Invocations before and after answering the call of nature

From Jaami al-Tirmidhi, Book of Purification

Muhammad ibn `Isa al-Tirmidhi said:

بَابُ مَا يقولُ إذا دَخَلَ الخَلاءَ

Chapter: What one says when entering the bathroom

حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ، وَهَنَّادٌ، قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ، عَنْ شُعْبَةَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ بْنِ صُهَيْبٍ،
Anas ibn Maalik said: The Prophet ﷺ would say upon entering the khalaa’, Allaahummaa innee a’udhu bika – Shu`bah said: and he once said a`udhu bika min al-khubthi wal-khabeeth  or al-khubuthi wal-khabaa’ith. عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ كَانَ النَّبِيُّ ﷺ إِذَا دَخَلَ الْخَلاَءَ قَالَ ‏ “‏ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ قَالَ شُعْبَةُ وَقَدْ قَالَ مَرَّةً أُخْرَى أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْخُبْثِ وَالْخَبِيثِ أَوِ الْخُبُثِ وَالْخَبَائِثِ ‏
قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى وَفِي الْبَابِ عَنْ عَلِيٍّ وَزَيْدِ بْنِ أَرْقَمَ وَجَابِرٍ وَابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى حَدِيثُ أَنَسٍ أَصَحُّ شَيْءٍ فِي هَذَا الْبَابِ وَأَحْسَنُ ‏.‏ وَحَدِيثُ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَرْقَمَ فِي إِسْنَادِهِ اضْطِرَابٌ رَوَى هِشَامٌ الدَّسْتَوَائِيُّ وَسَعِيدُ بْنُ أَبِي عَرُوبَةَ عَنْ قَتَادَةَ فَقَالَ سَعِيدٌ عَنِ الْقَاسِمِ بْنِ عَوْفٍ الشَّيْبَانِيِّ عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَرْقَمَ.‏ وَقَالَ هِشَامٌ الدَّسْتَوَائِيُّ عَنْ قَتَادَةَ عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَرْقَمَ.‏ وَرَوَاهُ شُعْبَةُ وَمَعْمَرٌ عَنْ قَتَادَةَ عَنِ النَّضْرِ بْنِ أَنَسٍ فَقَالَ شُعْبَةُ عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَرْقَمَ‏.‏ وَقَالَ مَعْمَرٌ عَنِ النَّضْرِ بْنِ أَنَسٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ﷺ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى سَأَلْتُ مُحَمَّدًا عَنْ هَذَا فَقَالَ يُحْتَمَلُ أَنْ يَكُونَ قَتَادَةُ رَوَى عَنْهُمَا جَمِيعًا ‏.
أَخْبَرَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ عَبْدَةَ الضَّبِّيُّ الْبَصْرِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ زَيْدٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ بْنِ صُهَيْبٍ،
عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ﷺ كَانَ إِذَا دَخَلَ الْخَلاَءَ قَالَ ‏ “‏ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْخُبْثِ وَالْخَبَائِثِ ‏”‏‏.‏
قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ.

بَابُ مَا يقولُ إذا خَرَجَ مِن الخَلاءَ

Chapter: What one says when exiting the bathroom

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، حَدَّثَنَا مَالِكُ بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، عَنْ إِسْرَائِيلَ بْنِ يُونُسَ، عَنْ يُوسُفَ بْنِ أَبِي بُرْدَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ،
`Aa’ishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) said: When the Prophet ﷺ would leave the khalaa’ he would say ghufraanak [your forgiveness]. عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، رضى الله عنها قَالَتْ كَانَ النَّبِيُّ ﷺ إِذَا خَرَجَ مِنَ الْخَلاَءِ قَالَ “غُفْرَانَكَ‏”‏
قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ لاَ نَعْرِفُهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ حَدِيثِ إِسْرَائِيلَ عَنْ يُوسُفَ بْنِ أَبِي بُرْدَةَ.‏ وَأَبُو بُرْدَةَ بْنُ أَبِي مُوسَى اسْمُهُ عَامِرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ قَيْسٍ الأَشْعَرِيُّ‏.‏ وَلاَ نَعْرِفُ فِي هَذَا الْبَابِ إِلاَّ حَدِيثَ عَائِشَةَ رضى الله عنها عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ﷺ.


These are three narrations from two chapters, back-to-back. The first is present in al-Bukhari and Muslim and all the seven books1)The 7 are: al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’I, al-Tirmidhi, ibn Maajah & Maalik, while the hadeeth from the second chapter is also recorded by Abu Dawud and ibn Maajah. All are authentic.


Hadeeth Benefit

Yusuf, the son of Abu Burdah, related from his father Abu Burdah. Abu Burdah is the son of Abu Musa al-Ash`ari. Yusuf, therefore, is the grandson of the famous companion. He narrated from his father, who narrated from Aa’ishah.


Narrations on topic


Both Abu Dawud and Ibn Maajah collected the version heard by Zaid ibn Arqam (d. 66), which is different in two ways. First, it is instructive, and second, it is rationalized and explained.

عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَرْقَمَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ ﷺ ‏ “إِنَّ هَذِهِ الْحُشُوشَ مُحْتَضَرَةٌ فَإِذَا دَخَلَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَلْيَقُلِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْخُبُثِ وَالْخَبَائِثِ‏”‏.‏

“These privies are attended, so if any of you enters, then let him say Allaahumma innee a`udhu bika min al-khubuthi wal-khabaa’ith.” – attended by jinn

There is another version of this du’aa, with some addition, but only transmitted through a weak chain2)Ali ibn Yazeed here is munkar al-hadeeth, and another version from al-Tabarani by Anas ibn Maalik contains Ismaa’eel ibn Muslim and al-Miqdaam, who are both either weak or munkar. although some scholars considered it hasan because of the multiple paths—and recorded by ibn Maajah with the invocation as such:

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ أَبِي مَرْيَمَ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ أَيُّوبَ، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ زَحْرٍ، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ يَزِيدَ، عَنْ الْقَاسِمِ، عَنْ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ، أَنّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ﷺ قَالَ: ” لَا يَعْجِزْ أَحَدُكُمْ إِذَا دَخَلَ مِرْفَقَهُ أَنْ يَقُولَ: اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الرِّجْسِ النَّجِسِ، الْخَبِيثِ الْمُخْبِثِ، الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ

“O Allah, I seek protection with You from the filthy impure wicked wicked-causing accursed Satan.”

And some versions use mukhbath (wicked) instead of mukhbith (causing wickedness).

There are further narrations, with a different supplication for exiting the restroom, with wordings similar to this, the most well-known version, found in ibn Maajah. However, they are all weak, and even considered weak by al-Nawawi in Kitaab al-Adhkaar, and he is one of the most lenient of fuqahaa’ in grading ahadith:

حَدَّثَنَا هَارُونُ بْنُ إِسْحَاقَ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ الْمُحَارِبِيُّ، عَنْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ بْنِ مُسْلِمٍ، عَنِ الْحَسَنِ، وَقَتَادَةَ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ: كَانَ النَّبِيُّ ﷺ إِذَا خَرَجَ مِنَ الْخَلاَءِ قَالَ ‏ ‏الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَذْهَبَ عَنِّي الأَذَى وَعَافَانِي‏

alhamdulillahi alladhee adh-haba `annee al-adhaa wa `aafaanee

“All praise be to Allah who removed harm from me and relieved me.”

However, some imams considered this du’aa recommended since it was narrated on many of the Salaf.

We learn from these narrations…

The Prophet’s private life did not belie his public life

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was the messenger of Allah. One companion could say that the Prophet ﷺ practiced what he preached, and that would be meaningful, since they were his contemporaries and they observed him. Yet, here, we see before our very eyes, as a product of research we are witnessing this. One companion, Zaid ibn Arqam said: the Prophet taught us this, and told us to do that. And we wouldn’t know if the Prophet ﷺ practiced that himself or if he merely told it to us. And then Anas ibn Maalik, the Prophet’s close servant was there when the Prophet ﷺ would answer the call of nature. Anas would sometimes even search for smooth stones to give the Prophet ﷺ to clean himself with. So this individual who was so close to the Messenger ﷺ told us something that he saw from his master—for lack of a better word.

