There is an etiquette that must be followed when using the toilet. Islam has described how one should take care of his personal hygiene. Other acts are prohibited like facing or turning one’s back to the qiblah.

Using the toilet and its manners

The use of water or solids, and whether either is sufficient.

Istinja is the Arabic word used for the removal of traces of what is discharged through the private parts, while istijmar signifies the use of a cleansing solid object, such as toilet paper or something similar. Either one is sufficient, as it is authentically reported. 

:Anas said

 ‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to go to the toilet. I and another lad of about my age would carry for him a small waterskin and a staff. He would use water to cleanse himself.’ 

Related by al-Bukhari, hadith  No. 152, Muslim, hadith  No. 271

:A’ishah quotes the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying

‘When any of you goes to the toilet he should cleanse himself with three stones, as that is sufficient.’ 

Related by Ahmad, hadith No. 24,771; Abu Dawud, hadith No. 40; al-Nassa’i, hadith  No. 44; al-Daraqutni, hadith  No. 147

However, to use both the solid and water is preferable.

Istijmar involves wiping with a solid object that is pure and cleansing, such as toilet paper, stones, wood, etc. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used stones for the purpose, and whatever achieves the same results is also acceptable.[1] 

A minimum of three wipes is required, as clearly understood from the hadith  reported by Salman:

‘The Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited that one should face or turn one’s back to the qiblah (i.e. the same direction faced in prayer) when one goes to the toilet for urination or defecation, or to use one’s right hand for cleansing oneself after that, or cleansing with less than three stones, or with animal bones or animal faeces.’  

Related by Muslim, hadith No. 262


  1.  Al-Bahuti, Kashshaf al-Qina', vol. 1, p. 62.