Turkey’s top religious authority issued a fatwa on Thursday allowing Muslims to use toilet paper, but clarified water is still preferable for cleansing after using the washroom.
“If water cannot be found for cleansing, other cleaning materials can be used,” the Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, said in a statement about the fatwa.
“Even though some sources deem paper to be unsuitable as a cleaning material, as it is an apparatus for writing, there is no problem in using toilet paper,” it added.
The previous prohibition on the use of toilet paper was established by Qadaahul Haajah. The rules were conceived before the invention of toilet paper or toilet seats. While not compulsory, they are observed by many devout Muslims.
Diyanet last month also approved hand sanitizers containing alcohol.
“While it is forbidden to drink substances containing alcohol that were produced for cleaning purposes, it is acceptable to use them for cleaning. Therefore the places that were cleaned with such substances need not be washed before performing a prayer,” the Diyanet said, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
The Diyanet also ruled that people may only beg out of desperation.
Those who beg for money beyond their immediate needs are “demanding the fire of hell,” the paper reported.
This article originally appeared on the Hurriyet Daily News.