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My Colleagues Don’t Respect Me When I Am Praying. What Can I Do?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My colleagues don’t respect me when I am praying. They enter in the room where I pray and make a lot of noise. When I talked to them about that they got angry at me. I w afraid that I would have to fight them. What should I do?

Answer: In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate

Thank you for your question. May Allah grant you the best of states and guide you to what is pleasing to Him.

Finding a peaceful place to pray can often be difficult in shared spaces. What is important is that while we try to find our personal space for worship, we must also take into account other people’s spaces.

Talking with your colleagues

I’m assuming you share a room with others. It would be a good idea to speak to your colleagues at another time other than straight after prayer. Be gentle and explain to them that those times are important to you and ask them if they could kindly not make too much noise just during those prayer times. Explain to them that it is important to keep one’s concentration during prayer and you would really appreciate them helping you in this. It maybe your roommate hasn’t realized the nature of prayer and everything it entails. God tells us in the Qur’an,

‘Invite to the way of your Lord with wise and fair counsel, and reason with them in ways that are best’ [al Nahl 16:125],

However, if they are not willing to listen to you, despite you asking kindly, then do not become angry. There is no excuse for arguing and fighting and is not allowed, even in these situations. Confrontation will only make the matter worse.

Practical steps:

You can try some of the following suggestions to ease the situation:

· Pray away from doorways and entrances.

· See if there is any other room or place you can pray without distraction. If there is no other space, then make sure you pray somewhere that is not in their space or obstructing them from getting to their things. A corner or facing a wall or window may be good options.

· Put a barrier in front of you such as chair. This will stop anyone walking in front of you as well as defining a clear ‘space’ for them to see.

· Don’t recite so loud in prayers, such as at Fajr, Maghrib, and Isha, that it distracts others. Their comfort and personal space is just as important to consider as your prayer.

· If things don’t improve and you cannot pray elsewhere, consider using earplugs when praying to avoid distraction from others making noise in the room. Combine this with closing your eyes, which may help with concentration.

I sincerely hope that your situation works out and you find a solution. Remember, do not angry, argue, or fight. Show them that practicing one’s religion means patience and composure at all times. God informs us, ‘Allah is with those who patiently persevere’ [2;153].

This way, even if they don’t listen to you, they won’t be able to help but respect you. They may even feel embarrassed and respect your request.

Warmest salams

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007 I travelled to Tarim, Yemen, where I spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with my main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, I moved to Amman, Jordan, where I continue advanced study in a range of sciences, as well as teaching. Away from the Islamic sciences, I am a qualified Homeopath, and run a private clinic in Amman.

How Can I Pray on Time With My Very Busy Job and Very Long Hours?

Answered by Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: I am a night shift nurse. I do twelve hour shifts, 5 nights a week (up to eight shifts in a row) for two different hospitals. When I get off I must commute home right away to help get the kids dressed, fed, and off to school so that my wife can get ready for her job and be there by 0800. She gets home at 1630-45 to get the kids supper while I get ready to work. I sleep all day- from about 0800 to 1630. My unit floors are too busy to break at the proper times for prayer. Ok, you see my question yet? I sleep hard. All day. Waking up several times during the day is not the safest way for me to care for my patients all night. I become groggy and unfocused. I need some practical solutions for my salat difficulties.

Answer: I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

May Allah ease your affairs and grant you success in all your endeavors. I pray the following is of benefit.

The Prayer: Our Appointment with the Divine

The prayer (salat) is our connection (sila) with Allah Most High. It is the most important practice in our faith, and it gives meaning to our worldly endeavors, which are empty and meaningless without the prayer.

One of the most salient features of the prayer is that it be performed in its proper time, as to delay a prayer past its time without a valid excuse is a major sin.

Allah Most High states in the Qur’an: “Verily the prayer has been enjoined on believers as an obligation in fixed, appointed times.” (4:103)

In addition, the very first chapter of Imam Malik’s renowned hadith collection, the Muwatta’, is “The Book of the Prayer Times.” According to the commentator Imam Zurqani, Imam Malik placed it at the beginning before the chapters on purification since the prayer time is the very basis of the prayer being obligatory. Once the time enters, then purification becomes obligatory, so the time is of utmost importance. [Zurqani, Sharh al-Muwatta’]

And within that chapter, Imam Malik relates a beautiful hadith in which our Master Umar (Allah be well pleased with him) wrote to his governors:

“Verily, the most important of your affairs in my estimation is the prayer. So whoever learns it properly and vigilantly performs it within its appointed times has preserved his very religion. And whoever fails to perform it on time, he will be even more careless with everything else.” [Muwatta’]

This is very telling insight on the part of our Master Umar, who saw that if one is neglectful of the prayer with respect to performing it on time, such a person will be even more neglectful with his other tasks, whether relating to this life or the next. The prayer grounds our affairs and provides stability whereby all our endeavors will fall into place and be successful, inshaAllah.

