Category Archives: Islamic Instruction

Imprudent Jurisprudence

The chairperson of the Islamic Tautological Council put forward two cardinal concerns with regard to passing urine; concealment (from the general public) and purity (no drop of urine should fall on oneself).

The Wahabi school of thought was of the view that one could only urinate while squatting, crouched very low over the ground. People who relieved themselves while standing up would probably end up in hell, as there is no mention of urinals in heaven.  Moreover, this degrading but unfortunately necessary act must not be done in view of anyone’s eyes, even one’s own. You can not look where you pee, if you happen to be out in the open just pray you aren’t sitting over a rabbit hole.

The Deoband camp was not so stringent about concealment, they said it was acceptable to look while doing it and even pee in the presence of others, so long as it wasn’t on them. The Barelvis went as far as tolerating the idea of peeing while standing up as long as the second concern of urination was duly observed. But how could one make sure stray droplets do not bounce back and fall on one’s ankles, the chairperson asked?

Perhaps, a Mufti suggested, one could raise a leg in the air while doing it standing up. Another suggested that one should raise both legs in the air just to be safe.

This debate coming to a seeming impasse, the discussion moved on to direction. The Wahabis again took the lead and declared that one should not face the Qibla nor turn one’s back towards it. In fact, most of them were of the opinion that even having one’s side to it is not kosher. After all, half of the offensive appendage would still be visible, emitting it’s radioactive waves of naughtiness towards the undesired location. But this put the Wahabi camp in a seemingly impossible situation; what direction could you pee in?

Maybe one could lie down and pee up in the air, a Mufti suggested. He was ridiculed, however, for severely violating the second concern of urination, as it was likely to come back and fall on one’s face. Perhaps the answer was to take up a sort of push-up position and point it towards the ground, thereby averting any direction.

Mufti here reasoned that if no consensus could be reached one could simply spin around while doing it so as to avoid pointing in a wrong direction for very long.

Feeling like they were going around in circles after that comment, they moved on to the steps involved in the act itself. A Mufti proclaimed that a man should not hold his penis with his right hand while urinating. Another suggested that a man should not hold his penis with any hand. Yet another inquired if it was okay for someone else to hold it for him. The topic was quickly changed.

Mufti still concerned about the insistence on concealment argued that it was impossible to migrate to a cave and leave civilization behind every time you wanted a tinkle, he said that in an overpopulated world it was okay to line up together against a wall and open fire. This was met with much derision from the more orthodox scholars who even went on to deny the possibility of communal toilets.

Moreover, they argued that a person should never, under any circumstance, urinate on the road lest he be run over while indecent.

And anyway, patience was a virtue. Holding it in was a show of good character. For instance, while one is advised to make certain supplications when entering the toilet area none of them include, “are you going to be in there all day!?” or , “other people have to go too you know!”. The Muftis decided that such exclamations were immodest and signified impatience. If someone’s taking too long in the can, one should gently knock at the door three times to remind him that people are waiting outside. One should also avoid greeting a person who is answering the call of nature, in fact conversation in wash rooms should be limited to a bare minimum, no discussions about the rising oil prices or the latest political scandal, only practically necessary exchanges are allowed, like, “would you mind stepping outside for a moment I don’t think this commode is meant for two”.

On the subject of numbers, a Mufti stated that any impure body part should be washed an odd number of times, greater than three, avoiding prime numbers though and definitely no fractions. The Mufti said he used soap to ensure cleanliness. Some advocated detergent, while a few extreme suggestions lauded the disinfecting qualities of sulphuric acid.

Some topics were more easily resolved. Everyone was agreed against urinating in stagnant water, that means no peeing in the pool. Of course, noted a Mufti, urinating in raging torrents isn’t recommended either, unless it’s the last thing you ever wish to do.

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