All Washed Up

Written by: Hamzah Moin

The washroom/bathroom is already an awkward place for me. I mean we’re supposed to enter it with our left foot rather than our right one which is really trippy if you think about it. We normally do everything with our right side first (eat with right hand, enter mosque with right foot) but washroom is like opposite land. Anything opposite to the right side is automatically abnormal.

I say the above because Islamically speaking those facilities are supposed to be a place where we shouldn’t have social gatherings or dhikrs or even potlucks. It’s supposed to be a place where we do our business, wash up and get the hell out of there.

Unfortunately there are quite a lot of people who feel the washroom is just like any other room. Once, I was making my way to make wudu in a public washroom and judging by the smell of things someone had been very busy. Out pops a friendly brother from the stalls. He was a little too pleased to see me.

“Assalamualaikum! Eid Mubarak brother!” he shouted over the sound of a flushing toilet. He proceeded to give me the traditional “three Eid hugs”. I wasn’t too pleased.
“Uhh Eid Mubarak to you too” I replied, silently whimpering to myself.
The brother proceeded out of the washroom without making a pit-stop to the sink. I didn’t know what to say. I made wudu by myself silently. I proceeded to the paper towels and as luck would have it, they were all out. Flip man. I had to resort to the air dryer… which definitely wasn’t a pretty way to dry oneself. I turned the mouth of the air dryer upside down so it could dry my face. I pushed the button and breathed in the hot air through my nostrils as a non-Muslim entered the washroom.

“Oh hello there” I happily said. Maybe my jolly and inclusive nature could bring him to Islam?
“Mornin’” he mumbled as he proceeded to the urinals. I found urinals to be quite filthy and I’m glad the Prophet (SAW) told us not to use them. The thought of urine being splashed everywhere simply frightens me. However I will not let urinals distract me from the conversation. As soon as I was done drying my face I just stood around and continued the conversation (for dawah purposes of course)

“So… how was your weekend? My name is Hamzah. I’d shake your hand but I can see that your hands are all tied up.”
“So what are your thoughts on God and such?”

Sheesh. Talk about cranky. I made my way out of the washroom and into the musalla which already had a prayer congregation in progress. The disturbing part wasn’t the fact that all the brothers that were following were wearing matching hot pink shirts with neon green kufis …no actually that was the LEAST disturbing fact out of this entire brigade. The most disconcerting thing about that congregation was that the person who was leading them happened to be the guy that gave me those Eid hugs in the washroom. I had no idea what to do.

“Yo Pinkies! Hey! May I have your attention please?”
Nobody budged.
“HEY! The Imam doesn’t have wudu!”
Nobody budged.
“In fact he didn’t even wash his hands when leaving the washroom!”
But they just continued praying as if I wasn’t there which I guess is what you’re supposed to do when praying… block people out but I had vital information! How can they ignore the fact that the imam not only didn’t have wudu, but he didn’t wash his hands? As soon as the prayer was done I wanted to scream at all of them. But I was quite marred to see a different figure emerging from the congregation. It was the Imam of the congregation but-

“Hey! I heard you saying something about me not washing hands after using the washroom?”
“Yeah I thought you were someone else. My bad.”
The Imam shook his head and proceeded out of the musalla without shaking my hand.