Yesterday was girls day by the pool, here. Every Tuesday afternoon we get together. One of the girl's was telling us how she had to use the ladies room at the mall last week and she discovered, too late, that there was NO TOILET PAPER. It has been removed - purposely - and women who use the facilities there are expected to hose themselves off [and, I guess, drip dry]. The attendant in the ladies room told her that there is no toilet paper and that it had been removed, and several "local" teenage girls who were in the ladies room at the time said it was removed because they are not allowed to use it. WHAT!?! You cannot be serious.
I, personally, have never used the ladies room at The Mall of Dhahran. I also carry those little packages of Kleenex in my bag - along with my antibacterial wipes - so I am all set if I ever do have to use the facilities [which, of course, I am NOT planning on doing - especially now that I know that all "paper" products have been removed]. I've seen what ladies room floors look like after women have used the hoses to clean themselves. Nothing like wet tile to create a "safe and clean" atmosphere.
The Rashid Mall is one I try to avoid if I have to go shopping for something. I avoid it for several reasons. It is just not a "shopper friendly" mall. I have never learned the layout and am always lost when I am there. It is also where I got chased by the Muttawa for not wearing an abeya. I did, once, years ago, go into a ladies room there and was shocked to find what amounts to holes in the floor instead of porcelain toilets. And, hoses, instead of toilet paper. No. I did not use the facilities. Did not have "to go" that badly.
Someone tell me why toilet paper has been banned in the mall. Why are women not allowed to use it? And how is using a hose clean and sanitary? One of my commenter's puts it best and calls living here "time travel." Spot on. Bring out the "wabac machine, Sherman."
Update: Commenter, Linda, found this which, although not specifically saying that toilet paper cannot be used, explains that water - or dry clumps of earth - are better than toilet paper:
My question is regarding Taharah. Usually I come with Taharah and Wudu from my home, and avoid using the bathroom till Friday Prayer, but sometimes I cannot resist, and I have to use the bathroom, and clean myself with paper instead of water, as their is generally no water available in the Toilets in America. Personally, I think no matter how hard you try, you cannot be as clean without using water, as you can be with using water. I miss my Friday prayer thinking that I am not with Taharah. Do you think I will be able to attend the prayers after Wudu or I have to take a complete shower and change clothes? I hope you will answer my question and guide me and millions of other Muslims in North America, Europe and similar places. (M. A. Khan, Toronto, Canada)
A 3. Cleaning oneself after the natural urges is called Istinja in the terminology of Fiqh. The use of water is highly emphasized for Istinja, but it is not compulsory. If one can clean oneself with other absorbents, it also permissible. Thus the use of toilet paper as well as dry clods of earth (Jimar or what we call in Urdu Dhelas), stones, rags or other clean absorbents are permissible. You can use toilet paper or you can wet some toilet paper and use is to cleanse yourself and then use dry paper. You should not miss your Friday prayer or any prayer for this reason. Prayers on times are obligatory and they should be missed for any excuse. There is also no need for take a shower or to change clothes after the use of toilet. We should observe cleanliness, but exaggeration (ifrat and ghuluww) in any matter is not in the nature of Islamic teachings.