Danni in the Desert
Shatafa meaning: the middle eastern bidet & why use it.
For many people, when they first visit or move to the Middle East region. They may be wondering, “What on earth is that water gun next to the toilet?” It’s the Middle Eastern bidet ! Also known as the bum gun!
The Arabic word is Shattaf or Shatafa . If you’re curious to learn more. Such as where it originally came from, the benefits of using it (from a bowel surgeon), and why you definitely shouldn’t drink from it. Continue reading!
Plus, I’ll give some practical advice on how to best use it! So let’s go!
Certainly, with toilet paper disappearing off the shelves in the last few years, even more people in Europe and the United States have become curious about bidets and other ways to clean themselves after the toilet!
This is the Middle Eastern version of a bidet and is way more convenient than the style commonly seen in Europe, which is an oval-shaped sink you sit on.
Table of Contents
What is the Shatafa meaning? Where did it originate?
Shattaf is taken from the Arabic word ‘to rinse.’ The Shatafa meaning is specifically the hose style bidet that is used to clean yourself. In Islam, cleanliness is highly regarded, including washing yourself after the bathroom and when you’ve been intimate with your partner.
This is why these items are hugely popular with Muslims and why you’ll find them in the majority of Muslim countries! This is why it’s sometimes nicknamed a Muslim shower. However, it is not known exactly how it originated or from where.
You’ll find them in all public bathrooms across Dubai, such as Dubai Mall and Mall of Emirates .
One of the oldest versions we find is called the “Lota” which is a pot with a thin spout that allows for you to clean yourself after going the toilet. We can trace the “Lota” back to the 2nd century BC in India.
Prophet Muhammad recommended Muslims to wash themselves with water after the bathroom, so we know it was a practice, but when devices similar to what we see today were invented is unknown.
What is Shatafa in English?
Shatafa in English is called a hose bidet or shower bidet in English, but it has many other names, such as bum gun, bidet sprayer, hand-held bidet, hose sprayer, water sprayer and bum sprayer.
What is the water gun next to the toilet? What is the Arabic name of the bum gun?
The name in Arabic is called a “Shatafa” or “Shattaf” and this is the Middle East version of a bidet. It’s also called a bidet shower or spray bidet in English. The European version, which is like a sink, is called a Bidet.
The purpose of it is simple. To clean your intimate areas after going the bathroom.
What is a bidet?
A bidet has multiple forms but there are three main ones. The word itself originally comes from France. It is traced back to the 1700s when a porcelain bowl with legs was filled with water and used. The word “bidet” means pony and is thought to represent the way in which you straddle over it.
The modern version of this basin kind is similar to a sink and has a tap at the top. You turn the tap on, sit over it after going to the bathroom and wash yourself.
The second kind is the style popular in Japan, which is built into the toilet and is fully electric. Operated by a button, it emerges from the toilet bowl and sprays upwards.
The third kind, which is more common in the Middle East and Asia, is called a spray bidet or shower bidet. It is a hose connected to the main water and use while sitting on the toilet. It has a small lever you push with your thumb to spray the water. This is called a shatafa or shattaf.
🚿 Buy the travel shattaf that when viral on TikTok 🚿
How to use Shatafa
It can definitely take some getting used to! Especially the first few times you use it. So here are some tips for using the Shattaf for the first time!
- Locate the water valve for the Shattaf / Shatafa
- Unhook or remove the Shattaf from the holder
- Point the Shattaf down into the toilet bowl
- Press the thumb leaver
- Assess the water pressure
- Turn the valve up or down depending on your preference, normally located on the wall (if it’s your first time best to set it lower)
- Use it to wash the front and then slowly move towards the back
- Hold in place at the back to make sure a good amount of water cleans the area
- Take some toilet paper and wipe until clean
- Repeat if necessary
Everyone has their own different ways they prefer to use the Shatafa and you can experiment for your own preference. Some prefer to use tissues first and then wash themselves, but this isn’t recommended. You’ll find out why below!
In some Muslim countries, it’s common not to supply toilet paper as people use their left hand to clean this area instead (hence why you shake with your right hand and not your left in the region!)
Traditionally people would carry a re-useable towel for drying themselves off after using the shatafa. You may still find places where no toilet roll is provided in more remote locations in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries.
However, do not worry. Your luxury hotel in Dubai will definitely have toilet paper!
Are bum guns sanitary? Why should you use the Middle East bidet?
Yes, shatafas or bum guns are more sanitary than using just toilet paper alone. Water removes more faecal matter than using toilet roll alone.
