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Last Updated: 2013/01/20
Summary of question
Is it possible to clean the private parts using tissue paper?
We use tissue or toilet paper to clean our private parts especially when we are out of our homes. That is because there is no pitcher available in out-door toilets. Is it okay to clean our private parts with toilet paper? I have read in some books that one can, in the absence of water, use a stone to clean his private parts. Does that mean we can use toilet paper also? I am asking this question because toilet paper is used in schools and public places other than our own house. If I use toilet paper, does it suffice for ritual purity or it will cause my clothes to become impure? Can I offer prayers wearing such clothes?
Concise answer
It is permissible to use toilet paper to clean only the anus from faeces.[1] The urinary organ cannot be made ritually pure without water.[2]  In places where you do not have access to water, you can use toilet paper or anything else to make your body dry so that moisture does not transfer to other  parts (clothing and body).  When you return home or go to a place where you have access to water, you can clean your private parts using water.

[1]  In the following three cases, anus can be made ritually pure with water alone:  (1) If another najasat (impurity), like blood, appears along with the faeces; (2) if an external najasat reaches the anus; (3) if more than usual najasat spreads around the anus.  In the cases other than those mentioned above, anus can be made ritually pure either by water or by using cloth, or stone etc., although it is always better to wash it with water.
[2] Tawzih al-Masail (with annotation by Imam Khomeini), vol.1, p. 59, issue No. 66. “The urinary organ cannot be made clean without water.  If men wash themselves after urination, it would be sufficient but women and also those who discharge urine through unnatural passages, the obligatory precaution for them is to wash urinary organ twice. “

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