Does Islamic and Hindu Customs Erase the Need for Toilet Aids for Wiping

Does Islamic and Hindu Customs Erase the Need for Toilet Aids for Wiping

When the COVID-19 just began in 2020 in USA, many consumers lined up long queue for toilet rolls. Maybe by then, millions of Muslims and Hindus were astonished by the skyrocketing needs of the toilet rolls, because these users usually wash their backsides with water.

While In our previous post history of wiping butt before modern toilet paper invented, we have known part of the toilet wiping history. And that article also includes some of the toilet aids for wiping.

However, that article didn’t mention anything about the same issue in the Islamic and Hindu world. So, the question is this - do Islamic and Hindu customs erase the need for toilet aids for wiping as well? Check this religion VS toilet culture issue.

To get the right answer to the said question, first of all, we need to get to know how common Islamic and Hindu go to toileting.

Hints of Ahadith

Quran in the Muslim world, is the bible for Muslims. According to Sahih al-bukhari, one of the six significant ahadith collections in Sunni Islam, left hands should be used for anal ablution after defecation. While the right hands for cleaning is discouraged.

That Ahadith, or the rule, meaning "narrative", is the islamic prophet muhammad seers, braided by later generations. Ahadith was formed in the 8th and 9th centuries, and its main content is the prophet's opinions and opinions on doctrines, statutes, institutions, rituals and various issues of daily life, but also his code of conduct and his moral demeanor.

As a matter of fact, there are more do’s and dont’s based on the toilet etiquette

  • Say a prayer when entering toilet;
  • Remove rings;
  • Don’t face or turn back to the direction of the Ka’aba;
  • Don’t hold or touch the genitals with right hands;
  • Do not stand while urinating;
  • Don’t uncover private parts until after squatting;
  • Don’t soil oneself with urine, which is a major sin;
  • Don’t speak while in the toilet;
  • Clean oneself with stones;
  • Don’t clean oneself with less than three stones;
  • Don’t use dung or bones;
  • Don’t use right hand;
  • Wash oneself once done toileting;
  • No need for wudu after relieving oneself in the river;
  • Say a prayer when exiting the toilet;

These hint are recorded by narrators. For instance, Anas ibn malik says when the Prophet entered the privy, he removed his ring.

When talking about “do not stand while urinating”, Abu Huraira said that when any one amongst you squats for answering the call of nature, he should neither turn his face towards the Qibla nor turn his back towards it. Please notice that the word in this sentence is “squats”.

Anal cleansing is done with left hand using water after defecation (anal cleansing). The toilet users also need to wash their penises or vulva with your left hand after urinating. The cleaning procedure is called istinja (istinja) and is usually done in a container of water called bodna (bodna). The fifth verse of the Quran requires washing your hands after going to the bathroom. 

What’s more, there are so many pieces of contents online talking about Islamic rules for using the toilet. Take the article of 10 Islamic guidelines for using bathroom/toiletfor an example.

Indonesian toilets

I’ve been working in Timor-Leste, a small nation close to Indonesia and Australia for about 4 years. I also used to work in Qatar from November in 2016 to January in 2017. Thus, I’ve seen the toilets respectively in these countries.

With a population of more than 270 million, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and the most populous Muslim country as well. 

Every time I went to Timor-Leste, I have to transfer in Bali. Thus I frequently go to the hotels and restaurants in Bali as well.

In their toilets, I usually see something connected to the toilet itself, a metal water spray usually. Its official name is bum gun.

This bum gun is for cleaning the buttock after pooping in Indonesia. Because majority of its population is Muslims, thus they might think that using water to clean butts is the cleanest way of keeping ones’ hygiene.

Here I don’t want to talk more about Indonesian custom on toileting. If you are really interested, I’d recommend you to read the article by Twofishtravelling – pooping in Indonesia: a how-to toilet guide.

What I wanna say is that the Indonesian way of toileting has also a huge impact on its previous colonies. Timor-Leste, as its previous colony, is a good example.

Many Timorese also don’t use toilet rolls. Instead, they use water to clean their butts. Some Timorese use mineral water bottles to take water to the toilet if they’re out for work, while families put a water ladle or something similar in their toilets for cleaning and flushing.

Based on my working experience in Qatar, in the toilet where I used to use before in a villa, there was also a bum gun.

The bum gun in other nations has other names. In Bangladesh, it is called a bodna or badna.

Hints of Manu

In the laws of Manu, the ear, the skin, the eyes, the tongue, and the nose are categorized as the fore 5 organs of sense. While the anus, the organ of generation, hands and feet, and the organ of speech are categorized as the organs of action.

There are other sayings within the Manu depicting excretion. Check this one for example, “Let him not throw urine or faeces into the water, nor saliva, nor (clothes) defiled by impure substances, nor any other (impurity), nor blood, nor poisonous things”. Or check on this one as well, “Let him not step intentionally on things used for cleansing the body, on water used for a bath, on urine or ordure, on blood, on mucus, and on anything spat out or vomited”.

The script in the Manu seems contrary to what we thought about India.

