Standing and Urinating in Islam

It has become a common practice in many parts of the world for men to stand and urinate. The presence of urinals in almost every male bathroom has not only taught, but also encouraged people to stand up while relieving themselves. What does Islam say about this behavior?

First of all, we must remember that our ability to digest food and drink is a great blessing from Allah. We would not be able to survive without a digestive system. However, with every blessing comes a responsibility. Since human waste is classified as impure, Islam teaches us a few rules about how to relieve ourselves with dignity.

So what’s the problem?

There are many Islamic guidelines about how to use the restroom. We will only focus on those that pertain to standing and urinating. This common practice has led to the following unethical practices:

1. Shamelessness. One bad habit that has resulted from using of public urinals is the loss of personal modesty in the restroom. It is very common to see two men using the bathroom while having a conversation at the same time. Had they peeked over just a little they would have be able to see one another’s private parts. This is abhorrent. The Prophet ﷺ (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“Allah detests it when two people relieve themselves uncovered and have a conversation.?1

The Prophet ﷺ would take so much care to seclude himself that Al-Mughīrah ibn Shu’bah said, “I was travelling with the Prophet. When he needed to relieve himself, he went far away from me.?2

2. Increase in impurity. How many urinals have you ever seen that provide wu?ū’ facilities, water fixtures or even toilet paper? Probably none. This results in people leaving the restroom without an appropriate level of cleanliness or washing their hands.  The Prophet ﷺ said,

“When you go to the restroom, take three stones with you to clean yourself. That will suffice.? 3

Salman al-F?risī, the Companion from Persia, was told, “Your Prophet has taught you everything, even how to use the bathroom.? He responded, “That is right. He ﷺ told us not to…use our right hand when cleaning and to not use less than three stones to clean ourselves after we finish.?4

‘Ā’ishah (ra), the Prophet’s ﷺ wife, said to a group of women, “Tell your husbands to clean themselves with water because I am embarrassed to tell them. This is what the Prophet ﷺ used to do regularly.?5 Cleaning yourself, with either a solid substance or with water, is so important in Islam that once when the Prophet ﷺ passed by a man’s grave he told Ibn ‘Abb?s (ra) that the deceased man is being tortured, but not for a major sin: “He didn’t used to clean himself after urinating.?6

3. Disrespect for others. One of the common habits we find in people who regularly use urinals is that they also stand up while using a lavatory. This can result in an unsanitary seat covered with urine and germs. Very few people care to clean the seat, let alone the toilet area after leaving, so, the next person entering has to deal with that disgusting mess. In this regard, the Prophet ﷺ said,

“Beware of the cursed ones.? Some people asked, “Who are the cursed ones?? He replied, “People who relieve themselves in public pathways or in shaded areas.?7

Public pathways and shaded areas are two areas where people would be offended from excrement and filth because they use them so often. The same curse would apply to those who leave filth behind for the next person. The curse, in this context, has two meanings: people are cursed by the one who has to deal with the dirt they left behind and they are cursed by Allah for their careless and disgusting habits.

Are there any exceptions?

The Prophet ﷺ always sat down to relieve himself. This is proven by ‘Ā’ishah (ra), who was constantly in his presence. She said, “Don’t believe anyone that tells you the Prophet ﷺ used to stand while urinating. He always used to sit down.?8 The only person who ever contradicted her statement was Hudhayfah when he said, “The Prophet ﷺ [while traveling] approached a garbage dump and stood while urinating. Then, he called me to bring some water for him, so I did, and he performed wu?ū’.?9 This is clearly an exception to the rule because the Prophet ﷺ was in a very dirty place. Hudhayfa’s description of the place being a garbage dump reveals to us the context and makes it clear that ‘Ā’isha’s (ra) challenge was referring to people who claimed the Prophet ﷺ did it often as a habit. Her challenge still stands today. When someone tries to misquote the statement of Hudhayfah in order to prove that the Prophet ﷺ used to stand and urinate just as people do today, we should correct it.

