How do primitive civilizations in arctic and desert climates wipe?

So toilet paper hasn’t been invented yet and the nearest leafy plant is hundreds of miles away.

What do you do?

They don’t wipe; they wash with water. There is a hadith where Mohammed gives instructions for doing one’s business in the desert; he says that if water is not available to use some smooth stones to wipe.

The tundra in Western Alaska was covered with a moss. You can purchase a similar product for houseplants if you want to try it.

But not a bone:

I stand in awe of the things I’ve learned on this Board!

Fresh moss works admirably for the job, IME. Smooth sticks and stones are the next best option and were used by the peoples in the OP.

You could probably use snow as well. You can use snow to take a primitive bath.

Well, I didn’t get this quite right. Here’s a summary of the hadith, as found in the section “Mysteries of Cleanliness: Purification of Body from Excrements” of Revival of Religious Learnings, Vol. 1, by Imam Ghazzali:

Of course, there are probably several hadiths with different interpretations. According to Mufti Ebrahim Desai, abstertion (Istinjaa) may be performed with toilet paper and water instead of stones, as follows:

I thought they used the three seashells.

Ooooh, ouch, oooh, yipes, them stones are hot!

I understand that the people in the Arctic can you moss or snow or some such, but ho do they take a crap when it is -20 below outside of their shelter, unless they crap in their shelter and toss it out. They must have really close families.

You ever hear of outhouses?

Even with no outhouse, twenty below ain’t that bad. You go out, do your business quickly, and go back in. I lived in a cabin in Fairbanks without running water for two winters. If it’s forty below or colder then you it can be really uncomfortable, but chamber pots have been used for this purpose for thousands of years.

This was before the Sears catalog was introduced.

Just so you know, 'ware them smooth stones lying on the desert floor in Muslim countries. :slight_smile:

“… the Prophet told me, O Omar, don’t pass urine standing.”

So do Muslim men sit to pee? Can anyone confirm this?

I believe it’s the usual practice, at least in some places. I recently saw a reference to an Afghani man squatting to urinate outside - the text suggested that this was the usual practice, as it avoids exposing the genitals to direct view.

I wonder how old Omar felt when God decided to speak to him in the middle of a pee.