Urinating the Islamic way
Is it permissible to pee while standing? Or running? Or sleeping? And what if you just have to go on a national flag? In a valiant bid to prevent anarchy in the toilets of Pakistan, Haseeb Asif presents the definitive guide to peeing for the pure.
The Glorious Islamic Kingdom of Pakistan was thrown into turmoil yesterday when a fastidiously pious citizen pointed out that the state had not endorsed a religiously prescribed method for the act of urinating. This was encouraging free thinking and anarchy in toilets around the country.
The complaint prompted an immediate reaction from religious scholars, who called a meeting of the Islamic Tautological Council and, for fear of religious transgression, forbade people from taking a leak until it reached a consensus.
A multitude of questions were raised at the meeting, dashing all hopes – especially of the presiding chairperson who hadn’t been able to go since morning – of a quick resolution.
How should one pee? Sitting? Standing? How about running? Was that even possible? Where should one pee? Was there any particular direction one should face? Which hand should one use?How often is one allowed to pee anyway? Are there any preferred timings? Days? Occasions? Should one pee early in the morning, for instance? Or save it for getting out of a meeting at work? Can one whistle during it? Hum a tune? Or break out into song?
What should one do after one has urinated? Pull one’s pants up of course, but before that, should one shake until the last droplets have dangled to the floor? How rigorously should one jiggle?
Opinion was divided on all major issues, but two primary concerns arose regarding the passing of urine; concealment (from the general public) and purity (no drop of urine should fall on oneself).
The Wahabi school was of the view that one could only urinate while squatting, crouched very low over the ground. To pee while standing up or sitting comfortably was the way of the devil. Moreover, they suggested, it could not be done in view of anyone’s eyes, even one’s own. Eyes must remain shut until the disgraceful act was done. After which one ought to ask for forgiveness and promise never to urinate again.
The Deobandi camp was not so stringent about concealment and said it was acceptable to look around 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 concern of purity was duly observed. But how could one stop stray droplets from bouncing back on one’s ankles, the chairperson asked. Perhaps, a Mufti suggested, one could raise a leg in the air while doing it. Another suggested that one should raise both legs in the air just to be safe.
This debate came to a logical impasse, and the discussion moved in another direction.
The Wahabis again took the lead and declared that one should not face the Qibla nor turn one’s back towards it while urinating. In fact, having one’s side to it was not permissible either. After all, half of the offensive genital appendage would still be visible from the side, thus emitting considerable waves of naughtiness towards God’s house. This put the Wahabi camp in a quandary; after all, what direction was there left to pee in?
Maybe one could lie down and pee up in the air, a Mufti suggested. This, however, severely violated the second concern of urination, as the urine 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 the possibility of any direction.
At this point, a Mufti reasoned that if no consensus could be reached, people could simply spin around while urinating so as to avoid pointing in the wrong direction for very long. Feeling like they were going around in circles, they moved on to technique.
One 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.
Somebody pointed out that after the passing of urine, people should be encouraged to perform a few pelvic thrusts to get rid of any lingering drops that might inadvertently soil their undergarments. How many thrusts, exactly, was open to debate.
The Wahabis believed that one strong, meaningful jerk was sufficient, and any more would be considered immodest. The Deobandis and the Barelvis were in agreement (for once) that as many thrusts could be performed as befitted an individual’s need, just so long as they weren’t accompanied by placing hands on the head and singing racy songs. That, of course, was the way of the devil.
On the subject of cleaning up, a Mufti stated that impure genitalia should be washed an odd number of times, greater than three, while taking care to avoid prime numbers and multiples of five. The Mufti said he used soap to ensure cleanliness. Others advocated detergent. A few extremists lauded the purifying qualities of sulphur.
Some topics were more easily resolved. Everyone agreed against urinating in stagnant water. (So: no peeing in the pool.) They agreed that bed-wetting was the way of the devil. They also agreed that it was forbidden to urinate on walls belonging to the military, since there were enough civilian buildings for that sort of thing. If a bladder was full of nationalistic sentiment, they suggested, it was perfectly okay for it to be emptied on the national flags of America, Israel, India and/or, depending on the prevailing visa policy, Britain.
Finally, it was decided that under no circumstances would internal dissidents and separatists be allowed to urinate anywhere near the Pakistani flag. These people would only be allowed to pee on the cold stone floor of the prisons in which they belonged.