What should a Muslim do?

Muslims should try to combat this immorality in their own community by encouraging good standards of hygiene. We live in societies which claim to be clean and advanced, yet their toilets – the most basic of sanitary developments – are among the filthiest in the world. Visit any gas station, high school, theme park, etc. and experience what happens to the restrooms when there is no full time janitor to clean up afterwards.

People of the world still have much to learn from Islam’s frank information on cleanliness. Purity has an environmental impact and is strongly connected to worship; without a clean body, a Muslim cannot pray. It is such an important principle in Islam that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“Cleanliness is half of faith.? 10

The messenger of Allah ﷺ has taught us certain rules to observe which benefit both society and ourselves. It is up to us to be aware of this guidance, learn it and apply it.

  1. Abū D?wūd 15, Ahmad 10884.
  2. Tirmidhī 20.
  3. Abū D?wūd 36.
  4. Tirmidhī 16.
  5. Tirmidhī 19.
  6. Bukh?rī 211.
  7. Muslim 269.
  8. Nas?’ī 29, Ibn M?jah 303, Aḥmad 23894.
  9. Bukh?rī 217.
  10. Muslim 328.
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  1. Usama ibn Shafique says:

    Good article but I must disagree on a minor point.

    “We live in societies which claim to be clean and advanced, yet their toilets – the most basic of sanitary developments – are among the filthiest in the world. ”

    Whenever I go to any muslim country besides maybe UAE,their public bathrooms are the worst and make me thank God that I live in America. The bathrooms can get bad in America but it is nothing compared to muslim countries or other countries. you will never get the hole in the ground toilet in america. Maybe America is bad in that respect compared to europe though but not the filthiest in the world. However, I have to say this was an excellent article, jazak Allah khair. I agree, Muslims should be the biggest proponents of proper cleanliness/hygeine in their societies.

    • MW_m says:

      True dat

    • brother Kaminari says:

      that is very true, a good article but it missed to see the rest of the world specially the arabian countries; I have heard from ppl who were doing hajj that even the toiletts there were unacceptable for them and their women !

      so please respect the effort from the kufar to not repeat their dirty history, when anyone on this earth “became” unclean than any muslim knows who !

      Still, all human beings need to learn and apply what the author wrote in his very nice article. I even copied for myself to remember everyday

      thank you and barakallahu fik


      • While I agree that restrooms in the Muslims world are detestable (even Masjids in the west are pretty bad), I think we must take into account that most of the Muslim world lives in poverty and you do not have the same type of health and safety/hygiene laws that you do in the west. Perhaps the brother in the article was trying to say we have all this sanitation in the west yet when we get to the restrooms it all goes missing.

        But yes, at the same time that is no excuse, Muslims should know better, especially those of us living the west. If a non-Muslim were to hear the Hadith ‘Cleanliness is half of faith’ and then go to use the bathroom in a Masjid he would accuse us of being hypocrites.

        • Eldin says:

          what I don’t understand is how is cleanliness half of our faith while marriage is also half, so what about prayers fasting etc. Too many halves only one whole, someone’s wrong here..

    • Hasan says:

      I have seen standing urinals in many mosques in Cairo including Azhar mosque. I was very surprised to see the urinals. When I asked someone I was given the reason that some people may have difficulty sittig hence the need for urinals. Even if this point is true surely the urinals should be like any other toilets with individual doors to protect privacy but rather it was in open space. This completely conradicts the ethos of being clean and shameful (protecting your own privacy).

      • Debauchee69 says:

        Different cultures do different things differently—that’s what is meant by cultural diversity. One person’s difference is not superior than another—its just different.

        Americans use TOILET PAPER to wipe themselves, which is a recent (post 1888) habit. This habit derived from the near universal acceptance of modern, indoor plumbing. I’m dating an American Muslim Girl. I GUARENTEE if you told her we are out of toilet paper but here are three stones for you—she’d throw them at you!!!