We asked a Doctor who specialises in bowel surgery for his medical opinion: “Wiping these delicate areas with dry paper and over wiping can cause fissures or damage to the area. In addition, when using paper alone, fecal matter can end up being wiped around to the urinary tract. This increases your risk of a urinary infection. The Shattaf improves hygiene and the water helps to avoid this friction.” Dr Al Harbi – Heera General Hospital
Shatafa vs bidet
It’s a battle between the bum gun vs the bidet and which one will win? The traditional bidet, popular in Europe, or the Arab toilet hose favourite. Let’s see!
We’ll look at the positives and negatives of each to decide:
Overall, the bum gun is a lot easier to use than the sink style Bidet and therefore you are much more likely to keep using it. I know many households in England who installed a Bidet due to their popularity in the 1980s but now barely use them.
This is likely due to the lack of ease when using them when compared with the spray bidet / shatafa.
If you’re looking to install one in your home, Walmart has several hose bidet options and offers worldwide shipping.
What is a Middle Eastern toilet?
So in the UAE, it’s generally pretty rare to see this style which is sometimes nicknamed the “Middle East Toilet” but you may find them occasionally.
If you visit Saudi Arabia or another Gulf country then you may find what is called a squat toilet. They are very common in other parts of the Middle East. Also sometimes in older Gulf homes.
This type of toilet is better for bowl health as the squatting position creates a more favourable shape of the lower bowel, making it easier for your body to eliminate waste.
The Western toilet, however, has grown in popularity in the region due to its ease of use and greater comfort. To make the Western-style toilet more bowel-friendly, you can add a small step that raises the feet when sitting. Thus causing a squatting position.
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Why are there two toilet bowls in Dubai?
If you’re staying in an older hotel in Dubai, you will often find a traditional-style bidet rather than a hose-style bidet, or both may be available. Sometimes, you will also find two toilets in a large cubicle in the shopping mall toilets. One is a toilet set lower down, and the other at the regular height. This is for parents with children so they can go to the bathroom together, making the parent’s life easier.
If you’re curious about more of Dubai and the Middle East, make sure to check out these other articles:
- Tourist rules in Dubai, the Do’s & Don’ts of Dubai as a tourist
- Learn about the famous Burj Al Arab with these facts and how to visit
- What is the traditional food of the UAE and where can I eat it?
- What are those white dresses that men wear in Dubai? Emirati clothes
- Beginners guide to visiting a Mosque for the first time
Final thoughts on the shatafa
So now you know what the Arabic toilet washer and bum washer name is, along with the Shattaf meaning or Shatafa. Whichever you prefer to call it.
Once you get used to using the Shatafa or Shattaf it’s very hard to return to not having one. You can even buy this travel one which went viral on Tiktok , to make sure you never go without it again! When I visit my home in England, I always take a travel shattaf with me.
I’m sure if you’ve been to the Middle East or spent any amount of time living there, the ‘bum gun’ will quickly become one of your favourite items, and hopefully, the above has helped you learn more about it and how to use it properly!
Read more Visit Dubai Guides
*This article contains affiliate links, as an Amazon Associate and a member of other affiliate programs, I earn a commission when you click a link and a qualifying purchase is made. (See Disclosure for more details)
Lota; Ewer: British museum (16th to 19th Centure) The British Museum . Available at: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/A_1996-0224-1 (Accessed: 01 January 2024).
How did the prophet clean himself after relieving himself? – islam question & answer (2023) RSS . Available at: https://islamqa.info/en/answers/219157/how-did-the-prophet-clean-himself-after-relieving-himself (Accessed: 01 January 2024).
Meinch, T. (2022) The surprising history of the bidet started with the wealthy and brothels , Discover Magazine . Available at: https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/the-surprising-history-of-the-bidet-started-with-the-wealthy-and-brothels (Accessed: 01 January 2024).
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9 incredibly tasty Arabic desserts you must try in the Middle East!
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Danni first moved to Dubai in 2013 from her native country of England and fell in love with Dubai and the Arabian Gulf. She loves to share helpful information about Dubai for those planning to visit Dubai or thinking to move to UAE. She prides herself on giving a fully honest opinion of the lifestyle along with insights into the culture that she's learnt in depth due to converting to Islam and marrying a Saudi national. For more about Danni B and to work with her, visit about me
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Danube Home Milano Travel Shattaf Full Set, Silver
- Essential addition to your travel needs.Hygienic cleaning wherever you go.
