Are urinals commonly used in Muslim countries? Do Muslim users like to use urinals?

  • muench
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Are urinals commonly used in Muslim countries? Do Muslim users like to use urinals?

I would like to clarify the content on Wikipedia about use of urinals in Muslim countries, or by Muslim users.

If I am not mistaken, urinals in public places are not common in Muslim countries due to the Islamic toilet etiquette: having to wash genitals with water after urinating and also wanting to avoid at all costs the possibility of urine splashing back onto clothes (I am not sure if that occurs commonly with urinals but perhaps it does).

Am I right?

Urinals are very common in public places in Europe, U.S., Canada, Australia etc., as they save water, space and time and as many men in these countries enjoy using them (they like the standing position and don't mind the lack of privacy generally).

Here is the article about urinals so far: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinal
(I recently made some improvements to the information on waterless urinals)

I have also placed my question on the talk page of the article here:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Urinal#Add_in..._Muslim_countries.3F

Come to think of it: can anything be said about the urination position also? I.e. in the culture where I live men usually like to stand when urinating, and it's easy to take that as a given (long discussions at the household level where wives tell their husbands to sit down for urinating when using the toilet ;-) ). But who can tell me something about urination position of men in other countries? I think in some regions men prefer to squat when urinating (as it reduces the amount of splashing), is that right? (Wikipedia has the following to say about standing versus sitting for urination: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urination#Standing_versus_sitting )


Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. I am so grateful to Mughal for providing us with the Muslim perspective on so many questions here on the forum. So I am keen to hear your opinion on this one, Mughal. At the same time, I would also like to encourage other Muslim SuSanA members, or those who know the Muslim culture well, to provide information (also about squatting toilets, see here in this thread: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/141-ot...lets-in-your-country ). Thanks.

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Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • RadfordJT
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Re: Are urinals commonly used in Muslim countries? Do Muslim users like to use urinals?

Elisabeth,

I couldn't claim to know muslim culture particularly well, but the handful of public toilets that there are in Dhaka, Bangladesh, typically have both stand and squat urinals. Provision for personal washing is made by means of a short section of flexible hose at the top that usually delivers water for flushing the urinals (standing systems) or a low-level tap on the facing wall (squat systems). All have toilet paper and bins by the urinal for drying after washing. Most have half-height solid wall dividers to provide privacy to users.

We've had mixed feedback from WaterAid Bangladesh on inclusion of urinals in new build public toilets in Dhaka - at some sites they've asked for many, at others none, and its unclear to me what is driving the difference (eg is it different WAB staff/decision makers, did they talk to someone when they visited the site, or is there really a difference in preference/demand in different socioeconomic sectors of the city).
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  • Miller
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Re: Are urinals commonly used in Muslim countries? Do Muslim users like to use urinals?

Dear Elisabeth,

as per discussion on urinals with my Afghan colleagues, please see their statement below:

Here in Afghanistan, urinals are not common because there are some reasons according to religious prospects like when standing for urination it will spoil the clothes they wear and they can’t pray, and also Islam guide us to sit when urinating as it is mentioned in Hadith (Sunan Ibne Majah Vol. 1, Hadith 307) (It was narrated that 'Umar said: "The Messenger of Allah saw me urinating while standing and he said: 'O 'Umar, do not urinate standing up.' So I never urinated whilst standing after that."), but there are some exceptions like when there is no possibility of squatting, wearing fit pants and not making dirty your cloths so it is allowed to stand for urinating and after that cleaning with toilet papers and in rural areas where toilet papers are not available they use dry mud or stone for cleaning genitals and then wash with water in ablution otherwise they use toilet papers.

Most Afghans believe when urinating in standing way it will create problems for kidney and the kidney will not completely free of urines or will not discharge completely and when squatting the kidney gets pressure and the urine completely goes out.


Kind regards,
Alex Miller

BORDA e.V.
Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association

Regional Director Middle East & Central Asia
Web: www.borda-afg.org
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  • ejayyusi
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Re: Urinal Separation Units use in Jordan

Dear Dr. Elizabeth

The use of urinals in Jordanian is not found to be practical on household levels. As discussed previously (see here ), households either have squatting toilets or "Modern Stools" and do not tend to use urinals in their personal/ household latrines.

In Jordan, over the last decades, the use of urinal separation units have developed, mostly, in main cities' public and private sector buildings. By main cities, I mean relatively developed cities in the Kingdom, which include in most cases the Capital Amman (with a current population of more than 2,000,000 capita), Zarqa, Irbid, Salt, and Aqaba Economic Free Zone.

The rest of Jordanian cities have less population intensity, and as being less developed, the use of urinal units is rarely found in its public and private sectors buildings.

In Amman, urinal separation units could largely be used by males in public places and centers, e.g shopping centers, big malls, parks, sport areas. I do not think that its a preferable option for many people, but I can tell you, based on many discussions that I had with friends and family members, that most users sense the urge to use urinals when they find themselves in a urinating emergency waiting in a long line for entering a "proper private place" to do it! Which means that if he found an empty toilet, one would not even think twice to jump in.