        From 1609-1888, Americans used newspapers, catalogues, cotton balls, plant matter, corn cobs & hulks, etc. to make themselves ‘Fresh & Dainty’.

        Arabs,from Mohammad’s time (640AD)back to the Ancient Egyptians used stones to wipe themselves because stones are/were plentiful in the desert and plant matter/water isn’t. What wasn’t articulated in the article was wheither the Arab invaders of Europe, India or China still used the 3 stone whiping modality or wheither they adapted the toilet training technics of their local (conqoured) territories. Does Islam allow the modification of local customs or is it heresy to wipe yourselves with anything else but three stones?!!!

        Conversely, In Asia, water is so plentiful that custom is simply to rince one’s human waste away with water and one’s right hand.

        So what is with my facination with people going to the toilet. All humans have to go—its a universal act HOWEVER they approach it differently with different taboos.

        Question: How does a Muslim Urinate in Paris, France with their Communial ‘Pissours’? Do they hop on one foot until everyone leave or do they Adopt to the moment?

    • Yusuf says:

      Dear Brother

      Different people from different cultures have different habits.

  2. Navroz says:

    MashaAllah such a great article!
    JazakAllahu Khyr for writing this piece.

    “People of the world still have much to learn from Islam’s frank information on cleanliness. Purity has an environmental impact and is strongly connected to worship; without a clean body, a Muslim cannot pray. It is such an important principle in Islam that the Prophet ﷺ said,

    “Cleanliness is half of faith.?”

  3. Ali says:

    Great article mashaAllah!

    Nowadays, I would assume that public lavatories are just as dirty as garbage dumps, especially since they dont have janitors to regularly clean.

    I was wondering if you would you still advise to sit down in such cases. Unless one has legit cleaning utensils, I would assume the impurities would still be there.

    JazakAllahu Khair

  4. Abdul Haseeb says:


    Jazakallah hu khair. Thanks a lot for sharing this article.Cleanliness is very important.
    May allah bless you and reward you for this helpful deed and guide us all to follow….ameen
    Abdul Haseeb

  5. fez says:

    Use the right hand?

    • Muhammad says:

      I believe for cleaning the private parts, one is supposed to use their left hand. I will try to look for a hadith about this though.

    • Mehjabeen says:

      Go back and reread the quote: it says the prophet (S) said NOT to use the right hand for cleaning.

      You may have been thrown off by the quotation because of the “…” between “The Prophet (S) told us not to” and “use the right hand”. Therefore it clearly implies one must use the other hand – the left hand.

      Hope that clarifies things.

  6. Abu Omar says:

    Assllamu ‘alykum brothers…

    My only concern with not sitting down, other than what is described above, is the fact that when standing and using a urinal, urine will always splash onto my clothing. How could I pray with impure clothing. Because of that, I always sit to urinate and I always bring a wet paper towel with me to wipe myself afterwards.

    I don’t know if that’s right or wrong, but that’s what I’ve been doing for a while now.

    wAllahu a’lam.

    • bro says:

      salam bro, jazakAllah for your reply. Just to let you know I have heard advice not to wipe with wet paper. If water flows over the area (i.e. washing) then that’s fine. However if that does not occur, then using wet paper can simply spread the filth around. This does not occur with dry paper because filth doesn’t spread when dry objects come into contact. So Allahu’alam, I think you should use dry toilet paper and/or wash with water.

      • Sister says:

        As Salamu Alaikum,

        I find using two or three wet – not just damp but soaking wet – paper towels is much cleaner than using a dry paper towel.

  7. aslan zahir says:

    I’ve worked in corp america for 15+ yrs, I use the bathroom in my office rather than the one in masjid, I can’t tell if it is the with water or urine all over the toilets there, they are soo dirty unfortunately. In middle east and other countries, I dread going to a public bathroom, once I paid for a hotel room just so I could use a clean bathroom.

