Wednesday, May 06, 2009

There is no toilet paper!

Pack tissues in your pocketbook if you are going to The Mall of Dhahran and you think you may need to use the ladies room. You're not going to find any toilet paper there. It has been removed by the powers that be. Why? Who knows.

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.

Thanks, Linda!


  1. I guess the day is not far away when you need to carry your own 'can'.
    Toilet paper is 'haram' I say.
    Hole in the wall is always used in context of a nondescript a Hole in the floor, just wondering what that can be used for..

  2. It isn't just the malls that have no TP. Won't find any in the airport in Riyadh either. Can't say about Jeddah as I haven't flown out of there in 6 years. That airport, as a whole, is just disgustingly filthy. But the last I was there, it didn't have any.
    You pose an interesting question. I am going to do some net cruising and see if I can find out. It is overcast here today so working outside and I've got nothing else to do ATM.

  3. I have some thoughts on that Rasputin - the "hole in the floor." Probably better that I not post 'em, though.

  4. Linda - Do share with us what you find out. I'll update the post...

    Funny - you're working outside because it is overcast - I'm thankful to be in the kitchen since it is overcast [when it is sunny - I need to be outside!]. Strange weather. Very, very strange.

  5. Well, I'm going to buy stock in every manufacturer of yeast infection treatment.

    hot + wet + dark = bacteria growth

    Poor, poor girls...

    I bet the men think we get off when we touch ourselves with the paper and that's why it's banned..morons...

  6. Heya,

    From what I could gather, some hardliners consider toilet paper to be 'unclean' 'filthy' and 'not ritually pure' to be used in toilets. Instead, they say, "the purest way of cleansing oneself" should be used, i.e. water.

    I think the VCIC(?) (the mutawwa committee) has gotten their hands on that ruling.

    As for drip drying, ermm...umm...


  7. If men think that, AIO, about the toilet paper, they really ought to rethink the hose / water... We talked about that yesterday, too. And all had a good chuckle.

  8. I found this little tidbit. Of course it has to do with religion.

    That is the link I found. Seems it has something to do with the 'cleanliness' factor and prayer. As any of us who live here know, the Saudi powers that be will interpret it is the most narrow minded and strict way possible.
    It is the 3rd question down on the page.

  9. Isn't there something about using sand, if water is not available, FK? I remember reading that somewhere. Sand. What could possibly go wrong with that?!!

  10. I spoke about TP being haram in jest and guess what it has some connection somewhere.damn,I need to watch what i say.
    You need to post of the hole in the floor...we need the hole truth and nothing but the help us God!!

  11. Oh my... I actually did find a few references to "touching one's self" in the prohibition of using TP, but nothing I could verify.
    I also found where the "prophet" used an odd number of stones (3,5,etc).
    Not surprising, I found an outdated article stating that only 'infidels' use TP and that is why we are 'unclean'. There was a fatwa about it.
    Most of it was amusing. The rest, I was rolling my eyes and saying OMG!

  12. Well.. it's not 'sand' per se, but more like sand/dust loosely defined. The idea is (as per my understanding, which, I may state, doesn't amount to much) not to 'rub' the sand or dust with your body (sand abrasions anyone?) itself, but to (kinda) figuratively use 'em as placeholders for non-water.
    Okay, I lost myself there! :P

    Wiki has a nice page on the mechanics of this thing. Its called "tayammum", btw..


  13. Ask DH if the men's rooms have paper. I shall bet this shiney new nickle that they do.

  14. More Saudi-style bathroom humor.

    During the design phase of the manufacturing plant in Dhahran, the U.S. architects initially planned to incorporate holes-in-the-floor for all of the restroom according to local customs and codes. The U.S. plant manager – soon to be the Saudi plant manager - allowed floor holes for the restrooms in the production area but insisted upon western-style toilets for the office area restrooms. Later, he had to make the western-toilets off limits to the locals & production workers. The locals would use the toilets like floor-holes. Rather than sit on the throne they would squat – with both feet on top of the seat; not on the floor !!! The plant was spending up to $200 a month to replace broken toilet seats before the ban.

  15. If DH says "yes," vermindust, I want that shiny new nickel of yours! You better be prepared to part with it. If he says "no," I've got a shiny new .05 halala that I'm willing to part with. [$.0134]

  16. Oh my gosh, StDiesel - I didn't even think about it until now - I've got REAL bathroom humor to share. A new post. Tomorrow, maybe. Tomorrow night is the golf dinner - the pork fest - so it may have to wait until Friday.

    Thanks for sharing. Too damn funny. Standing on the seats. $200. a month. Hey. At least they weren't $800.00 toilet seats...

  17. WTH? NO TP??? Wow. As a Muslim I do use water of course, but that does not negate my usage of TP. That's just crazy. Those religious police can not tell me that while you're hosing yourself down over a hole in the floor you're not getting your feet dirty or somehow splashing your clothes from time to time. Isn't that dirtier???

  18. I've not given the matter of a hose and a hole in the floor a whole lot of thought, MJ, although I've seen the floors in some ladies rooms here and to put it mildly it is not impressive the mess that gets made. The "police" are just doing their job, right? And keeping everyone "safe" from themselves and others. TP had to be an issue for them somehow. Who knows...

  19. It's all too weird for me. I mean, it's only TP!

    Good God, the poor women over there and the things they have to endure.

    Makes me grateful that I live here in the U.S.

  20. I completely disagree with the main answer to the question in which is stated "to wet toilet paper than dry one". Are you aware that islamically, pre-wet absorbent spreads the nijas even further out. I hope for the questioners sake he did not take all your "advice" home. Kheir Insha'Allah.


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