In Karak, where I went to University in South Jordan, I have some images in my mind of urinal units which were installed in my faculty, but those units were merely used and unwanted in most cases. They weren't taken care of, they looked dirty and unhygienic, and thus weren't used. Of course this is not the only reason.

Mosques in Jordan do not usually have urinal units. It is somehow preferred to use the bathroom while squatting (as in Islam's teachings, any splash of urine on clothing would cause impurity and different clean clothes will have to be worn to do prayers). Nevertheless, many Muslim scholars teach that the re-use of treated excreted human waste to reproduce fruits and vegetables for Humanity is a proper thing to do.

Last but not least, please take a look at attached for a sample of an ecological sanitation toilet model that could be used to further separate urine and feces in Jordan and many countries alike. (Reference is an online course on Ecological Sanitation with UNESCO-IHE, which I am taking with Dr.Mariska Ronteltap)



For more information or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

All the best

Ehab Jayyusi
B.Sc Civil / Water and Environmental Engineering
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) - Free Lancing Consultant.

Current Position : (WASH) | Projects Design Engineer
International Relief and Development - IRD

Zaatari Camp for Syrian Refugees, Mafraq - Jordan
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  • Owice
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Re: Are urinals commonly used in Muslim countries? Do Muslim users like to use urinals?

Hello from Jordan,

I agree with all what Ehabiddin said in this regard in his post. In the past, before around 30 years, it was almost the only available toilets. I said almost because there was certain percentage (which I do not know) was using the "modern toilets", but I would say they were mostly within the rich layer of the community. From 30 years to now, converting from "old" to "modern" toilet is so common everywhere in the country. I believe that this topic is very interesting, but needs hell of effort to get good feeling of what is the situation now and how the people expect it to be in the near future (their insight for the future). I know that my speech is general, but this is all what I have :)

Regarding using water for cleansing, Muslims follow three options (all are acceptable in the religion; Islam). Some use only toilet paper, others use water alone, while the third use both. However, I would say that the majority only accept using water (with or without toilet paper) as they think it is the only correct way of cleansing. For me, I adapt with what available, bit still I prefer the water option (I am not a fan of toilet paper! This because of my understanding of virtual water issue).

When I was in Germany for my master study, I stuck with what I use always: water. I used to fill a water bottle before using the toilet so I can use water inside. A Muslim German friend of mine told me this method previously. Thus, I think that the Muslim community in Germany (and Europe) use water bottles but obviously enough not all of them, as part of them are using toilet paper alone.

Regarding urinals. Yes, Münch you are right. Both points are valid: urinating standing and the point of splashing effect. Furthermore, I would like to add another point which is privacy. All three points are sensitive in Islam. You can find different opinions from Muslim scholars regarding "standing urination", and it is acceptable as per part of them. However, the point of splashing is critical and it is not acceptable at all. We, Muslims, must try as hard as it is possible to avoid splashing, otherwise we have to do what we call "Taharah" or "ritual cleaning" which is necessary for practicing our prayers. This is done by washing the parts/clothes which caught the droplets/flow thoroughly with water. Regarding privacy, it is not acceptable by any means to expose the area between the belly button and the knees for anyone (of course, excluding the case of marriage). As you know, using the urinal is something "public" and it is easy for others to see the the genital. For me, I never used the urinals before and I think I will not use them, which means I do not know if they actually does splash the urine or not. I see urinals something foreign to our culture (my own opinion). Mainly, urinals exist in hotels and some modern shopping places and restaurants.

Hope that my participation helped in anyway and of course, I am open for any questions.
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  • boorso
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Re: Are urinals commonly used in Muslim countries? Do Muslim users like to use urinals?

Dear Elisabeth

We Muslims in Somalia generally speaking, we don't stand while urinating. We actually use squatting positions to urinate so that we can wash the private parts with water because touching urine is Nijasa as a Muslim our religion Islam demands that we have to be clean all the time, standing while urinating in Slam is prohibited.

Hassan
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  • dwipayanti
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Re: Are urinals commonly used in Muslim countries? Do Muslim users like to use urinals?

In terms of urinals in Indonesia,
The majority in my country is Muslims, unfortunately, i am not a Muslims nor a male,
so it is difficult for me to explain about urinals in Indonesia, and do not have any experience with it.
One experience i have only when i needed to inspect public toilet in my faculty where i am working.
In male toilet the problem is the quality of urinal flushing system is very poor, it always causing problem so that the urinal and the whole toilet have bad odor.
Thus usually, the cistern toilet is used as alternatives. But honestly, I do not know whether our Muslim students prefer the urinals or squatting position, because we do not provide squatting toilet in the male toilet.
But in state elementary school or high school, toilet only available with squatting toilet without any urinals in male room. According to my husband, only toilet in hotels, big shopping centers or other international level public places are usually provided with urinals, rarely in other ordinary local public places.
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