- Can be attached to most toilet connections including faucets. Flexible water hose
- Material Acrylic
- Warranty: No Warranty
- Last 3 left in stock
- Condition: New
- Availability: In Stock Warehouse 3
- Deliver To Abu Dhabi Change Delivered by Feb 12 If you order within 12 Hours, 22 Minutes
Description for Danube Home Milano Travel Shattaf Full Set, Silver
Milano Travel Shattaf can be carried anywhere you travel.It's elegant and luxury shattaf visually royal simple to use and is easy to install in any bathroom.This could be attach mostly to any faucet connections.You call in the comfort like you are in your own home. This is the added cleanliness to your everyday toilet use where ever you are. It's affordable and you do not need to worry about hygiene as you have your own Shattaf inside your bag! Milano Shattaf has a premium quality known for their lasting value, and enduring design. Essential addition to your travel needs. Hygienic cleaning wherever you go. Can be attached to most toilet connections including faucets. Flexible water hose(size:2.7m) Free wrinch. Easy to remove. Easy to carry. Free pouch.
Delivered by Feb 12 in UAE We offer express delivery to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain, UAE for Danube Home Milano Travel Shattaf Full Set, Silver. Best Price Guarantee We offer the best price for Danube Home Milano Travel Shattaf Full Set, Silver in Dubai, UAE. Buy now with the best price!
Specifications for Danube Home Milano Travel Shattaf Full Set, Silver
- Danube Home
- 20 January, 2024
- 25.50 cm x 29.80 cm x 6.40 cm
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Danube Home Milano Travel Shattaf Full Set, Silver
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Milano Travel Shattaf can be carried anywhere you travel. It's elegant and luxury shattaf visually royal simple to use and is easy to install in any bathroom. This could be attach mostly to any faucet connections. You call in the comfort like you are in your own home. This is the added cleanliness to your everyday toilet use where ever you are. It's affordable and you do not need to worry about hygiene as you have your own Shattaf inside your bag! Milano Shattaf has a premium quality known for their lasting value, and enduring design. Essential addition to your travel needs. Hygienic cleaning wherever you go. Can be attached to most toilet connections including faucets. Flexible water hose(size:2.7m) Free wrinch. Easy to remove. Easy to carry. Free pouch.
- Number of Pieces: 1
- Brand: Danube Home
- Bath Product Type: Bathroom Fixtures
- Barcode : 140200100191
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Tatay Shattaf Travel Kit
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- Product Overview
- Features great water flow and pressure control that provides easy and efficient way to get gentle spray rinse
- Solid toilet sprayer with premium construction that is corrosion and rust resistant
- Ideal for cleaning your personal body area, floor, pets, bathtub, water your plants, baby cloth diaper sprayer, dog shower, cleaning, rinsing, etc.
- Specially design to work at different pressure levels without any leakage and can be attached to all standard type hoses
- This shattaf head is super easy to control, gently push the lever for the desired water pressure and it comes with hose and connector for easy application
- Comes in complete set, suitable for travelling that you can take anywhere especially if you are travelling with babies, elderly and with pets
What's in the box?
- 1 x Tatay Shattaf Travel Kit
- Dimensions 26 x 5.5 x 25
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Have a question about a product or Danube? Use the form below to let us know. To speak directly to one of our Sales Person call us at: 800-326-823.
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‘Shattaf Man’ of UAE wants to eventually remove concept of toilet paper
Indian businessman would at times get turned away as a bidet hose salesman
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Dubai: There was time when Indian expat Anis Sajan, fondly known as the ‘Shattaf Man’, used to do the rounds of shops in Dubai as salesman trying to sell shattaf, a hand-held spray for washing oneself after attending the call of nature.
Back in the day, in the early 90s, he would head to Deira, the hub for sanitary ware products in Dubai, to sell to the traders. A shop owner once asked Sajan to leave the store and not disturb him. After Sajan developed his niche and grew his brand, the same owner invited him to the shop to discuss doing business together.
Today, Sajan is managing director of Danube Group, one of the biggest conglomerates in the UAE with a turnover of $1.3 billion (around Dh4.78 billion) in 2019, the firm’s website says. Sajan, from India’s business capital Mumbai, credits his rise to the humble shattaf, a must-have bathroom fixture in the Gulf region. “It is only because of this product, shattaf, that I got popular,” he said.
