How Can Women Clean Themselves after Urine in Public Places?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel

Question

In the USA, public toilets have no water to clean after relieving oneself. I know we can use a dry tissue to clean. But for females, it’s mostly always the case that urine goes towards the backside and not just straight down. I have extreme OCD. After a year, I brought myself to the point where I could use the tissue easily outside the house by learning.

Now I have come to know if it’s more than the size of a dirham, I must use water. It means we can’t travel or be at the office, keep ourselves, consider clothes clean, and pray. In older times, with the scarcity of water while traveling, how did the females clean themselves if water was a must if stones were used? Why are most rulings a bit difficult for females? Does a wet tissue work?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Using water is obligatory in istinja; removing filth from one’s private parts after using the toilet if the filth has spread out from its point of exit by more than the size of a dirham, approximately a circle of 3-5cm radius, as mentioned by some contemporary scholars. This is to wash away the extra unexcused amount of filth.

[Edit: The duty to perform istibra’ is only incumbent upon men. Women don’t have to perform istibra’ to be able to pray a valid prayer afterward. A woman simply needs to wait for a little after urinating, and that’s it. After that, she performs Istinja, if needed, fulfilling the same requirements as a man. ” [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar] – SeekersAnswers]

If the filth is less than 3-5cm in diameter beyond the point of exiting, then istinja remains a confirmed sunna (sunna mu’akkada), and is not obligatory. This sunna can be fulfilled either by washing with water, which is superior, or wiping with a tissue. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Keeping the above in mind, if you were to be soiled with urine on your body or clothes while out and about, like, you mentioned, although we clean and wash, be it little, your prayer is still valid. Rest assured, your situation was not as such.

When one is out, like at work, shopping, etc., and one needs to relieve oneself, one should always prepare for the situation, either keep an empty bottle, then fill water, or have a filled water bottle, or just wet few tissues, etc. and take in with you to the toilet to ensure one has no doubts remaining. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Check these links as well:
A Reader on OCD and Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) (seekersguidance.org)
Ritual Purity: A Reader – SeekersGuidance

Why not begin your search for knowledge by signing up for a course on Seekersguidance?
SeekersAcademy (seekersguidance.org)

May Allah (Most High) give you ease and relief from OCD, Amin.

I pray this helps with your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied within UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

He started his early education in UK. He went onto complete hifz of Qur’an in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in UK where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then travelled to Karachi, Pakistan.

He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for a number of years. He has taught hifz of the Qur’an, Tajwid, Fiqh and many other Islamic sciences to both children and adults onsite and online extensively in UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences.

He currently resides in UK with his wife. His personal interest is love of books and gardening.