And recall that our Master Umar is the one about whom our Messenger (Allah bless him and send him peace) said, “Had there been a prophet after me, it would have been Umar.” [Tirmidhi, Ahmad]

Some Practical Tips for Your Schedule

(a) When you are at work, take a break to pray. Everyone at work can take bathroom breaks. When it is time to pray, simply take a bathroom break, make wudu, and quickly perform the prayer.

If things are very busy, then omit the sunna prayers and just do the obligatory prayers (fard and wajib), e.g., the 3 rakats of maghrib; the 4 rakats of isha and the 3 rakats of witr, without the 2-rakat sunna prayers. For fajr, however, do both the sunna and obligatory prayers.

Also, you can wear khuffs [or thick socks that fulfill the conditions for wiping], and wipe over them instead of washing your feet. This will save time in wudu.

(b) When you are at home in the day, get your rest in the morning and then wake up towards the end of the time of zuhr, before it ends. Pray zuhr on time, and then wait until asr comes in. As soon as it enters, pray asr as well. Then if you want, go back to bed until it’s time for work.

I know it is difficult, but try your best. This is spiritual struggle (mujahada) for the sake of Allah alone. He loves to see us put our full effort to serve him, especially with the prayer. You will find immense blessings (baraka) in your life, inshaAllah. Be patient and steadfast, and show Allah you love Him. In return, you get nothing short of His love, and eternal bliss.

As the poet said, “My friend, roll up your sleeves! And never forget death, for doing so is clear misguidance.”

Do your best. I pray Allah makes it easy for you to establish your prayer, and that you find its fruits in both abodes. Amin.

And Allah alone provides success.

wassalam

Faraz A. Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

What Should I Do If I Have No Time To Pray At Work?

Answered by Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I had a question about work and prayer. At work, sometimes I am able to pray and sometimes I am not. For an 11-5 schedule, I occasionally do not get breaks, so what can I do about this? I’ve heard that praying early is not allowed and that missing prayer, which I rarely do is not accepted. I follow Shafi`i fiqh and was wondering what the ruling for this was, or any exceptions to it?

Answer: Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thank you for your question.  Firstly, it is very commendable that you are striving to uphold the commandment of Allah Most High to perform the obligatory prayer despite a demanding work schedule.  The obligatory prayers are the first of works that a Believer will be questioned about on the Day of Judgment, after faith itself.  The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) has said:

“The person who guards the five obligatory prayers, its wudhu, its prescribed time, its proper bowing and prostration, while considering it to be the right of Allah upon them, the will be Fire forbidden upon that person.” (Ahmad)

You are correct when you say that missing an obligatory prayer is not allowed, rather, it is from amongst the major sins to do so without a valid excuse.  You are also correct in saying that praying before the time enters is not permitted, except in very specific circumstances that do not obtain here [see answers on the prayer of a traveler in the Shafi’i school for an example]. The only recourse will be to obtain approval for one short break during the work shift, and perform the prayer during that time.  By the grace of Allah, persistent requests from more and more Muslims in the West over the years who are keen to uphold their prayers while at work, have made many employers familiar with accommodating Muslim religious observances in ways that do not hinder productivity.  It is expected that if the request is put forward respectfully yet firmly, it will be granted, insha Allah.  Making this request, in the interest of preserving your prayer, would be a duty on your part.  The fact that Ramadan is coming around is also very helpful to mention if one is worried that the employer might wonder why the request wasn’t made from before, since many employers know that Muslims tend to “gear up” on their prayers in anticipation of the holy month; this can also be a way of getting a “foot-in-the-door” to permanently obtaining approval for a prayer break thereafter.

To make your request easier on others, ask your employer where the ideal place to pray would be in advance, so no one feels disturbed, and to pre-plan things such as where and when to make wudhu so that you stay within your allotted break time.  Of course, make du’aa to Allah, asking Him to make the matter easy for you.  In the end, although there is some struggle and sacrifice involved with praying on the job, you will be commensurately rewarded for striving to uphold your prayers despite obstacles, and needless to say, stopping to be with your Lord during your work day will be the source of much blessings and ease.  May Allah Most High make each one of us consistent on our prayers in all situations, Ameen!

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked and Approved by Faraz Rabbani

* Abdullah Anik Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and converted to Islam in 2001.  After completing a degree in Business Administration at the University of Toronto, in 2005, he left Canada to pursue studies in Arabic and the Islamic Sciences.  Currently, he lives in Amman, Jordan, with his wife and two daughters, working at the Qasid Institute and studying various subjects in the Islamic Sciences.