    I am pretty strict about not standing, and teach same to my kids, but public school bathrooms are filthy so are many outsie public bathrooms, it would be wrong to sit and use them!

    Article is good, but a bit out of touch with reality.

  8. Omar says:

    Allahu A’lam, but public toilets to me are like garbage dumps, I always stand in the stall (never the urinal), but sufficiently far and careful about splashing anything on clothes.

  9. shafraz says:

    JazakAllah khair for the excellent article. It is a requirement in the current situation where we muslims mingle with non-muslims for us to show that Islam is a faith which talks about cleanliness to the highest levels.

    I have a major issue with regard to using the toilet. Mostly in the area where we live in the mosques have squat toilets, so in that case since we always where pants I find it extremely difficult to use these toilets wearing Pants. As we cannot squat with pants on and use this and removing the pants cannot be done as most of these squat toilets are viewable to the public.

    In this situation can we urinate while standing and try with utmost care to avoid the impurities striking our clothes?

    Please give your thoughts.

  10. Sister 519 says:

    My husband and I were discussing this some topic time ago. The article discusses standing and urinating in public. What is the permissibility of standing and urinating overall? What about in the privacy of one’s home? For example, is it permissible for a man to stand in an enclosed bathroom? JazakAllahu Khairun.

  11. Abu Musa says:

    In his lecture series of the Sharh of Zaad Al Mustaqni – Sheikh Mukhtar Shinqiti says there is nothing wrong with standing and urinating – and the hadith of A’isha (ra) does not give a preference to other Sahaba that saw the propeht (saw) urinating whilst standing.
    In the article above – the author mentions that there is only one hadith recorded that the prophet (saw) urinated whilst standing (during his travels) – this is not entirely accurate as there are other hadith to support the prophet (saw) urinated whilst standing.
    Allah (swt) knows best

  12. raheem says:

    Salaams to the ummah. I really liked the article, excellent reminder. I have to say that I do do some of what you guys say in the comments. For example, when I use a public restroom, if it is dirty with, super filthy, I stand. If I can clean it then I sit. By the way, most of the public restrooms never are clean. As far as work, thankfully the restrooms are kept clean. Ja zakallah for the wonderfully reminder. Salaams to the ummah.

  13. Reed says:

    It makes sense that the Prophet (pbuh) didn’t stand up while urinating because of the clothes that he wore. It’s a modest way of covering the private parts while urinating. So, although we can certainly apply the notion of modesty to public bathrooms (and for example using the stall instead of the urinal), it’s not clear that sitting down while urinating must be followed in conditions that do not compromise one’s modesty.

  14. Thank you for writing this informative article and for not shying away from this taboo subject.

  15. Tom says:

    Glad to see my favorite Islamic website tackling the important issues.

  16. Hasnain Syed says:

    Seriously? This is an important issue? To each their own priorities.

    Isnt this pretty simple? Just stay clean. If you can sit, sit. If its too dirty, dont sit. Wash yourself. Dont hold chat sessions in bathrooms. Do your business & on to the next one.

  17. Deen says:

    yes it is an important issue. Why belittle it – it is about cleanliness and purity externally, which reflects the internal state. It relates to the sunnah. And it relates to our treatment and consideration of others. Crucially it also relates to modesty, which the Prophet (saw) is the defining characteristic of faith. Other issues are also discussed on this website, it’s not as if they have been neglected. It’s when people belittle so-called ‘minor’ things, that the bigger things also get compromised.

    JazakAllah for a great article. This is a very valuable reminder and I wish all men could read it.

  18. Aslan Z says:

    This is a MAJOR issue, it is part of taharah! a drop of urine will leave all your ibadah’s nullified. #1 thing that is taught even before prayer, quran etc etc, is Taharah, if you don’t get your taharah right nothing else is valid or matters how good you do it, it is THE prerequisite to all our Ibadahs! And the hadith about the person in the grave, it is that the person was not cautious/carefull when he worked around animals and their urine came upon that persons clothes.

