INTEGRATING ISLAMIC BUILT ENVIRONMENT CRITERIA IN TOILET DESIGN OF PUBLIC PROTOTYPE HOUSING: A CASE FOR GORIBA ROAD HOUSING ESTATE, KATSINA-NIGERIA

 

2.0 DISCUSSION

2.1 Goriba road housing estate

 

The estate comprises of 272 housing units of two and three bedrooms bungalows, consists of equal number of two and three bedrooms houses of 136 each. It was meant to serve as intervention on the part of the government towards the provision of affordable quality housing for the state indigenes especially the civil servants. The project was completed in 2004.

The estate is located on the North-eastern part of the traditional city figure.2. The site is served by three primary roads, Goriba road served as the feeder road and as a link between the traditional city and the modern layouts areas, known as the G.R.A. (Government reservation area), from Kofar Durbi, and Kofar Sauri roads respectively.

The blue area (vertical line shaded) represents two bedrooms housing units, while the green area (inclined line shaded) represents the three bedrooms housing units. The architectural design of the housing units was done such that additional rooms could be added to a maximum of four. Facilities provided for the estate included a Mosque for daily and Friday congregational prayers (F), an open square (A), a space to serve as a shopping area in future (B). Other facilities included a site for schools (I), police station (E), buffer zone (H), and a clinic (C).

 

 

The three bedrooms bungalow consists of two toilets facilities, the first was located in between two of the rooms at the entry point preceding the pre-entrance (Figure.3a), It was meant to serve the two opposite rooms attached to it. The second toilet was located at the rear end of the house facing entrance lobby, probably to serve what may be referred to the master bedroom (b). The two bedrooms bungalow consists of one toilet centralized between the two opposite rooms. (Figure 3b), additional facilities of the houses consist of living room, an entrance foyer which serves as a screen area from outside visitor, a courtyard, a kitchen and a store.

The toilet analysis was carried out on three broad headings; the toilet orientation in relation to the Qibla direction, the facilities provided, and user entry behavior attributes.

 

2.2 Toilet orientation

Toilet orientation for the purpose of this study shall mean a position by which a user sitting on WC, or squatting faces the Qibla (This is the direction which Muslims faces for their daily prayers) direction, or back it. It is apparent from the floor plans that would mean facing the toilet entrance door. The Qibla direction for the estate is approximately the east direction. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) made a specific statement in his Hadith concerning the direction which a person should face, and should not face while urinating or defecating.

 

 

In this regard, the Prophet states in these Hadiths;

While defecating in the open space neither face nor turn your

back towards Qibla (Kaba); instead, face the east or the west…

(Sahih Bukhari, 1.4.146)

While excreting or urinating do not face the Qibla…

(Sahih Muslim, 2.0504)

When defecating in the desert do not face Qibla nor turn your

backside towards Qibla; use three sods and your right hand to

cleanse your private parts… (Sunaan Tirmidhi, 128)

 

 

 

 

The directions mentioned in the first Hadith (east or west) refers to the relative location of Prophet (P.B.U.H) in relation to the Qibla at the particular time, which was oriented either to the north or south. In the study area however, the Qibla direction is the geographical east direction (this is approximate orientation, since there is no absoluteness in geographical orientation). This is the direction which Muslims faces for their daily prayers.

The architectural implication of this Hadith on the floor plans can be summed up thus:

 

  1. Toilet user should not be made to face the Qibla direction when defecating or urinating by virtue of the toilet seat position or orientation
  2. Toilet user should no be made to back the Qibla direction when defecating or urinating by virtue of the toilet seat position or orientation
  3. Toilet door should as a matter of priority  not face the Qibla direction by virtue of architectural  design

The Hadiths above made it unlawful i.e. haram to ease oneself facing or backing the Qibla. Along this line the toilet access door should as much as possible follow the same criteria since it forms part of the toilet whole. According to Imam Shafi’i “performing Qada hajat is permissible in the direction of the Qibla if the area has a border with a wall perpendicular to the direction of the Qiblat. However the size of the wall must be at least 750mm wide (Wan and Ahmad 2006), the size of the external walls for this housing estate is 225mm, quite lower than the prescribed size.