Based on Anas’ observation, we know a practice of the Prophet, that may have been just for him like some of the khasaa’is. But with Zaid’s narration combined, we see a greater picture. The Prophet ﷺ would teach his companions one thing out in the open, and then when he was by himself or in the presence of only one or two other people on the face of this earth, he would live by those exact same words he preached to others. Most of us, Allahu musta’an, we say some things, and then nine times out of ten, when we’re alone, it’s a completely different story. If our spouses could tell a story of us, and our public friends could tell a story, they would be of two separate lives—but with the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, both public and private gave the same story subḥānAllah.

What amazes me about this hadeeth is that it’s not one of the companions who follows the Prophet ﷺ from his public preaching to his private life, but it is me the researcher, and us, those who benefit from the research. By looking at multiple narrations, I learn benefits that are not present in any single narration by itself.

And this is a Sunnah of the Messengers of Allah, as Allah ﷺ says, relating from Shu’aib, the orator of the prophets:

{قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِن كُنتُ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّي وَرَزَقَنِي مِنْهُ رِزْقًا حَسَنًا ۚ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَىٰ مَا أَنْهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ ۚ إِنْ أُرِيدُ إِلَّا الْإِصْلَاحَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ ۚ وَمَا تَوْفِيقِي إِلَّا بِاللَّـهِ ۚ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ} ﴿٨٨﴾ سورة هود

“He said: O my people, do you see that I’m following guidance from my Lord and He still granted me a good sustenance; and I do not want to diverge from you, to what I forbid from you, but I only want reform, as much as I am able, and my success is only from Allah, upon Him I put my trust, and to Him alone I am penitent.” [11:88]

{… اللَّـهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ ۗ …} ﴿١٢٤﴾ سورة الأنعام

“Allah knows best where to place His message”


How we benefit from the variations in the supplications

The first du’aa has multiple authentically transmitted variations. The differences are subtle but meaningful.

Allaahumma innee [optional] a’udhu bika min Al-khubthi (wickedness) Wa al-khabeeth (wicked being[s])
a’udhu bika min Al-khubuthi (male wicked ones) Wal-khabaa’ith (female wicked ones)


As for how to begin the du’aa, it seems to be optional, so I personally prefer starting with Allah’s name. I could say “I see refuge in you…” but something else crosses my mind for a moment and it is harder to envision that I’m praying to Allah. So instead if I say “Oh Allah, I seek your protection from…” then my words force upon my heart and mind their attention to Allah. However, if one is junub or sexually tainted, then it may be better to refrain from saying Allah’s name, so the other option is there alhamdulillah.

Then, linguistically, the subject of kha-ba-tha we see in these narrations revolves around wickedness. If we didn’t have the narration of Zaid ibn Arqam, we might think that the wickedness was specifically human-related, since we always think of humans, and rarely think of or remember the presence of jinn. If that were the case, then seeking Allah’s protection from wickedness might mean ourselves and any temptations that may be aroused within us when alone and exposing, while seeking Allah’s protection from wicked people would include people taking advantage of us when we have our guard down, or from voyeurism, people watching us in secret.


Why this is really important

The narration of Zaid ibn Arqam tells that we’re primarily seeking Allah’s protection from male and female wicked jinns, and that, if we do so, this is a means of keeping them at bay from us while we’re in that vulnerable state.