The Hindu toilet rituals and regulations maybe originate from the Manusmrti. Manusmrti is a Hindu religious text, and it is one of the most important early text of the Hindu Dharmasastra tradition.

Today’s text of the Manusmrti is organized into 12 chapters, each of 97 to 420 verses. Patrick Olivelle’s definitive Manu’s Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the M-anava-Dharma’s-astra organized the contents.

Let’s take one or two pieces of contents as examples.

In the fourth chapter, it records these 2 rules. Please check them out down below.

Does Islamic and Hindu Customs Erase the Need for Toilet Aids for Wiping, chapter 4

Above contents can give us these hints - firstly, followers should stay away from his dwelling to remove urine and ordure. Secondly, followers should clean themselves in the morning.

In the same chapter which is Chapter 4, there’s a paragraph on social interactions and on how to purify various physical objects. Let’s focus on these 3 pieces of contents:

  • All those cavities of the body which lie above the navel are pure, but those which are below the navel are impure, as well as excretions that fall from the body.
  • In order to cleans the organs by which urine and faeces are ejected, earth and water must be used, as they may be required, likewise in removing the remaining ones among twelve impurities of the body.
  • He who desires to be pure must clean the penis by one application of earth and then water, the anus by applying earth and then water three times, the left hand alone by applying it ten times, and both hands by applying it seven times.

From above 3 pieces of contents, the information that we can sense are these:

  • The toilet things are impure to the Hindus;
  • The toilets should be far away from their homes;
  • The Hindus use left hands to clean their butts by means of water and earth;

We can’t neglect one truth which is the religion does impact on our lifestyle. This particularly applies to the Indians (the Hindus).

Indian toilets

From above paragraphs, we have seen that Hindus in India use water and their left hands (perhaps left middle fingers exactly) to clean their butts.

And there are even blog posts and articles online for toileting in India. Check the article on how to use an Indian bathroom for reference.

But the conflict between cleaning with hands, paper or water is not the worst for Indians. Nor is this the key problem with India's current toilets. More important is where they will solve the problem.

Every morning in villages and towns across India, the following scenes can be seen. Taking advantage of the sunrise, men and women set out for the village, carrying water bottles. They will consciously find a corner, the grass, unbuckle the waistband to release all the prehistoric power that has been bottled up all night.

Worldwide, the number of people relieving themselves outdoors dropped to 950 million in 2015. But according to Wateraid's 2017 World Toilet Day report, about 732 million people in India still lack access to a toilet. As the world's biggest outdoor defecator, this kind of public defecation habit, even some backward African countries can not catch up.

If these Indians lined up in a dragon, it would circle the earth four times. India's daily "open defecation" can fill 16 Boeing planes. In both urban and rural areas, by the roadside, by the railway tracks, on the beach, you can see Indians defecating on the floor with a calm expression.

In fact, humans have a long history of outdoor defecation, as long as there are people will have open toilets. But as population density increases, the problem of public defecation becomes more serious. Do not speak of hygiene, will be eaten back. One in ten deaths in India is linked to poor public health. A World Bank study has found that a lack of toilets and other sanitation facilities costs India $54 billion a year in lost productivity due to sanitation-related diseases.

Bacteria make up one-third of the dry weight of feces, and a gram of feces contains 10 million viruses and 1 million bacteria. The excrement over the mountains not only allows a large number of bacteria to breed, but also attracts a large number of green wings to breed here. Once again, flying flies bring feces and bacteria to people's homes. In addition, it only takes one rain to contaminate nearby drinking water sources.

The biggest source of infection, such as dysentery, cholera and typhoid, is fecal matter, transmitted through contamination of hands, water, food and water. Diarrhoea kills more than 100,000 children under the age of five in India every year. Millions of people suffer from chronic intestinal infections that prevent them from absorbing nutrients and medicines better. As many as 40 percent of children under five in India alone are stunted, according to a 2016 report. And sanitation is an endless cycle, with stunted growth and low immunity making children more vulnerable to disease.

In addition to health problems, lack of access to toilets is a catalyst for violence and crime. According to statistics, half of all rape cases in India occur when women go to the toilet in the open.

Women are always no men bold, less in broad daylight defecation. They usually only solve problems quietly in hiding before sunrise and after sunset. In addition to being vulnerable to snake bites, they are also at increased risk of assault. To be safe, women often form "potty unions" that focus on women relieving themselves in groups.

But there will always be women who can't hold back collective action. The vast majority of rape and murder cases happen to women who go alone to relieve themselves. In a 2012 survey in India, nine out of 10 women and girls said they had been harassed while relieving themselves in the wild, and a third said they had been assaulted.

Drinking cow urine and washing water from the Ganges is impressive enough, but in India even open defecation is considered holy. In Hindu tradition, people are encouraged to relieve themselves outdoors. It is said that nature has the power to purify, and that dirty things should be turned into nature. They, of course, consider fecal matter to be filth, and they take it for granted that anything unclean should never be in the house.