All things considered, according to some scholars, so seriously does Islam view the issue of toilets and their directions that even if one has no choice but to use a toilet and in the process face or turn his back to the qiblah, one should try to deflect from an existing direction as much as possible. This was what the Muslims did after they had conquered Syria and found out that the toilets there were facing the qiblah. However, a majority of Muslim scholars are of the view that not facing the qiblah side, nor turning the back towards it, while answering the call of nature, is a preferable thing, not an obligation, and violating it incurs no sin. Many scholars assert, furthermore, that this particular injunction applies only to open areas where there are no walls or fixed partitions. But if there are walls, then there is neither prohibition nor detestation in facing the qiblah side, or turning the back towards it, while answering the call of nature.

Referring to the site plan, a total number of 72 houses or 26 percent of toilets with corresponding number of houses seems to go against the Hadith on the orientation to Qibla.  47 of the toilets either face or back the Qibla direction. See figure.3. the area shaded green (vertically shaded) at the centre of the site plan, 1 and 2.

Alternative architectural design of these toilets to respond to the Hadith could be to place the toilet seat on the opposite wall of the toilet. If the toilet enclosure was to be maintained see figure 4

Figure 4(a) is the existing situation; the WC was backing the Qibla which is on the east direction. The second sketch is an alternative orientation which places the WC away from facing the Qibla and instead, faced other directions by placing it against adjacent wall. The same situation in (Figure 4b) in the three bedrooms bungalow, the WC was re-oriented to face other directions other than the Qibla

 

The implication of the existing situation is that the inhabitants of this housing estate were made to go against a prophetic injunction without their knowledge due to lack of appropriate considerations of Islamic criteria on the part of professionals in the design of these houses.

 

2.2 Facilities provided

2.2.1 Separation of Toilet and bath areas

Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) stated that it is makruh (unwanted action) to perform ablution for prayer or for other Ibadah activities in the house like the recitation of the Qur’an (tilawah) etc, in the toilet. This is with a view to among other reasons to prevent splashing of dirty water and unknown substances to a body and clothing that is used for Ibadah. In all of the 272 housing units in this estate not one of them satisfied this criterion. In other words, 100 percent of the houses had their toilets integrated with bathroom facility. And no ablution fountain was provided either within or without the toilet.

In this regard, the Prophet (P.B.U.H) states in his Hadith: related by Anas

 

It is makruh to perform a wudhu’ (ablution) in a toilet. (Bukhari 142; kitabul wudhu)

The architectural implication of this Hadith on the house floor plan is to:

 

  1. Provide separate toilet and bathroom- in this case ablution can be performed in the bathroom.

2 . Where practicable, in addition to the above, provide ablution fountain outside the bath and the toilet within the toilet area.

3 . Where it is not practicable to provide separate ablution fountain outside of toilet and bath, it can be demarcated within the bathroom itself.

 

In relation to this the practical approach is to partition the toilet so that toilet and bathroom becomes separate entities. Figure.5. (a), and the provision separate ablution area where practicable. Figure 5(b). A space can be created within the bathroom to serve as ablution fountain. Figure 5(c).


 

Figure 5(a) shows the option of separating the toilet from the bath area. This is to facilitate Wudhu (ablution) in the bath room, in a situation where ablution fountain could not be provided or not feasible. Figures 5(b) and 5(c), suggest the inclusion of ablution fountain, firstly outside the bathroom, and secondly within the bathroom but with a clear separation of the bath area and ablution area. This can be achieved by either elevating the ablution fountain or stepping down the bath area.

In Figure 5(d), the second toilet in the three bedrooms bungalow, the ablution fountain is suggested within the bathroom, since the space provided was small and hence not feasible to create an outside fountain.

Provision of effective ablution area is of utmost importance in any house design. This is because it caters for elderly in the house, pregnant women, young adults, as well as the physically challenged (Asiah 2006, 2005)

 

2.2.1 Provision of water

The provision of plenty of water in the toilet is a necessity. It is preferable to provide flowing water, since it is indispensable in achieving cleanliness. However, the water however to be provided should be free of dirt or any contamination. The sources of clean and pure water that could be used to achieve cleanliness were identified as; the pipe water system, well, river, rainwater, sea, spring water, dew and snow (Mansoor, Yahaya, and Sheik Ahmad, 2003).

