Answered by Ustadha Naielah Ackbarali
Question: Is facing the Qibla or having your back towards it when relieving yourself prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman)? This is what I had learned from a teacher from the sub-continent but then another teacher who studied in Syria said that ibn `Abidin in his Hashiyah qualifies it as somewhat disliked (tanzihan). if you can please clarify.
Answer: Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahimi
Facing one’s front private part towards the qibla (istiqbal) or turning one’s rear private part to it (istidbar) whilst urinating or defecating is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahrimi), as stated in Radd al-Muhtar and Maraqi al-Falah. The former is more indecent than the later.
The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace said, “When using the restroom, do not face the qibla and do not face one’s rear towards it but face towards the east or the west (i.e. a direction other than the Ka’ba)”. [Bukhari] Scholars mention that the prohibition in this hadith is unqualified and therefore, it applies to situations where one is relieving oneself in a building or outdoors.
If one forgetfully faces the qibla, then as soon as he remembers, he should turn himself slightly towards another direction if he is able.
Imam Tumurtashi, the author of Tanwir al-Absar, states that it is not prohibitively disliked to perform istinja whilst facing the qibla. Ibn Abidin explains that, rather, it is against propriety because one’s nakedness may be exposed, which is similar to the mannerisms expressed in the chapter of ghusl. This may be what your teacher from Syria was saying.
It should also be noted that holding a child towards the qibla whilst he is urinating is prohibitively disliked because everything prohibitively disliked for an adult is prohibitively disliked for one to do to a child.
Barak Allah fikum
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani