Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Ramadan 2016, Day 2 - Hadiths, part one

As I mentioned earlier my Ramadan reading is the Sunan Abu Dawud, a collection of hadiths compiled by Abu Dawud. The five volumes might be the complete work, there are over five thousand hadiths in the set. It will take a while to get through but the first section was pretty interesting - The Book of Purification, a series of hadiths regarding bathroom habits and how to purify yourself for prayers.

If you're not familiar with the Qur'an and the hadiths you'd be surprised at how much of the day-to-day rules are found not in the Qur'an but in the tens of thousands of hadiths. The Qur'an itself is not as big as the Bible, it's roughly 1/11th the length, but the sayings and doing of the Prophet (hadiths) add a lot more context on how a Muslim should live their life. In the Abu Dawud hadiths the Book of Purification is probably the same length as a third of the Qur'an. It's a lot to go through.

So what did I learn today? There are a lot of hadiths regarding going to the bathroom, such as:

-- you should be secluded or hidden from view

-- there is an Arabic phrase you should say when entering the bathroom. The hadiths list a few variants but essentially you seek Allah's protection.
-- but never say it while urinating/defecating because you should not use Allah's name at that time.

-- you should not face or have your back to the Qibla (the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca) when going to the bathroom (I never thought about this, are any toilets in Qatar in line with the Qibla? I'll keep an eye out for that.)

-- wipe with at least three stones, and never with bones or dung (remember, paper and leaves were hard to come by back then)

-- never use your right hand when going to the bathroom (this is why Arabs will traditionally not hand you something with their left hand, nor use their left hand to touch communal food such as a platter of lamb and rice)

-- don't chat with people while using the toilet/urinating
-- even if someone says "Assalamu Alaykum", don't respond until after you're finished

-- do not carry something with Allah's name into the bathroom with you

-- do not relive yourself in waterways, paths, and under shade where people may congregate

-- do not urinate into burrows or other holes made by animals

Like I said there's a lot of rules, this was only a sample. It must take a while to learn them all.

There'll be more reading over the course of the month.

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