The source of water purposely for cleaning was absent in the design of all the toilets in the housing estate. Provision was only for the WC and the shower. Apparently this design reflects the western idea of using toilet paper to achieve purity. It was reported that a companion of the prophet once brought him water which he used for cleaning after visiting the toilet, and the prophet prayed for him.

 

In another Hadith the Prophet (P.B.U.H) states:

“God be praised is good and He loves goodness, clean and

He loves cleanliness, generous and He loves generosity,

perfect and He loves perfection, so clean your fina” (Al-Termedhi)

 

2.2.2 Appropriate location of water source

The next important design criteria after adequate provision of clean water is to locate the source appropriately for cleaning after answering the call of nature. The appropriate location of flowing water should be such that left hand is to be used for cleaning private parts. This is in response to the following Hadiths:

 

While urinating or defecating do not touch your penis with your right hand… (Sunaan Abu Dawud, 1.1.0031)

When urinating, do not touch your penis with your right hand… (Sunaan Nasai, 1.24, 25)

Use left hand for private parts…(Mishkat, 1.185)

Do not touch male organ with right hand… (Mishkat, 1.183)

Use left hand for touching private parts… (Mishkat, 1.185)

The architectural implication of this Hadith on the house floor plan is to:

  1. Place the source of water at the front  right side at squatting position so that right hand can be used to draw the water for use by the left
  2. If using kettle(sahani), provide a space to place it at the same position with flowing water
  3. Provide good drain so that waste water can flow out easily

 

In the design of the toilets in this housing estate, there was no provision of water purposely for cleaning after the call of nature or Gusl (washing after urination). In other words in the 272 housing units not one of them was provided with this facility.

 

 

Figures (6 a, and b) are suggestions for incorporating and locating source of water for cleaning. The source of water which could be a tap, or a bowl should be placed to the right side of the user, so that he can use his right hand easily to draw the water or fetch it using a container (if it is a bowl), and  then use his left hand to achieve cleanliness.

 

2.2.1 Sitting or Squatting position WC?

According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (P.B.U.H), one should lean more on his left leg while defecating if one was to be relieved completely. This is in response to a Hadith in this respect. Looking at this, it could be concluded that the Squatting WC was more desirable, since one can actually lean whichever way while at a squatting position. In all of the housing estate not one was fitted with the squatting type. The sitting type was provided.

 

3.0 USER ENTRY AND EXIT BEHAVIOUR

 

3.1 Entering the toilet

 

In Islam, the manner by which Muslims should access and exit a toilet has been given due consideration. The Ulamma uses the Hadith below as the basis to indicate the use of left foot to enter the toilet and the right one to exit.

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H) said:

 

“If one of you puts on shoes, let him

begin with the right. And when he takes it off, let him begin

with the left. And let him put them both on and let him take

them off both.” [Agreed upon:5495 & 5855]

 

The provided 136 toilets in the same corresponding number of housing units of three bedrooms, one-third or 30 percent negate this protocol, (toilet 1). This toilet design encourages user to access using right leg and exit using the left one. The toilet doors where designed to swing in wards using the left hand to open as the door knob was placed on the right hand side of the door panel. By this design the user was compelled to enter the toilet using the right leg, and exit using the left. This is in conflict with the Hadith of the Prophet (P.B.U.H) on toilet entry protocols.

The architectural implication of this Hadith on the house floor plan is to:

 

  1. Door opening should facilitate entry using left leg and right leg exit
  2. Door knob should be placed on the left side so that the right hand can be used to open the door.
  3. The door should in this case swing inwards to the toilet to facilitate left leg entry
  4. Where it was impracticable to swing door inwards, it can be made to swing outwards as long as the door knob was to the left side of the user, which will enable him to use his right hand to open.

 

Figure 7(a) toilet two is the recommended door opening option in which. The door swings inwards, the user opens with right hand and accessed using the left foot, in the same fashion he uses left hand to open from inside and thus exit using his right foot.

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