In fact, there has been a "Clean India" campaign since 2014. Top of the list is the "toilet revolution", a massive effort to build and renovate Indian toilets. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has even more ambitiously promised to end open defecation in India by 2019. Not just to say it, but the government has made a real effort to address the toilet issue, with more than $40 billion allocated for the campaign.

Apart from Rs 12,000 for each family, some poorer families will also receive an additional grant. The typical cost of building a toilet is around 20,000 rupees (about 2,000 yuan). Residents of India can now have a private toilet for a quarter of that, 500 renminbi. So low household income is not really the biggest obstacle to building toilets.

In addition, people may not want to use the toilets that have been built. Between 1990 and 2015, data show that the rate of open defecation in India has dropped from 75 percent to 44 percent. But the reality is that this estimate only reflects the number of public toilets built, not the number actually used.

Rice University in the US conducted a survey of Indian toilets in 2016. They found that in the 300 Indian villages and towns where toilets have been implemented, 40% of residents still choose to relieve themselves outdoors. Some of the lavatories built at great expense are idle, some are turned into small shops, some are used to store grain, and some are full of livestock. Some are even more candid, applying for the money just to build another house.

Maybe the problems of Indian toilets don’t rely on shortage of toilets, maybe it lies in the change of people’s minds and customs.

To encourage Indians to build toilets at home, the Vastushastraguru even publishes an article namely 11 Key Vastu Tips for Toilet & Bathroom.

Hints of Zoroastrianism

I believe many of you are not so familiar with the Zoroastrianism. The Zoroastrian faith emerged from an Indo-Iranian religious system dating back to the early 2nd millenium BCE. In a variety of forms it was the state religion of the Achaemenid Empire founded around 700 BCE in today’s Iran.

Here let’s focus on the traditional Zoroastrian rules on urination, cleaning and sanitation.

In the Sacred Books of the East, there’s a chapter depicting rules on toileting.

Does Islamic and Hindu Customs Erase the Need for Toilet Aids for Wiping, rules by Zoroastrian

As we can see, its 56th chapter says users must squat to urinate and keep the urine between feet. Which means that, no matter women or men, need to squat for urination in a uniformed manner.

In the Muslim and majority Hindu regions of South Asia, the Sikhs and Jains as well as Zoastrians, Buddhists and Christians also use water to clean their backs, but as a cultural custom that doesn’t derive from their faith practice.  

Toilet aids for wiping's users

As a matter of fact, those who need toilet aids for wiping are always targeted. These users belong to a special group. They need aids on mobility in toilet - the elderly, seniors, obese, disabled, handicapped, etc.

No matter ones religious belief, those are in need of toilet aids are similar. Thus, no matter a user is using toilet paper to wipe his or her butt, or he or she plans to use his left hand and water to clean the buttock, as long as he belongs to this special groups, he or she needs assistance in the toilet.


Does Islamic and Hindu Customs Erase the Need for Toilet Aids for Wiping, rules by Zoroastrian

The Bidet

Bidet was first invented in France by a furniture maker named Christopher Des Rosiers in the late 17th century. The first to use it, of course, were the princes and nobles at that time. 

By the mid-18th century, bidets had appeared in the homes of queens in small southern countries such as Naples and Sicily. But bidets didn't really catch on in Italy until after World War II, when the overall quality of the sewer system improved and the bidets were used in almost every home.

To use it, the process goes like this: Once you're ready, clean it with toilet paper and then move onto the bidet, either sitting like a toilet or facing the knob and riding on top of the bidet. In fact, the word "Bidet" comes from the Middle French, meaning "little horse." Then turn on the tap, adjust to the right water temperature, and then adjust the Angle of cleaning, after the end, dry with a small towel.

 Does Islamic and Hindu Customs Erase the Need for Toilet Aids for Wiping, bidet

Toileting wiping wand of water spray

At present, the toilet aids for wiping targeted obese, seniors, elderly and disabled are always toilet tongs or wiping aid, just as Fanwer bottom buddy toilet wipe aid, or the Preston toilet tongs.

But targeted to the users that are used to water flush, these toilet aids for wiping should also be upgraded.

For instance, manufactures should add ultraviolet sterilization and water spray functions at least.

Final words

In fact, the fundamental contradiction between toilet paper wipes and hand cleaning and washes are that Indians and Muslims find it more disgusting to leave behind feces, and we find it more disgusting to touch hands with feces. And this cognitive bias is hard to reconcile.

But the truth is, cleaning with your hands is a really bad option. With public health conditions in India, it is difficult to ensure the cleanliness of the left hand after using the toilet. Like some public toilets, there is no running water, just a big bucket of water for everyone to use. After a few rounds, an indescribable deposit forms at the bottom of the barrel.

The religion unplugged used to publish an article namely Islamic and Hindu customs wipe out need for toilet paper, however, the customs can not wipe out the needs of toilet aids and assistance in the toilet due to physical problems, such as obese, aging, surgery, etc.

What if these special users are not feasible to the water and finger cleaning method? Perhaps the toileting wand of water spray and bidet are the solutions.

Thus, Does Islamic and Hindu customs erase the need for toilet aids for wiping? I think perhaps this question is a pseudo proposition.

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