How Should I Act When Working with Non-Muslims?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am working and my workmates are non-muslims. Here in Philippines, muslims are only 14% in total population of our country. I am the only one muslim in the workplace. I want to have an advice from you regarding having non-muslim workmates. How can I deal with them without violating Allah’s command?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. I pray you’re well.

There is nothing in the religion which prevents personal and business dealings with non-Muslims, nor requires one to change the way they behave. However, Islam does generally command that Muslims do their upmost to exemplify the best of character and ethics, and to be praiseworthy examples for others, at all times.

Working with non-Muslims

In any situation, but particularly as a minority group in your country, Muslims should ensure that they represent the religion in a positive light. This can be achieved by simply working hard, honestly, and with integrity.

In regards personal interactions with non-Muslim colleagues, Allah Most High has said, ‘Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction’ [16:125]. However, do not make the mistake of preaching to them about the faith. Work is a place for work, not missionary duties. Instead, let genuine kindness, consideration, and amiability be your guidance.

There may be aspects of working with non-Muslims that are in contradiction to the religion, such as unnecessary mixing of genders, work events where alcohol is present etc. In these situations, treat each case individually, be gentle, tactful, but honest, and excuse yourself when needed. Insha’Allah they will respect you adhering to your principles, while being courteous.

In regards prayers, request for a designated area, even if just a corner of a room. Pray discreetly in that area without disturbing others. Ensure that the bathrooms are kept clean and dry if you have to make wudu there.

I wish you all the best.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.