While a clean butthole can feel like a religious experience, some religions require physical cleanliness as a spiritual practice. The Islamic faith in particular consists of cleaning one’s soul and keeping one’s body neat and pure. That includes anal cleanliness!
For centuries, the Muslim people have used the lota to cleanse their hands, feet, and bottoms before offering prayers. Here’s everything you need to know about this sacred, spouted vessel!
What is a Lota?
A lota is a handheld vessel for water, used to cleanse the booty after the dirty business of pooping. Lotas are small, lidded containers that can be made from clay, copper, steel, or plastic.
While lotas uphold religious ceremonies that require physical cleanliness, they can also be used for drinking and household cleaning.
Origin of the Lota
As with many Islamic practices, Prophet Muhammad kicked off the use of the lota. The Prophet Mohammad performed istinja, the act of washing private parts with water after committing najis, the common Arabic word used for doing number 1 and number 2.
Istanja can be practiced with toilet paper or even rocks, but water is the standard toilet hygiene in Muslim homes. Lotas have been used for ritual purposes in India for millennia, with copper lotas being used in sacred Hindu ceremonies. Along the way, they became the standard vessel for anal ablutions.
Different Types of Lotas
Technically, anything can be a lota. Well, anything that can hold liquid and provide a controlled stream of water. Some Muslims carry portable douches that can fit in a handbag or pocket. The vibe is a squeezable pouch with a screw-top lid or a portable bidet.
But not every Muslim buys a lota. This Muslim author says her aunt uses an orange watering can, while her husband employs a soda bottle, and has heard of folks using Travelodge kettles on the go. This author jokes about trying to explain a soy milk jug in the bathroom to non-Muslims.
When water bottles aren’t available, or you’re pooping on the go, dampened toilet paper can stand in for a quality clean.
How to Use a Lota
This depends on the device, but the main trick is getting a concentrated stream directed at the spot that needs a clean. For a little toot-orial on the portable bidet, you can check out this vid from TUSHY. A lot of the lota comes down to angles! You basically squat over the pot and spray, then pat dry. In Muslim tradition, the lota is used exclusively with the left hand, while the right is reserved for eating.
The Lota vs the Shattaf
If you want more of a spray, you’ll want to move from bottle to bidet. The Shattaf is really more of a bum shower––a hardware device installed in your home bathroom. It’s like a handheld bidet, so ubiquitous in Muslim countries that it’s commonly referred to as a Muslim shower. Like a lota, the shattaf uses water to clean. On the plus side, the shattaf is not likely to run out of water. It’s a longer term device. On the down side, it’s more difficult to install or uninstall.
The Lota vs. the Bidet
There are two key differences between a lota and a bidet: hands-free operation and water supply.
While the lota can range from a traditional spouted vessel to a squeezy bottle (similar to a portable bidet), you need a free hand and some creative angling to operate it. And there is of course a limited quantity of water.
A modern bidet attaches to your toilet and plumbing supply. You simply sit, turn a knob, and let the spray nozzle do its thing.
Whether you’re using a lota, shattaf, or a bidet, a water-washed bum provides a spiritual clean that’s 2x more hygienic than wiping with dry paper.