‘Shattaf is a basic necessity’
Sajan is not embarrassed to be called the ‘Shattaf Man’. “The shattaf is a basic necessity in the Arab and Asian cultures. Every household in these countries ensures that the first thing they install is a shattaf.” He had realised the importance of shattaf while on a trip to Europe, where toilet paper takes the place of shattaf in washrooms. “Using toilet paper is not common in Asian culture, and most people get constipated when they do not find a shattaf in the toilet,” Sajan said with a smile.
Once a door-to-door shattaf salesman, Sajan now leads the entire Milano sanitary ware division at Danube. His journey began in 1992, when his brother Rizwan Sajan was focusing on developing the timber and building materials division of Danube. The latter asked Sajan to start something on his own and he took keen interest in venturing into the sanitary segment.
- Gulf War: I lost hope when an Iraqi soldier held a gun at my head, says Anis Sajan who survived Kuwait invasion
Travel shattaf kit
Sajan believes shattaf is the main product of his portfolio and was the turning point of his career. Initially, Sajan used to buy the products through an agent. Now, he procures exclusively customised designs and sells in the region.
Sajan said he was the first person to invent the ‘travel shattaf kit’, which travellers pack along with their make-up or shaving kit just like an essential. He said that he was initially selling 5,000 shattaf pieces per month but the number has increased close to 70,000 pieces per month. Sajan said that his ‘shattafs’ are very popular in Gulf, Middle East, India and Pakistan. He looks forward to selling shattaf in the European market and eventually remove the concept of toilet paper. He is also keen to start a manufacturing unit of shattaf in UAE in the near future.
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Dubai is the economic jewel of the Middle East — now its Gulf neighbors are coming for a piece of the pie
Dubai has long been one of the most attractive economic hubs in the Gulf region.
- The UAE has invested heavily in tourism and aviation, positioning Dubai as a travel hot spot.
- Some of the country's Gulf neighbors want to emulate its success.
The United Arab Emirates boasts strong infrastructure and a booming economy. The nation has invested heavily in tourism and aviation, positioning itself as a major player on the world stage and Dubai as a tourism hot spot.
Now, some of the country's Gulf neighbors are looking to emulate its success.
Under the rule of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia hasn't been shy about its ambitions to beef up tourism and pour investment into aviation. It's working on a second flag carrier called Riyadh Air, for which it recruited the former CEO of Abu Dhabi's airline, Etihad.
The region is in a difficult transition away from its historic reliance on oil and gas.
It wasn't until 1966 that Dubai first struck oil. The neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi had already found it eight years earlier. Two decades before that, the world's largest source of petroleum was discovered in Saudi Arabia.
But while oil production once accounted for half of Dubai's GDP, it now accounts for less than 1%, data from Bloomberg shows. About 40% of Saudi Arabia's GDP comes from oil.
So while Dubai was later than its neighbors to join the oil game, it has now left other nations to catch up as they diversify their economies.
As the UAE's neighbors look to diversify their economies, Dubai may find itself with some new competition .
Dubai is the world's second-most visited city
The UAE owes a lot of its economic success to international travel.
Over the past 25 years, Dubai has made strides to be attractive to foreign visitors, loosening rules around alcohol and investing in flashy infrastructure. According to Forbes' 2023 Travel Guide, Dubai has nine five-star hotels , compared to Abu Dhabi's three and the two in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The development has paid off in spades. CNN reported that Dubai was the world's second-most visited city last year, while no other city in the Middle East even appeared in the top 20.
Other Gulf nations appear to have one eye on Dubai's success.
Saudi Arabia has made it clear that it wants in on international travel, stating that it aims to attract 100 to 150 million visitors by 2030 .
Faisal Alibrahim, Saudi Arabia's minister of economy and planning, said the country was already progressing toward that goal. Speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Alibrahim said Saudi Arabia's "exported services in 2023 — mainly tourism — grew at 135% compared to the year before."
While Crown Prince Mohammed has previously stated that megaprojects such as Neom are not intended to compete with Dubai, the targets have been eye-wateringly ambitious .
"The scale of the plans from Saudi Arabia, if they succeed, would really dwarf anything Dubai has ever done," Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a fellow for the Middle East at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, told Business Insider.
But the chances of Saudi Arabia's success are still up for debate. The nation still faces significant global-branding challenges.
"Dubai has a 25-year head start; it has the infrastructure and the aspirational appeal," Ulrichsen said, adding that the city was still investing in and strengthening its tourism industry while Saudi Arabia essentially played catch-up.
In contrast, nations such as Qatar have been explicit in that they don't want to be another Dubai. The nation is seemingly happy to accept fewer visitors to avoid replicating the city's reputation as a hot spot for partying Westerners.