And these few words are part of what make up our armor, as believers, against the soldiers of Iblees. We have many weaknesses and entrance points. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ told us several occasions that we specifically needed to seek Allah’s protection, from the shaytaan. This is one of them, and it is not something we should take lightly, as simple as it seems. Similarly, we seek Allah’s protection before reciting Quran, and use the name of Allah before lots of other acts, like eating and drinking, entering and leaving our homes or the houses of Allah, before intercourse of course, and when we put our clothes on, and many occasions. The more of these we put into our daily lives and routines, the stronger our armor is, and the fewer weaknesses it has. Because any weakness could be one point that shaytaan enters upon us, and gets stronger in his influence, and we are weaker to avoid giving in. We may feel a bit of pride to follow something that the Prophet ﷺ encouraged—and say, that’s for the common folk or the illiterate Muslims. We may feel despair or depression—since many times in the Quran Allah tells us that one of Shaytaan’s primary goals is to cause the Muslims to feel despair. Similarly, envy and hatred and suspicion or arrogance, especially towards other Muslims—whether they’re Muslims we know, or Muslims we read about on the other side of the world. Likewise lust or self-love and narcissism, which are both temptations that could really most immediately plague a believer when they are out of sight of others.

All those feelings are strengthened within us, and we become further from Allah, the more we let our guard down in the face of shaytaan. There are plenty of stories of how people are led astray when they slack off on “simple things” like these du’aas. It is made simple because of how important it is and to show how truly weak Shaytaan is once we seek Allah’s Help, because only Allah, the Creator and Seer of all things, can protect us against an enemy that no man can see.



As for the saying of ghufraanak upon exiting, meaning “[I seek] your forgiveness”, then we note that the name of Allah is not mentioned. The Prophet ﷺ did not say [اللهم اغفر لي] Oh Allah forgive me. It is preferable, when without ablution or tayammum to avoid mentioning Allah’s name, and especially around impure substances.

But what is the Prophet ﷺ asking for forgiveness from that we should understand when saying these words ourselves since using the restroom and purging ourselves is not at all sinful but a human necessity and even obligatory in some circumstances? Ulama mentioned two things:

  1. Forgiveness from that temporary state when we kept ourselves away from Allah’s verbal audible remembrance to “answer the call of nature”. This is why, in the Hanbali school for example, it is makrooh to stay in the bathroom beyond the time needed. It is difficult to remember Allah with your heart alone.
  2. Forgiveness from our shortcomings as human beings, that we eat and drink, and then those ayyibaat that Allah created for us are instead turning into najaasah by our earthly bodies.3)This meaning—of removing impurities from inside our bodies—also seems to be implied by the weak narrations of praise to Allah from removing harm and granting relief. Whereas, in Paradise, the believers’ bodies would change, and so when they ate food or drank from the rivers of al-Jannah, any waste would be expelled through sweat and belching.


At what moment do we say…

Scholars mention it is best to make the du’aa before stepping foot into the stall—or if unapplicable—before lifting one’s thobe or pulling their pants down. Some narrations specifically say “when the Prophet wanted to enter the privy, he would say…” So not during the act, but before. As for exiting, then once one has left the stall. If in a conventional home bathroom where the sink and toilet are next to each other in one room, and for example and you want to make the invocations of ablution that call on Allah’s Name—while you’re in the bathroom—just make sure the toilet has been flushed and the impurities are out of there.


May Allah make us among those who listen to the Word and follow the best of it. O Allah, grant us the ability to follow the guidance of your Messenger, the mercy to the worlds. O Allah, protect us from the devils of humans and jinns, and keep us safe when we are most vulnerable. Ameen.


References   [ + ]

1. The 7 are: al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’I, al-Tirmidhi, ibn Maajah & Maalik
2. Ali ibn Yazeed here is munkar al-hadeeth, and another version from al-Tabarani by Anas ibn Maalik contains Ismaa’eel ibn Muslim and al-Miqdaam, who are both either weak or munkar.
3. This meaning—of removing impurities from inside our bodies—also seems to be implied by the weak narrations of praise to Allah from removing harm and granting relief.
About Chris
Chris, aka AbdulHaqq, is from central Illinois and accepted Islam in 2001 at age 17. He studied Arabic and Islamic theology in Saudi Arabia from 2007-13 and most recently earned a master's in Islamic Law from Malaysia. He is married with children.

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