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Friday, November 17, 2017

SHORT FATWA | Male Hygiene

Wudu, purification by water. A
ritual in many religions.
As someone raised with religious ritual in Catholic schools and monasteries, I am endlessly curious about religious practices.  

When Kim Jong-un reacted negatively to an insult by President Trump, I wondered whether his hex should be considered a short fatwa in the Islamic religion.

On Google, the words "Short Fatwa" take you to an Islamic Forum. A short fatwa is a brief piece of guidance online, a teaching tweet, helpful but not a substitute for a longer fatwa from an Imam. A perennial issue in the Islamic Forum is cleanliness, or what based on the ancient Greeks would be called hygiene, after Hygieia (Ὑγιεία), the goddess of health and cleanliness, and daughter [sometimes wife] of Asklepios or the Romanized Asclepius, the god of medicine. (Her symbol was a large tamed snake, sometimes with a basin of water. The symbol of Asclepius is a single snake spiraling a rod; a rod with two snakes is the caduceus, symbol for the god Hermes or the Roman Mercury.)

One religious young man wrote an inquiry to the Islamic Forum that caught my eye. It addressed post-urination dribble. Does a single stray drop make one unclean and therefore unready for prayer? This is a strict standard, showing the young man's great devotion. Here is the Forum writer's short-fatwa response:
"I remember someone once asking our Imam in the Masjid [mosque] about it. This is not a fatwa [ruling on Islamic law from an authority], just some practical advice. The Imam said that if you always have this problem, which according to him is quite common these days, then what you can do is, after you have finished urinating:
  • Stay seated for a few moments. 
  • Then cough a few times which should help get rid of last few drops. 
  • Then he said to take some tissue roll and place it in your boxer shorts and walk about doing your normal stuff. While you walk about and are doing your own stuff any last drops will be rid of. 
  • Then go back and perform wudu [purification] after washing the private parts. This is a safe way in making sure that none of the drops, if any, would fall on your clothes, and [thereby] keeping your tahara [ritual purification].
"There was an Imam who actually used to spend like up to half an hour when he would go to relieve himself and the only reason was to be careful of this issue. It was his taqwa [fear of God, spirituality, faithfulness to the law] that caused him to be absolutely certain that he was in a pure state. So he would wait around after relieving himself in the masjid bathroom and then do wudu quite a while later."