Diyanet, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, has become one of the most popular trending topics on social media lately. On Feb. 3, Diyanet’s latest religious decree caused an uproar. On its high-traffic, interactive web page — where the public can post questions and religious experts share their replies — a controversial topic recently appeared.
The question was simple, but odd: “Is it acceptable to eat with the left hand?” The expert's answer, based on a well-known saying of the Prophet Muhammad, advised Muslims to eat and drink with the right hand and to teach their children to do the same because the “devil eats with the left hand.” On YouTube, one can find several Turkish Islamic leaders speaking about this issue. The public was angry about the response and asked about people who are born left-handed or have a missing hand or arm. The Islamic decree does provide room for exceptions for medical reasons.