The Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey has declared in a fatwa that it is OK to use toilet paper. Islamic scriptures had commanded Muslims to use the left hand with either water or three stones to clean themselves after defecating.
The Directorate explained that the earlier rules use water or stones were made at a time when toilet paper was unavailable. So I guess they were just updating Islam for the modern era. But don’t they have better things to do?
There are many more urgent things that can be updated. Take slavery for example. Slavery has been practiced in the Islamic world till the western powers forced them to stop. Saudi Arabia and Yemen only banned slavery in 1962. Mauritania officially banned slavery in 1980 though it continues unofficially.
The problem is that slavery in Islamic law (sharia) is legal though Muslim countries ban it through secular law. Muslim clerics are reluctant to amend sharia to abolish slavery because Prophet Muhammad himself had slaves.
Peppered in the Koran is verses condoning slavery:
And forbidden to you are wives of other people except those who have fallen into your hands (as prisoners of war).
Thus Muslims are allowed to take captured married women as their sex slaves.
Besides the Koran, there is this well known verse in Sahih Bukhari, the next most important book in Islam after the Koran.
We got female captives in the war booty and we used to do coitus interruptus with them. So we asked Allah’s Apostle about it and he said, “Do you really do that?” repeating the question thrice, “There is no soul that is destined to exist but will come into existence, till the Day of Resurrection.”
So, according to their Scriptures, Prophet Muhammad and his men used to capture women for use as sex slaves.
Now you can see why Islamic State has enslaved women captured in their jihad. Every now and then you get some honest Muslim cleric admitting that Islam allows slavery. This particular cleric in the last link wrote “Islam allows a man to have intercourse with his slave woman, whether he has a wife or wives or is not married.”
Even some Muslim women approve of it. There is the celebrated case of a Kuwaiti woman who wanted to legalize sex slavery of women prisoners captured in jihad.
The political activist said, “There is no shame in it and it is not haram (forbidden) under Islamic Sharia law.”
The Islamic state, the honest cleric and the Kuwaiti woman activist are all correct. Sharia law has never been repealed. It is more than a thousand years old and needs to be updated for modern times. This brings us back to the toilet paper fatwa.
Updating the sharia to allow Muslims to use toilet paper is a great idea, but there are better things the clerics can do – like finding some loophole somewhere in Islamic scriptures to allow slavery to be abolished.
Right now, the Muslim world is burning and Muslims are also causing problems for the rest of us. There is a bunch of very religious Muslims out there who want to restore Sharia Law in the Muslim world and impose it on the rest of us after that. They are waging war, killing people in an attempt to bring back 7th century laws.
Groups like Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and Islamic State all have the same objective – impose sharia law in the world which allows sex slavery of women. So, given the urgency of the situation, why did the Turkish clerics not focus on more important matters to update in the Sharia?
Besides, slavery, Sharia law allows a slew of practices that violate human rights and the clerics can work on those too. Apostates are to be killed. Adulterers must be stoned. A raped woman must have four witnesses to prove her innocence. Thieves have the hand amputated. Other laws discriminate against women. A man can have four wives but a woman can only have one wife. Husbands can beat their wives.
The reason why the Turkish clerics did not touch any of these issues is because they can’t. These practices are too entrenched in Islamic scriptures – the Koran and hadiths. Prophet Mohammed, the founder of their faith, practiced all these. To update Sharia to fit into modern times would be to repudiate Islam.
So we end up with a ridiculous spectacle. While the Middle East is burning, the clerics fiddle with ludicrous things like whether toilet paper is allowed.