"The Qatar model is much more niche in the sense of going for specific events and more high travel," he said. "They don't want that kind of hedonistic Dubai atmosphere."
Saudi Arabia is catching up with a new airline
The competition is perhaps the most heated in the aviation industry.
Middle Eastern airlines are known for offering some of the best business-class products, which helps attract more visitors.
On its double-decker Airbus A380, Dubai's airline, Emirates, has top amenities, including a shower for business-class passengers and an on-board bar.
It's the most popular Middle Eastern airline by passenger volume and revenue — bringing in $32.6 billion in the 2022-2023 financial year. Yet the contest is close, with Qatar Airways hot on its tail, reporting $20.9 billion in the same period.
The Qatari flag carrier was founded eight years later than Emirates, but it was the former that Skytrax named the world's best business class last year. In 2022, Qatar Airways won the Best Airline award for a record seventh time.
But you can find the grandest seat in commercial aviation on Etihad Airways. " The Residence " not only has a first-class suite, but a separate bedroom, a private bathroom, and a personal butler. It costs about $30,000 for a round trip.
Still, Emirates is due to face even more competition from Saudi Arabia.
The flag carrier Saudia was founded in 1945 but has never been as luxurious other Middle Eastern carriers. Riyadh Air first showed off its distinct brand with a lavish purple livery at last year's Paris Airshow. Its first flight is planned for 2025 .
In a media briefing at the time, Tony Douglas, the CEO of Riyadh Air, said he hoped it would improve tourism to the country's capital.
Douglas said it will "connect our citizens to the world, and the many interested visitors from around the world to the incredible destination attractions that are within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
Riyadh Air has ordered up to 72 Boeing 787 Dreamliners — 39 of which are firm orders. That strongly indicates its intent for global, long-haul flights, but it's yet to announce a deal for single-aisle jets.
And even if it succeeds in attracting tourists to Saudi Arabia, it's unlikely to knock Emirates off its perch.
Its hub, Dubai International Airport, was the world's second-busiest airport last year with a capacity of 56.5 million seats, the travel-data provider OAG said.
It can be a key connection between Europe and the Americas to Africa and Asia. Though it's fair to say Qatar has also fulfilled this role: OAG said it was the ninth-busiest airport for international traffic with 28.6 million seats.
Whether Saudi Arabia can also create a popular hub not only depends on Riyadh Air's fleet size and the quality of its business-class product, but also on whether ambitious projects such as Neom come to fruition and attract visitors.
The megaprojects and the new airline must succeed for the kingdom to catch up as a tourism destination.
Watch: Why the Saudi crown prince met with Trump, Oprah, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos
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- DELIVERY & CLAIM: Plan will be E-mail Fulfilled, No Physical Kit will be sent. After ordering, for plan related details, check 'Buyer/Seller messages' under Message Center at "amazon.ae/msg" or check your Amazon registered email ID.You can raise a claim/enquire about refunds/enquire about tax invoice by contacting our helpline +971 4 581 3613 and share your order ID and we will take care of the rest.
- VALIDITY: Salama Care Extended Warranty Plan begins the day after your manufacturer warranty end date and will be valid for a subsequent period of Twelve (12) or Twenty-Four (24) months or Thirty-Six (36) months (as per plan opted by the customer). Extended warranty plan is applicable on New devices or appliances and Plan is valid only if purchased with a valid product from Amazon in the same cart or if purchased within 30 days post product purchase.
- WHAT'S COVERED: Salama Extended Warranty Plan provides coverage for cost of repair for covered inherent mechanical and electrical breakdown. Your product will be repaired and returned to you in a specified amount of time. In case of total loss/ Product is not repairable, replacement of the same model will apply, if the same model is not available then Salama will reimburse the eligible amount in the form of Amazon gift coupon. Please refer T&Cs sent via welcome e-mail.
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Tatay Travel Shattaf Kit Chrome 3385209
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About this item.
- 1 jet shower kit, without connection, with 2 m PVC hose, anti-scratch and anti-twist.
- Universal connection Offline shower, ideal for use anywhere.
- Built-in 50% flow reducer. Consumption 4.3L (3 bars)
- Batteries : 1 A batteries required.
- Product Dimensions : 150 x 5 x 5 cm; 380 Grams
- Date First Available : 2 September 2021
- Manufacturer : TATAY
- ASIN : B086XBQ2PW
- Item model number : TATAY
- #54 in Bidet Shower
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