Facing the Qiblah while relieving oneself


A: All Praise is due to Allah Alone and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, his family and Companions. Firstly, according to the soundest opinion of scholars, it is Haram (prohibited) to face the Qiblah or turn one's back towards it while urinating or defecating out in the open. However, it is permissible inside buildings or where there is a screen between one and the Ka`bah, and that screen is close in front of the person facing the Qiblah or close behind if one's back is towards the Qiblah, such as a saddle, a tree, a mountain and so on. Most of the scholars have adopted this opinion because it was authentically reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: When any one amongst you squats for answering the call of nature, he should neither turn his face towards the Qiblah nor turn his back towards it. Related by Ahmad and Muslim. It was also reported by Abu Ayyub Al-Ansary that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: When you go to defecate, do not face towards the Qiblah (Part No. 5; Page No. 98) or turn your back towards it, rather face towards the east or the west. Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Moreover, it was authentically reported on the authority of Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) that he said: I went up to Hafsah’s house and saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) answering the call of nature facing Syria with his back towards the Ka`bah. Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhy, Ibn Majah, Al-Nasa'iy, and Al-Darimy. It was related by Abu Dawud and Al-Hakim that Marwan Al-Asfar said: I saw Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) making his camel kneel facing towards the Qiblah and urinating in that direction. I said, "O Abu `Abdul-Rahman! Is that not forbidden?" He said, “It is only forbidden to do that out in the open, but if there is something between you and the Qiblah that conceals you, there is nothing wrong with it.” Abu Dawud gave no comment on it and Al-Hafizh Ibn Hajar said in Fat-h Al-Bary that its Sanad (chain of narrators) is Hasan (a Hadith whose chain of narration contains a narrator with weak exactitude, but is free from eccentricity or blemish). It was related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhy, and Ibn Majah on the authority of Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with them both) that he said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) has forbidden us to face the Qiblah when urinating. Then I saw him facing it one year before his death.” This is the opinion of a number of scholars who have sought to reconcile the evidence by interpreting the Hadith reported by Abu Hurayrah and similar reports as referring to cases of relieving oneself out in the open without any screen, and the Hadith reported by Jabir ibn `Abdullah and Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) as referring to cases when one is inside a building or there is a screen between one and the Qiblah. Accordingly, it is known that it is permissible to face the Qiblah or turn one’s back towards it when relieving oneself (Part No. 5; Page No. 99) in any kind of building. Secondly, if the designs of the buildings have not been put into effect yet and the toilets in the designs are facing towards the Qiblah or have their backs towards it, then it is preferable to alter these designs so that when relieving oneself a person will not face the Qiblah nor turn their backs towards it. This will help to avoid an area of scholarly dispute. Nevertheless, if the designs cannot be altered, there is no sin involved because of the Hadith mentioned above.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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