  19. Nader Nasr says:

    JazaakAllahu Khairan Imam Mustafa Umar. Beautiful and very much needed article. I thought I’d throw in this fact which I think many of us will appreciate.

    It turns out, when you sit while relieving yourself, you actually decrease the risk of prostate cancer. The reason is because while sitting down, you put more pressure on your bladder which allows for residual urine to be excreted out. When standing, you don’t have that added pressure, so residual urine will remain in the bladder, and over time, this can potentially lead to urinary problems in the future such as prostate cancer.

    When I first heard this, I thought to myself, “SubhanAllah.” Allah, out of His infinite mercy and love for His creation, has included in His commands and the sunnah of His noble messenger (SAW), countless benefits which we may or may not know about. He could have easily given us commands which don’t benefit us, and we’d have to obey Him just because of the mere fact that He is our Rabb. But our Lord is also Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, and the evidence for this is overwhelming.

  20. Joe Bradford says:

    Salam Alaikum

    This article fails to capture the nuance of the Prophetic sunnah, and instead seeks to shame its readers into labeling urinating while standing as immoral and wrong. This is an incorrect assessment; had urinating while standing been immoral or shameful, Allah the most high would not have allowed his Messenger to practice it even once.

    Scholars differed as to why the Prophet urinated standing as narrated by Hudhayfah.
    • One group said that he did this merely to clarify the baseline permissibility of this act, while his constant practice shows us what is preferred (See for example Imam Al-Aini in al-Binayah).
    • Others explained it to mean that normally this action is disliked, but is allowed when one fears he’ll become more unclean (See al-Daynuri in Mukhtalaf al-Hadith).
    • Another group allowed it for medical reasons, and explained that it was normal for the Arabs to do for certain types of medical conditions (al-Sharbeeni in Mughni al-Muhtaaj).
    • Ibn Abdulbarr and Ibn Qudama mention that around eight of the Sahabah permitted urinating while standing, while Ibn Masoud disliked it; they said that this was only an example of his doing it once, and so he may have done it other times, as Aishah did not accompany him at all times, so a man has a choice between these two acts as long as he protects himself from back splash (See Imam Malik in the Mudawwanah, Ibn Qudamah in al-Mughni, Ibn AbdulBarr in al-Istidhkar).
    The scholarly treatment on this subject shows not only great variance, but respect, compassion, and mercy for the variety of conditions and situations that men face. We should not take hardline approaches when the texts of the Book and the Sunnah allow for acceptable variance.

    Lastly, disparaging a person for urinating standing is something that was not accepted and should not be used to judge that person’s character. al-Imam al-Shafi’i clarifies this in Kitab al-Aqdiyah, stating this sort of thing to be insufficient cause to reject anyone’s testimony; i.e. had it been enough to reject his or her testimony, we could then describe it as an immoral act. But the Messenger did it at least once, so without probable cause to say a person did not take precaution to clean himself afterwards, it cannot be called immoral. The authors assessment falls short in this regard.

    All in all, in this Ramadan, let us concentrate on the most important Taharah of them all: Purifying our hearts from anything other than Allah and having Ikhlas to his will.

    Wa Salam
    Joe Bradford

  21. Adnan Fazli says:

    It is not just what you say it is also how you say it.

    Since the message in itself is of impurity, I am disappointed that the writer referenced the prophet (pbuh) who is so sacred and revered that without him your identity might cease to exist.

    It is unconscionable to talk about these impurities and the beloved prohpet (pbuh)in the same breath. The article could have been just as effective if written properly.

  22. Julio Fuente§ says:

    Have you been to Muslim majority countries? Or most third world countries? The toilets are filthy. I’m glad I live in America. You’re exxagerating a bit there to try to make your point.

    Its important to stay clean & follow the sunnah, no doubt.

