Speaking in the Bathroom

Shaykh Farid Dingle is asked about the permissibility of speaking in a place that is built for relieving oneself such as a bathroom.


Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

What is the ruling in the Shafi‘i school about speaking beside the sink in a bathroom if one is far from the toilet?

Jazak Allah khayr.


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.

Speaking in a place built for relieving oneself is permissible does not any name of Allah or any other noble name, and one is not in the process of relieving oneself. This is the position of Ibn Hajar al Haytami. According to a number of other late Shafi‘i scholars, it would still be offensive. (Al-Hawashi al-Madaniyya)

That said, given that the discussions of the Shafi’i on this topic revolve around ‘a place build for relieving oneself’ or ‘a filthy place’, are modern bathrooms, that are built both for relieving oneself and for washing, especially large ones that are kept clean—are they really the same as what our scholars were talking about?

The default is that they are. However, what we have seen and heard from some modern Shafi‘i scholars is that by being at a distance from the toilet itself, or by the toilet seat being down, they no longer consider a person to be in a place built for relieving oneself or “a filthy place,” and hence they do not find any problem in speaking or even saying Allah’s name or the like in such places.

So in answer to the question, the default is that either permissible or offensive, as mentioned above, to talk next to a sink in a bathroom with a toilet. However, it may well be simply permissible given the nature of certain modern bathrooms.

And Allah knows best.


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Facing the Qibla When Relieving Oneself: Prohibitively Disliked

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
Naielah Ackbarali

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani