The topic of Istinja is rarely brought up in conversations. When it is, it’s usually talked about vaguely in code words. Many Muslim children are actually brought up not knowing the proper way to perform Istinja. I often wondered why people avoid this topic? Some might say because it’s shameful. Well, in my opinion, its more shameful to stay unclean and impure than to discuss the proper way to get yourself out of impurity.

Let’s break this tradition of staying quiet about this topic and be vocal about what Islam has to say about Istinja.

What is Istinja?

The act of purifying oneself of the impurities excreted via the back and front private parts is called Istinjah.

Why is it important to talk about Istinja?

Remember, all your prayers and worship revolve around the proper way to perform Istinja. If you don’t clean up properly after using the bathroom, you haven’t attained purity. No purity means no prayer. A Muslim is defined by his purity. The Prophet (SAWS) said,

“Purity is a part of faith.”

It is funny how many people use this hadith to taunt disorganised and cluttered people. However, in reality, this Hadith is about purity, not cleanliness. It is good to stay neat and organizsd though. It has its own perks. If you haven’t learnt the correct way to clean up nor taught your children, you are missing up on a very important part of faith.

But it doesn’t matter anymore, because now we are on our way to talk about every little detail of it. Just hold on!

Sunnah of Istinja:

Istinja can be done in three ways.

  1. with a cleansing stone (or paper)
  2. with water
  3. with cleansing stone and water.

However, each of these method have extensive details and conditions.

Cleaning with a cleansing stone:

The Prophet (SAWS) used to clean with three stones but this has a condition. The impurity should be hard and shouldn’t spread on to the skin.

Cleaning with water

It is Sunnah and preferred to wash and clean with water.

Cleaning with water and stone

This is the most preferred Sunnah. After cleaning the part of impurity with water. It should be wiped clean as well. This attains the best purity. This was the action of the people of Quba and Allah revealed the following verses about them.

“Verily, it is most befitting that you stand in the Masjid erected on the foundations of Taqwa since the very first day. In it are men who love to purify themselves and Allah loves those who purify themselves.”

(Surah Tawbah V.108)

Important thing to remember.

A lot of circumstances are different in todays time than they were in the Prophet’s age. This is why it is always best to consult a person of knowledge before reading a book of Hadith and going along with the commandment. The purpose of Istinja is to attain purity. If any scenario does not attain purity then it wont be allowed.

The Sahabah RA in the Prophet’s time had a different diet. They spent days without having food and water. Their stool was thus hard and firm and did not spread. They could easily use only stone for Istinja and attain purity which is not the case nowadays. People pass soft stool which tends to spread and even more so by wiping. Considering all these factors, it is important to go with using water to clean impurity.

The Method of doing Istinjah

At the beginning of Istinja, it is preferable to use toilet paper 3 times. If Istinjaa is being done on a hot day, then the person should start from the front to the back and then from the back to the front and the third time from the front to the back. If Istinjaa is being done on a cold day, then he should begin from the back to the front.

After wiping, he should wash his hand first and then he should cleanse himself with 2 fingers and 3 fingers if necessary together with ‘pouring’ water. When using the 2 fingers, one should keep the middle finger in front and the ring and index finger behind it. After beginning with the fingers in this position, he should bring the ring finger forward and rub with the middle finger and ring finger. Thereafter, he will wipe with the index finger, if necessary.

He should continue until all the impurity and smell is removed. The left over water after Istinjaa is paak only if there is no impurity in it.

(Extracted from Nurul Idhaa p.27-30)

Check out this link for more details.

Influence of Western Culture on Istinja:

For those of you living in the West, you might have noticed the increased negligence in following this commandment. The western way is to wipe, not to wash. Islamically, this method does not obtain cleanliness. It’s important to understand this and relay it to our kids as well.

Here is why we all should adopt washing instead of wiping.

Wiping does not remove all impurity.

It’s funny how the world agrees to cleaning everything else with water for best hygiene but are negligent in the matter that requires the most heed. Your rectum is the part which gets dirty on a daily basis and is also a sensitive part of your body. Simply wiping it with a tissue paper will surely leave behind traces of impurity and residue of faeces. Imagine roaming around with traces of urine and stool stuck on your body. Nobody would want that. Washing, on the other hand ,cleans everything and removes any leftover smell as well. Use water and stay clean.

Wiping can cause irritation to your skin.

Don’t we all take care of our body skin? We use the most expensive products to ensure the healthiness of our skin. Well here we need one simple thing, water. Washing after using the toilet keeps your skin healthy. Wiping on the other hand can cause allergies, rashes and irritation to your skin. The part of the skin which will bother you the most if it gets any sort of irritation.

Wiping can result in tearing.

Using tissue to wipe can cause anal tearing if done aggressively. Most people tend to use it that way to clean up a specific spot resulting in long term damage.

Read what health experts have to say about wash vs wipe by clicking on this link here.

Washing in the West:

With all this in mind, get to installing a bidet spray in your washroom right away. We faced the biggest problem when we moved to Canada. NO SPRAYS IN THE WASHROOM. We managed with a jug in the washroom at first but Alhamdulillah for a globalised world. My husband found an amazing bidet spray on Amazon with amazing reviews. We bought it immediately. It had amazing quality, was easy to install and so far it has been working perfectly with no leaks.

If you are looking for a good quality bidet spray, this is the one for you.

Buy On Amazon

You solved your house problem but what about public washrooms? You can’t go installing bidets in each and every single one them. However, there is one thing you can do. Carry a small plastic water bottle with you at all times. It won’t take up much space and will help you get what you want.

And while you are at it, make sure to explain to your children why it’s important in Islam and for your health. Model yourself so they feel confident in carrying a water bottle to the washroom. If they know they are doing it right they will do it proudly and without feeling ashamed. May Allah (SWT) make it all easy for us. Ameen.

How many of you have a funny memory related to wash and wipe? Share in the comments section down below! ( If you feel comfortable to do so ;P)