No need to break the river bank for prayer

A colleague of mine jokingly questioned the productivity of a Muslim worker because we’re always praying. But with Cape Town facing a drought and a severe water crisis, the focus shifts to our water use as we have to wash before each prayer.

As the saying goes, cleanliness is next to Godliness and it is almost natural to think about water as a cleansing agent, used to physically clean the body of impurities.

One of the five pillars of Islam is to pray five times a day, with water usage being intrinsically linked to Muslim prayer (salaah) because Muslims have to ensure their cleanliness before speaking to God.

While the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has not yet announced the need for Muslims to take tajjamun, the Islamic act of dry ablution using a purified sand or dust, Muslims have been asked to be conscious of how much water they use.

In one of their first statements, which have been read out at mosques during Friday congregational prayers (Jumu’ah), they called on congregants to use minimum water during wudhu, washing certain parts of the body once only, as did Prophet Muhammed.

When my father monitored his water usage he realised that he used about five litres per wudhu. Following stringent water restrictions and the installation of a water management device, which cost R4 100, he now uses a spray bottle which takes less than 250ml of water per wudhu.

Before prayer, Muslims are expected to perform wudhu (ablution), wash certain parts of their body; and after having istinja, wipe their private parts either with a stone or water.

In addition to this, hands must be washed after using the toilet; the whole body washed in preparation for prayer and worship, as well as after sexual activity, childbirth, or menstruation; and the body of a deceased person must be washed with water.

The MJC has also called on places of worship (mosques), to adapt their taps to preserve water, without delay.

With this in mind, I was interested to read that Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him, performed the ritual bath with 1.75 litres of water.

According to the ritual you would wash your hands, wash your private parts, ablute and use cupped hands to pour water over the body.

On Sunday January 28 the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) hosted a gathering at Spine Road High School, in Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain to ask Allah for rain.

I realise that, having become accustomed to opening the tap and having access to clean, drinkable water, I’ve taken the gift of water for granted.

But now it’s time for me to start thinking of practical ways to conserve this precious resource.

And if you feel like you don’t know where to start, social media is but one place which has been (excuse the pun) flooded with novel ideas to save water. Here are some:

Shower only twice a week. on the other days, bath in a bucket or basin of water. And don’t discard of your grey water. This can be used to flush your loo.

If you’re not doing so already, try to flush only with grey water. A single flush can use up to 9 litres of water.

Close your stopcock by turning it in a clockwise direction then open it again about a half turn; go to the furthest cold water tap away from your stopcock then see if there is enough water flowing from it for usage. If required adjust the stopcock until a reasonable flow rate of water is achieved.

Water dashboard

Day Zero is now estimated to be on Friday May 11 due to a reduction of water for farming

Dam levels are at 25.5% – decline of 0.8%

Total consumption: 547 million litres a day (97 million litres above the target of 450 million litres a day)