd, p. 398 , Gulzar Ahmadi Press, Moradabad, India.
(5) Sunan an-Nasa’I, the Book of Purification.
(6) Sahih al-Bukhari 224 Book 4, Hadith 91Vol. 1, Book 4, Hadith 224
(7) http://bit.ly/2Hucqwx(last accessed on 8/28/2019)
(8) http://bit.ly/2Uemz5Q (last accessed on 8/29/2019).