The Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey, among the wealthiest and most advanced Muslim countries, has issued a fatwa declaring that Muslims can, in fact, use toilet paper without violating the commands of Allah.
However, the Islamic legal pronouncement underscores, adherents of the religion should use primarily use water as opposed to any specialized paper product to cleanse their private parts.
“If water cannot be found for cleansing, other cleaning materials can be used,” the fatwa from this week reads, according to the Hurriyet Daily News, an English-language newspaper out of Istanbul.
“Even though some sources deem paper to be unsuitable as a cleaning material, as it is an apparatus for writing, there is no problem in using toilet paper,” the document explains.
The broader religious issue has to do with the definition of “clean” and “unclean” for prayer purposes under Islam.
Traditional Islamic doctrine holds that adherents must use water to purify themselves after using the bathroom, notes the Daily Mail.
Also, no talking or reading while you sit on the toilet, and faithful Muslims should arrive in the bathroom using the left foot. They should exit using the right foot while expressing this prayer: “Praise be to Allah who relieved me of the filth and gave me relief.”
Turkey’s religious bureaucracy also issued another fatwa allowing hand sanitizers and other hygiene products containing alcohol as an ingredient.
Consuming alcohol remains forbidden for dedicated Muslims.
Devout, practicing Muslims — both male and female — should strive to sit down when they urinate under centuries-old Islamic law.
It is not forbidden for men to stand up to pee, explains IslamQA. At the same time, it is “Sunnah” — the right and desirable way of life — for both men and women and to pee sitting down.
Aisha, one of Muhammad’s wives, was reported to have said: “Whoever tells you that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] used to urinate standing up, do not believe him. He only ever used to urinate sitting down.”
The reason was a practical one: “it reduces the risk of any drops of urine splashing up onto him.”
Under an Islamic code known as Qadaahul Haajah, devout Muslims should also relieve themselves in private, not facing the direction of Mecca and never looking at their genitals.
Also, for all bathroom usage, adherents are supposed to use their left hands and plenty of water to clean themselves. They can also use stones for wiping. Three stones for wiping is ideal.