    To the previous commenter who said that the Prophet (saw) shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as such issues, you have a serious misunderstanding of the relationship between the believers & their role model. The Prophet is our example, and most importantly, a fellow human being. He is someone with flesh & bones and emotions & feelings. Allah repeats this in the Quran so we can relate to him. He’s not someone to put on a pedastel & admire from afar.

  23. Ibn yousuf says:

    Salam! I think alot of people are playing way too much attention to the author’s comment about filthy toilets in the west, in my opinion we need to realize the fact that reagardless the said toilet are in Dar al Islam or Dar al Harb its more imperative we concentrate on where these are exactly located and whose uses them.
    Toilets in shopping malls , rest-stops , gas station all over the world are filthy. People who make toilets dirty in the east are in all probability the same people who do so in the masajid here. Same applies for a drunk person using the restroom here or even there.
    > This is a important topic because its something we do multiple times a day and Islam for Muslims asides from being an article of faith is also a system of life. Every single action we do in our daily lives can be a source of blessing and ibadah or a dragnet to the hellfire. There fore we do need to know and emulate  what the sunnah is on this matter, which is also why br. fazli’s comment is ludicrous, if this narrated by Aisha (ra) , Bukhari and Muslim , then I doubt brother fazli knows better. The author did a good job JazakhAllah Khair.

  24. naveed khan says:

    Thanks for info its a great thing to know and practice the appropriate way as described by our religion.

  25. Quran says:

    Thanks for every other wonderful article. Where else may just anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect approach of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.

  26. Mohamad I. says:

    Well, I live in Lebanon and I can tell you that most public bathrooms i’ve used (in university, high school, and most restaurants) throughout my life are relatively dirty. There are both normal toilets (with toilet seats of course) and urinals. Urinals have no toilet paper next to them, which sucks. Toilets are rather isolated from one another (there are walls) plus there are toilet papers and RARELY, water from a specialized hose. Anyway, the REAL reason why dirtiness exists there is mainly because of no full-time working janitor. So people just go in there, take a piss and leave a mess on both the floor and the toilet itself.

  27. aslam says:


    • Mirza says:

      Yes I absolutely support this specific article regarding urinate . I’ve seen that some of our Muslims brother unfortunately blaming our own community cos they think all the European countries doing this filthy act that’s true but why all the muslim countries following this dirty act .
      I’ve a humble request for them that we Muslim should protest any kind of anti social work whether Muslim or non Muslim country this is our responsibility
      May Allah guide us to understand the truth of Islam

  28. Ahmed Ibn Aslam says:

    Shaykh Muhammad Mukhtar Ash-Shanqitee was asked a question regarding the ruling of urinating while standing, here is his answer:

  29. Kirana says:

    fundamentally, whichever is the *cleanest* and *most modest* arrangement should be made a standard. standing or sitting, how to clean oneself, etc. may vary depending on clothing and available cleaning options. but the point is that this process should end up *clean* and *private*.

    i don’t think poverty is an excuse for toilets that are not clean, because Malaysia is a rich country and we still have issues with public toilets. partly because of the mentality of people, and partly because they are usually not designed with the space, amenities, ventilation etc. necessary, and bearing in mind the high humidity of the country. we should *design* our toilets and not just copy/paste designs from another country.

    • Kirana says:

      i mean, poverty being the excuse for muslim countries having dirty toilets. because even rich muslim countries can’t manage to have excellent toilets.

  30. Dr.Intaj Malek says:

    Any way there is nothing wrong in passing urine while standing or in standing urinals. It is more comfortable to pass urine in standing position. Modern day urinals are so designed that there is hardly any chance of drops of urine falling either on clothes or on body.
    There is one Hadith stating that Prophet had urinated once on a dump while in standing position. Had the Prophet seen the modern day urinals, the Hadiths on urinating in standing position might have been made compulsory because in that position and ultra modern urinals give comfort, ease and a guarantee to remain unsoaked by drops of urine.

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